The trials of being me:
“Damn, a year’s already gone by.”
“Fuck, I really can’t believe I’ve wasted two whole years at this place.”
“Yo, please kill me if I make the three year mark.”
“Hey man, for real, throw me off a fucking bridge if I make it here four years.”
“Like seriously dude, something’s seriously wrong with me if I make it to five years.”
“Wow, three months from now will be my six year mark.”
“Well I’ll be damned. Six fucking years.”
So begins the current situation. Keyboard clicks, telephones ringing, clunky fax machines humming their disjointed rhythms, random chatter, overcooked professionalism, clichéd power phrases, false motivation, no incentives, wilted prospects, dried up ambitions, phony smiles, fake promises, and utter loss of concentration await. Deep breaths.
I met her at a checkout line while buying a box of 9mm ammo and a bottle of Tylenol P.M. Yeah, that’s right; bullets and sleeping pills. Looking back, it had to have appeared as somewhat of an oddly curious combination. She strolled into my aisle, all freshly beautiful and radiant and mysterious, initially oblivious to my existence. I’d spotted her earlier, looking intently at the beauty products as I passed by and did a double take and subsequent slow down. I paused to pretend as though I was reading a box of cereal while I briefly gawked surreptitiously, but decided to keep on going once my eyeballs had their fill. They were hungry, and she fed them well. Besides, I really did have some shopping to do. A friend and I were going shooting that weekend, and I’d gone to the store to pick up a few boxes of ammo, and as a result of having slept like pure shit for what seemed like weeks, I’d also discovered the magnificently dreary prowess of Tylenol P.M. That stuff had proved to be a godsend; without it, I was up all night. The zombies that I’d normally been dreaming about? They must have been missing the hell out of my flesh. But there she was, just two feet away from me; she reminded me, in just the first glance, of all the things that I’d always wanted. All the little perfect, daydreamy shit I’d envisioned over the years, all the imagined moments, carefully cultivated images, and dream induced qualities were right there in front of me in full glory. Five feet something of just pure rainbows and sunsets. I couldn’t help but to stare…fuck it, right? Why put a painting on the wall if it wasn’t supposed to be looked at? At that moment, I thought “Why else is a beauty like that created?” So I looked, and of course she noticed me looking, and I felt a slight tinge of embarrassment as she scoped my suicidal looking purchases sprawled out on the register, bright as day.
We bought ninja stars and throwing knives online and hurled them like major league pitchers at anything that we could puncture. Nothing was safe from our alcohol infused ninja wrath, as boxes, bags, and everything in between fell victim to our onslaught. We fancied as ourselves blue collar sportsmen as well, and developed our own Olympic caliber games, such as the legendary sports of Warehouse Tennis, Wall Ball, and the venerated Quarterback Challenge. We shoved hunks of raw meat and random bits of leftover lunch under a broken crevice in the concrete floor one entire summer just to see how many maggots and critters that we could attract to it. Needless to say, we succeeded in attracting a city’s worth of bugs to that hole like animals to the Ark. You name it, we did it; nothing was off limits, no dare was too great, no joke was unworthy. Great cardboard tubes that once held monstrous fabric rolls became fabled swords and wicked spears, and hole-riddled boxes stood as a testament to the epic battles and wars that we waged against each other to pass the hours. I was an Obi Wan with a cardboard tube. And the time did fly, let me tell you. It passed in a drunken haze; we spent untold fortunes of cash nearly every day on bottles of booze, bottles that we’d skillfully guzzle throughout the day by the cupful, right before the eyes of management and the front office. We toted our red Solo cups around with pride in fact, and downed our spirits in front of all who dared enter our sanctuary. We practically dared them to approach us about it. And we only got busted once. Our livers suffered greatly while playing the role of a Brita filter that summer, yet we became remarkably adept at getting the job done while being loaded to the gills on whiskey, rum, and whatever other distilled goodness we could muster. The very definition of functioning alcoholics. We were a well-oiled machine, though our gears were greased with Jack and Coke.
Do you feel the monotony? Can you hear the annoying scrape of my feet dragging themselves to the bathroom? The stabbing numbness of my slowly adjusting eyes as I try in vain to shield them from the blinding solar glare of the bathroom light? Or how about the pungently aromatic stale air produced by 8 hours of backed up bowels? I stood at the toilet, graciously releasing at least four hours-worth of slightly yellow urine, and let out a long bear growl of relief. One of the few breaths of relief that I get to look forward to over the coming day. Feel that monotony as I clamber into the shower, only to realize that I forgot to buy soap and toothpaste? Ever wash a tired body with dish soap? Feel the monotony.
The sky that day was a deep overcast grey, with thick, overfed clouds spewing their liquid lunch all over the city, making for a slow and sloppy morning commute. I arrived at my gig thirty minutes late (not giving half a shit), and slowly crept into a parking space. It was a lonely, bleak, deserted lot, strewn with unattractively enterprising weeds tangoing out of deep cracks that resembled California fault lines, and year old garbage bleached bone white by a harsh sun. I carelessly swerved into a parking space, which I created myself due to the fading of the yellow dividing lines. It’s a sight you would have expected to see in the former Soviet Union, not twenty first century USA; an aged, crudely built exterior, its walls cleverly stained brown by the rust that rained down from the aluminum roof. It reminded me of coffee stained dentures, or a distasteful hotel room watercolor.