Original Location: Writing of the [slightly] Insane - http://wrightswriting.blogspot.com
A few days ago I received a request for a short story in the rich-with-imagery style I normally do with fiction... but in an episodic kind of form. It sounded like a good idea so I'm giving it a shot.
You'll probably notice that the following isn't very polished. In fact, it isn't polished or edited at all. I decided to write it in the way the main character would have - by just laying it out as it came to him, and posting it as is, typos and all.
I hope you guys enjoy and if you'd like me to continue with it, please don't hesitate to let my ass know.
My desire to leave the apartment was gone before I even had the chance to fool myself into thinking I wanted to be a social bug. After a long cold shower, I wander from room to room, each given its own completely separate color scheme – a technique I remembered from visiting a distant relative’s house, back when I was young enough to make memories that are now so old, they seem more like vague dreams now that I’ve begun to sprout grey hair and stop caring about sentences that drag on longer than they ever should.
My living room is brown in the way that can only be described as a poor attempt at 1960’s Grandpa Swing. The few visitors that have taken the trek out here to the edge of town always tilt their heads with confusion, as a dog does when you make an unfamiliar noise with your mouth. Walking over to the cheap 1980’s turntable and tweed floor speakers I traded for a knockoff watch at a pawnshop that recently burned down, I spot a B.B. King 45 that I slipped between coffee table books depicting movie stars from the 1940’s and 1950’s, with Rita Hayworth and Marilyn Monroe on their respective covers.
The memory of how I got them flashes back. It was the first time my own technique of shoplifting from thrift bookstores worked the way it was destined to – I casually carried the movie poster books toward the door and when they stopped me, I started laughing and apologized, lifting cash out of my front pocket while explaining I had been preoccupied by my brother whom had just entered rehab for the third time. I told the clerk that the movie poster books reminded me of him, and after getting my change back, I hold them close to me as if they make me feel closer to my black sheep brother. The clerk sees it as a sad sight, I see it as a way to make sure the record stuffed down the front of my shirt stays hidden. The books in that store are overpriced anyway.
The ratty turntable sounds more like an old tube television between premium channels. B.B. and Lucile are somewhere in the background, teaching lone white guys like myself what the blues feel like. The almost unbearable humidity of August is making the crackling guitar notes hang in the air like rain drops in zero gravity. They’re so thick, it feels like soup is entering my ears. Longing for some kind of breeze on my skin, I fall backward onto my couch that smells of the person that lived here before me, at least that’s what I think the smell came from. Sitting on it produces an odor that I’ve never had the displeasure of experiencing before, and it was here when I moved in. I’ve often thought of having it tested for diseases, but I never get around to it – the items on the table next to it eventually distract me when I settle myself on its cushions.
A BIC lighter, a joint filled with low-grade pot, a half empty bottle of Maker’s Mark 46 and a sticky, unwashed glass. This is my celebration, tomorrow is my only day off from my job. This time yesterday I was being oogled at by loads of men, all middle-aged, all over-weight and all wearing rented shoes. My daytime means of gainful employment is working at a bowling alley that somehow has gotten a strong suburban gay following – something that will confuse me until my last breath. Every single cliché that one has about gay men is lost in the Bermuda Triangle of the bowling alley, except for the friendliness.
Serving equal parts Budwiser and Sea Breeze to dozens of bowling fanatics who compliment me on my eyes and strong arms has done wonders for my self-esteem. The cruelty of the situation is that while I’m there, riding high on my only wave of confidence I get all day, there isn’t a woman in sight for me to use it on. Damn you, Irony. Damn you and your sick sense of humor.
The glass on my end table is not only sticky, but covered in a thin layer of dust – no doubt from the couch cushions I love to plop down in. Realizing I haven’t touched it since this time last week, I pry myself off the couch and shuffle into the kitchen and get a fresh one. I open the pale blue cabinet… dammit. No glasses. Searching around the kitchen for a suitable replacement leads me to the refrigerator and a jar with a lonely looking pickle floating in it. The pickle tastes bad somehow, so I spit it out while rinsing out the jar.
Even with the water rushing in the sink, I can hear the record has already reached its end, which doesn’t surprise me at all. The only track I enjoy on it is at the end on the B-side and the loud knocking noise of the needle being dragged back forth across the edge of the vinyl has always comforted me. Tonight though, it sounds louder than normal and it begins to have the opposite effect on me. Being sure to make a pit stop at the bourbon bottle to begin my night of sitting in drunken silence, I lift the needle, but the abnormally loud knocking continues. It’s coming from the front door.
Shuffling across the linoleum in my slippers, I get behind the door and ask it, “Who dares disrupt my slumber??” in the deepest voice possible. I want to sound more like an emotionally unbalanced bodybuilder and less like a 39 year old bartender that depends on gay men to keep him from wallowing in self-pity to the soundtrack of clinking mugs and colliding bowling pins. I glance in the peephole, and I can’t make out the movement in the hallway on until it’s too late.
A large man is sprinting directly at me and my very weak door.
. . . . .