Grocery shopping is a ritual best carried out on autopilot. Grab staples. Bag staples. Pay. Hurry to the shithole you call home. I remove a jar of peanut butter from the shelf and place it into the basket. When I look up there’s this kid stood next to me. She’s holding a naked baby doll. The face, hands and feet are made of plastic but the body’s all wrong. A mis-shapen stuffed and stitched oblong with plastic fixtures sticking out of it. It’s disturbing. She should’ve put clothes on the thing.
Why the lack of clothes kid? I think it. I’d rather not find out what would happen if I actually opened my mouth. This is terror America. You even look at a kid when youre fat balding and bespectacled and you’re in fucking trouble. The dolls glassy blue eyes follow me around the shop; reminds me of those paintings that seem to always be staring at you. I try to lose the eyes and end up going down the tampon isle. This kid is shitting up my ritual.
Somewhere in the distance I hear my phone alarm go off; but oblivion is hard to resist when you’ve had a month like mine. Easier to fall. Easy is good. Things are always hard. Easy is good.
My eyes finally open at 4pm; this is routine, albeit a fucked one.
In my cerebrum I wage a war against myself. You set the alarm; you set the fucking alarm! Why the fuck didn’t you get up? The alarm was a delusion, placed far enough for me to pretend I was dreaming it. But I don’t dream; not when my eyes open and not when they close. Tomorrow will be different, tomorrow I’ll change; but time is relentless and tomorrow is only a second after today; a second that isn’t enough to change me. A second that came after my defeat.
It’s easy to fool myself. I think I want to beat this, but I don’t. Because when I do - if I really look at what’s going on, I’ll only see a reality I’m not ready to face. That I fucked things up real bad. That I’m being swallowed by time, that the rising and falling of my chest is almost my whole life. This is life now. I think, therefore I am. It’s a philosophy; it proves my existence to myself when nothing else does. I am; and then, I’m not. It’s all the same; because I’m leaving no lasting mark.
I’m walking down a hill; the same hill I walked down as a child.
I’m on my way back home from school.
It’s as I remember it…
the hill doesn’t stop.
I keep walking…
my pace picks up of its own accord.
My legs are no longer under my control; gravity is my master, pulling me faster and faster down the hill; faster until…
the pavement no longer exists and…
, like Alice down the rabbit hole; but there are no chairs, cards or white rabbits falling with me.
I am alone in endless darkness; body flailing; legs kicking.
And that’s when I wake up.
Everything looks run down, billboardy. The air is dry; dusty. A never-ending bleating of horns surround sounds you and driving etiquette is non-existent. Here it’s every man for himself; and with a government who does seemingly nothing to help the poor, you can’t blame them. But of course you do; girls walking around with children in their arms, hands out, waiting for an act of kindness or foolishness, depending on whether they’re truly poor; guys coming to your car window hounding you to buy something, sunglasses, religious texts, jasmine bracelets; anything; something. Please. Please. The shop signs look ancient; worn by the dirty air and time., Nothing looks new. Everything looks the same. There’s no trace of a desire to be innovative, they’re all keeping up with the Jones’; follow the competition; follow the competition.
And squatted here, in this stone box, over this primal disease infested hole-in-the-ground, I strain for relief; and relief comes, in the form of a yellow hose, forcing itself out of my mouth. Along with it escapes a repulsive sound. Someone knocks at the door to ask me if Im alright; and sat there with my pants around my ankles and a sea of bile glistening in front of me; I’m certain, that “alright” is a place I’m far from.
But everybody says this place is beautiful;
And you’d be so crazy to say
But everything’s the same;
This town is pititful,
And I’ll be getting out,
As soon as I can,
The easiest way to remove someone from you life is with a gun. I’m not saying you should be the one pulling the trigger, that get’s you into all kinds of shit. You should ask my dumb fuck cousin Tommy. In this you can trust though; when the news arrives, with your errand boy, well, to say one feels overwhelmingly inclined to throw a party, would not make me Sherlock. The invites say the celebration is for “no reason” of course and people, being people, brown-nosing, favour asking, predictable, people, will arrive in hordes. After all, there’s nothing like grotesquely lavish parties with all inclusive food and drink, is there? All arriving to celebrate the death of a man; I’ll even invite his mother, after all I am throwing her son a wake. I know; I know. What can I say I’m just a generous guy.
He says he needs to make a call. He’s leaving soon, phone is low on credit; “need to make it last”. He holds my arm and pulls me towards a phone box. As he slides his hand into his pocket for change he suggests I stand inside the not-so-roomy glass cuboid with him; “for moral support” he quips. I oblige. He opens the door walks in and holds it for me. Positioning himself, he picks up the reciever, dials and looks off through the glass. This close to him, my own feelings start to suffocate me. Oh betrayal. My eyes, to his eyes; his lips; his eyes. The conversation ends, he puts the reciever down and hangs up the phone. I think I’m almost disappointed that we have to get out.
She twitches and my grip on her thorax only tightens; she’s barely even gasping now. My fingers hold her for another few seconds and then, unclenching my fist, I release her. She falls to her knees, catches her breath, looks up at me and says: let’s do that again.