". . .And I think I'll go for a swim, Since I've already drowned…
And forget breath And Love Pain And, and…Wrap yourself, warm, warm In the horrible agony Of drowning."
Making the right turn he always made coming out of work to spin around and head home, he spotted the sight he spotted with eagle vision he didn't always get the chance to engage. It was in the road, just lying there, and he saw how recent it looked, gauging maybe an hour and a half old tops.
He yanked the car into the assisted living facility's parking, hit the hazards button and got out. At seven in the morning, there were no cars on the road, not a single one in the neighborhood street the building sat on the corner of. Having plenty of time to approach and study, he walked up onto the deceased cadaver of the gorgeous looking white, brown and black cat. For some shitty, Goddamned reason, he needed to preserve this body, no tires and cars for this one. He didn't understand it, but he embraced the need to let it be dead with dignity, not become street trash.
It was still. . . Fresh. He could feel it in the touch, the way it still looked like was just sleeping. The fur was still shiny, soft, smooth, brushed, it must have escaped an apartment next door, the assisted living facility.
It had escaped a house of love.
Someone made sure it ate well, slept well, was cared for, pet, stroked, showed loyalty.
With very steady hands, he placed them underneath the body of the dearly departed. Feeling no give, in the corpse he raised it from it's gravel death place. Rigamortis. He noted how it felt stuffed, almost. Unreal. Synthetic.
The tongue hanging out. An eye bulging. Tail dangling.
Gently placing the lifeless who very recently possessed life in the brilliant green grass he noted how that image was created in his ind, that specific image was created in his mind A woman passed him by, approaching on the sidewalk. Elderly, sweet looking, wearing one of those perma-smiles that truly older people wear.
Pushing a walker with a single white plastic sack of groceries on top, she stopped and commented.
"Oh God. . . Terrible."
He replied back with eyes on the black, white and brown thing,"Yes God."
How many episodes of my shows did he have to watch where a dude acts like a dude acts, with women; and successfully at that. Doing what dudes do to fulfill their dudely desires.
How many times did he have to pass white Crown Vics, spotlight still attached? How many fucking converted cabs are in this Goddamned town, or then next one, or the next one?
Between him, or Peggy Olsen, the winner for the most under-appreciated and shit-on employee contest was going on strong; winner as yet unannounced.
When he goes above and beyond, follows orders, does extra, double-checks the double-checked, stays late, cleans up customer spills after 7 or stands guard at them when no one else will. . . Only then clocks in the next night only to be manipulated, used, thrown under the bus you never even drove.
How many times has it already happened, how much longer until he can sit down with the boss and talk promotional opportunities, or get that raise in September.
He felt like quitting, giving up. And not just the job either. Just. . . Giving up.
He didn't care how much that waitress flirted with him every time she brought him a drink, he didn't want to ask her out.
He didn' t care how hurt the cashier was, whatever she said, lied about, made-up as a trite and sophmoric move of saving-face were words, and words only. She was gone anyway, she wouldn't be coming back.
How many more times would he be belittled, beaten down by others, or himself even worse. Clear headed, no alcohol-induced thoughts he drove away from that hell-hole. His place of peace would hold no comfort, not this morning, not after last night was worse than the night before was worse than the night before was worse than the night before.
And so on and so forth. Throwing the towel in the ring never seemed so desireable.
"You don't like it? Get a better job and move out!"
"You grumpy bastard!"
"You need to be in your next task."
"I love how you think I just want you to sit down next to me in the truck."
"Can I hang up? Please? Please. . ."
"Are you gonna be alright?"
The bed of loneliness. The Dog of loyalness. The cigarettes. The Beer, The Coffee. The One's who left, the ones who were here yet still.
A book he once had such passion for. A woman. A Woman of grace and loveliness. Of great and tremendous stature. That yearning was gone. His wanting to type and create and be in that moment of life, birthing more life.
How many more times could he clock in before the thing on his waist looked more attractive then ever?
The shift, what a horrible one. The gratitude, so scarce.
In a world where he felt more responsible for some things, and less responsible for the things he didn't do, where was he to turn. When he's forced to switch tense of past and present in the middle of his damned sentences. In a place, in a lonely place where his best friend, his confidant and companion has jumped ship for prettier lands of fancy, how could he live with himself knowing he turned such wanting and passion and missing into such, "Oh man, nevermind. I changed my mind."
In a place where a boss overlooks the work done, where others spread lies, venom amongst other for the sake of spreading. No mattered how friendly, how UNFAKE, of genuine to help, check on, use respect, professionalism.
In a world, where three years of typing gets you nothing. Not even your own friends approvals. He couldn't think of a single one who'd gone past chapter two. Could he find a place where his striving, his smiling, his customer service, or knowledge and abilities were accepted? Maybe this year was his sign.
Maybe he was seeing for the first time. Maybe he was blind no more.
He would understand now.
"Do you know what they do to a race horse when it can't produce adequate results anymore?"
He would know he was never fit for this job, no matter how many bananas he had under his command and minutes late he stayed to get it done when required.
He would know being a son badly was something he was driven to, under the tutelage of a cheating drunk father and a resenting, icy mother.
The sisters that didn't reach out. One a social classist. One who simply, disagreed with him.
Unfit for this world. With all he tried to give it. Art. Love. Friendship. Caring. Compassion. Empathy. Consideration.
He was nothing. He was nowhere. If it wasn't one thing that he ruined, it was another that was ruined for him. After years upon years of disappointment, was it okay for him to drop out?
"You're a walking carcass. A slab on a dinner plate in Japan. . . And I'm the killer buyer. I'm going to help you help. . . I'm going to help you. . ."