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It's a thankless job...

While writing tonight I was digging through my "Creative Work" file and stumbled on this in the "Stories" section. At first I had no idea what it was. I actually said out loud, to myself, "I didn't fucking write this..." Then, after starting from the beginning and reading onward it came back to me. I don't remember the exact date when I wrote this, but it was at some point during high school or my first year of university when I was feeling particularly invisible and lonely in my life. I wanted to write a story about someone who wouldn't be missed if they disappeared (though the story is surprisingly humorous and not angsty). I probably stopped writing it when I got all my angst out and went on with my life. However stumbling on it now I was pleasantly surprised and enchanted by the character. I think I'm going to continue it now that I've matured a bit and write about how he changes his life into something else. The blossoming of a wallflower?

In any case I plan to have a character who leaves him poetry on his answering machine. Anyways, if you want to read it feel free. If you end up reading it let me know what you think!

            I’d brought tape, a stapler and some glue, just in case. They were all bouncing around in my book bag with exactly a hundred eight-and-a-half by eleven inch posters. The weight on my shoulders was encouraging, as if someone was lightly tugging on my shoulders from behind, holding my torso up and motivating me to stay upright and keep walking. I’d worn a hoodie that was two sizes too large for me that day so the hood would cloak my face in darkness. Unrecognizable.

            The first poster went up on the street corner a block away from my apartment building. Despite the fact that I’d already scoured the poster for mistakes before taking it to the copiers, I read it over once more. Now that it was on a lamppost on the street corner I’d get the full effect.

            “MISSING,” it read in big, bold, capitol, times new roman characters. Underneath this was a picture of my grinning face, taken of me with a Polaroid camera a couple of weeks ago on my birthday. This word was followed by my picture captioned with my name. The poster then provided basic information about me, my age, my height, my eye and hair color (as each of the hundred copies was in black and white). Underneath my information was written I’d left my telephone number with the message: “Please call if seen or found. Any information helpful. Last seen downtown, alone.”

            I continued down the street, on my way to work, stopping to put up a poster on the odd lamp post, or onto the random wall already plastered in so many other posters and advertisements. No one stopped me or said anything, so by the time I’d got to work I’d already gotten posted about fifty of them. I hadn’t used to the stapler or glue once.

 

            I walked home that day with my eyes darting back and forth about the sidewalk, eyeing each and every “MISSING” poster. By the time I’d reached my apartment I counted fifty-one, not a single one disturbed since the morning. I felt content with my morning’s work, like an artist who just finished a massive, twelve block exhibit. I would post the remaining forty-nine on the weekend in the surrounding area and down at the waterfront.

            My answering machine had no messages, but this was expected.

            My apartment was a small bachelor apartment. One bedroom/kitchenette/dining/reading/computer room and one bathroom. It was comfy but never quite felt like a home. I shared it with a fat, dumpy cat who I’d forgotten the name of weeks after picking him up from a shelter. He spent most of his time sleeping in a recliner I had in my bedroom/kitchenette/dining/reading/computer room. We left each other alone, mostly. As long as I left a fresh can of cat food tuna out every morning, refilled his water dish every night and stayed the hell away from his recliner he was pleasantly indifferent with me. He was cleaner than anyone I’d ever lived with. With nothing else to do, probably, he’d somehow toilet trained himself, so all I ever had to do was flush the toilet to clean up after him.

            My apartment was fairly bare. I wasn’t one for excessive furniture. The only excess I ever indulged in was books, and this I did in vast quantities. I already had three huge walls of books, which was okay. I owned no television so I had plenty of room most people wouldn’t. Finally my small, out of date laptop sat on my scuffed up coffee table in front of a huge couch, which is where I spent most of my time in that apartment. Not necessarily on the laptop, just on the couch. The laptop I’d bought back in university when it was useful to me, and now I didn’t do much more than check my e-mails (which were always empty other than the “word of the day”, which I never read), to read the news and occasionally to watch some porn. The only other real piece of furniture I had was my creative desk, which was a complete and utter disaster zone.

            I’m a pseudo-writer, I’ve written about six or seven novels, I don’t try to keep track any more. Really I’d written one infinite novel that consisted of about six or seven normal sized novels, so far. Stories merging together, weaving in and out of one another, stemming off of the others. Never making any sense in correlation to one another but at the same time with reoccurring characters, places and ideas. I had a lot of ideas. They all went into my novel. Predominantly a rich, heavy fiction, rarely non-fiction or autobiographical. I found reality very boring, and even moreso my life. I also had numerous plays, essays, short stories and scribbles scattered about, but it was my novel that took up the bulk of my creative space/bed.

            I hated everything I wrote. I was a true pseudo-writer.

            I had never had anyone to read my work, not that I would let them if I did have someone who wanted to.

            My bed, unlike the rest of my apartment, was cat-hair free and never, ever made up. I’d simply climb in and wrap the sheets around me at night, then unwrap myself when I woke up in the morning. I had no alarm clock, I never needed one. I would always wake up at the exact time I had to to shower and get to work every day.

            I worked at a small corner store belonging to an old Chinese couple. They’d originally offered me to live in the apartment above the store, but it had been too much space for me and would eliminate my walk to work every morning, which was usually the highlight of my day other than masturbation, so I’d declined.

            I didn’t get out much. I had no friends, which was alright with me, I guess. When I wasn’t working at the store I would spend my time reading or writing in my apartment, or book shopping at one of the huge chains or little independent bookstores downtown. The only time I ever had any social contact was with customers in the store, or with the old Chinese couple. Once a month they’d invite me to dinner at their apartment which was really a couple of rooms adjoined to their store. They spoke very little English, and poorly at that, so we communicated mostly with facial expressions, hand gestures, and very few, simple words, which is how I wish one could deal with most people.

            That’s where the picture on my posters had been taken. The woman had dug out a dusty old Polaroid camera, from underneath a massive pile of newspapers and snapped two pictures of me, one they’d kept and put on their fridge. It had been my birthday. I turned twenty four on that day.

            The reason I had no friends is actually quite similar to how I communicate with the old Chinese couple. I’m not really one for spoken words. I never have been. I’m no good with them. It’s not that I’m not an unkind person, or that I don’t like people. We just live in an age in which people talk ceaselessly, and they seem to think that if you don’t answer them with more than mono-syllabic response or a simple grunt you don’t care. I used to have friends back at home, back in high school. My compulsion to avoid communication, however, seemed to repel people from me, and I just assumed that those who rely on conversation in order to maintain a relationship just weren’t meant to be my friends.

            Unfortunately those who rely on conversation in order to maintain a relationship make up most of the population, and I’d recently come to the realization that those who don’t rely on conversation in order to maintain a relationship probably aren’t going to be very vocal about looking for friends, thus I am trapped in the paradox (or something like that) that is my existence.

            So life was my cat, my old Chinese couple, my job, my books, and my writing.



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Victory Rose
mypaleskin
A delicate boy in the hysterical realm

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