SHORT STORY … NO REASON (no mistake, it's one long paragraph)


He had a small fan on the shelf opposite his desk designed to blow the cigarette smoke towards the window (which was closed), and this vacuum ashtrays that theoretically sucked the smoke into a charcoal filter (which didn’t work well when the batteries were charged, and didn’t work at all when the batteries were dead; which they were). His house had the lingering stench of rotting food from the garbage disposal that he infrequently cleaned. He had purchased a couple lemons from the grocery store last week with the expressed purpose of chopping them up and running the machine, but he never did. The memories started to flood back about three weeks ago (no reason), before that they were but colorless unnamed threads which when looked at from the distance of age and time, were nothing but a cloth of personality traits and self defeating behaviors which neither covered him, or provided him with any warmth. In 1976 he thought it was an accident when he walked in on Father Mike changing but was surprised that he was intrigued by the fact that adult men did not look like he did. It was also the year that Elvis died, as did the old man next door. 1977 was nothing but a string of images of a white hairy belly, getting out of the way when it blew, and a strange sense of acceptance that he didn’t understand at the time, but half-heartedly admitted to later in life. And although those images always existed, during the last three weeks the blur came into focus, and it kept him awake most nights. In 1979 his father got drunk (again) when he learned that his son was the one that the other kids made fun of and beat up. He came into his room while he was asleep, and told him he was going to teach him to fight; that he had to use these skills to find the biggest kid in class and beat him up. The other kids would then leave him alone. The next day he had a bruise on his back that no one ever saw, but it felt familiar. He had forgotten all but one of those times, but today he flinches when anyone approaches him, and does not like to be touched. In 1980 he had an uncomfortable relationship with a boy who lived down the street. They would lock kittens in a box and make out. Last year his girlfriend bought him a cat, that he hardly takes care of, feeds dry food to, and jokes to his friends that he leaves the door open all the time so that it’ll run away. It never does. The cat’s name is “cookie.” His girlfriend named it (she doesn’t like it either). In 1985 he downed a small bottle of sleeping pills he stole from the store; one at a time until he passed out. No one knew. He writes about it from time to time, but it’s dispassionate, and void of any real detail. He often thinks it may never of happened. He worries now that he won’t aim it right, and he’ll live the rest of his life out in some hospital that no one will come visit (except for people he can’t stand to listen to now). He’s worried about the dazed and unattractive look that he’ll have on his face if he misses (being attractive is the only thing he thinks he’s got going for him). Every night it, the gun, sits next to the pack of cigarettes that everyone says will kill him, and he muses over the irony. Every night he sits in his house staring at the smoked haze created by the computer screen, and writes nothing. He thinks of Father Mike and his dad, and his friend, and the countless other memories that he tries to push out of his head, but never does, and all the time, in his peripheral vision there is that charcoal filtered ashtray and the charcoal colored loaded gun. And every thirty seconds or so he reaches over towards them, and so far, every time he’s lifted the cigarette and inhaled, and blows the smoke towards the window that’s never open.

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