Considerate

Because he was little more than a waste of resources, the only socially responsible action for Peter to take was ending his own life. He’d thought about it in the soundest of minds. Even at the height of his potential, if he produced whatever goods or services he was capable of producing, he would continue to remain a net drain on the economy and the environment for the foreseeable future.

He told this to a friend and was told to seek counseling. He tried to explain, he wasn’t depressed. He was only stating facts.

“I can’t believe you’d be so selfish that you’d even think about killing yourself. What about the people who care about you?”

Peter nodded, and waited.

After they had drifted apart, Peter crossed his friend’s name off a list.

He came out to his parents, and thankfully, they disowned him. He crossed them off, too.

The last of his connections was his landlady, who made gentle smalltalk whenever she saw him. When he stopped paying rent, she stopped talking, and changed the locks. Peter had left his list inside. It would likely be incinerated.

Severed at last from responsibility, Peter was ready, though unsure of the proper method. Subjecting an innocent bystander to the trauma of finding his lifeless body would be too cruel, and if his obituary was published, some empathetic auld acquaintance might feel some slight despair. Dying would not be enough. He could not be found or recognized. He had to destroy himself.

The pain was terrific, but he felt so much safer knowing that his teeth no longer matched the dental records, and that the acid had left his fingers nothing but bones. Anchor on his ankle, he was ready to disappear.

The fish who saw him looked alarmed. He was sorry.

#dead, #denial, #lonely, #microfiction, #missed-connections, #practical, #social-anxiety, #suicide

Robustness (part 8)

After a certain amount of time, possibly ten minutes, possibly a half hour, Ezekiel realized that the train hadn’t made any stops. No one around him seemed to notice or care, but he hadn’t seen any landmarks go by, and became worried. Nothing denoted that they were even moving forward except the side-to-side wobble that threw him off-balance and into various laps.

He knew the thought was crazy. Any conspiracy is crazy, but maybe the train wasn’t moving. He watched the window more carefully. Lights flashed by in rhythm, steadily enough that he heard music in his head. A piece of graffiti for The Young Guns flashed by every few measures. They were either a gang or a band, maybe both. Most bands were gangs. Violence is the closest harmony.

“Would you sit down and stop dancing for one minute?” Leslie growled from her seat. Ezekiel looked down at his shoes, now firmly planted on the Metro carpet.

“Okay,” he said, and he approached her. Now that his friend was awake, he told himself to stop worrying about the eternity of their journey. He could worry about that later. He wanted to talk to her, and began to speak.

“So, does this train usually make stops?”

“No, you have to use the emergency stop there,” she replied, and pointed. She seemed like she was joking, and Ezekiel chuckled a little. “No, you do. You’ve really been gone a long time, haven’t you? The train doesn’t stop unless you break the glass and pull the cord that says ‘Do not touch.’ Don’t you know anything?”

She rolled over and went back to sleep. Ezekiel noticed himself starting to dance again, and needed a hammer.

#civil-disobedience, #eternity, #fiction-in-parts, #social-anxiety, #stuck, #train, #urban

Role Model

When they were children, Jill’s little sister copied every aspect of Jill. She chose her favorite foods by her sister’s inclinations. She followed every hobby — piano, karate, theater, video games, origami, track, underage drinking — and came out as lesbian, right at the same time.

“I actually am,” Jill said sternly, and her sister insisted, “I am too. You’re not the only one in the world, you know.”

Jill decided later she was bi, and when she married a man and went to live in Colorado, she expected her sister to follow along behind her somehow. When they fell out of contact, Jill took the opportunity to take up knitting and existentialism, pleased that for once her interests were her own and would remain hers. Her husband wasn’t interested in anything, and that’s why she loved him.

Her daughter was a similar blank slate. Occasionally Jill noticed the baby mimicking one of her gestures or trying to imitate her speech, but she did her best to gently discourage this behavior. She left the television on, just so the baby would have some other input. The baby had her eyes, and that was enough.

“I want to learn the piano,” her daughter said, age five. Jill frowned. “I already know how to play the piano. We don’t need two pianists in the family.”

When the girl came out as lesbian, Jill was supportive, if skeptical. “You should talk to your aunt,” she said, after a obligatory hug.

Her daughter made the call, and when she was finished, hugged her mother again. Jill wasn’t sure what was going on, but the girl, now a teenager, wouldn’t let go, and she kept saying, “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.”

Jill didn’t know where that self-loathing had come from. It certainly wasn’t from her.

#aging, #identity, #imitation, #microfiction, #self-fulfilling-prophecy, #self-loathing, #siblings, #sisters, #twins

Boring

The show Richard was watching was a soap opera about fighter pilot doctors who save lives, but have trouble facing their own tragic pasts. The main character, a wise-cracking yet sensitive up-and-comer, had trouble forming meaningful relationships, and compensated by speeding into wartorn villages to rescue hostages.

The show was well-produced, and Richard watched it on evenings he had the energy. Something about it was comforting, though his own life seemed dreary in comparison. He tried not to think about that. He thought it was best to use these shows as aspirations.

“Come visit me,” his girlfriend texted. She was in the hospital, having taken a bullet for the Earl of Sussex. The nobleman had been so grateful that he had offered to marry her, but she had graciously refused. Richard was sure she resented him, so he hadn’t been visiting as often as he should, but he was proud of her faithfulness.

She should probably marry the Earl of Sussex. He was better looking and better connected than Richard, more interesting and more sensitive, too.

He sits next to her bed. After a quick conversation about what’s new (nothing), they watch Dr. Pilot on the mounted TV. In this episode, the main character saves the village chief, who wants him to marry his pick of the village. The whole village even, if he chooses.

Richard can’t really pay attention, though their lives are more interesting than his own. A nurse informs him that all the doctors are busy and they need him to perform an emergency surgery, but the premise is too far-fetched for him to care about. With a drawn out sigh, he lets the nurse lead him to a growth he can remove, just like every other day.

#absurd, #art-imitating-life, #bored, #ennui, #life-imitating-art, #microfiction, #sorry