Mr. Nice Guy

On his way into the grocery store, Kirk noticed a frail and elderly woman pushing her cart, and with a bow, he paused a moment to activate the automatic door for her. The poor woman had gone a bit senile, and eyes forward, face locked in permanent scowl, she rolled right past him. No thanks, no nod, but Kirk didn’t mind much.

He had company coming for dinner. A date, he supposed one might call it, their third, though they hadn’t yet used the vocabulary. Their first outing had been in the company of friends, their second in a museum. Tonight was the first time they would have real privacy, and he wanted the evening to be special.

  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Lamb Shank
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Red Wine
  • Scented Candles (Cinnamon? Guarana?)
  • Condoms
  • Vasaline
  • Playing Cards
  • Cucumber

He was about to check out when the old woman queued behind him. Though she hadn’t been appreciative before, he thought she might as well have another chance, and he waved her to the front of the line. As though he wasn’t even there, she shuffled forward and lifted her apples onto the conveyor one at a time. Kirk waited for any acknowledgment as she slowly filled out her check and made a note in the ledger. As she stomped away, he shook his head.

“Some people are just ungrateful,” the cashier said.

“Let’s just hope my date tonight is better.” The cashier did not laugh, though this was clearly a joke. He felt a little slighted.

#commerce, #entitlement, #idiot, #lonely, #microfiction, #misogyny, #resentment, #white-people

Speaker

He had given enough speeches to know when he was losing the crowd. Now, for instance. While he spoke of dreams and realities, students were flirting with each other, as they do. Some teacher shushed, though hers was the voice that carried.

“Now I hear you. I know what you’re thinking. Who are you, up there, telling me how I’m supposed to live? What makes you such an expert on life?” As Roger voiced their doubts, he felt their attention return. Against some murmuring, he saw more eyes in his direction. He saw nodding.

“Why should I listen to someone, you’re saying, who makes a living spouting platitudes at bored children? Why, I hear you think, should I listen to the only bozo this miserable institution could afford? What possibly could he have to tell me that I don’t already know that I would bother to accept? I’m going to college! I’m smart. Well, you’re not as smart as me.” Real talk always won them back.

“Without any other qualifications, I have managed to maintain a career as an inspirational speaker for nearly ten years now. And if that’s not an inspiration, I don’t know what is.”

#blowhard, #bluster, #children, #depression, #jaded, #lonely, #pretention, #self-fulfilling-prophecy

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