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Two

Home and ďsafeĒ.

I made it back to my one bedroom bachelor shortly after 7pm, which is slightly later than Iíd like but these days keeping a predictable routine is unwise. I think anyway, I donít really know a damned thing anymore. This is my third apartment since all of this started back in November, and Iím already unsure how long Iíll be able to keep it up. If I hadnít promised her Iíd do this, Iíd have walked away a long time ago although Iím trying to accept the fact that walking away isnít even possible anyway. So here I am in a situation where the outcome is at best completely unclear, and at worst is something I absolutely refuse to contemplate. I miss her, I wonder if she even remembers me?

The apartment is small and like everything else in this damned city, itís gray. The walls are damp with moisture and mildew and the floor is stained by something organic the origin of which I can only guess at, but choose not to. There is one window with a cliched view of a brick wall across the alley and despite the brick, itís gray too. ďTwo roomsĒ, the landlord said when he showed the place to me, ďone to shit in and one for everything else. $350 a month, by the month. Want it or not?Ē. How could I turn down such a sweet offer?

So the depressingly stark look of the place wonít be lonely it also comes with a range of accompanying smells, and none of them pleasant. They surround me as I half-heartedly rummage through the cupboards looking for something to eat like a starving rat thatís indifferent to itís imminent demise. Stale bread, some cornstarch and half a roll of tinfoil. Not exactly appetizing so I just go to bed and take advantage of the one thing this apartment does offer, cable TV. The landlord said the price of the service is added into the rent, but considering the fact that he also said the entire building is wired up ďthe old fashioned way from the porn store across the alleyĒ, Iím not sure how he justifies charging a fee. Typical really, but I donít care so much because this place is cheap and anonymous, plus I need the TV to try and sort some things out. Iím removed enough as it is.

The eighties era Radio Shack television slowly fries itself awake as I switch to the news and hear the same things as usual. War, murder, rape, robbery, car accidents, missing children, financial turmoil, sports and weather. As if adding on the last two will somehow alleviate the crushing immorality of all the rest. Two more women were found raped and murdered on the outskirts of the city today, there were a string of robberies overnight two of which ended in shooting deaths and there was a suicide bombing in another country that killed seventy-nine people including thirty childrenÖ oh but on the plus side the Bears won a home game, and its going to be on the mild side this weekend. The news shows the depths of human depravity and misery, while implying itís not so bad because itís all happening to other people and not you. It provides the escape of allowing people to Ďtsk tskí at everyone else while feeling better about themselves for being above it all. They arenít of course, not really. People are what Iíve come to call willingly ignorant, eating up everything thatís fed to them without ever once considering the source of the meal.

The comparison may sound preachy, but society really is little more than a flock of sheep. Each individual keeps their heads down in the flock and happily chews on whatever dirty grass happens to be underneath them at the moment. They push and shove, eat, sleep, fuck and fight every day without ever once acknowledging the truth of whatís going on around them. All it takes is one to raise itís head and look around, the truth is right there but none of them see it, or even want to see it. Not to sound high and mighty mind you, I was a sheep like everyone else my entire life and damned happy about it. I simply didnít want to know any more about the ďbig pictureĒ than what sterile information the evening news provided me. Yes, the world could be a terrible place full of hardship and wrongs, and Ďtsk tskí thatís terrible but Seinfeld was coming on so thatís ok. I was a willingly ignorant sheep, and on many levels I miss it. Now I find myself outside the flock in perception first and understanding thereafter, forced to carry on with the uncertain knowledge of what makes up the ďreal worldĒ, with the flock a nebulous herd somewhere in the distance.

Oh, and the shepherds want to fucking torture me to death.

So far Iíve found seven other people who find themselves in the same place I do. Three Iíve met, three Iíve only heard of and oneÖ well, thatís Laura. From what Iíve been able to gather there were others in the city at some point, some who were from here and others who traveled here for whatever reason. All of them awoke one day with the same bitter realization that destroyed their lives and prevented them from taking part in this ignorant reality everyone else wanders around in. Once you know, you know and there really is no going home again. I miss home.

The news is still on, showing views of global misery and upset interrupted occasionally by the demoralizing consumerism of advertising. I find watching the news fascinatingly scary these days, although in a different way than I did before and that very difference helps me put all of this into focus. Besides that, I can see them here too. Just as I can spot them on the street where others canít, I can see them on TV as wellÖ but here they canít look back at me as I stare transfixed. They canít get me. Iím safe looking at them through this little electric window, and they still terrify me. I have little choice regardless, I need more information if Iím to be ready for the next meeting and besides, watching them like this gives me strength.

God knows I need that. Iím going out again tomorrow.


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The following comments are for "10:18 - Chapter Two"
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