Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Inside

What do you want out of life?

It's a question I keep asking myself. Over and over again it echoes in this vast wasteland I call my imagination. Every morning I wake up to the alarm on my phone and realize that I have to get up and go to a job that I hate. I shudder. I run my hands through my hair while I continuously lie on my back ignoring every passing minute that should be spent getting dressed; all the while I'm asking that question. What do you want out of life?

Money? Women? Parties?

Enticing these things may be they mean absolutely nothing to me. They'd be nice to have...perks of the job, so-to-speak, but that job sure as shit isn't Aaron's or Auto Value or Packaging Corporation of America; fuck that shit.

I'm an interesting case. I'm a nighthawk. I love being up all night. Writing, playing video games, watching stand-up specials on Netflix; whatever I can do to keep myself busy enough to stay up through the night...and yet...I love the sunrise. Those early morning hours, the churping birds, the school buses, the way the sun shines on the ground in a way so much different than it does in the late afternoon... But I can't stay up all night and keep my energy levels up high enough to enjoy how beautiful the morning is up until 11:59.

What do you want out of life?

I want those things. All of them. How can I get there? My creative writing?

I have yet to truly finish anything. At all. A few short stories, yes. But how about the various books I've started? Sitting on the proverbial shelf deep in the virus- and spyware-ridden harddrive of this piece of shit Dell laptop.

I can't tell you how many times I've written stories, scripts, poems and songs that I thought were good only to realize they're shit within twenty-four hours. Not because I don't have the talent, but because I don't have the focus. My mind isn't on what I'm doing and, worse yet, in the case of this webisode series that I was a part of up until those who I worked with on it decided to stop communicating with me, I'll speed write an episode and consider it good. Not because I really think so, but because I truly feel that it's good enough for me. Unacceptable.

I finally feel like I have focus. This book, on the surface, is about love. It's about a man in love with his friend's girlfriend, but with a few added twists and turns. Nothing radical; just enough to make the story that much more original. However, beneath that superficial surface lies the true story. It's about longing for something you feel is completely out of reach. For me, this book is about my future (or lack thereof).

I'm like any other young(ish) American. I want the money, I want the women, I want the parties. Hell, throw in a few drugs here and there. But what I really want is that magic word, that enabler, that true American feelings. What I really want is freedom.

But I'm afraid. For all the passion I feel for this story, for all the anger I have with myself for never following through on anything I have started there stands before me one thing. One thing that could end my hopes and longing for freedom forever. Indifference.

I'm indifferent to this world for a variety of reasons. Even more troubling is I can't even begin to explain those reasons. All I know is that they are there impeding my march towards glory. Towards freedom. Towards happiness.

Yet, ironically, the only thing that can cure me of this indifference is the very freedom it blocks me from. I hate where I am because of where I want to be. I can't be where I want to be because of where I am. I am trapped.

I am trapped in a job I can't stand with people I only barely get along with. I am trapped in a city that sits in just the perfect spot to tease me with beautiful weather two months out of the year only to dump that wretched white powder that I hate right on to my head throughout the rest of it. I am trapped in a world where everybody who knows me thinks little of me for who I was or who I pretended to be way back when. And I hate them for it. I want out of this cage, I want my fucking freedom.

I will have it. I will accomplish something. I will be who I know I can be. Not a believer? Watch me.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This Is The End

Chills run up and down my spine as I sit against the cold, concrete wall and floor. The past hour’s worth of events that have transpired keep flashing before my eyes over and over again. An eternity of watching this replay passes before I become aware of the sweat pouring down my face. My hair is soaked with it and my mouth is dripping a combination of saliva and blood. I blink a few times while staring at the small, red pool developing in between two wrinkles of my white t-shirt. Damn, that’s gonna’ stain, I think to myself.
I reach for my leather jacket which lies on the floor to my left, but a sharp pain in my stomach causes me to grasp the area just to left of my navel. I slowly shake off the grimace and lift my hand; blood. I should have taken the blood coming from my mouth as a hint that I was hit. Whatever, I think as I grab for my jacket, ignoring the pain this time. I reach inside the left inner-pocket and grab my pack of Marlboro Reds, pulling a single cigarette out with my mouth. The slight headache that the taste and smell of the tobacco gives me as I put the cigarette in my mouth is somewhat relieving. You’d think that after two years of smoking I’d be used to it, but alas.
I search for my lighter in all the pockets of my jacket before I realize that it’s in my jeans. I painfully move my body as to fit a hand into my jeans pocket and pull out my white BiC. One flick of my thumb ignites my cigarette; finally burning and pouring death into my lungs.
“Still alive?” a deep, raspy voice calls from further down the dark hallway.
“Kind of,” I barely manage to whisper, “You?”
“I’ve been better.”
I attempt to let out a chuckle; however it hurts far too much. I grimace at the pressure and grab my stomach again, letting out a subtle, painful sigh.
“Grabbing the wound won’t help any.” The voice seems closer than before.
“It’s psychological, Danny. Gives the illusion that it feels better.”
“Strange technique.”
“I’m a strange guy, bro,” I look toward the darkness, “You should know that after all these years.”
“Yeah,” Danny struggles to say. It’s the last word I hear before he lets out a coarse moan and I hear him slam against the floor. He’s dead now.
With no time to mourn the loss of my brother I take a drag of my cigarette, inhale and hold it for a moment; feeling the cancer being absorbed through my lungs and into my bloodstream. My head learns forward despite my trying to stop it. Eventually I’m able to muster up enough strength to force it back, hitting the wall a little too hard. Five minutes creep by as slow as they possibly can and I start to feel butterflies in my stomach. They flutter uncontrollably, tickling me to the point that I start gently laughing despite having to clutch my stomach harder with each grunting breath.
With what time I do have left I decide to reflect upon my past. My mother told me not twenty-four hours ago that I needed to find a new line of work. Drug trafficking isn’t exactly an executive job and I should have known that; I should have known better. She always beat that into my head. Boy, would she beat me if I ever made it through this and told her that her oldest son was dead; dead, because of me, no less.
I take another difficult breath in, puffing on my Marb, and look as far as I can in front of me where I find my nine-millimeter. If I’m lucky, I’ll find a bullet left in it. I push myself off the wall with my head, falling to the floor; my dampened shirt smacks against the hard floor, echoing down t he hallway. With hardly any arm strength I crawl the seemingly never-ending four feet to my pistol. With whatever power I can muster up I take the gun and put it to my head. I always said that if I was going to die at someone’s hands those hands would belong to my mother, my brother or myself. Since my mother is forty miles away and my brother is lying, dead, down the hall there is only one person left. Besides, I’ll be damned if the bullet that kills me comes from a Puerto Rican drug kingpin who tried setting up out deal.
I point the gun to my head, close my eyes and take in everything that had just transpired. I can feel the blood gushing from the hole in my stomach, the pain growing every minute. I start laughing again as the butterflies flutter some more; however, that soon t urns to grief as I suddenly realize that this is it, this is the end. With that one final thought I pull the trigger.