I am sitting at my desk right now, writing my pencil to a nub on the rough surface of this cardboard. I don't have any paper. Not a single sheet of paper. The only thing I have to write on is this wet cardboard box I found hidden away in the depths of my basement which is way too prone to flood for comfort.
I don't know what to write. I had an idea a few minutes ago, but it has faded away. I feel like I've hit the nadir of my life.
Nadir. What a strange word. I found it in a thesaurus when I looked up 'lowest point'. Can't remember what short story it was that I had been writing at the time.
I look around this cluttered room that I call my writing lab. The trash can is full to the brim with discarded pieces of paper with horrible things written on them. The wooden floor surrounded the trash bin is littered with crumpled paper. The rest of the clutter can be blamed by the countless dictionaries and novels I have purchased over the years.
My desk is an anthology of the few good stories I've managed to write. Some are horror, some are angst poems, and some are just plain out pornographic. No one's ever read these stories. I don't think anyone ever will.
I don't have a computer; too expensive. I make a sort of living off of welfare checks. The government made me clean the shit off of the toilet seats at City Hall the other day. I've done worse. Like trying to make a living working at a successful grocery store… that was a strange sort of hell I don't feel like repeating again.
The dying light bulb that illuminates my desk now at the darkest point of the night is bouncing off of a plastic wrapping and into my eyes. I squint my eyes and try to avoid catching sight of what that plastic wraps.
It's easy to sit here and write and write if I don't see that.
The plastic wraps a pack of cigarettes; Dorals to be exact.
It's easy to not look at them. I can't look at them. Keep your eyes down. Ignore the glare. It's nothing. This is
The lead (do they still use lead on pencils?) tip of my pencil snaps and I brush away the broken tip. I pull out the top drawer of the four drawers on the right side of my desk and grab the rusty pencil sharpener from it. The pencil sharpener is all that's in that drawer. The other three are barren.
My weak, wooden chair creaks and threatens to snap like a twig under my weight. I've got a beer belly on me. I'm not an alcoholic though. I know that because I haven't had a drink in the last five months and don't intend to soon. The cigarettes are my problem.
It's easy to ignore them. It's
(almost unbearably difficult)
easy to just keep them out of my mind.
horrible. I abhor their taste. The smoke chokes me.
I listen to the creak as I turn the chipped handle on the pencil sharpener around and around and around. I hear the teeth inside gnawing away at the wood of my pencil. My God that could be drastically misinterpreted by a pervert.
I finish sharpening my pencil and continue writing. My hand is moving of its own accord; I'm not guiding it. I don't know what it's writing. I'm not bothered by that prospect.
Janet stopped by earlier today. She talked about how my inability to cope with my problems is causing problems for her. She thinks I mope too much. She thinks I have to do things for myself, that I have to help myself. She thinks that I have to take some time and sort out my life. She says we need some time apart. I think she's a bitch.
I probably shouldn't have told her that. She's gone now. I think I should apologize to her. I'm thinking about what I should have said. How things could've gone differently.
It's easy to sit here; to just sit here. I just need to keep my arms focused on the wet cardboard in front of my. I'm writing. I don't know what I'm writing. I don't care.
I can't stop thinking about how I fucked up with Janet. My pencil is already dulled.
She asked me if I intended to masturbate the rest of my life. I laughed. That was another bad move on my part; she was offended.
"Goodbye," was all that she had said before driving off in her Ford truck after that. I didn't say goodbye. Probably should've. Truthfully could've.
I wish I wasn't so stupid, so retarded. I think I may hate myself.
Janet's been with me for years. Seventeen I think to be exact. I'm thirty-five now. Janet is thirty. Back then she was thirteen and I had no idea I'd be screwing her ten years later. No idea at all. But I was.
She's always been smarter than I have. I wonder if I've grown up at all.
The plastic wrapping reflects more light into my eyes. I move the lamp slightly. Is the plastic wrapping called cellophane? God I'm so fucking tired. I rub my eyes. I imagine they're bloodshot. My eyes are brown, or so they were the last time I checked a mirror. That had to have been a while ago.
The days have all molded into one over the last few months. I'm so tired.
I don't need a cigarette.
My hair is falling out. I have a growing bald spot on the back of my head. The light glints off of my scalp. Black hair litters my yellow-stained pillow. But, in spite of all of this, I don't need a cigarette.
Kyle came to see me last week. He rolled up the sleeve on his checkered shirt that happened to be three sizes too big. He pinpointed the self-inflicted cuts all up and down his arm. Then he showed me the maroon stains on the inner side of his sleeve. All he had done was cut himself and rolled his sleeve up each and every time. He had never made sure the blood would clot. I wonder if he cared if it did or not. Probably not.
I told him that he has stuff to live for. He said that pain was his enemy, and that sometimes your enemy is your only friend. He just loves that Zen shit. I find it as stupid as I am.
I told him that he should stop hurting himself. He said that pain was his friend. I told him not to kill himself. He said that he didn't intend to. I don't believe him.
I worry about him.
I continue to write not knowing what it is that I'm writing. I listen to the scratching of the pencil against the cardboard for a long time. I don't know how long.
Then I need to sharpen my pencil again. I grab the pencil sharpener and my eyes trail over to the cellophane wrapping the cigarette pack. I don't need them.
I shut my eyes. I feel tears threatening. I don't need cigarettes.
I really, really don't.
(you lying fucking scumbag)
Bob is in prison. He was a fucking dumb ass and got himself caught snorting cocaine with a crack pipe in his pocket and selling shit to a minor. I've never done anything like cocaine or crack. I've done marijuana, but that isn't anywhere near as bad as cocaine or crack. There's this huge, stupid, and completely misled debate against marijuana. People have been calling it the worst drug in America. What the fuck are they on?
I'd say crystal meth is the worst. But that's just me.
Anyway, I went to go visit Bob a couple days ago. He was telling me that he needed a fix really bad. He was shaking. God he was so pathetic I could barely stand it. I left after five minutes. I couldn't talk to him.
In some ways, I suppose, it is a relief that Bob was put away. He was always pressuring me to smoke some crack with him, but my only excuse was that I was smoking a cigarette already. And I was always around him too, thus I was almost always seen with a cigarette in hand. I don't know how much money I blew away on that nicotine.
I know my addiction isn't as bad as Bob's. It would be hard to top that. I just know that it is very bad. I can't keep my hands away from the pack much longer. I can feel it in my bones that I'll have a lung full of nicotine by the end of the night.
No I won't.
(you can't stop trying to fool yourself can you?)
leave the cigarette pack there under the light.
What's wrong with me?
I wish Janet was still here; she'd help me. She always helped me out in the past.
She's the one person that doesn't cause me any problems. Bob unintentionally forces me to smoke much more than I need to. Kyle infects my mind with worry for him. And Henry… well Henry's just insane really.
Back in high school I went over to his house and he said that he needed to show me something. I followed him into the kitchen where his kitten was eating its food.
Henry, being the psychopath that he is, took the kitten by its back leg, and threw it into the microwave.
I didn't even comprehend what was going on until the thing blew up in the microwave. Henry had started cackling, and then he had cleaned it up and made me tell his parents I didn't know what had happened to the kitten.
Henry had pretended to be heart broken, which had scored him a new cat. That cat was missing by the end of the month… I don't even want to know what he did with it. His parents didn't get him a new cat after that. Maybe they suspected what had happened to them.
A few years later Henry was down by my house kicking a dead mouse around and giggling. He told me he had a collection of dead animals back at his house under the stairs. I don't know why I stayed friends with him even after that. Perhaps I was just scared of him. Maybe I still am.
The same year Henry wailed a perfect stranger across the face. That single punch had nearly killed the man, whose name was Jerry Dingo.
Just last year Henry showed me his collection.
Rabbits, dogs, cats, etcetera were all in the collection. I couldn't believe he had actually been telling me the truth. I haven't talked to him much since then.
Henry's the worst person in my life. Janet's the best. They kind of balance the equation that is my life. Kyle presents a variable, though.
I think I need to help him. I want to help him. I really do.
I look at the cigarettes again. Don't need them.
I can beat this.
think I can.
Thing's will get better. I need to get into shape. I need to get Janet back. I need to get Henry to the nearest mental health facility, and I need to convince Kyle that he needs help. I can do all of this.
I just need to quit smoking first. First and foremost.
God I'm tired.
I feel tears streaming down my face. My lungs are stained black from so many years of smoking. I need to quit.
I'm so pathetic.
(remember the taste?)
I keep writing. My mind is fading in and out of reality.
I want to see this new movie. Can't remember what it's called. Can't remember what it's about. I just want to see it. Don't know how I'll get the money to see it considering I just spent most of what remained of my money on this goddamned pack that's just taunting me now. I can beat it though.
(no you can't)
I stop writing. My hands have finished their work. I look down and read what I have just written.
'I took a walk in the park last night. Took a walk and saw the happy people walking past me talking to each other and smiling and laughing and being so happy! I wish I was one of them. I took a walk in the park last night… and you wouldn't believe how many night walkers there are.
'I took a walk in the park last night. Took a walk, and realized just how pathetic I really am. Took a walk, and wished I was happy. Took a walk, and… and… and I have some pondering to do. Took a walk, and felt enlightened.
'I took a walk in the park last night. Took a walk, and now I want to be happy with those happy, happy, oh so happy walkers. Took a walk, and suddenly felt like I could do anything.
'I took a walk in the park last night.'
I smile. I then place the cardboard on the floor so that it leans against the desk leg, and I look at the cigarette pack.
I can't stop my hand from reaching out and grabbing the pack. I can't stop my hand from taking a cigarette out. But I do stop it before I light the death stick.
I replace the cigarette in the pack as slowly as I can.
I open the bottom drawer of the desk.
I drop the cigarette pack inside.
And I slam the drawer shut.
(GODDAMN YOU SMOKE YOU PIECE OF SHIT BASTARD!)
Then I look at the light. I stare at it for a long time and then look away, ignoring the after-image. I click the light off and stand up. I walk out of the room intending to go to bed. First I have to find Janet though, and rectify what a dick I had been earlier.
I can make myself a better person. I really can. But I know that if I open that drawer and take out that pack and light the cigarette… well… God help me then.
Hey, MorbidMan here. How did you like this? I started thinking about the problems in my life and how I can sort them out in solve them. That's when I came up with this story here.
The cigarettes actually symbolize all of his problems in life, and when he places them in the drawer it's like he's shutting away the problems in his life for a better life.
That lovable scamp (sarcasm is a great tool) Henry was actually inspired by this friend I have. Of course, my friend isn't anywhere near as bad as Henry (he doesn't have bodies hidden away, doesn't have a fascination with death; he thinks death is hilarious, although he did stick his cat in the microwave once he claims, except with a less catastrophic outcome considering the cat was saved). I hope you enjoyed this story.
"Cigarettes killed my father… and raped my mother." - some senator "Family Guy"