This is the captivating hook that propels you forward to the next sentence. This builds the tension while also revealing your character. This is what words on a blank page in a dark candle-lit room look like when you haven’t paid the electric bill because you blew the money on dope and beer again. This is inhaling as much smoke as you can and holding it in while you see how much you can drink before having to exhale, and doing it again, feeling the effects pull you toward opposite ends of a spectrum so that you feel almost sober except the usual pressures and worries are all numb and distant.
This is watching yourself answer the door when the delivery driver appears and hands you one dozen boneless spicy barbecue wings and you tip him because service industry guys have to stick together and he thanks you but the door is already closing. This is digging into those twelve meat nuggets smothered in acidic sauce while lining up your instant queue because those shows don’t watch themselves and besides you’re already behind on like three different ones and what will you talk about then? This is hoping your battery lasts.
This is the boredom creeping in that shows itself with your idle hand creeping under your sweatpants. This is another email validation for a dating website where you have created and deleted several accounts and flip through hundreds of pictures of women you are too scared to instant message, and instead merely ‘like’ them and hope they see you and instantly know by your picture how smart and charming and funny you really are. This is the real face of Sgt. Pepper reflected in the pale glare of the monitor.
This is the last beer in the fridge and it is harder to open than you remembered the previous ones were but that’s okay because you get it eventually. This is back to the Netflix instant queue and the pressures of multi-tasking. This is splitting your attention between Breaking Bad, while noticing Heisenberg was the dad from Malcolm in the Middle, and holding the beer in one hand and the phone in the other, and the hand with the phone opens Contacts and flips through and the eyes scan for past girlfriends or one-night stands and evaluates whether or not a bridge has been burnt there yet.
This is the inevitable masturbating when the loneliness hits you and your attempts for companionship have failed and your laptop battery has died. This is holding a body pillow and wanting to sob into it but refusing to because of some disillusioned view of masculinity so that you just sit there with your eyes open and stare at the blank wall and wait for the sleep to come and take you. This is the wavering fogginess as you pack another bowl because you can’t sleep and smoke it down in three quick deep hits. This is the paralyzing paranoia that roots you in place until your mind is too tired to stay awake and simply drifts off and you wake up ten hours later with a hangover hiding behind a dense gray cloud and you don’t even remember sleeping.
This is a life without dreams.
Paul Taylor lives somewhere in the Midwest where he spends his days writing, napping, and drinking too much coffee. He writes short stories now, but is seriously considering finishing that novel.