Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A New Short Story I've Just Written...

It was a Monday

by Kenya S. Scott

It was a Monday. Fitting. These days every day felt like a Monday. Shuffling through the same bleak, overcast day over and over. Cloudy with a chance of blah. Gruelish in that forever kind of way. From now until he died of something boring and ordinary like starvation or bed sores. At this point it didn't matter either way.

One more Monday under his belt and then a dull bus ride until he’s home. Then it’s shoveling down lukewarm whatever with a fork while giving a glassy-eyed disregard to whatever the television called “reality.” Then masturbating halfheartedly to internet porn until he fell asleep. Then awake for another round. Wash and repeat.

He remembers when he had a girlfriend. Her name was Amanda something and he loved her. Sort of.

Amanda; nothing exotic about the name but it did imply a certain youthful beauty. He'd yet to meet an unattractive 'Amanda' and she did little to hurt the average. She was curvy, clever and pretty. They were mismatched in that way that only lummoxes and jerks ever seemed to benefit from. And aside from that, or maybe because of it, she was always spontaneous, never pretentious and genuinely excited about all of life’s odysseys that lay in front of her. She often spoke of vacation trips to Mumbai, protecting women’s rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo or spending her golden years drinking port in some small café in Normandy. She was worldly in a way that never felt exclusive.

She'd buy him exotic gifts from all the places she'd wanted to take him someday. A moss tile jute rug from Istanbul for Christmas or a terracotta vase only made in Beijing to celebrate their anniversary. She'd always go the extra mile to get him something different and enticing.

In bed she was voracious. Experienced way beyond her 22 years and all too eager to please. As lascivious as a room of full of pubescent teens who've just seen their first nudie mag and always up to try out any half-baked fantasy he could come up with. In their time together, they'd done it wearing blindfolds, wearing handcuffs, in the bum, outside on park benches and even with another girl on one very special Valentine's Day.

She had the kind of adventurous spirit that could polarize any dinner party. Half of the room fell in love with her vernal eagerness; remembering their own dreams of traveling the globe or conquering the world. The other half hated the naïve little bitch for what she represented to them; opportunities lost, growing older, giving up hope in exchange for security. He never paid much mind to the latter half.

When you’re six years her senior, out of shape and settled into a life of one quietly, soul crushing indignity after another, someone like Amanda comes across like a gift from the gods. Think: winning lottery ticket or a free cruise to a place where the sun’s always out and the brown people smile a lot and serve the kind of drinks that have cheeky names and come prepared for rain. She was that rare. That uncommon and extraordinary. He had no choice but to fall in love.

But like most good things, even love comes with an expiration date. And nothing makes love go sour faster than languor and comfort. It's arachnid in how it spreads, in every direction at once like so much venom. Clawing away at long-term happiness revealing the apathy underneath with poisonous questions like: "why try so hard to be romantic, we've already got her?" He was bitten by the indifference bug; to life, sex, career or all of the above. And slowly it was becoming all of the above.

He remembers the day she left. It was a Monday. Fitting. Sunny and warm with just the right amount of breeze to keep the sweat off. The kind of day that’s perfect if you’re leaving your increasingly flat and indifferent prick of a boyfriend and starting a new life. Of course, if you were the guy who just got dumped then it probably would have felt more like the weather itself just played one those infectious, Japanese arcade games where the title has ‘dance’ in it twice, on your balls then kicked your teeth in to drive the point home. Or it should have. He found that he barely cared. He didn't even turn his head from the TV when he said "bye."

That was the day he gave up trying. Impassiveness dropped anchor and the notion of concern for anything was swiftly losing ground. She represented the last little dollop of drive and ambition he had. The woman he'd loved for the last half-decade was leaving him, and by that point, he couldn't muster up anything close to regard.

It started on his birthday earlier that year. He turned 32 in his favorite Mexican restaurant. Just him and her and a few of his friends from the office. It was a Monday. Fitting. He had his favorite dish, the chicken mole burrito. A mariachi band sang "Feliz Cumpleanos" to him while he blew out the candles on his tres leches milk cake.

Of course, she'd gotten him the best gift of all. Yet another doodad from some far-off place she had hopes of dragging him to. This one was a bawaajige nagwaagan for the First Nation. A willow hoop decorated with ornaments and beads with an intricately patterned net woven across it. He remembers thinking it kind of looked like God's eye as he half-paid attention to her explain what it was. Something about prosperity yadda yadda ensnaring aspirations blah blah blah keeping success etc. He was too entranced with his new present to listen fully.

That night, after a bout of marathon birthday sex, he slept with a head full of webs and the distinct click-clacking of eight separate legs moving in unison across his dreams.

The next morning he decided not to shave. Who cares, right? No one would notice. Three days later he stopped using soap when he washed. Who's got the time in the morning? A week later he stopped showering altogether. No big deal. Before long he only had clean clothes if she washed them for him. He would only have clean bowls and spoons if Amanda did his dishes.

They stopped having sex soon after. He honestly didn't care to. He was lethargic, listless and limp. And his recent lack in basic hygiene didn't make matters any better.

And it wasn't just the big obvious changes either. He hadn't bothered to follow-up with his boss about his annual raise (The one that was already three months overdue.) He no longer argued with his landlord to come fix the radiator (it worked in the summer but refused to come to life when it was cold out.) He stopped planning the vacation to Bali that he was going to surprise her with. He didn't even attempt faking being sociable when coworkers invited him out for drinks. One by one his concerns and cares came away in flakes like so much dead skin.

Not long after Amanda left, he started going to work late. Then he started leaving early. Eventually, he stopped showing up at all. He just couldn't be bothered. He began eating whatever canned food he had at home and when that ran out he stopped eating altogether. Two days later he gave up the notion of even getting out of bed at all.

He died, of course. A blank faced corpse. Ennui as the murder weapon. Death by complacency. Bored stiff.

And somewhere in his beige apartment, to the right of the authentic Bavarian coo-coo clock he got two years ago, hung the bawaajige nagwaagan. The God's Eye. The Dreamcatcher. Looking replete and satisfied. Waiting patient like a spider on its web for the landlord or the police. It didn't matter. Its next victim was just a few days away at best.

This was a Monday. Fitting.

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