This is a short passage from my work in progress, Nanowrimo novel. In the excerpt Eric is struggling to sleep, and finds himself suddenly fascinated with the world around him, both real…and imaginary…
The curtains flutter and clap against the window sill, making me aware of the trespassing evening wind. It brushes against my face, gently caressing my tired skin before slinking past some loose papers, sending them swirling into the air, and spinning away from each other in beautiful dis-harmony.
I sit unmoved, simply another object within the mess. A monotonous drone keeps me company, which lulls me into a sleep – before a nearby horn, or screech forces my drooping eyelids back open. I look down to the city below, and see the flurry of bodies heading in every direction; each with their own pointless agenda, each with their own hole to scurry into. Rats. I would pity them, feel sorry for their meager existence – but of course, I am one, and the same: enclosed in my own cavern away from the immediate horrors of the outside world.
Time passes, as it does…and I take pleasure in watching the last of the day’s life seep through the window, clinging to the walls with its gleaming talons: it goes down fighting, a forsaken commander going down with his ship. Shadows scatter from right to left – jostling with the wood-chip white for their turn. As they collide they form beautiful shades of colour on the television screen in front of me. The emblazoned flush succeeds in impressing, forcing me to avert my eyes in sheer awe…was it trying to tell me something?
Through curiosity I reopen my burning eyelids to see different shades forming vibrantly, welcoming me back. Red spots drip just to dissolve seconds later, colours splashed over the glass in dribbles of rainbow, aurora borealis right here in front of me, in my grotty flat. I shake myself free from their enchantment and I am left alone.
Bored out of my mind I find that my mind meanders into the unknown…into the conversations that I haven’t had yet, the possible encounters that the next day could bring, when I find myself suffering through another dreaded supermarket shift…what will I say when Sally asks if I fancy a coffee (just like she does every day)…probably another knee jerk no thanks that I regret as soon as I am saying it…or…maybe this time it will be different…maybe I’d…
“Yeah sure, coffee sounds perfect! Actually why coffee when we can just do dinner tonight?”
“I’m thinking eight o’ clock at Mundo Perdido? Don’t dare say no!”
“Then back to my place for a night cap right? Eric’s gotcha’ baby!”
Sally bites her bottom lip, and attempts to hide a smirk – my intense James Bond stare slowly driving her wild inside and out. I wink and she walks away giddy with anticipation at what will be undoubtedly the best night of her life.
Not my style. Back to reality, and the only movement comes from the smug hands of the clock, the only sound its incessant tick-tock which begins to irritate as it whittles through every second, every minute, and every hour. Through boredom I zap on the television. A vibrant flutter of noise illuminates the room. An American man with pristine teeth smiles. Then someone cries with joy and fans their tears with chubby hands. Then a fat guy falls over and everyone laughs. On the next channel there are adverts…buy this and you can be like this, the usual thing. Nothing on. I turn it off.
Some time must have elapsed as my now unfamiliar eyes are forced to guess their way through the black, I stand up, deciding to venture to bed. But my eyes are strained in the darkness, unable to penetrate entirely through the shadows, they guess at shapes. There seems to be figures all around, they’re shy but it makes for company. I stare further into the abyss. My eyelids lie heavily, fluttering between an open and closed state with the self-destructive desperation of a moth. As I look up and crease my eyes open, a kaleidoscope of colours dance in front of me, greeting me with their imaginary movements which flash and then soon disappear, a momentary beauty so I close my eyes and savour this unconscious but very real rainbow.
When it fades I continue on my path, patting the objects at my side blindly, feeling my way through the dark, fumbling from wall to wall.
At last I stagger into bed. My aching muscles sink into the sheets and sigh with relief. As exhausted as I am sleep evades and escapes me – instead I lie unsettled, wriggling and squirming but never happening upon anything that resembles comfort. The uneasiness now becomes unbearable as my sweaty limbs cling to everything around me, I flail and kick in objection but my entanglement only worsens, quick sand – breaths begin to rasp in defiance and my heart beats frenetically as I continue with my one man brawl. My mind swirls and whirls I choke as I feel tears well up my blood shot eyes, thoughts are now dizzy and unclear. Calm. I compose myself and prize free from my prison. My shoulders collapse at last into the moist surface under me. Exhale.
Time peels away as I stare at the lone clock in despair, its strong hands full of bravado turn so confidently through time, with mechanical precision they twist through the seconds and minutes as I lie dormant and useless. This has been my life these past two weeks – a gaping void filled with sighs and boring resentments that I allow to fester through nothing more than my own lust for self-pity. So much is unexplained. I am not whole, always with more questions and answers.
I struggle between different sleeping positions, fidgeting and writhing to no avail. The clock continues to sneer at me, arms fully outstretched, but the embrace of sleep alludes me. I lie beaten, staring at the plain canvass of the ceiling, imaging waking up the next morning.
The clock ticks as I count down the seconds, hoping that boredom will finally set me to rest. I am now aware of every sound in the room. That ticking of the clock, the murmur of the traffic outside, the smash of glass in next door’s flat and the subsequent scream – everything. I can barely stand it.
I try counting sheep, but they all develop personalities and stop jumping over the fence, instead they come over and have a chat and turn out to be quite entertaining and insightful about certain topics.
A single bead of sweat trickles down my back – probably the most interesting thing to happen this past hour. My back peels away from the bed sheet as I sit up. I scrape away at my wretched cheeks with dreary familiarity, it has been this way for twelve night. I would scream – if I wasn’t so sure that it would serve no useful purpose.
Instead I lie pathetically, waiting for my body to allow my mind to rest. I am unclear, jostling between the unease of my waking priorities and the turmoil of my imagination, often they get crossed at irregular intervals. I begin a tirade of blank though; a series of waking dreams and hypotheticals that bear no relation to real life. I always do this, it’s nothing new: a natural procrastination, an exercise in the never going to happen. I consider the fact that I might bump into Patrick tomorrow, the district manager of the store…who for some reason always insists on “popping in”…I have to act like I care about the profitability of the whole operation…as if I have a vested interest in the shit I BEEP-BEEP-BEEP through for ugly bastard, after ugly bastard every single fucking day. Why does he talk to me? An age thing? Talk to the fucking manager, not the fat useless, waste of space still stuck in this dead end job, wearing the same fucking shirt I was given ten years ago. Yeah, he doesn’t care…knowing him he’d probably want to discuss the new spread sheets corporate sent out, and the branch’s figures, or some other shit that I couldn’t care less about. What would he say? What would I say? How would it –
“Well hey there Patrick!”
No. You’re not a kids’ TV presenter…unless you do a funny voice…could probably get away with it if you put on a funny voice…
“Hey Patty boy, how’s it going my man?”
“Oh the monthly numbers? They’re looking great – did you talk to the manager? He said they’re the best he’s ever seen! Thinking of promoting me…I swear I’m due that shit, right?!”
“Yeah he said I’m going all the way – whatever that means right?! Perhaps it’ll be 30 minutes lunch, instead of 20!”
Patrick rolls around on the floor. I’m his favourite colleague, that’s why he always talks to me so much, he says I’m like Jim Carrey only better. He doesn’t like anyone else in the whole company. He says that if it wasn’t for me he wouldn’t even turn up at all, he would shoot himself in the face.
“Going all the way is not in my contract! Talk about small print!”
Patrick dies of laughter, and I step over his content corpse grinning with pride. I’ve probably made his day, I’m always doing that – someone has to I guess, not one of these other miserable bastards in this sweaty, stuffy place could do it. Dead end losers, that’s what they are. Scum…not me…I’m fucking Jim Carrey.
The imaginary bliss of this hypothetical success washes over me, and then I remember – I’m back in this fucking flat, and it’s now 4:07am.
A couple more hours till BEEP-BEEP-BEEP.
Let me know what you think! I am hoping to get to 40,000 words by the end of the weekend! Hope everyone else is getting on grand!