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Old 10-03-2017, 05:03 PM
JesseK1213 (Offline)
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@Lockette

I've done data entry before and can 100% confirm that's what happens if you do it too long. Haha, good stuff! I like your take on the prompt - Tad dies and no one cares.

@Grace

Woah, that ending! It wasn't conscious, but I read your piece in the "If I die before I wake" prayer cadence.

I'm working on something that should be done in the next day or so.

--

Here's what I have so far. I think it's halfway done - there are two more scenes I have in mind.

...

The sun was rising but he was falling, falling, falling. The wings he’d built were not working; his arms flapped impotently through the air. If only he could move faster, harder, with more conviction, like a bird-

early bird gets the worm

-knowing its efforts will keep it airborne. Isn’t that what Icarus must have thought during his first flight, before his wings carried him into the sun? But his arms were underwater, sluggish -

The pavement below grew larger with maddening speed; now, he could make out the freckles of the blacktop with complete clarity. How far had he fallen? How quickly was he falling? The curve of the yellow lines below formed a menacing smile with no face, and somewhere deep inside him, a monkey wrench twisted his guts. The sensation rippled from his balls to his throat.

“This is when I wake up,” he thought in the moment before his face met pavement.

And he did.


---

The sun had been up for some time. Its rays shone through the cracks in the window shade of a small, largely unfurnished apartment in the Polo Green apartment complex, illuminating Stanley Gibson’s face in the otherwise dark living room. He slapped his hand listlessly over his face as if he could shoo away the sunlight like the obnoxious gnat that it was.

He had fallen asleep on the couch again – he was hanging precariously off the side. His head and left shoulder lolled fully off the cushion, and he was slipping-

falling, falling, falling

-further to the floor. A moment of panic cupped his chest before his head landed on the carpet with a soundless thud.

He rolled fully off the coach, got to his knees, then to his feet.

Images blurred around him like freight trains running on a circular track: a clear plastic bottle of bourbon laying underneath the window in a puddle of its own puke, the television flashing glimpses of The Price Is Right where some woman spun a giant wheel, whitewashed walls turning into dark, dimply pavement all around him, and then falling, falling, falling

The room twirled around him mercilessly, but he did not close his eyes – no, he knew better than that. He embraced the spin, relished the gut-pulling sensation that throbbed in his balls and worked its way up through his chest; he leaned into the curve, jumped into the darkness below.

He keeled over and puked another stain on the carpet.

---

He felt better after a shower. Looking in the mirror, he thought he looked better, too – less like last night’s punching bag. His face had gotten some of its color back, although it now accentuated the gray that was creeping into his hair and beard, and the bags under his eyes weren’t so pronounced.

He put on the same pair of jeans he wore yesterday, grabbed a t-shirt from the laundry hamper and slipped his feet into a pair of running shoes. Then he went downstairs to clean up his mess.

Most people have a morning ritual, whether it’s shaving your face or putting on deodorant; Stanley Gibbons’s was cleaning up after himself. No matter how hungover he was or how bad of a mess he’d made the night before, he always made sure to clean up first thing in the morning. He washed and put away the dishes, picked up the empty beer cans, scrubbed the carpet. It was these small acts that kept him from feeling too guilty about the previous night’s debauchery (I know I made a mess, Ma, but look! I cleaned up after!). He took a small swig of whiskey – Stanley Gibbons’ Patented Hair of the Dog Hangover Assuager & Gut-Mixer Elixir – before screwing the cap back on the bottle and setting it atop the refrigerator.

With that final act, the morning ritual was complete and he was ready to bring on the day.

He stepped outside his apartment and found that the sun was high in the sky. The heat radiating off the blacktop blurred the air above it and he quickly looked away. His stomach growled and tightened into a knot, wanting to take something in and shoot something out all at the same time.

He lit up a cigarette.

The Jumpin’ Frog was his first stop – a dive bar conveniently located across the street from the Polo Green apartment complex, where he held residence in Unit 32B. The walk there was short, but by the time he reached the door, sweat stains had appeared on the underarms of his shirt.

The day time bartender, Tom Brankowicz, poured him a cup of coffee when he walked in and set it by his usual seat at the bar. Then he went into the kitchen to make a BLT and French fries.

Stanley ate the food mechanically, without joy, as if he were pumping gas in the car. He slurped down three cups of coffee while he did so. When he was finished, he set the empty coffee mug on top a ten dollar bill and left the bar.

The light outside was harsh and offensive in comparison to the dimness inside. He walked back to his apartment squinting his eyes against the sun and wondering what he should do today.

In terms of work, Stanley Gibbons didn’t do much. Not if he could help it, at least. At one point in time, he was the top producer in the Northeast Region for Kirby Vacuum Cleaners – he’d sold more vacuums in his twenty-two years at the company than any two salesmen or -women combined. He had a plaque somewhere in his closest to prove it. But that was before the customer complaints, bad Yelp reviews, and sexual harassment lawsuits started to add up; in the end, even his exemplary selling record couldn’t save him from getting canned.

Now, he spent his time trolling forums, offering cold-calling and closing advice to hopeful salespeople. In his forum signatures were links to two self-published eBooks on Amazon – “One Call Prospecting” and “One Call Closing” – both of which he’d written under a pseudonym and which had received conflicting reviews. The monthly sales didn’t add up to much on either one, but it was enough to keep Stanley Gibbons housed, clothed, fed and (most importantly) drunk as a skunk seven nights of the week.

When he reached his apartment and walked through the door, he decided that he didn’t have much work to do today and that any work he did have could wait until later, after he’d watched a couple episodes of Law & Order, maybe, and drank a few beers – he always worked better with a good buzz on, anyway. He grabbed a Keystone Light from the refrigerator and sat down on the couch.

Outside, the sun trailed westward in the sky. It wasn’t until it reached the tree line that Stanley Gibbons moved.

Last edited by JesseK1213; 10-03-2017 at 05:27 PM..
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