First Draft

Page 26

8:00 pm. Ben had written about 45 uninspired words. He was so buttfucking angry with his wasted self, his useless, braindead, meaningless life. He didn’t want to die. But he surely didn’t want to keep “living” like this. Flaccid. Ineffective. Unworthy. Having performed about an hour and fifteen minutes of useful work throughout the entire day, he found himself exhausted. He looked in the mirror and saw a wretch, unworthy of the sacrifice made by the animals which had died to support his loathsome existence.

Benjamin finally surrendered. He would not write, edit and publish two posts tonight. He could not. His mind was scattered and fragmented, as it often was after eating something which had triggered his ADHD and his depression (and he was far too weary to even begin to explain what it was that he was talking about – suffice it to say that his mind only ever felt truly clear after 24+ hours of fasting).

If his life was to be meaningless, then he would accept it – there were far worse outcomes to a life than to simply fade into obscurity. Billions had done it before him, and he could accept the empty chasm of time the same as they had. So he drove to the dollar store, and spent a little more than 10% of what remained in his checking (and savings) account on a tub of natural vanilla ice cream. He would use some of the apples he had received this morning while volunteering at the food drive, or perhaps a banana, to make a fruity dessert. And he would watch a few episodes of his favorite show, Ozark. Fuck his dreams. Fuck his 30-day challenge. Fuck the world, and life, and success, and hard work, and requirement and duty, and older generations who had functioning brains which weren’t plagued by chemically-induced brain injuries from when their pregnant mothers had ingested corporate sludge that they had been convinced was actually food, only to ten years later wonder why so many of their children were showing signs of ADHD, depression, OCD, panic disorders and crippling anxiety.

Benjamin imagined that he was laying in a coffin, and that its frilly, satin fabric and soft, overpriced cushions (which made the afterlife more comfortable for the deceased) were caressing his cool skin. Oddly, he imagined feeling warm – snug. He smiled, and one last time, for good measure, he said, “Fuck it.”

Ben stopped in his tracks as he rounded the corner and passed through the doorway into the office. Perched on the seat of his office chair like a frog on its lily pad, Mara glared up at him with a devilish smile. Two obsidian eyes atop a wide, grinning chasm filled with razor-sharp stalactites, all nestled in between two bony knees and legs. She dipped her head slightly forward, the shimmer in her eyes piercing up into him from beneath her brow. Her teeth seemed to glow in the cool, dim light of the computer screen.

Ben quietly, softly, inhaled through his nose as he returned her gaze. Then, in an act of collected confidence, he stepped over into the space between the chair and his desk, turning his back to her. As he leaned over his desk to type in his log-in password, he could feel her silent stare. But he chose not to give her another moment of attention. Boldly, he tapped the enter key and then marched towards the doorway, into the other room.

Coffee. He wanted to make some coffee.

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