I am the last thing that the infected City of Wayne needs on this dreary quagmire of another gloomy quarantined night, supposedly in the last week of isolation– but that is probably just another lie. I am the last thing that this town, or any of its people, needs. Or even wants. Because hey, who really gives a shit that there is another rapidly aging cliché, sitting cross-legged in front of an antique, banging out pointless words simply because they sound good in his head, while all around him the smoke chokes and tickles, washed away only by a sea of whiskey and pretty white ovals neatly stamped with their own devil’s mark, striking out the dosage and measuring up the man.
But the man, he stumbles. He always fucking stumbles. Over his words. Over his jokes. Over his inadequacies, both indecent and indistinguishable. Over his doubts. Over his worries about just who the hell he even is, in this caustic and disposable tear-away world.
More often than not, he stumbles over his stupidity. And fuck, have I been stupid. Careless with hearts, inexcusable with feelings. Opinionated. Stubborn. Frustratingly difficult even in the smallest of things, those inconsequential moments in life that somehow always have a way of spinning so horribly out of control in the blink of an eye. And I just can’t seem to stop blinking. Or spinning. New disasters looming in the shadows of old, tattooed across my chest and pierced into my skin.
Not that it matters. Not that I even matter. Just as long as I am funny enough. Or strong enough. Or convenient enough. Far too often in life, I have been just the next dick in line and sometimes, I get tired of riding other men’s mistakes. I am regrettably defined not by who I am, but by the love I seem to always kill in my weak attempts at its redemption. My intentions are always good; the execution is somehow left lacking, leaving me alone to carry the burden of blame.
I know now that I cannot save the world. I cannot even save me. I am floundering and scrambling, just like the rest. I am nothing special. Small. Insignificant. Obtuse in my obstinance and boundless in my blame, made out of plastic words inside of a paper house. Words that are fragile. Words that can carry. Words that cannot always be trusted because everything I seem to write these days comes across as just some sort of rambling, hipster-ish suicide note. And that’s just no fun.
These words end up being part cautionary tales left for the next generation in line, should they even last that long. I suspect, though, that they will be tossed to the curb when some poor person is tasked with clearing out this shitty apartment after the neighbors got worried and started smelling the faint odor of lingering death hanging in the air so they called the cops who show up for an (un)wellness check, only to end up finding me a mostly gelatinous puddle on the kitchen floor. And I feel as though I should apologize now to that as yet unknown soul. They are going to see some really weird shit when they kick down my front door—so, sorry about that.
These words also end being part documented regret/s as the pills take hold and the bittersweet taste of nostalgia gurgles up from somewhere past all the comforting junk food consumed earlier in a weak attempt at mashing down all the hurt and stillborn tears. Not regret for my sugary sins. No, those were delightful and much appreciated in the moment. But rather, regret for having made the decisions that brought me to this particular moment in time. Regret for having even been born.
It isn’t like I even had a choice in the matter. Recent discharge + horny former soldier = creampied mother. Stir in nine months or so and BAM! Suddenly me. And who the fuck wants that? Old. Broken. Every day a new square ticked off in the never-ending game of “Old People Bingo”, where center square is having a bad back, bent and sore from carrying the enormity of it all. Or from having spent far too many nights sitting in front of a typewriter, writing far too little.
I was just suddenly here. And some day, I won’t be. And I think that I am mostly okay with that, though there are a few things that I will miss. Not that my desires mean that much. Time will march on and chew them up mercilessly, regardless of intent or hunger. She is a cruel bitch, time. And she cannot be stopped. Or trusted. So, I am mostly okay with just fading away because burning out takes too much effort anymore.
Someday, I will be gone. No more jokes. No more smiles. No more late nights, staring down this typewriter and the ubiquitous blank page. No more passion and no more me. Some might find that a disconcerting thought. Or maybe even a little bit sad. But I think it’s really kind of funny. And I hope that others do, too, because I have honestly spent my whole adult life trying my best to keep the fun in funeral.
For now, though, all I am able to do is laugh manically in the face of yet another isolated night. And try my best to not waste too much effort or time worrying about the coming light. Tomorrow will just be what it wants to be so there is no point in fighting it. That would bestow neither grace, nor civility, upon me. I will instead simply raise another dirty-glass toast, and maybe sneak a toke or two, just for old times’ sake. In the depths of another night in this locked down City of Wayne, that’s about the best for which one might hope.
And somehow, that seems like enough for tonight.