Thursday's 3 Word Wednesday

The prompt over at 3WW was breath, scattered and tomorrow; I did something a bit different in this exercise. I stared at the words until they went all fuzzy and out-of-focus, then wrote in one long session (broken only by a single telephone call) of two hours. Other than the spelling and grammar I cleaned up, this is exactly how it all poured out. No further edits or additions (although I’m sure it could use it).
I’d really like to know what you think.

A Life Full of Tomorrows

“Tomorrow’s another day.”
He’d smile graciously, nod his head in agreement, bit the inside of his lips and pondered, pensive.
“You’re absolutely right. Right on. Great point. Taken, really.”
What he really thought was, “Fuck you and your fucking magnanimous, oh-so-healing blanket statements.”
He’d so much like to punch faces, break bones, rip flesh so the blood flowed and the shrieks of pain and horror rose to the heavens.
“You’ll be OK,” they said. “Tomorrow, well, tomorrow’s another day.”
Teeth clenched, breath held for more moments than he could count, turn, exhale, breath again. Smile.
Resist the urge to strike. Butt heads, crack skulls. Twist fingers until they splintered with devilish dislocation.
He was often described as friendly and quiet, quiet and friendly; somewhat of a workaholic. And, sadly, he was sure he was the kind of neighbor whose neighbors would file down driveways, green hoses in hand that poured water down curbs while out washing the minivan and get in front of a camera’s blazing glare to describe him as a loner, the guy who kept to himself – never did cause a lick of trouble - even as coroners and various law enforcement agencies exhumed decomposing bodies from beneath the backyard magnolia tree of the sunny yellow-painted tract home (picket fence optional, but in this case included).
“Quite a surprise,” they’d say. “He was such a nice, quiet man.
“Never saw that coming.”
Fact was, he was just another pasty, frightened, overweight suburban homeboy, raised on too much 70s television and fumbly nurtured by divorced parents who played ping-pong with his delicate, if somewhat unnerved, upbringing, shuttled between homes and condos and boyfriends and step-moms and take-out rotisserie chicken (potato wedges or tots tonight?) from the super-mega-mart.
The whole unremarkableness of his high school experience – more than one girl wrote in his senior yearbook about his seeming to be a nice guy and wished that they would have “gotten to know him better” – and into a non-descript state college where he studied nondescript things and graduated in five years with a degree and not the first fucking clue on how to use it.
The string of meaningless jobs, the promotions the transfers. Finally, a management track; cheap suits and scuffed wingtips. Shirts that were pressed at the cleaners (just ignore the pocket stain, please).
The whole shitty, scattered way his life had unfolded (thus far).
Friends he colleted along the way, acquaintances really, people who would smile and pat him on the back, and forget what they’d said to him minutes later.
Dates, again unremarkable, awkward stabs at intimacy that usually ended in one-sided arguments and more than once a face slap, he’d been loathe to admit.
Until one morning he woke up to find himself at 40 and he looked around – really looked - and felt the heat on chubby cheeks of a life spent walking absent through the wasteland of corporate burger joints and politicians who said slicked-back things to get elected and then disappeared until four Novembers from now with more bullshit filtered through 24-hour-a-day news “outlets.”
He felt betrayed.
By life?
By himself. He was quite sure about that.
So he began to eat right, exercise, take meticulous care of his grooming and appearance – his shower gained a loofah, exfoliating body scrubs, moisturizers and high-quality personal aroma products – and skipped the barber and the hunting magazines for a stylist who showed him the more creative ways to hide that ozone-layer spread of thinning hair on the crown of his head.
He paid for teeth whitening, personal trainers, manicures (funny how good those felt), mail-order clothing from catalogues that were slick and happy and full-colored.
He’d allowed an ophthalmologist to slice thin flaps into his corneas so he could lose the 80s tortoiseshell glasses in favor of fairly positive comments about his deep brown eyes, like expensive caramels. Limpid pools of chocolate, even.
The brisk office romance with the “hot little number in finance” was a source of scandalous gossip as the age difference didn’t balance on a Excel sheet. The weekend nuptials in Vegas had raised full-on eyebrow raises and more than a few “nuk-nuk” elbows into ribcages (and a shitload of inner-office emails that were not of a corporate nature).
Caught them by surprise, they’d all remarked.
The infidelity (with the 20-year-old lawn maintenance worker, oh my Lord yes how cliché), the bitter divorce, not so much.
And again, he’d been reduced to a day-to-day life of cereal eaten over the sink, the silk tie thrown over one shoulder, coffee in paper cups with black plastic lids and tiny blow-holes, waxed-paper-wrapped deli sandwiches and – for the love of teenage memory lanes for chrissakes – lemon-herbed rotisserie chicken and the broccolini salad from the super-mega-mart on the way home.
Mounting bills, a downturn in the economy and talks of layoffs and buyouts and reduced work hours. A late-model piece of crap that had begun to leak various fluids and make noises that were not factory-standard. More awkward dates with women and their teenage children who stared at him with vague indifference.
“Hey, tomorrow’s another day, huh?”
Screaming red-hot thoughts of mayhem and death and carnage and blood, (oh yes lots of dripping blood and bone matter) flashed like ambulance lights (full sirens) and cascaded through his skull.
The smile, the deep breath, the hand pulled through scattered locks of hair; a chuckle.
“You bet. Up and at-them, boy, ‘cause tomorrow is another day. Gonna catch that ol’ devil tomorrow, you bet, give him the ass-whupping he’s got coming.”

6 comments:

TC said...

Wow.

Rough certainly, but I think a lot of us would be lying if we said we couldn't commiserate a bit.

He felt betrayed.
By life?
By himself. He was quite sure about that.


My favorite part of the whole thing. It really seems to speak to what so many of us have done.

TheRobRogers said...

Sure it feels raw, but I think that works in its favor. It's got a great tone, great emotion.

Large Marge said...

Holy crap! Nice work! Apparently getting dumped, having the stomach flu and overall feeling miserable while trapped in your house on a dark, snowy, dreery weekend makes you a much better writer. I'd call this Chapter 2 if I were you..... Now get off your ass, and write the rest of the novel we're all dying to read! ;-)

LittleWing said...

geez, it could be anyone nowadays ... going postal is kinda outta date ... i thought it was a great read and flowed well ...

uNCLE e said...

I kinda felt that way today, actually. I have to agree with 'tc' in that those four little sentences were the most impactful to me. Very poignant, very well written. Especially impressive that you did it in one quick buest like that.
Great job!

svojoh said...

You write with so much feeling. Impressive I might say! Very Very Good. Don't forget me when you are famous.