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To Write a Story

A rather dark story I wrote at 5am, after being up all night. It was a rough time.

To Write A Story

Get up. Get out of bed. Get dressed. Brush teeth. Skip breakfast. Go to class. Pretend to care. Go home. Sleep. Eat dinner. Sleep. Get up. Get out of bed. Get dressed. Brush, brush, brush those teeth. Feel the pangs of hunger. Ignore them. Get to class late. Sleep. Go home. Sleep. Eat dinner. Sleep. Sleep, sleep, sleep. Can’t sleep. Can never sleep.

Monotony. A monotonous affair as stagnant as the Dead Sea and as arid as the Atacama. If it were a color, it would be colorless. If it were a food, it would be hunger. If it were music, it would be the ceaseless static of a broken radio, picking up only the intermittent spats of intelligible language. One day, the story begins, he wakes up. He goes to school. He is told by his teacher to go home and write a story. Really, he does not want to write a story. Truly, he does not want to. To sit in that godforsaken office chair, to wallow in his insomnia, to bask in the dim glimmer of moonlight shining in through the crease of the windowsill. To sit, cloudy eyed and drained, searching, begging for inspiration, only to give into the indolent desire for mediocrity. To sit, hunched over the keyboard, the artificial light of the computer reflected in the sagging bags under his eyes. To wait for the last letter to be typed, the last word chosen, the last page spat out. The tap, tap, tapping of his fingers as they slowly, deliberately, hit each key, again and again and again. He has nearly a page, nearly two, nearly three. The only inspiration behind his story is the muscle memory his hands and fingers have been taught, the order in which to hit the keys, the order in which to write and create. The assembly line whines to life, slowly, deliberately, crafting sentence after sentence in the same way it always has, again and again and again. He finds no pleasure in it, nor does he find any pain. He finds only apathy: pure, raw indifference. Within a week, he will have no recollection of this story. It will have been bleached from his mind, wiped away, deleted. The swirling enigma of his mind will have found other uses for the memory that drivel had taken up. Efficiency above all else; that is the point of an assembly line.

His story has reached the predetermined climax, the inevitable point of the greatest tension. He had been taught about the climax for many years. He had long ago mastered the expectations his teachers had. He could meet them in his sleep, and so he did. The climax of his story was the most glorious, dull, original, clichéd moment in his entire writing history. He typed it with one hand so he could use the other to prop his head up. He completed the climax, and he knew that it would certainly meet the expectations of the hardest of teachers, the smartest of students, and the best of writers. He knew, and did not care. He found no joy in meeting expectations, yet could do nothing more, nothing less. The pattern, the despicable, deplorable, detestable pattern. The pattern of writing, the pattern of his writing. It was an equation, a set of constants that added up to acceptability. There were no variables, no derivatives. It was an affront to literature, and yet, the whole of literature. It was his pattern, his equation, his atrocity. And he took every advantage from it.

He finished his paper. He pushed the print button, and listened to the nonsensical beeps and the analog grinding of his printer. He sat, in that godforsaken office chair, waiting for the story, in all its glory, all its dishonor, to print. He stacked the crisp, clean paper together, put a single, lonely staple in the top corner, and sat down to read it. He held the story like a used rag or an old pair of jeans. With indifference, with disgust, with no concern. The sickening smell of ink still hung in the air as his eyes glanced back and forth, up and down, over the papers. The sentences flew by, having their existence barely recognized by his bloodshot eyes or his sleep deprived mind. The pages turned smoothly, easily, as fresh paper does. His eyes, back and forth. His mouth, shut. His face, blank. He reaches the last paragraph, the last sentence, the last, gray, tired word. The paper falls to the top of the desk with the clamor of a moth’s wings. Silence overtakes the room, the overwhelming kind of silence. The solid, unwavering, unfettered silence. His face remains blank. The only light left is that of the computer. His lips twitch. The corners of his mouth begin to curl, to twist. A miniscule chuckle escapes his mouth. His lips turn crescent. Another chuckle. Another. Another. His lips pull apart to reveal his teeth. The corners of his mouth stretch into a Glasgow smile. He laughs. Oh, how he laughs. He stands up to laugh. He laughs. His laughter shatters the deafening silence, the shroud of monotony. He throws his head back and laughs. His sides ache, his lungs burn, his eyes stretch and shrink in tune with the rocking of his shoulders. He picks up the story, the awful, wonderful story, and laughs. He goes to sleep, laughing. He wakes up, laughing. He gets dressed, skips breakfast, and goes to class, laughing. He arrives at class, story in hand and laughter in his head. He hands the story to his teacher with a professional, courteous, humble smile. In his head, he laughs. He takes his seat, crying, laughing, in his head. He gets a new assignment, and he laughs even harder. He goes home and laughs. He eats dinner, laughing. He sleeps, he finally sleeps, laughing. Laughing. Sleeping. Laughing. Sleeping, sleeping, finally… laughing. And so, the story ends.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than storiesspace.com with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

Copyright © Copyright 2012, 2013 by Alex Holzman aka alexh

Posted with permission at storiesspace.com

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