(All right folks, this will be stream of consciousness writing with no definable endpoint. No idea where this is going. First installment went to 990 words before I ran out of time. Next installment will be 990 words too. So will the others, however many there may be of them, until I am done with this. Sex and bombs, friends. They rule the world. Be privy to this weirdness if you wish, I’m happy to have you tag along.)
Jerry tripped up the water cooler again. He left it spitting water onto the carpet, just a contributor to the Roman Green of the floor.
“Gosh,” he said, walking away and patting his suit, “must be Friday.”
“Emberton!” screamed his boss as Jerry passed his door.
“Boss?” asked Jerry, stopping. “Is that you?”
The big man stayed at his desk. But his fists were little tight balls of fat and grease and lunch’s chicken wings. “Get your ass home! You’re on vacation!”
Jerry smiled at the apparition. Mr. McCarthy’s flesh was moving again, all by itself. It was trying to say something… Jerry shook himself.
“Thanks, Boss. I’m leaving right now.”
But Jerry stopped himself before he could leave. “Boss. I think I broke the water cooler.”
Mr. McCarthy froze. “Emberton. Get out.”
Jerry took off down the hall, laughing his way to the end. His office was a blocked set of partitions nestled in… Many other partitions. He flicked his computer off first, stashed some papers in drawers and the filing cabinet. Took the pencil sharpener off line. Manhandled the stapler a couple of times. Ha! Wasted staples! There went the day’s wrappings and junk, all into the stacked-full garbage catastrophe at the confluence of two partitions.
“Fuck me,” muttered Jerry.
He picked up his briefcase and threw on his longcoat.
“See ya in a few weeks, Emberton,” said Lamprey Captain, his next door neighbour.
“Yeah, sure,” said Jerry. “Keep things going without me, okay?”
Captain laughed. He sounded like he was barfing up every meal he’d ever eaten; but the truth was, he coughed and sneezed in exactly the same way, so it was difficult to tell what he was doing in his little cubbyhole sometimes. “Emberton, we’ll try not to go on to hell in your absence. You can go now.”
Jerry lost his vaunted cool and just left. There were two or three things he still had to do, but he didn’t want to do them properly and so he didn’t do them at all. He waved at his compatriots on the way out.
“See ya, Jerry.”
“Fall’s coming in a couple of months!”
“Hornets on hold!”
When he got to the elevator, he felt the first thread of thrumming in his head. Just a numb spot, really, right against the bone of his skull, pressuring it in odd little ways. The elevator door opened and he jumped right in, scaring the piss out of the three people who were inside. But none of them said anything. They each made room for him in their own way, eyes staying on dirty little wall spots. The elevator moved downwards, which was just more luck on the window pane of Jerry’s grand three week escape. Three weeks! No work, or anything else. Just consumption and defecation, perhaps interspersed with a few personal projects that would continue to stimulate his mind even as he sought to pickle it.
The elevator stopped. The doors opened. Jerry expected bright lights and colour. He got an inrushing crowd of overly hung-up individuals that mushed through his peaceful heart like wolves in a derby. But where was the fox? Jerry looked around him as he pushed himself through.
The street outside was hot, like a personal summer or a moment inside of someone else’s. The walk was pleasant and smiley. He could have taken a cab… After all, it was time for decadence. But rats, the cobbles were just a few hundred years old, set there by older men whose backs never recovered from their hunched-over work. He’d be compassionate. If anything, he was compassionate.
Jerry had a brother who’d been snagged for breaking into a television store and trying to grab as much of the merchandise as he could. Paul was a good crook by all means, but he’d been done in by probability. There had been a cop car just down the street, cruising around. They’d seen the broken glass and put the numbers all together. $1000 average for one television. About 20 televisions worth of space in the van…
Paul got busted and sent up for three years. Jerry started to whistle. Because he loved his brother, he’d sent him a letter every single day for the three years of his captivity, excluding only weekends and holidays. He’d not made the letters the run of the mill sort, either: they’d been sagas and epics, something that would not remind Paul of the life he’d lost.
Jerry had gotten into it pretty good after a while, enjoyed the whole exercise. Three years had kept two hours of his every day wrapped up in the matter.
When his brother had gotten out of jail, Paul had been laughing.
Hugging him, Jerry had cried.
He never wrote another letter to anyone, not ever.
“Hell, no one writes to me.”
It took him about an hour and a half to get home. It would have been a shorter trip if he’d taken the direct route. But that’s what the cabbie would have done, and would always do until there was some new local super highway to cut through the residential sprawl of his community and offer him a selectively quicker way to his pad. He snuck through parks and even went through the gravel yard of a public school. For ten whole minutes, he sat in a play apparatus, on top of an orange slide.
Home was quiet. May wasn’t back from the shops, and he had the place to himself. The shoes came off. The tie was next, then the coat and jacket. Goodbye pants. By then, he had a pile of clothing in his hands as he headed for the bedroom. He threw the clothes onto the bed and paused for just a second. Shouldn’t he be most comfortable in no clothing at all? He thought about it. He tried very hard to be rational. For some reason, it seemed