A Practical Solution

He gave up looking for the pills and looked around the wrecked room.

He’d knocked most of the things around in his feverish frenzy. Trying to breath calmly, he focused on his heart pounding against his chest and ignored his thoughts and the rising anxiety. It was worth trying.

He gives in, and thinks of alternatives. One presents itself. Not very healthy. Not very practical. But there is the promise of effectiveness.

He steels himself, walks slowly to the wall and leans, resting his head against the cold plaster. Slowly lifting his clenched fist he begins knocking it against the wall.

Slowly at first, just a gentle knocking. And then faster, harder.

Before long he’s pounding with all his might. Over and over again, with tears starting to flowing down his face.

A muffled scream escapes even as he clenches his jaw tighter. The fist stops mid air and he lets it drop to his side. The blood slowly trickles down to the floor into a pool, next to a smaller puddle of tears from his face.

He listens for any thoughts that might pop up. But there’s no space for thought. The pain dominates everything else.

Pain kills pain. The irony is not lost on him as he chuckles through the tears. Pain, the painkiller.

And then it comes. A silhouette of a face. A scent. The essence of a memory. Vibrant, alive, breathing.

His body shakes as a torrent of energy takes over him. Anger. Self-loathing. Despair. Pain.

But mostly anger.

He clenches his fist again and raises it and throws it against the wall with everything he’s got.

A crack. Followed by his bellowing.

He collapses unto the floor, writhing in pain, and listens to his own repressed screams bouncing off the walls, clutching his broken, mangled fist.

 

LATER

He lights a cigarette and watches the city’s skyline through the rain, smoke rising up in disturbed patterns. Patched up hand still throbbing, he focuses on the twinkling city lights with moist eyes. They were seldom dry these days.

He leans out the balcony and stretches out his better hand to the rain, and the rain embraces it with cold droplets. He looks down, 15 stories down. A long way to go. He sighs and steps back, pulling long and hard at the cigarette.

Death was a solution he couldn’t afford yet.

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The Pact.

It was just one lousy beer. One lousy fucking beer. Usually it took about four for the underlying stupidity to surface and make me do something…well, stupid. Or reckless. Or a lethal combination of both.

I was with a friend S. It was one of those super boring evenings where you really have nothing to do but you just don’t wanna binge watch some crap on the screen. So we just decided to grab a few beers and kill the night. College huh.

About an hour later I and S are half way down the first beer and maybe it was just the beer (maybe that particular batch had a little extra something) or maybe it was just us, but we were really fucking buzzed. We were on the rooftop and it was a full moon day and the soft breeze carried the salty scent of the ocean.

So we start talking about life (surprise surprise) and S tells me how he is anxious to stop leeching off his parents and get a job and go out on his own. The dilemma being that he doesn’t want to work at a job. (who does?).

“Man, fuck a job. Fuck all that slave shit, go do something on your own.”
*sigh*
“yeah but…where the fuck do I start? What the fuck do I do? I have no idea. And all I get from people is this vague bullshit like “Follow your passion” or “chase your dreams“. Chase this (grabs reproductive organ) bitch. Gimme something helpful. Fucking clowns.”
“Hahaha yeah. Get a job. get a wife. Have a dozen kids. Retire when you’re too tired to do anything else”
I laugh. He laughs. The moon just watched.

I finish my beer and sit up. “You know what dude? I am never getting a job. I promise. Not to you. but to m- *burp* me. I am never getting a job. I am never settling down. Fuck the staus quo. I am going my own way, Fuck all this manufactured reality. Fuck the guy who got a job. I promise. I will not bend.”

I guess that fired S up. “You know what?……. Yeah. Fuck all that.”
He drained the bottle and smashed it against the other side of the wall. “Fuck a job”.

I grabbed mine and mimicked him. “Fuck marriage!”

He grabbed one of the many empty bottles lying around (it is a popular drinking spot) “Fuck adults!”. SMASH.

I fished out a whisky bottle. “Fuck social conventions!”

I let out a howl and S joins me.

SMASH.

SMASH.

SMASH.

S bends down and looks at me with a goofy grin. “Down to the last two bottles dude. Lets make a pact.” (I know…corny. But we meant it and we were drunk so fuck you.)

He hands me one, and clears his throat “We fucking swear on our balls that we will never bow down to society, social conventions or ever give a lovely flying fuck about what people think or say about us!” (I know. pretty colorful huh?) With a war cry he smashes the last bottle against the wall.

Me still laughing, I follow suit. Except instead of throwing it against the wall, I smash it against the wall while still holding it. Still laughing I hi5 S.

There is a wet splash. I guess there was still some booze left in the bottle. But as I held my hand up I saw the bone of my forefinger in the pale moonlight.

“Yo come check this out”. Still laughing.

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FAST FORWARD MODE:

S sees the blood and completely loses his shit. Drives me to the university health center on his motorbike. They don’t have an X-ray so they call an ambulance.

Never been in an ambulance before. Am still buzzed and pretty calm but S is shaken up by the blood and he doesn’t want to look at the bone.

At the hospital. Doc smells the booze and makes us confess before stitching it up after the X-ray.

3.A.M in the morning when we finally step out.

NORMAL MODE:

S lights 2 cigarettes and passes me one. (My hand is bandaged too heavily).
I pull hard and release a cloud of smoke and watch it float away. Dreamy. Never gets old. “My lungs are so happy”.
S laughs. “You’re fucking loco man. Crazy motherfucker. The only thing I want right now is my bed.”
We puff away, the same moon above us.
I chuckle. “Hell of a pact though right?”
S glances at his watch. “Yeah man sure. I wish these fucking ambulances did return journeys or something”.
“Hmm. Let’s just get an auto”

As we ride back I glance at my hand. The whole thing probably meant nothing. And S and I never mention the pact whenever we told the story over the next few weeks. I am pretty sure he forgot actually.

But not me.

The 9 stitches will scar and be a reminder for the rest of my life.

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“We’re a generation of men raised by women”

Quote’s from Fight Club for those who are wondering.

A generation of clueless men. A generation trying to live up to some imaginary expectations of a vague entity.

So the question is, what makes a man? Cliched? Sure. Pertinent? Undoubtedly. Forget what a women expects of you, forget how you’re supposed to be like and forget everything you thought you knew about how society works. Empty the cup. Make space. And maybe we’ll figure it out. Maybe.