Written in Stone
(typed in microsoft word)
Push button. His dusted, dated desktop Dell chugged into gear as if governed by churning teams of cogs. Force slow legs stand, shimmy into kitchen. He always avoided the creaking floorboard, but as his health began to reflect his age he couldn’t help the strained sinew in his back from moaning its own geriatric protest. Stub fucking toe on old, cracked dog bowl. Water everywhere, cold and shell-shocked feet. An eternally broken digit, cracked under apathy and never healing through incompetence. Even a hamster would learn its mistakes faster. Quick, inefficient mop; kettle boil. Brown granules bounce off ceramic. Gleefully sweet crystalline sisters rain almost endlessly from above, fuelling a creative fire sputtering its death rattle embers. Stir. Stir. Stir. Hate this part, steam stings palm. Kitchen roll around base of mug. Absorbent landmass, invaded by a murky liquid empire. Caffeine tendrils clawing out, a household Mandelbrot; a metaphor, a symbol.
Take seat, knees hurt. Self-pity, always my downfall. Notice itch in moustache. A flaked corn prisoner scraping at the walls of a hairy cell, its bars sticky, memorial effervescence from previous swills of sugary chemical nectars. Pick it out. Carry on; at least the filth is still mine. Too crusted to eat it again, sip fresh, boiling coffee. A routine. A schedule? No, he adhered to this whirl of squalor too strong for that. A way of life, thoughtless ideology. Hand on mouse, smooth as ever. Roll to Documents, trawl through folders. Georgie B. Ovine, ridiculous name. Sigh. Shake head. Double click. Old computer pauses to load. An entire life’s blood down to a handful of megabytes, sitting dead and pointless in a binary throne. Documents, sorted, filed, dates, seasons, characters. Clicking furiously, quick draw; an old tradition. Petey Porksworth. No tears yet, large unforgiving weight in chest; tease my stomach. A very real feeling. A very real emotion. A very fictional subject. A very grateful creation, a profound life resonating like his early animations. Squealing obliviously, silently for the signal of his promised demise.
Wallace hovered over the folder containing his old, golden scripts with two debilitating options. Left click would tear open a Pandora’s box, a slow and trawling tour of his old wares; pouring through his words with nostalgia and self indulgence. Right click presented him many more paths, with only one relevant – the cold snap of deletion and the callous order to relocate to the Recycle Bin. This was a real puzzle to Wallace. He had made many decisions in his life but this one posed serious emotional ramifications to him, so he lit a shakily rolled cigarette with an almost furious speed and sat, and stared, and smoked, and drank his coffee.
That first absorption of nicotine ran through his body and gave him resolve. His shoulders sank, relaxed and he reached forward with faux-contemplation for his beverage. When that bitter potion hit his tongue his shoulders tensed again. For a brief moment he wondered why he still drank this fiery brown sugar-water, but quickly dismissed the thought remembering the aesthetics of his choice.
At this point in Wallace’s life he was fully grasped and brainwashed by his poisons. Regulating his emotions with a bland, mechanical apathy, he smoked, quaffed and still indulged in secret narcotics to raise some old demon of feeling. As such, as he twitched his way through his coffee and cigarette (still gazing thoughtlessly at Petey’s unassuming folder), he would have seemed quite mad; indecisive movements and a dank, repellent aura that reflected only his own inner recession. This was all quite true, unfortunately for Wallace, and he was all too aware of it. He took his final draughts of thick, murkily aromatic liquid and reached the same conclusion. The man he had grown into was no fair representation of the spirit of he who wrote the contents of the folder. It was not this wrecked, pitiable shadow of a man who so long ago carved out tales, jokes and joviality for five almost celebrated seasons. He had become an insult to the potential of his younger being, like so many of us.
He decided not to raise rare smiles again by opening those many folders and pouring over their contrived madness. It took him a while to do it, and it was he who recalled running back and forth on an imposing high diving board, far back in his pickled memories – too frightened to leap at the end of each build up, too ashamed to turn heel and admit defeat. After his mouse made a succession of similar back and forths, he finally steamed forward with a new confidence. Through barely animate, indiscernible movements he deleted his life’s work. He didn’t even sigh when his speakers made that stupid little mechanical rumble, signalling his entire creative offspring’s spiral into the irretrievable. He simply exhaled, with no tone, a plume of smoke that crawled over his computer screen. It formed a mist, clouding somehow what he had just done. He stubbed out his cigarette in an ashtray at the corner of his desk and rose with that familiar creak. Wallace didn’t know what to do then, but this was no new feeling – his days had been punctuated by this empty lethargy. He turned and stumbled, hoping something might catch his eye.
Bastards. His final thought as he left the room; he didn’t know whom he meant.