Friday, June 3, 2016
The Diary of Mitch R. Singer
In an office building, sitting in a cubicle with the rest of the drones
What is my function? Here is a computer and a desk. There are stacks of paper on said desk. Isolated from others, I can nevertheless still see their movements through the thin cheap walls. Someone comes around and tells a racy joke; I don't know if it's funny since my sense of humor is defective. Politics are in the air, not just the politics of our political system, but the politics of life. Sam hates Jane because Jane rejected him. Doug hates Amir because he's from the Middle-East. Sandra doesn't like black people. These people are machines, bits of programming with subtle variations. It's starting to make sense now. My purpose is becoming clearer.
Walking in the park, next to my beautiful girlfriend
We walk amongst the people, hands entwined, our fates as transparent as the crystal-clear waters of the park's chlorine-treated lake. I can see the topography of our lives spread out, branching in predictable patterns. My partner says that she wants children; she wants a nice house in town; she wants a job that is satisfying yet accommodating enough to let her be a mother. "It will be done," I say, like so many have before. As we walk, I see a pattern repeat itself. The same cat crosses our path twice, like a video tape played backwards. Just a glitch in the system, of course. Nothing can stave off the impending sense of dread weighing in my stomach like a ton of bricks.
Sitting in a bar listening to a troubadour play
My work buddies and I pound back beer after beer while a hippy plays in the background, warbling his songs of protest and despair. One of the guys suggests chucking a beer at him. "I great idea," I say, but then I lock eyes with our subject. He is dressed in a rag-tag ensemble of cowboy gear and transvestite fetish wear. Underneath that eyeliner I recognize something, though I can't define it or explain it. Then he sings words that I have heard before, in other lifetimes, in other programmed simulations. He is me, of course. I have sang in a bar like this, to patrons like these, played guitar poorly yet well-enough to get another gig. All of it comes flooding back; the sewers, the conversations in the dark, the politician's blood, the apprenticing of death. Is this the new me? Has my replication stagnated, and now I am cursed/rewarded with a banal, normal existence? I cannot let it happen. Seizing a steak knife, I walk toward him, our eyes still locked. He senses my purpose, yet he does not stop singing. "Gotta keep it interesting," I tell him, right before the knife is plunged into his throat.