Darren was waiting. He needed for the phone to ring today or someone to come to his door, or something. It’d been a few days since he last talked to another living soul, and although he couldn’t stand anyone anyway, his internal dialogue was getting old.
There’d been no reason for him to even think of taking a shower or leaving the house. He had enough food here to last through even the rapture if need be. And he had the company of the TV, where every day he had certain times allotted for certain shows, although most of the time it just squawked on and on and on.
Not the best company.
He ran through the channels again. Nothing. Dr Phil listening to someone talking all kinds of crap and him feigning interest and responding with his wishy-washy diatribes, as he’s known to do; the Karadashians whoring around and flushing lots of money down the toilet, money they’ve earned from me watching them, he figured; talking head pundit know-it-alls- being all clubby with each other, acting like THEY should be runnin things. They’re all a bunch of self-aggrandizing, cock-a-poop braggarts and fools really, he thought.
Well not in so many words.
Darren got up and made way back to the kitchen, tossing his empty bottle into the hopper on the way, and sticking his head in the refrigerator for another Meisterbrau. He looked at, and decided against, that plate of now sticky macaroni and cheese from last night while twisting the lid off his beer. On his return to the couch, he stopped and caught sight of himself in the mirror. Eh, not bad for 50 years old, right? Running his hands through his hair he looked at his body. Well, could use a bit of work there. He flexed a bit, and thought of Jennifer. Eh, screw her, he thought, that bitch could shack up with anyone, who the hell cares anymore?
Who needs her?
Back in those days his life was certainly different. He had no time to sit around drinking beer and watching TV like he does now. His kids and his work and his life gave him little time to breathe, always running around and listening to all the yap-yap twenty-four seven; her telling him what to do all the time, bossing him around; the kids never shuttin the hell up.
Looks at phone.
He hadn’t even talked to his oldest son, Darren Jr in a few months now. And he sure the hell wasn’t going to call him! Besides he was busy with his own wife and rug rats, pretty much doing exactly what he was doing at his age, poor bastard. And the rest of them, he hardly even knew where or what they were about anymore. If they weren’t going to call him or come see him, he could care less what they did anyway.
Picks up remote.
Sitting back and closing his eyes, Darren flipped through the channels. Ehhhhhhhhhh…. Same old stuff. Another forty-five minutes and Celebrity Apprentice’ll be coming on. Eh that bastard Donald Trump what an idiot! Eyelids heavy, Darren was moving in that place between wake and sleep, his brain buzzing from beer. Yeh that Donald Trump, oh they call him “The Donald”, what kind of hair is that? Darren laughed at that a bit, jarring himself awake for a second. He reached over and picked up his beer and took a long swig. His eyelids closed again, heavy, dreaming. He rested his Meisterbrau on his protruding belly flesh.
He dreamt he was back in high school, running track, running fast, fast, the wind at his back and his classmates far behind. Nothing on his mind at all except how strong he knew he was, how the hot sun made everything bright, how the roar of the crowd egged him on, and the ribbon across the finish line coming into his sights. Running, running, little or even no effort to keep charging, the winner he’ll be! Then a bell in the distance, out there but distinct. Well a ring really, getting louder now, finish line up ahead, stampeding, just tearing ahead. Ringing insistent.
By the time he woke up he had just missed the phone call.
… illustration by Sam Parr