The characters disappeared as quickly as they appeared. Occasionally, they were combined into a string of words that would be considered by most as masterful, even visionary, before being erased with a swift and aggravated backspace attack.
This was not something that less than perfect could be remotely considered. This was the ultimate finale to guarantee a life of luxury, more than could ever have been achieved in his previous attempts; Just like his previous attempts, actually.
I hate it when phrases inadvertently rhyme… it doesn’t belong. Why won’t this forsaken synonym site load today?
This writer was obsessive. mumbling quietly to himself, he managed to become an ancient golem in a coffee shop, sitting there appearing suspicious but really, just oblivious. Seasons would pass, coffees would evaporate, people would come and go. Most of all his long term girlfriend. What travesty his obsession had bloomed into!
He was a victim of his own protective shell, a shell that had become so thick that it managed to block out everything indiscriminately.
It became so absorbent to attack that those attacks seeped straight to the inner mantle. Unfortunately, this absorption allowed the diseased words of disrespect, dislike and abandonment to infect his inner being right down to the Iron Core, until it, too, was converted into a hard shell, leaving only the Golem of which we spoke earlier.
Waking up one day, one year, he remembered the love of his life, the one woman, the one organism on this planet that allowed him, for just a brief moment here and there, to be taken away from his worries, from his absurd and uncomfortable ambitions that have oh, so many times proven nothing but detrimental to him and everyone around him. She gave him a cloudy mirror to look into, to see just a little of himself and what he was all about.
Occasionally, in the mist of her gifted silver glass, he could focus into the distance and see something more, something with a child and a puppy, a balcony and a patio heater. But clouds and fog cannot realistically stay still for so long, and these images are quickly burdened by an overpowering sense of duty, a duty to continue doing exactly what he has failed to do these passing eternities. Seeing her mirror shatter this morning forced tears down to his ears as he lay on his browning, caseless pillow.
Within minutes, he was up, focused and packing his laptop. Destination: Local cafe.
No more screw ups. No more deleted words or distractions. This will be the most constructive day all week.
Mumbling down the street, he made a mental note of a couple of inspiring phrases:
- It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen, Orwell.
- The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel, Gibson
- The mountains bowed down like a ballet in the morning sun, Callahan
A fan of descriptive narrative, he was. Not a fan of creating his own inspiration. How could he? The only exposure his fundamental senses receive is the smell of coffee, the sight of an LED screen, the sound of mainstream singer-songwriters noodling on acoustic guitars and cover songs of once classic tracks, rendered asymptomatic via a heavy dose of rhythmically boring rappers overlaying the original format.
His sense of touch and taste had the best variety; a mix of cold and hot as he arbitrarily chose between frappuccinos and cappuccinos. Otherwise, there was the taste of saliva and the feel of his cheap plastic keys, slowly wearing away any texture of lettering that were glued on in the manufacturing stage.
Sometimes, if you watch him enough, you might see his glazed eyes peer out of the giant window to his right, but don’t expect anything much. He will only be thinking about the drab weather, or the concentration of carbon pollution in the atmosphere that day.
There will be flashes of his lost love, perhaps a few milliseconds a day. These are gratefully attacked by the virus of obsession, dismantled and assimilated into his powerful immune system.
But today, there will be no window to chance such thoughts. The cafe was closed.
What on earth is this? A fire? a public holiday? Curse those lazy bankers!
Not one to panic or blow a fuse, he browsed a little more down the streets until he found a noodle restaurant with WiFi and a plug socket. He needed both; WiFi to read excerpts from various other artists in order to paraphrase lines for his own devices. This would do him nicely. The chairs look a bit stiff, but it’ll serve a few hours at least.
He took a seat and ordered some noodles as to buy his right to abuse their contracted hospitality. Within moments, he was typing, erasing, stringing words together, mixing them around, browsing Kafka and Fitzgerald.
His peripherals went dark, the surrounding atmosphere virtually warmed and calmed to an imaginary room temperature, customers gradually and graciously fading into silence as his ears focused more and more on the 15 inch monitor that was his life support.
Within the next 5 or 10 minutes, 2 hours passed. He leaned back and glazed over his audience of gobbling noodle fanatics. An old man with a cheap beer. Parents with two seemingly annoying toddlers, a group of Asian girls, plus one guy – shorter than all the females. The waiters and waitresses wore yellow shirts and black trousers, shoes and sandals of their choice. There were only a few other customers.
One was his ex-love. Beside her, a man wearing black and blue. He was sure it was her. From the side, he could see the fashion, the distinctive nose and the small but beautifully kissable lips. The small but astonishingly reflective eyes were something he was suddenly desperate to see face-on, if only she would turn around.
But alas, if she did so, she would surely see him. He didn’t have time for tha… too late.
From an outsiders perspective, perhaps the man in the blue and black suit combination, you could see their faces simultaneously scrunch into complex and uncertain reflexive patterns, like a test dummy being rammed into a wall at 150 miles/hour. 45 minutes later, a few seconds passed and his love took the initiative. She stood up, her figure booming with grace and lust, 50,000 MeV of energy simply exploding into a catastrophic mess of attractive beauty.
Unfortunately, He was already eyeing his laptop screen through his newly awakened peripherals, so the things we would appreciate to the most grandiose levels should we be seated in his chair were largely unnoticed, just perhaps a blurry, misty rendition through her clouded mirror. As she walked over – her legs, so perfect – she spoke.
‘…how… what are you doing here? wow, hi… did you follow me?’
‘of course not… I live here now but… what about you? surely this is a vacation?’
‘yes… I’m with my boyfriend’
‘oh right him, wow great’ A perfunctory wave. ‘you look very… fresh’
‘fresh? thanks? hah, well.. wow you look good, too. I’ve missed you.’
Unbeknownst to him, she was with the black and blue man out of a fear of being alone. There wasn’t a day she didn’t think of Him. If he just removed that part of him, that single object of compulsion that destroyed everything around him without even an ounce of awareness on his part, they would be perfect. She tried so hard for so long to pull him out of it, to drag him from the quicksand of degradation, but eventually it became too much, with no evidence of progress. She had to leave before his very existence destroyed her.
For now, she was healthy with life, but only tolerably so. Seeing him was an immediate burst of hope for reprieve.
‘So what have you done to deserve a vacation in such an exotic land?’ He questioned with a jocular tone, practiced in previous experiences in social scenarios.
‘well, I saved the days up. eventually my job forced me to take the time off, legally and all that… How about you, why did you choose here, what’s here for you?’
‘well, I needed somewhere different to try and give me a fresh perspective. You know how it is… right now I’ve made some good overall progress but the last few days I’ve just approached another wall. You know, there’s always a problem for me with the development of a character. I mean, I have it all written down in notes, but Gregory, the protagonist, he seems stuck in his ways. He just isn’t progressing the way I had hoped. I’m thinking of just scrapping him entirely and going through the whole thing, censoring his existence and replacing him with someone… a bit more quirky, a bit more open to opportunity I suppose. You know what I mean? Gregory seems linear which, for the context of the story, isn’t suitable, so I need to…;
Over the next couple of minutes, his voice merely groped sensible structure, before letting it slip into loose mumbles again. Occasionally his fingers were typing, his eyes now permanently fixed on-screen.
She waited, but not for long. A tear in her eye was a personal signal that she needed to leave, so she left. She left him, she left the man in the blue and black suit, she left the restaurant. He never saw her again, and neither did her tolerable partner.
His peripheral slowly weakened. his senses dulled. his focus on synonym websites and famous quotations boosted and his noodle bill increased. Seasons passed, coffee evaporated, people came a went. None of which he really noticed.
The novel was never complete; a sound metaphor for his life.