Empty bottles litter this tiny single room apartment. An old inexpensive ‘L’ shaped desk hugs the opposite corner from the entrance. The one window allows the sun to shine on the longest part of the desk and on an unfinished painting.
When he was eighteen years old he ate an entire eighth of magic mushrooms. His trip lasted six hours and peaked for a good three and a half. He slept and when he woke he was different. About his goals he gave a fuck and started to produce art immediately. Before his psychedelic experience he just talked a lot.
He partied less but still smoked his cannabis, sativa strains to stay focussed while he worked and indica strains to help him sleep. He drank, but only socially. He produced work on a regular basis, two sometimes even three paintings a week and and one to two sculptures a month. Galleries from all over the world wanted him and museums borrowed his work to show at fund raisers.
He was fucking rich and popular. Not quite celebrity status but popular enough to get into certain night clubs without paying or waiting in line. He also attended several celebrity parties and as a result began to neglect his true friends. He didn’t care. He thought the new people in his life were his new family.
Years passed. He thought he was living the life until he came across another bag of mushrooms. He was among his new crowd when he decided to once again take an entire eighth. His trip was not fun at all. He saw through everyone and realized that none of them really cared about him. While coming down he called a couple of people from his early years and out of the four he dialed only one picked up. A woman he was seeing. When she found out he was on mushrooms she let him have it. Pointed out when and how he fucked up his past relationships and how it was too late to mend them.
He stopped hanging out with people he felt were just using him because of his popularity – which was pretty much everyone he came into contact with. He fell into a depression but still produced work, still showed at galleries and attended the openings and mingled with his collectors. But it wasn’t the same. His creativity started to fade and so did his income.
A year ago his cat died. And two weeks ago his dog passed. A week later he saw a doctor and was prescribed Xanax. The doctor told him that the weed he smoked was probably intensifying his depression. The doc being a professional, he listened he stopped blazing and only took the pills. He followed the instructions and never drank a sip of alcohol while on the medication. But now he’s sixty years old and alone. He was working on his client’s painting after popping a pill when he was struck by the idea “I can end this shit when ever I want.”
He took a shower then went for a walk, to the market. Bought himself an orange and a bottle of Vodka. When he got home, he put on some music, sat on the floor, peeled his orange and after eating it walked on his knees to his desk and with a brush painted the word “sorry” at the bottom of the incomplete painting. He grabbed the bottle of liquor, drank a quarter of it and unlocked his door. Then he picked up the bottle of pills, and swallowed all of them. He put on some ambient music then with his bottle of liquor sat against the wall next to his desk. Leaned his head back against the wall, closed his eyes, shed a few tears and there he left his body to rest.
Copyright Jesse Velasquez TrappedInFlesh.com. All Rights Reserved.
It’s time to go work, a job he keeps out of necessity. The girls, his niece’s are gathered around a fifteen year old car that belongs to the oldest.
“Hey kids” He yells in a stupid character voice – shit like that used to amuse them, but now the three are young adults. They all respond one after the other sounding annoyed but still with a hint love “hi” “hey” “hi.”
Sad that his nieces don’t have much to do with him now he tries anyway “I’m off to work, what you girls up to? Something wrong with the car?” They stop talking and turn to look at their aging uncle. The oldest answers “just talking, the car is fine.” The youngest says softly “he probably wants a ride.” The middle aged girl reacts with a gesture and body posture; she’s annoyed. He realizes he interrupted something important to them so he adjusts his back pack and continues down the driveway.
Just before getting to the sidewalk he hears what could be a jet only it’s on the ground and getting closer. He stops, turns around and sees a strange car pull up. It resembles and ancient formula one race car only this thing seats four, each passeneger in their own cockpit.
Two of his nieces are sisters, the person driving is their father. Rodrigo doesn’t think much of him, he cheated on their mother, his sister, and more than once. He left her after his last girlfriend got pregnant with his son. Did his sister a favor, he wasn’t worth the heartache. Not so bright this guy and a total mama’s boy. After greeting the girls he revs the engine a few times before letting it idle. It sounds good, and with the sound still humming in his head Rodrigo remembers when and why he started to lose respect for his ex brother in-law.
When the girls were toddlers Rodrigo and their father were playing a video game on the console. The girls were all laughs happy in the company of their father and at that time their favorite uncle. They got to chasing each other in and out of the room and between the television and Rodrigo.
It was their father’s turn and he was losing the round. Frustrated, he yells at them to settle down. They stop for about a minute then continue with the game of tag, this time running between their father and the tv. His game character gets taken out and causes his team to lose the match. Round two begins. He’s off to a good start, has five kills and no deaths. Here come the girls laughing and now with screams of joy. They run across blocking their father’s view just as he was about to get another kill, he misses, the other gamer fires, their dad is down. His character respawns. He charges forward and again the girls interupt and his character dies. There is still time left in the match, his character is back and just as he controls him into position the girls run across. He shouts at them “SHUT THE FUCK UP! CAN’T YOU SEE I’M PLAYING A GAME!” They stop running, their little faces now frowning holding back tears. “Go down stairs, and chase each other all you want, tell your mom to get you a snack.” Rodrigo says to them with a smile. With the sadness still in their eyes they both grin as the youngest closes the door behind her. Rodrigo can still here their little hand rail guided steps down the stair case.
“Hey girls!” he the cheat yells over the engine. In unison his daughters reply “hey dad.” His once, niece a simple “hey.”
He offers them all a ride. They agree and jump in, each in their on own compartment. Rodrigo watches as the cheat revs the engine then looks down at the dashboard and from the way he moves his arm it looks like he hit a switch and pushed and pulled on a couple of levers.
The car starts to change form. All three girls giggle as the shape shifting bounces them around. From a low to the ground wide racing style the car turns tall and narrow looking like an old locomotive from 2001 or so. They take off, loud and fast. He makes a right at the end of the street and again the engine roars on the other side ot the block.
He pulls up in front of the house and tells the girls on the passenger side row to stay seated and still. After a number of pushes and pulls of a few levers and buttons the vehicle begins to rumble. A line shows up down the entire center of the car and it splits in half. Now it’s two. Two separate vehicles. Not motorcycles but two two-wheeled cars. Each kept upright by the wide tires and certainly some sort of balancing mechanism. The cousin wide eyed and a little freaked out looks over at Rodrigo and lets out a “oh shit!” The oldest yells at her father “what do we do!?” He replies “just wait!”
Now the father and his youngest are in the first half and the oldest daughter and her cousin are in the second half. He revs the engine to the first half. The second car seems to react: its idle getting louder but not as potent as the first half. The father rebuilt it but failed to realize that the second half has a drone feature that should have been disabled. He probably didn’t read the entire manual, skipped the pages that didnt have illustrations. He burns rubber, the front end lifts off the ground and they take off. Zero to sixty in 4 seconds, easy. They get to the end of the street and the second car starts to rev louder. It starts to move, reving louder and louder. The girls are freaking out. The oldest in the front cockpit looking down at the dash board begins to mess with the buttons and levers. She hits a button and the thing roars and burns rubber. She yells “shit!” Her cousin screams “what the fuck!” The rear diappears into a cloud of smoke. Both of them screaming! Rodrigo drops his back pack to try to help but just as he starts after them the front end leaves the ground and it takes off! With only the rear wheel on the ground it starts to sway side to side as it rolls, no one is steering! Suddenly it makes a sharp left, bounces onto the sidewalk then makes another sharp left and breaks through a wall that divides two neighbors. It gets stuck. The engine is still running and the rear wheel is still going but the wall under it is keeping it off the ground.
Rodrigo gets to them “girls okay?!” The cousin yells “Im good!” The sister half crying half pissed off “piece of shit almost killed us, lets get out!” Rodrigo holds the front end down so the rear doesn’t grab ground as they jump out. The sisters’s dad pulls up, leaves his youngest in the half car and runs to the wreck. He yells “what the hell did you do!? I spent months rebuilding it! Months!” The oldest stares her father down and says “Im staying here today. Jerk.” Rodrigo runs up to them “sure you girls are okay?” Both answer yes. “Okay, I’m taking off.” They say “bye.”
The cheat turns the half car off and gets on his cell phone. He speaks to someone about getting the car off the wall. His youngest walks up to him “can’t believe you care more about your stupid car than my sister and cousin, I’m staying home.” Rodrigo already heading to his job crosses paths with her, hugs her and says goodbye. Looking back towards the wreck he shakes his head and says out loud “just like his car, a lemon.”
Long day at work. Seconds after stepping off the first bus the light changes and the Saturday night Hollywood hordes cross paths at this intersection where rarely an “excuse me” or a “sorry” is heard. On the other side at the underground entrance, a small group blazes. So sweet, definitely potent medicine.
Down the first flight of stairs a tiny jump at the end and “ouch! Fucking knee.” Probably from eating shit in the skateboarding years or a spill off of his mountain bike, his left knee is now delicate. One sudden twist while carrying weight and it’s fucked for days. “Whatever” he adjusts his steps to avoid the pain. A few steps later he taps his bus pass and strolls to the next flight of steps. Twenty minutes until the next train so he rides the escalator down pulls out his phone and hits skip until he finds a proper song. In his ears now, a recent discovery, a tune he shared with his girlfriend.
After leaning on a pillar for ten minutes the train shows up. Doors open and he finds a window seat. He takes a look around and once his surroundings are registered in his mind he rests an elbow on the window sill and his hand then supports his head and his backpack now sits on his lap. “I almost fucked it all up” he thinks with his eyes closed and an ambient track flowing into his ears. Two days prior he provoked a fight that nearly ended the best thing that’s happened to him in a long time. As he dwells on the thought there is a sudden tug on his bag. The two fingers hooked around a small strap not enough to keep his pack against his person.
Eyes wide open now, mind on full alert and now standing the tug-of-war is on. The backpack now a link between both guys pulling away from each other. The thief is younger and strong enough to pull Peter away from his seat. Peter lets him lead for the door. One of the thief’s hands slips off of the pack so now he’s facing the door tugging with one arm as the train comes to a stop. People are silent just watching. A couple of kids recording on their phones. More than half of the passengers leave the train car. “Doors are now closing” over the intercom, Peter waits and then takes a few quick steps forward releasing tension on the war. The thief loses his balance falling onto the platform but never lets go of Peter’s bag. The doors close and clamp onto his arm. The train starts to roll and finally the backpack again belongs to it’s owner. The thief screams “OPEN THE DOOR! OPEN THE FUCKING DOOR!” Peter now standing on the culprit’s forearm looks down at him through the window and gives him the finger.
A few people shout “OPEN THE DOOR HE’S GOING TO GET HURT!” An older man lunges for the emergency door release but Peter pulls out his box cutter and fends him off. The train car is almost at the tunnel, the thief’s yelling turns into a screech, a loud thump and it fades away. Peter kicks the arm away from the door and sits back down. “He’ll never steal again.”
Twenty-years, half a pound of this quarter pound of that. Small containter of potato salad, large container of pasta salad.
The not so kind, “What do you mean you’re out. Im going to complain. That’s the only reason why I came” – with a basket full of other groceries.
“I said thin slice!” Pretend to adjust the blade, show them the same slice “that’s better” – the assholes.
Pushed by an ego maniac – the department manager – and the encouragement of a woman introduced to me by the universe at my brother’s wedding, now my girlfriend, I will be clocking in to work the deli for the last time.
Might end up covering a shift here and there, but it’s okay, they know that with the deli I am done.
When I’m home, mostly in my tiny studio, there is always music playing. A variety of “genres” sometimes in languages I can’t understand – doesn’t matter. If my inner Self, Spirit, Soul, what ever you want to call it, if it dances I listen. Because I like my music loud, I use a headset. The less I hear of the outside world the better.
The playlist below is my current accompaniment.
It’s my day off and I get a call from one of my bosses, the assistant department manager. An “owner partner” said she couldn’t go in tomorrow because of a doctors appointment. The assistant continues to tell me that he worked with this o.p. yesterday and saw that she looked at the schedule and later in the day even made a comment about who she was going to work with on Thursday. The call was to tell me to cover her shift, that he would deal with not having a mid shift. Tomorrow we get two loads of products at separate times of the day. The department needs a mid shift to cover the counter but because this person – that according to others whom have worked with her in the past, should not have been rehired – customers will probably walk away because they lack the patience or time to wait for service. One of the loads is perishables and arrives at lunch time. Some of our customers only get half hour lunch breaks.
I hang up after the assistant tells me to go in at 1 p.m.
Minutes later I receive a text. To come in at my originally scheduled time, 10 a.m., that this bad for business changed her mind, she will go in as scheduled.
The store manager must be covering up for her because I find it hard to believe the company would keep her on payroll if they were aware of her behavior. So much time and money wasted covering her shifts and worse the stress it causes the department and what it does to morale.
What ever. I feel better now. The loss of my few minutes of peace avenged.