My day off from
I clutched my list of things to get in one hand as I walked to the grocery store. On the crumpled piece of paper, there was a total of three or four words, depending on how you define Kool-Aid.
I never was one for variety.
Upon entering the store, I instantly realized I had to use the bathroom, and badly. Annoyed with myself for not going before leaving my house, I veered left towards the Men's room. A diet of various frozen and microwavable meals keeps my digestive system constantly on edge. I entered what promised to be the typical dirty public restroom, I wasn't disappointed. Inside, there were three stalls. Statistically, the stall closest to the door gets the most use and is thus the dirtiest. This in mind, I quickly walked towards the second stall. I pulled my cellphone out in anticipation of playing Snake on my shitty outdated Nokia. As I opened the door, the mobile device slipped from my hand and smacked against the tiled linoleum floor. It bounced hard and slid beneath the third stall. Swearing loudly, I marched around to the other stall. Pulling the creaky metal door closed behind me, I picked up my slightly chipped phone off the stained floor, unbuttoned my pants and disposed myself upon the cold plastic toilet seat.
Some of the best art and the most profound thoughts are scattered among the public bathrooms of the world. There's something enticing about the anonymity of a bathroom stall. Some men are emotionally and artistically in tune when taking a shit, or something like that.
No longer feeling in the mood to play with my phone, I slipped it into my pocket and heaved a deep sigh, ready to relax. That's when I saw it. Directly in front of me, on the stall door, was what appeared to be a short paragraph, written in black marker. It looked fresh. What was most unsettling, was the handwriting. I'd seen it somewhere before, and very recently. My eyes studied it from the top, reading the first line.
Do you believe in free will?
Unconsciously, I felt my head nod a little.
Do you believe in God?
Again, I felt myself nodding to a bathroom door. My eyes followed the words farther down the door, reading on.
If you believe in God and free will, then it follows that you believe God does not control you. No predestination. We control ourselves. It means one thing:
God watches T.V.
God cannot intervene in free will. God can only observe. Supposed omnipotence has become a diluted form of omniscience. Watching us, watching T.V. All day. One person to the next.
Change the channel.
Change the channel.
This begs the question though, what if God could only watch one channel until it was cancelled, what if
At this point, my ass was completely off the toilet seat as I leaned forward and craned my neck to read the last few lines. The writing stopped abruptly, the author had seemingly been cut short by the end of the door. A feeling of unease spread through my body. Without knowing why, I hurriedly stood up and exited the bathroom. I walked quickly, my pants still undone, pulling them up as I scurried from the restroom. Wanting to put as much distance between myself and the store, I decided to forego my list and get home as swiftly as possible.
As I approached my dingy little excuse for a house, I noticed the mailman had come. Hoping for some distraction, I reached into the plastic box and pulled a stack of envelopes from within. I stood at the end of the walkway leading to my house, thankful for the sense of normalcy that had begun to return to my chest and head.
Magazine subscription renewal.
The fucking Golden Gate Bridge. “Greetings from San Francisco!” plastered across the front. The machine of my mind stirred to life. The feeling of security moments ago had fled, only to be replaced by one of inexplicable dread. Almost in slow-motion, I turned the card over to the back. It was dated 5 days from today. As I read the words penned across the reverse side of the postcard, I literally felt my heart drop in my chest.
the remote is broken.
I became a third person observer in my own body. My mind whirred, frantically trying to comprehend. I must have stood there for five minutes, my heart pounding, inhaling short choppy breaths. The world stopped moving for the first time in my life and noise ceased to exist. That's when I heard it.
At first indiscernible, my feet lead me towards the house and the sound became clearer. The noise carried on continuously, changing pitch like a siren. As I opened the door and moved towards the kitchen, the screaming became unbearable. I searched for the unearthly screech until I found the source: the clear brown plastic bottle on the kitchen table. I reached out and snatched it, depressing the cap and turning simultaneously, defeating the child-proof cap. The white lid detached from the bottle, revealing the medication within. Pouring out a handful of pills, I seized the refrigerator door and yanked. In one fluid motion I pulled a pitcher of Kool-Aid from the shelf. Without bothering to find a glass, I dropped the pills into my waiting mouth and flushed them down my throat with a gulp of green Kool-Aid, Lemon Lime. The screaming halted
The world became silent once again, except for the faint dull of the ocean in my ears.