The World in The Man

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
An overworked man asks his television, who's responsible for his own insanity. *Note: This short story has been revised and edited, ensuring less confusing in regards to the dialogue. Enjoy!

Submitted: April 29, 2016

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Submitted: April 29, 2016

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A A A


 

World in The Man

Cory Hutton



 

I’m sitting on a couch. It’s five o’clock, the sun’s coming down, and I’m right where I belong. I’m watching the news, because it’s five o’clock, and the sun’s coming down, and I’m fresh out of originality. The anchor, he’s leaned forward, his back arched -he looks amused- he’s fresh cut and wearing a smile that couldn’t seem any less sincere. He’s telling me something, he’s telling me the world’s a mess; I -you- shouldn’t go outside, he says to me, he says don’t go outside, you’ll get squashed like a bug.

“Hey Morty” -that catches my attention, that’s my name, Morty-

“Hey, you pathetic insect, you stay put, ‘cause there’s a whole lot of spiders in the world that just can’t wait to bleed you dry and you wouldn’t want your dinner getting cold, the ramen’s only got a minute left. You can get up for that, but you come right back to your couch.”

Bleed me dry? Squashed? Well, which is it?

“Morty, I can hear you. Stop thinking about these senseless things. The point is, you’d be one dead bug. Empty and flattened, which, when you think about it, isn’t so different from your current state, is it?”

He shows me his fist, his middle finger wagging like a thin boney cock, “That’s for you Morty, I’ll be back, and you had better be right back too.” He gives me another fucker smile and they pan out and cut.

Fade to black, fade to more instruction.

 

“You need couches? We’ve got ‘em, thousands, right here at couch world.” I’ve already got a couch. Click.

“You need safety? We’ve got locks and alarms, thousands, right here at lock and alarm world.” I’ve got a lock, three on the door and one on my brain. Click.

“How about a gun? We all need a gun, who’s going to protect your family? Come right over to gun world, we’ve got thousands of weapons that’ll spurt vapor like semen from your baby maker.”

That sounds nice, a gun, I wonder what I’d look best with, maybe a .38 or something else. I frown. “What the fuck is a .38?” Click.

There goes dinner. Beep beep beep.

The ramen makes my teeth feel like suede, and the sugary pop makes them hurt. I’m sitting on the couch again, and my brain starts to hurt, something’s crawling around in there, working it’s way out.

Here he comes again.

“Welcome back, Morty, I’m glad you stuck around, I’ve got news for you. Just now, a man shot another with a .38 in the face. Morty? That man’s dead, and you could be too. I like you, Morty, I don’t want you going outside tonight, there’s so many of those people out, and they’re looking for Morty’s, they’re looking for little ants to step on.”

I’m not an ant.

“Maybe not now, but from eight o’clock till 4 o’clock, I’d bet you’ll do whatever Brent wants you to.”

Brent’s my boss.

“But he’s my boss,” He mocked me. “Morty?”

He’s right, I think. The Anchor’s got a point.

But I don’t have to do what Brent says. Sometimes I call in sick when I’m really just a-ok.

“Sure you don’t, but you do it anyways. I’d bet you tug on his pecker for a nickel raise.”

I wouldn’t, I hardly touch my own. I could quit my job.

“You could, but they’d squash you. They’d take your couch and lock away, and they’d squash you.”

What should I do- If I can’t quit my job, why the hard feelings?

“Stop being a bug, Morty. Stop being an ant.”

I’m not a bug though.

He laughs, he rolls his eyes, “Talk is cheap.”

I… I can show you I’m not a bug. I could go outside right now, I could go out there and they wouldn’t squash me, I won’t let ‘em.

“What’s stopping you?” His eyes got real small, his smile real thin and stretched.

Who’s stopping me… Who was it, Brent? .38? Anchor?

“Ahem,” he chopped some papers on his fake anchor desk, “Coming up next, we’ve got a high-speed chase-”

You.

“High-speed chase-”

You’re stopping me-

“Black Chevy sedan-”

Shut-up, I can’t think-

“It’s twisting and weaving through traffic- baby in the car, looks very dangerous-”

Shut your mouth, I can’t fucking think.

He stopped, all I could see was him in that screen, the rest a black mass. That fucking smile.

“Who’s stopping you?”

You are.

“I am?” He laughed, “Sure I am, and what are you gonna do? If you can’t stop the voices, how can you hope to stop all those awful people from stepping on you?”

I could turn you off.

“You could turn me back on, tomorrow at 5 o’clock sharp. I’ll have the news, plenty of insects to report on, plenty of Mortys-”

I could kill you.

Anchor stopped fucking with his blank papers and leaned forward…

He said: “Now we’re talking.”

I sigh and I say to myself, I’m talking to my television. And now I’m gonna kill it.

He laughed at my expense, at my insanity. “Relax Morty, because I think it’s your best option. But how, how’re you gonna do me in? You should’ve bought that .38, that would’ve been perfect.”

I… I don’t think I’m a killer.

“Morty-”

Can’t I just pull the cord?

“Listen to me. If you don’t do this -You know what- fuck it, you know you’re talking to a television set, right?” He crossed his heart, “It won’t hurt me one bit.”

You may be a jockey, but you’re my only friend.

Another laugh, “I’m as real as an american tradition, you puff!”

To me, Anchor, it’s all the same.

“Morty, I’m the voice in your head. The television… It’s just symbolical bullshit. Tell you what, if you catch killer's remorse, I’m positive you can get another at T.V. World, where they’ve got fucking thousands.”

Alright, I’ll do it.

“I know you will, Morty, now pull that splinter out of your brain and do me in.”

I lifted myself out of that couch one last time, that crusty couch. I was at the T.V., Anchors eyes floated on nothing, staring past my own eyes. I squatted and bear-hugged that box and he laughed. He said, “Morty, what’re you getting at?”

I’m getting you to the window. And I lifted him up, tight against my chest. Dust wafting from the Television like spores into my orifices. I stifled a sneeze and my eyes watered.

“Be careful, you and I fall differently, you’d hit the concrete like a plastic bag full of vegetable soup.”

I winced at the thought and walked backwards. I must’ve looked like a crab walking -the heavy box cut into my thighs and I kept waddling closer to the window.

“Mmmf mf…” Anchor said. I hoisted him onto the window sill that sat three stories from a concrete jungle.

I didn’t catch that, Anchor.

“I said, I had a thought, Morty.”

Oh yeah? And what’s that?

Anchor rapped his knuckle against the glass shell, “Which side are you on?”

What was that? Which side? Goddamn you, Anchor.

He didn’t answer. The window shattered and he fell down below. A parking meter speared Anchor and that was that.

Well, shit.

 

And so I leaned against the sill and stared out into the sun as she sank her teeth in the horizon. After some time, I said this: “It won’t get any better than this, the world’s too small, and there’ll always be demigods. Until they bleed it dry.”

I didn’t cry, it was bitter-sweet. The sun saved me.

Now I thought about how far I had come since five o’clock, and I knew -I knew- I’d never be free. I’d just be trading in this cage for a larger one. Now, I know where I’m at, I really know. From here, there’s only one place to go. And I must admit, this place and that place hadn’t exactly been what I’d call ‘the run of the mill.’

 

Now as I waited for the bath, I stared at the mirror, which had always shown nothing. But now I saw everything. After so many minutes passed, I stepped into the water, scalding my bare soles, and soon after, my bare balls. And now I stretch out in the bowl so as only my head peaks half-mast from the waves. Once acclimated, the pleasure was enough to make one urinate.

I close my eyes slowly, wonderful nothing -I hear nothing- nothing but the steady drum of my heart.

 

So I open my wrists -left, and then right- with a shard of the broken mirror. It didn’t sting -no, it didn’t even tingle- and all my anxieties spilled out, clouding the water around me, and now I’m thinking I’m free, because death transcends all demigods and insects.

It’s now half past, the sun’s nearly buried, and so am I. It’s half past five o’clock, and I’m right where I belong.

 



 


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