A short story inspired by the Muse song 'Map Of Your Head', from the album 'Hullabaloo'.

Cover image: pixabay.com.

Map Of Your Head

Gareth sat and stared at the almost full glass of beer that stood on the table in front of him. Finally he reached forward, lifted it to his lips and took a long swig. The taste curdled way before the liquid had reached his stomach. He placed the glass back onto the table without raising his eyes by as much as an inch.

Ian and Brady were horsing around behind him. He didn't have to turn to know what they were doing for they were making it loud and clear. Their jokes were getting more and more outrageous, as each of them vied with each other over who would succeed in silencing the bar. It didn’t matter that it would be from disapproval; what counted to them was the force of response.

Henry and Liam lounged across the other side of the table from Gareth. In their own way they were behaving just as outrageously, and in fact were the more likely pair to cause a fight. Every female in the bar was eyed up, weighed up and rated from one to ten based entirely on their obvious assets. Sooner or later each of them would hone in one their targets for the night and then they’d make their slick and cliched moves.

What the hell was he doing? Gareth had to admit that he didn’t have a clue. They had no interest in understanding him, and if he was honest he felt the same about them. They might as well be from another planet, although Gareth had to admit he was the most likely alien.

No one seemed to understand him. Not his friends, his family, and certainly not his workmates. He felt so isolated, so totally alone. A chill of realisation ran through him and he shuddered. He quickly glanced around, worried that someone might have noticed, and relieved when it was clear that they hadn’t. Determined to get the trembling under control, Gareth tensed his muscles and with extreme control reached for his glass.

After the day that he had had, Gareth needed someone to just listen. If he only had one friend that might understand how upset the humiliation had left him feeling, maybe he’d be able to put things into perspective. The four guys he was with called themselves mates but Gareth knew that if he opened up and tried to put his feelings into words the best he would get would be a lecture from their own point of view. More likely he’d find himself ridiculed yet again, for his mind seemed to follow a different path to the mind of everyone else.

Ian bumped into the back of him, hard, and Gareth had to fight against the impulse to turn and shove him back. Instead he picked up his glass and drained it, slamming it a bit too loudly onto the table when he put it down. He lifted his eyes and found himself caught in Liam’s slightly frowning gaze. Would he say something? Before he had the chance, Henry had pointed out another woman and they were back to the sexist judgements.

Unable to take another moment of all this, Gareth pushed himself up onto his feet and turned towards the exit of the bar. He didn’t trust himself to speak so he kept his silence. They did not understand him and he sure as hell did not understand them.

Pulling the door open, Gareth hunched his shoulders forward against the rush of cold air, then leaving the door to close behind him, he disappeared into the night.



Submitted: April 15, 2020

© Copyright 2023 hullabaloo22. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:


Vance Currie

I don't know the song on which this story is based, Hully. It seems that Gareth sought the wrong company in which to seek solace.

Wed, April 15th, 2020 9:27pm


He certainly did. But I think he's a bit like me, kind of alienated from everyone - or so it seems.

Thu, April 16th, 2020 12:41pm

Mike S.

Captured what it's like in a bar quite well, Hull!

Wed, April 15th, 2020 9:46pm


Thanks so much for giving this a read, Mike.

Thu, April 16th, 2020 12:38pm


You captured the feeling of being alone among people very well. I do not know the song but I am not sure that knowing the song would change the scene you captured. Well done.

Thu, April 16th, 2020 2:55pm


Thanks, ratwood2. I'm very familiar with the feeling myself.

Thu, April 16th, 2020 12:36pm

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