Ant on a Hill

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A bad piece of fiction i wrote for a fiction class my freshman year of undergraduate education please don't judge me too harshly if you're reading this and considering hiring me/just plain ol' google stalking me
-Eliot

Submitted: July 17, 2008

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Submitted: July 17, 2008

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Part One

This is an account of the final day of Maxwell Odium’s life. Maxwell was sitting in his small apartment staring out of the only window when he realized that suddenly, everything had come to a halt. A loud dissonant sound was coming from the Isolated Living Containment Unit to the left of him. His neighbor was a musician, Maxwell had always despised musicians.

The organic life forms in the I.L.C.U.s all around him seemed to be engaged in mindless activities that were interrupting any sort of coherent rational thought patterns that he might have been producing otherwise. Usually, Maxwell would engage in his own mindless activity in order to block out the chaos that surrounded him. Instead, his thoughts began to run askew.

It was a Saturday night. Or was it a Thursday? He could no longer remember. The days had become blurred together like a bad television show with variations on a formulaic plot that had been repeated for years after the initial story had lost its charm. “When did his life lose its charm” Maxwell thought. He looked around his assigned living quarters. The carpet had always bothered him. So did his appliances, they were much to plain for his taste. He once thought of painting his walls red. His mother told him that it would drive him crazy if he had walls that color. His girlfriend at the time agreed.

“Now is the time to act” he thought.

He picked up the might-as-well-be-plywood guitar that he purchased on a whim a few years prior thinking he would attract a better tier of woman if he could master it. He looked over at the white metal folding chair next to his bed, and swung the guitar as hard as he could horizontally at it. The chair went flying across the room and hit his wall. A smile came across his face. He placed the guitar on the ground strings up in front of him and put his foot through the head of it. Every string simultaneously broke as the cheap wooden body collapsed onto its self around where his foot had gone through it. Maxwell was pleased. He started laughing uncontrollably.

The landlady who happened to be on her way to pick up a cake for her good friend's baby shower, decided to check on Maxwell who had always been such a polite young man to her, unlike the other residents of the living containment block G (the one that she was in charge of) who she heard from a friend are much rowdier than any other group of people in any Living Containment Block in The Collective. She despised most of the people in the house, but she always found Max to be quite charming.

“Maxwell honey, is everything alright in there?” she asked in the concerned tone of voice that Maxwell remembered his caretaker using as a child. He was suddenly thrown back into his normal social functioning mindset as looked around his room. Everything was in place except the chair that was folded neatly on its back at the wall next to his door and of course, the guitar that had been reduced to splinters moments prior that was still under his shoe. He managed to choke out an “uh huh” as he slowly took off his foot from the guitar and placed it back next to his other foot.

He waited a few minutes to make sure that she had left, when in fact, she never broke her stride on the way out.

Maxwell Odium did not want to be part of The Collective any longer, this much he knew. He had no choice in the matter however; at one point during his youth he thought about telling his caretakers about the distrust that he felt was present at every level, but he had decided against it for reasons that he could no longer recall.

Max did not know why he felt this way, why he had this distrust of The Collective.

What he needed was to take a walk.

Part 2 “The world seems especially three dimensional today” Max thought as he was walking under the trees that the city government decided to plant in an attempt to bring nature to the otherwise ecologically destroyed city.

He never paid attention to the relative nature of his surroundings before today, how the trees closer to him got bigger and went towards him seemingly faster than the trees that were further away. He recalled learning about this sort of thing in his physics class when he was a youth, but he could not remember the name of the scientist that discovered it. This bothered him. He felt that it was an important enough name and deserved to be forever burned into his brain with the theory of relativity burned right besides it.

He started to dwell on his simultaneous knowledge and lack of knowledge of this subject. He stopped looking at the trees.

“Hey you! Kid!”

As anyone would do, Maxwell turned around to see what the commotion was about.

A tall, muscular man who had a bit too much body hair on him for his own good was staring right at him. Max looked to behind him to see who the man was talking to.

“Yeah you!” People were looking at him now. Maxwell felt very uncomfortable. He had always made it his policy to avoid any sort of conflict with anyone, but suddenly, he was being stared down in the middle of a public street by with about twenty onlookers, hoping for some sort of conflict so they could have a story to tell their friends about in the upcoming weekend.

“Watch where you’re walking yeah?”

Max looked down. A trail of cement was following him for about fifteen feet. He walked through wet cement. The man who yelled at him was construction worker who was paid by The Collective to fix sidewalks that had been worn by age or otherwise chipped. Unbeknownst to Max, (and to the man as well) the man that yelled at would never physically hurt another human being for the rest of his life. His name was Paul.

Part 3

Paul had been an athlete up until a doctor that he knew for roughly twenty minutes decided that he had to many concussions to play sports and that if Paul continued, he was risking his life. He quit playing the second the well-groomed man in the very professional looking outfit told him to. Paul never questioned the decision to stop playing sports, after all, the doctor graduated from one of The Collective's finest medical institutions that Paul could nevereven dream of even getting into.

Max did not know Paul, and instead of scurrying off as he normally would, Max felt the need to confront the man who yelled at him.

Max, in less than a split second, decided to march over to the man who yelled at him and say something insulting to him. This is what Maxwell said:

“Do you realize how worthless your fucking life is? You’re just a scumbag construction worker who job is to tidy up where people walk, so that animals and bums can shit and piss on a sidewalk with no cracks or holes in it! I couldn’t think of a less fulfilling, futile job if I had a fifty thousand dollar federal grant to do so! But you! You’re so god damned stupid you just keep on living, fixing the same fucking sidewalk every fucking day, over and over and over again! And when you die, you know what’s going to happen? Another trained monkey just like you is going to do the exact same goddamned thing! Fixing this fucking sidewalk, in this piece of shit city, where nothing ever important has ever happened and never will. So go fuck yourself shithead, I’ll walk wherever I damn well please!”

Max walked away with a devious smile on his face.

Paul crawled inside a bottle of rotgut vodka and never came back out.

Part 4

Maxwell was stumped. He was standing at a cross walk in the busiest part of town and he did not know what to do next. He was playing with the idea of buying lunch, so he decided that he would go into the nearest restaurant and eat there. There was a flashing bagel over a window to the left of him, so he walked into the restaurant.”

“Could I get a filet minion, medium rare?” Max inquired.

“This is a coffee shop” the woman behind the cash register stated.

“You are constantly disappointing me.”

The woman didn’t respond. Max looked at her for a few seconds, waiting in vain for a response when he came to a realization. “My god, its Jane!” The woman looked up at him.

“Maxwell? Is that you?”

“It sure is! How are you? How have things been since school? You must tell me everything!”

“Must I?” asked Jane

“Yes yes! What are you doing with your life now? Are you a writer? You were always so bright. Oh tell me everything!”

“You forget that I don’t enjoy your presence.”

“Oh common that was back in school, are you really going to hold me to the words that I said while ingesting copious amounts of alcohol while simultaneously trying to screw every woman that I knew?”

“I see you still haven’t quite mastered the art of small talk.”

“You do realize I was madly in love with you.”

“Would you like a scone?”

“Oh common, don’t act that way towards me. I’m serious.”

“*sigh* are you really going to keep talking?”

“Fine. Just so you know the only reason I acted the way I did is because I could not be myself around you.”

“Oh my God Max, will you just get out of here? This is why I can’t stand you! You always say the wrong thing at the exact wrong moment. Why do you always have to try to get under my skin! You just like my reactions, is that it? Ugh. Your sick, you know that Max?”

“I don’t. For some reason when I’m around you my thoughts are focused on how cute you are while my voice is on autopilot.”

“Yeah? If I’m so cute and you were just so in love with me, then why did you confess to me how madly in love you were with Sara?”

“I was bored.”

“Will you leave now?”

“You didn’t give me my coffee.”

“You didn’t order any.”

“Okay, one coffee please.”

Max pondered what he was going to do next. He was in the busiest segment of The Collective for the first time in months. Usually when Max was here, it was to pick something up or drop something off from the main office. “I’m going to do something fun” Maxwell thought to himself.

“Here’s your coffee.” Jane had the frown that he remembered from his days in school after similar conversations with her.

“Sorry if I bothered you” Max said.

Jane didn’t look up. Maxwell walked outside sipping his coffee.

“It’s too bitter” he thought to himself.

Part 5

Max was entranced by the city that surrounded him. Everyone here had something to do it seemed, and at the pace everyone was doing their something, their somethings needed to be done fairly quickly. The lights coming from the signs all around him gave the entire place an artificial glow, but most considered that part of the city's charm.

Maxwell walked aimlessly down the busy street entranced by his surroundings, he wasn't looking where he was walking. Pretty soon, Max did not know where he was.

He was always getting lost.

“What do you want in life?”

Max turned around. Standing there was a man wearing a shirt of the local sporting franchise.

“Peace, happiness, love…and other such words to describe fulfillment.”

“Umm…yes! Come, Have your palm read today!

“Why not?” Max thought to himself. “I’ll trade in some of this paper in my pocket to be entertained for 15 minutes.”

He walked inside the psychic’s shop to find a rather obese middle aged woman sitting in a chair. “Do you wish to have your palm read honey?” she said to him. “Sure, why not.” He replied. “Sit down please.” she commanded, in a very respectful tone of voice. Max obeyed. “I will tell you how long you live, how many kids you will have, your future love and much more.” “Let me see your palm…yes…I can see already you will live a long life, you will live…to eighty seven years of age...you will not die of tragedy….” She continues, but it’s not important to hear. She was making everything up. She was not a psychic. Max knew she wasn’t, but it did make him feel better to hear someone completely uninformed about his situation to tell him that he was to live a happy life, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

Max left the shop twenty dollars poorer. He was confused about what just happened.

\"I wonder if I am sick\" Max thought to himself.

The thought left his mind as quickly as it had come in. Maxwell wasn't sick in the conventional sense, as in a mental or physical illness, but he was indeed sick. He could no longer cope with life's perceived insignificance or pointlessness, a trait that for beings of intelligence is as necessary for survival and longevity as the instinct to consume calories and the chemical H2-0.

Part Six

“Johnny Evans. Mrs. Mathews March 10

este, ese, esas, esa, ese, este, aquello,”

Max had found a paper on the ground, and that is what it read.

He flipped it over, the other side had more words that Max didn’t understand. He balled up the paper and threw it into the plants that were to the right of him. No one saw max do this, but Max spent the next ten minutes imagining what he would say to someone who complained about him littering.

Part seven

Maxwell walked down the street humming a tune that he remembered from radio music broadcasts when he was a child.

He decided that he was going to completely let go of the grip that reality had dangled in front of his face as a means of giving him direction.

Max started skipping down the middle of the road. There were no cars.

“Ladeedadeeda! Badoodillydoodilydoodilydoo! Ranananana! Ranananana! Deetotilly tottily tot!”

Max jumped twice on one foot and twice on the other as he swung his arms from side to side. People on the side of the road turned when they heard him running by them.

“I am free! Haha! my god, I am finally free!” Max screamed

Max had just discovered some interesting aspects about freewill. The most interesting part about it, was just how free he was. Now some laws were imposed on him, such as the law of gravity and that his body could get injured, but besides that, it was up to him.

“Now what?” Max thought

…..

hmm

…..

Max stopped skipping. He looked around. If he had no idea where he was before, he was now completely lost at sea.

The city was thinning out. The buildings here were smaller, most of the shops did not look like there were of any interest to him.

“I will go whichever way the head of this pen lands!”

He through the pen up in the air and spun It so it revolved like the blades of a helicopter. It landed on the sidewalk. It pointed straight ahead.

He through it up two more times, but the pen landed the same way.

“I guess there must be something straight ahead”

Part 8

Max walked for 20 minutes when he came upon a large park. There was a path leading into the park. Seeing that the scenery was starting to repeat itself on his walk, Max decided it was probably a good idea to walk down the dirt road intothe middle of the park.

Max walked about three quarters of the way through the park when he saw an old man standing on top of a wooden box talking to about nine people that were sitting on the grass. Max decided to sit down and listen for a bit.

The old man was talking about everything, high gas prices, the cost of the latest war that the collective was fighting over the ocean, and the history of the collective. “How cliché” Max thought to himself.

When the old man was finished talking he started discussing specifics about corruption in the collective and other such things. Max learned into listen.

“blah blah blah the government is oppressing us” one man said

“blah blah blah the government keeps us safe” another said.

“I think the people repress them selves by focusing to much on what some person with power does instead of focusing on self-improvement and coming to terms with the world around them” Max added.

The men turned around and looked at him. “You’ve got a lot to learn kid” the men said in a condescending tone of voice.

“I’m not getting angry at people I don’t know just because they are in charge of running the collective nor am I trying to impress people I don’t care about by displaying my knowledge of current political affairs…is that what learning is?”

“Grow up” said the old man.

Max decided to keep walking.

Ant on a Hill Part Nine

Max looked around, he had no idea where he was. He had no idea how to get back. He was on top of a large mound staring at the surrounding world. All of it looked vaguely familiar, yet he felt nothing for any of it. He had been walking for longer than he could remember. “Where am I!” He screamed. No one heard him, he was alone. He didn’t want anyone there. He had had enough of the charade. “Why am I here?” he yelled. Of course there was no reason he was there. He was simply wandering around, and that was the spot he happened to wander to. “This is completely pointless and insignificant!” Of course he was correct. “Why am I on this God forsaken rock!” No one could answer. But then again, no one could hear him. He looked down at the city. It was so small from a far. Max ran back into the city. He ran in the middle of the street. Cars stopped for him. He jumped up and brought his foot down on the hoods. And kept running. “I have grown tired of this existence! I want something more! I want to feel like my life means something!” Max said. The people around him were frightened. This was not normal. “I’ve grown tired of this farm! I’ve grown sick of the animals! I am no longer interested in the aesthetics nor do I care about what you have to say!\" Max ran into the building to the right of him, ran onto the roof and yelled this: “I want to say one thing. I looked for something, and god dammit I found it!” Max jumped off the roof head-first and landed head first on the pavement. He was killed instantly.

Ant on a Hill Part 10 Max. wake up Max. You see that city over there? All from your species ingenuity and skill. This universe started with nothing, with mere molecules combining and separating from each other in outer space. This is all purely by chance, and it is incredible. Look around you. You live in a miracle. The chance that you would even exist is so small that there isn’t even a number to describe it, except of course, maybe zero. But that would be incorrect, as here you are.


© Copyright 2017 Eliot A.R.. All rights reserved.

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