The Story of a Sad Sad Man

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
What will Lester do when everyone in this world is happy except for himself?

Submitted: October 06, 2013

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Submitted: October 06, 2013



Far, far away, in the deep cavernous space of a clown's anus is the town of Nitrous Oxide. Everyone in the town is, well, ridiculously happy. When I say everyone, it does include the librarians, the hospitality workers, the immigrants who sold their life away working underpaid and the filthy rich artsy fartsy elites who think that being happy is simple, shallow and uncultured. Therefore, as I said, everyone, no: everything, is happy. Well, except one person. His name is Lester.

Lester is just simply born miserable. Perhaps it was due to his murky past. It was rather sad. Lester was an unwanted child. It's a long story:

a hundred years ago, the town was separated by two big families: The Smilies and The Frownies. The Smilies are known for their sharp knives while The Frownies know how to grow happy mushroom. Since Smilies like to be happy and Frownies like to cut themselves... they have a long history of friendly trading. Both lost many lives due the epic trade, but obviously, it's the Frownies that lost the most.

The Frownies clan dwindled into very few numbers and ended up with one heiress: a young girl called Eponine. One day the handsome Marius of the Smilies went to scout the outskirts  and discover his people persecuting Eponine, a frownie. He fell in love with her on the first sight, but after the first raunchy night, he fell out of it, realizing that he found her attractive because he first saw her hung upside down from a tree, therefore her frown, looked like a big smile. Therefore poor persecuted frownful Eponine carried the last baby of the Frownies clan. After singing 'On My Own', she jumped off the cliff and left baby Lester oh his own.

Growing up naturally and genetically unhappy and frownful, he moved from family to family, trying to find a place and a home where he can be frowningly happy. Lester grew up, alas, to be the only frowner of the town. He is the one who would take pleasure in stepping on happy smiling sunflowers and kick the giggling bunnies. He would call the gloriously cheerful Sun 'giant diabetic ulcer' and rainbow a 'f#gg*t'. He always missed the excessive compulsory sugar consumption at 9:30AM every morning and the also compulsory break-into-Bollywood session at 12:30PM. It is not easy to visualise him being alienated by everyone else in the town.

He is not naturally mean, he is often kind in his own way. Once he saw a bird that is about to eat a grasshopper. In order to save the grasshopper from a slow miserable death-by-a-crushing-beak, he stepped on the grasshopper and killed it in an instant and to avenge its death he shot the bird dead too.

Being 29 years old and working in a bank without any talent or hope to exceed any further in life, and unattractively, undesirably sad - he was treated as something tolerable or as a dying rare species. He lived in a small studio in an old apartment - extremely unhappy - being surrounded by happy people. On the same floor is the Austins; a huge family with five children and the Andersons; a young couple who love to have lots of uhm... noisy activities and recreations. Below him is the Martins. He does not know much about that family except that he can hear lots of 'Hallelujah! praise the lord, Amen!' shouts and corny songs blasting from the radio.

Perhaps the neighbour he least hate is nanna Dorothy. She lives upstairs and loves to bake. She would open the window and let the smell of fresh sweet pastries and rolls to travel around the air and into the other units. She understood very well that the odd Mr Lester dislike sweet and happy things, therefore she always baked him sugar free cookies and for every christmas eve she would bake him a bitter-gourd sugarless muffin, which, Lester enjoy very much, despite of how much he despised the kindness of giving.

One very odd day, Lester was given a raise of $0.05/hour, which caused him to burst into anger. On that same day, the people at the office gave him a surprise birthday party and invited a comedian for the entertainment. Don't even try to imagine how big was the cake they made for him. It was humongous, rich with cream, chocolate and sugar. Everyone ended up very drunk and merry. Put into the threshold limit of his tolerance to happiness and laughters, he rushed out and rode his bike home. On his way home he saw a huge billboard of a buck-teethed female model showing her bleach-white dental work with pride while promoting a new toothpaste brand. In front of him he saw a car with the slogan on the back screen, 'don't worry, be happy.' He was ready to cry out loud.. He rushed home, ignoring the traffic lights, which green lights have been changed to green smileys very recently and poor Lester, he was too lucky to get the nauseating green smileys all the way til home.

He slammed the door and locked himself inside the closet. He cried and cursed his very existence. How he wished that everyone is like him: sad, miserable, wretched and devoid of any hope or joy. He wished that everybody are just acting, that they are not really happy, they are just faking their happiness. He was not sure whether he was jealous of them or whether being happy is a cardinal sin. One thing he knew was that he does not want to be alone or be the only one unhappy. He cried and cried, and wept in such tormenting groans. He drowned into his own sorrow and fell asleep, not conscious of neither today nor tommorow. All he wanted was to just die, but somehow he was afraid of dying. Why would he be afraid of dying?

So the night has passed and the sun has risen. However, it is not really the same sun... It is odd. It looked as if the sun is absorbing light from the sky instead of giving it light. Lester woke up to find himself in this new odd world. He opened the curtain and sees it himself. Everything was wrong. There were this black-hole of a Sun and nightingale singing. All the flowers and bushes wilted in such a sorry state. Everyone was wearing black winter outfit while the air blew ice into every corner of every crevices and stole any remaining puff of warmth on the face of the earth.

He was suprised to see the world in such sorrow! He never felt happier! He ran out of his unit and checked whether his irritating neighbours are in some kind of agony. He could hear no more of the happy and playful shrieks of the little toddlers from the Austins. He rested his ear into the wall and he could hear sobbing of a woman calling, 'Jason, oh Jason, why must you leave us?' Jason was the youngest of the four. he could also hear the cries of the other children. Apparently one of them has hit the younger one the younger cried and caused the other one to cry as well. He could hear Mr Austin trying to cook breakfast in the kitchen while sobbing, and ocassionally he would burst into some interesting swearwords.

Lester felt somehow relieved from the experience, yet he felt odd. he was not exactly happy. He did not understand the feeling. He thought he should feel happy, as everyone would also be as miserable as him. So he tried to check the Andersons. It was too obvious. Just as he wanted to apporach the door of the Andersons, the door opened itself and he could see Mrs Anderson marching out while shooting out some foul names, addressing Mr Anderson. Then, it was followed by some plates and porcelains flying out and crashing into walls. The dodging Mrs Anderson looked horrified and infuriated, she rushed back into the apartment and after that he could only hear endless screaming from both sides. He silently closed the door to their apartment. Again, he was not sure whether he felt any more normal, now that everyone is as miserable as him.

He went downstairs to check on the Martins. The same happened. He could hear cries, as the TV and Radio broadcast to be heard, regarding to the ban on religion and religious activities and that religious remarks and proof of any religious posession can lead to imprisonment and capital punishment. Few seconds later he could hear the rushing steps climbing up the ladder. A group of policemen swarmed into every corner of the apartments looking for religious criminals. Soon enough they found the Martins and they dragged them all out, while they wailed for God to save them. Lester was perplexed. It was not exactly Lester expected at all.

Suddenly he could felt the sickness in his guts. He looked up above the corridor upstairs and to the door to nanna Dorothy. She would be the least that Lester wish to hurt in this world. The thought of something bad happening to Nanna Dorothy gives Lester the chill. He nervously crept up the stairs and somehow wishes that this is all just a dream. He slowly opened the old door as it creaks rather loudly. There, like a grand curtain, the door leads to Nanna Dorothy on the floor falling off from her favorite chair with all her freshly baked cookies lying scattered, She was struggling to breathe and everyone would be able to tell that Nanna Dorothy is very unwell and is about to breathe her last one very soon.

Nanna saw Lester. Kind Nanna Dorothy tried to be hospitable and struggled to bring herself back up and failed, followed by a faint smile and strained coughs. 'Sorry', She cried.

'Would you like some tea?' She struggled to get back up with all her might and Lester, being foreign to all these could only stand in confusion.

Nanna Dorothy said,"I am so sorry, my boy. I wish I am of more use at the moment".

Lester ran to her aid and tears started to trickle down his cheek. "Why ..? Why are you crying, my boy?". She smiled in such warmth that people would forget the pain she has to endure. "Is my cookies too sweet for you?" She asked gently, "Perhaps I should not put sugar.. I know how you despise sugar." She tried to push him off and try to get up but, again, she fell back to his arms. "Let us make another batch, shall we?". Lester didn't know what to do. He knew that the only thing that would make Nanna Dorothy happy is to follow what she said. So there he put the ailing Nanna on her favorite chair as she started to fade out and mutter senseless words; recipes, oven temperature, the do and the don'ts and so on. She was nearly out of her senses that she did not realize Lester was just sitting just beside her, holding her hands.

"How is it?" She asked with a strained tone. "Is it done, boy?" Lester wanted to say no, but he knew he had to lie, so he said "yes. It's well baked." His heart was slowly torn to pieces, seeing Nanna's hand shaking vigorously and her lips trembing, constantly trying to say something but unable. "hm..." She hummed warmly. "I can... smell... it." Her lips can still create the most beautiful wrinkled smile in the whole world. "Hm.., I wish." She continued "I wish I can taste it, but. But, I feel.. so.. tired." her grip on Lester's arm is getting stronger. " You. You boy, eat some, while Nanna take a nap.... Do you hear me?" She asked forcefully in a motherly tone. Her body started to tremble along with the hands and the legs. She gasped for more air and just about when Lester wanted to answer her

... she died.

There was silence.

And more silence.

'...' and more.

'Yes.' Lester whispered.'Yes.' He added.

He could not stop tearing up, water poured out of his eyes as if there had been drought for decades. Nanna's gone. her delicate wrinkled hands were rested, the grips released, and Nanna left her body with such a beautiful smile. You can see her life in that smile: all of her past and how beautiful, rich and full of depth it had been.

So lester left Nanna with great great sorrow. He could not define this sorrow, which is greater than any kinds of sorrows he had felt.

He paused.

He stood and somehow some kind of desperate power laboured against exhaustion.  He dragged himself up from floor to floor, to the apartment's rooftop.

 He looked at the world around him and he breathed.

He could feel all life surging into him. He felt how everything and everyone is constantly pulled and pushed together as the earth breathed in and out.He felt joy, laughter, bitterness, pain, sorrow, anger, despair, hope! desire! and will!

 He now sees that... he is after all... the same like everybody else!

He put his hands and fingers into his face and his lips and felt how it physically feels like to smile...

He laughed. He laughed and laughed and his laugh echoed into the silence surrounding him.

At last, it is not that he cannot be happy, but he is born to have an inverted smile. IT IS UPSIDE DOWN! He did not realise, that for so so long, he had been smiling instead of frowning. He realised that he is just like everybody else, and that all of his anguish that he has been having for years were simply happiness!

So, he made his last wish. The wish to fix things right. To turn the words frown and invert them back to happiness.

'No more sorrows now.' He smiled.

Without hesitation he sprinted and threw himself into the sky... as the sky was inverted back, where time fixed itself and everybody is back to the way it was.

Now, everything is perfect. Everyone is smiling, happy, extremely content with their being.

There is no more 'Lester against everybody else', it is just 'Everybody' and the name of Lester will disappear and it will be a part of everybody. And without his name the story ceases to be, as we have lost our one and only character. He now know how to fake his smile and blend into the crowd. Of course for some awkward moments he would cry while everybody broke into fit of laughters, but hey, not everyone is perfect.

Of course there is an alternate ending where Lester jumped off to his death. However it brings us to the question of whether it is better to just simply cease to exist just because you are different or perhaps you could learn to assimilate; or he could be back to his naturally sorrowful self.

Lester understood that he will never be truly a part of the people. He was born with something completely different. However, he learned to enjoy to see other people happy as well and every time he tries to do a smile (inverted frown), deep inside, he was truly happy.


Dedicated to people who have experienced what it felt like to be depressed or be a stranger, bullied or misunderstood.


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