“School shooters understand life…you can’t write that, or to be more precise we won’t publish that”
“Sure out of context that sounds really fuckin’ bad”
“Could you not curse so much?”
“I thought you read and liked it?”
“Yeah but these are just some minor adjustments to give our readers the best possible experiences”
“You guys really are losing to TV, aren’t you?”
“You see, we will edit it, I am just asking for a replacement?”
“How am I supposed to do that…I mean these kids gift away their uncertain future, not even speaking off the one of others…not that they care, for some quick fame and all they have to do is carry some poor souls into the dirt with them. They had to have dirt between their teeth the whole time, tasting it wherever they go.. It is never a quick decision and surely not a simple one to pull the trigger. As soon as they do it, everything is different. No turning back”
“And there is no other way to say that?”
“No, I wouldn’t know how. The problem is not being a cogwheel in a bigger process, but if the purpose of the rusty machine is just to rotate two sideview mirrors for all eternity, I am not sure how you could be surprised?”
“Yeah sorry, I understand, but we can’t keep it in there. Can’t you just…take it out?”
“Why? Because it sounds so bad?”
“No, because they are going to boycott and the agency is going to suffer”
“Because they keep talking about it? I don’t see your point. I thought controversy is exactly what you need to sell some paper. I thought thats where we are at: Fortunes favors the fucktards fumbling spastically on the floor of a grocery store”
“That’s not nice, that you say that”
“Yeah, same way it isn’t nice to say the school shooter got a point. Doesn’t matter, does it?”
“You can discuss this with yourself, as much as you want…we won’t print these words.”
“I am, as the creator, I am demanding it to stay where it belongs”
“It is just words?”
“Yeah like the rest of it”
“Nathaniel, do I understand you correctly: you want to push away this opportunity for a sentence, that isn’t even really that profound? For a twisted principle? A discussion you will only have with yourself or the mob, when they come for your head thinking you glorify the culling of children by their peers?”
“Idiots with pikes, is not what I fear…it is about glorifying loneliness, makes me and them seem less misplaced”
176600, that’s me. A number in a register. It was time. I gave in and gave up my stubbornness. I had Stacey sell it for me.
“You need money”, she said to me over the phone. We agreed on that point. “…so get yourself a job like all the others”
“So that I can settle in there and then behave like a broken record over the distance of a sales counter in the best years of my life?”
“A few months is enough and then you have enough together to resign”
“Okay yes, I could see that”
“. . . and when the money is running out, you just find yourself a new job.”
“Yeah, I figured.”
Most people like the security of a stable job, but that didn’t have to apply to me. If I wasn’t happy anymore, I’d just shoot my resignation out of my hip. The day after the conversation at Lovely Life Literature it was clear what I would be from now on: Myself during his worst days making the best of what he got – the average working class mantra with a few minor tweaks.
I didn’t complain about my job. Was beneath me to cry about what got food on the table. Sure skilled monkey able to handle a flashlight could have done it. Going through an empty building. Looking for locked doors and the sign of human intrusion. Turning of lights, the workers kept up, when they went home. For me that would be 6 am or 9 pm depending on the shift.
I watched movies the whole night, during peaks to the security monitor. A red light attached to the cameras would light up, when they detected movement. I was just sitting here to assist the machine and waiting for the Scarlett glow of the alerting shine, that never came.
It was a day after Christmas. I was standing at the bus station just outside the subway. I was coming from a dayshift. It was freezing cold and it was almost 10 p.m. The bus would arrive in six minutes. It took me 15 minutes on foot. My working day was pleasant. I was just sitting around because there was no one in the house I had to watch out for. Despite that, I made twice as much today. The regulation applied to me at work only on Christmas, the day after Christmas and on New Year’s Eve. I was happy with myself. I heard music on my phone over the Internet and smiled because I felt kind of comfortable despite the cold, when I buried my hands in my jacket pockets. Then I heard her. It must have been in the silence between two songs. The wooden doors to the subway station just opened and I heard the sobbing. I looked to the left and there was this young woman. She looked done, carried three bags and her pretty face screamed for help. She was on the verge of a mental breakdown. Her eyes locked mine and she came towards me. I took out the headphones and she asked me if I knew the address to the R3. “No, what is the R3?”
“Emergency shelter? I’m sleeping on the street today because my child, you know what it’s like” and her words soon turned into whiny sounds. I just stood there and watched the disintegration of language.
“Where is the address of this accommodation?”
“Can you look it up on your phone?” she asked me. I took it out and put the name in the search engine. The result was barely loaded when the bus came and she got in and I got in even though the search engine said it wasn’t the right line for her.
“You have to take the subway to somewhere else, according to the Internet,” I told her, but she assured me that yesterday she had already taken this bus line to the emergency shelter. She thanked me and then she asked for a phone call. To be allowed to report there before they close the doors and she has sleep on the street. This world is cruel. I gave her my phone. She typed in the number. She talked to them, asked them, even begged if they would let her in. The answer seemed to be yes. She thanked me. Only now did I really look at her. Before, I had been in a kind of trance and had tried not to be too intrusive. She was pretty. Her skin kept a little darker, probably from the Balkan. A little perversion shot into my head. I wasn’t perfect, but sometimes you just turn yourself into the savior in need. Works as an aphrodisiac agent. She gave me my phone back. Her hands were soft. I looked out the window. There was no snow that night.
I had jumped off after 2 stations. Spared me a 15 minute walk. I didn’t know if she got there. I looked at her again as I got off. She smiled at me.