Saturday, August 16, 2008

Micro Story


It looked exactly like it did on the front of the old NES system... a gray, three dimensional rectangle with the word "Reset" printed on it in a red font... but this one was floating in mid air. It was larger, too, about the size of a baseball card. I didn't know where it came from... I'd been typing in my office, trying to finish a short story about a man who falls in love with a girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and when I leaned back to stretch, it was just... there, hovering above my desk. Eye level. Not a chance I would miss it.

I reached out and touched it... lightly... just to feel if it was real. And it was. It was hot, like a car's hood after a long road trip, and there was a slight vibration to it. It thrummed as if there was an electrical current running through it's mass.

I didn't know what to think. If I had been experiencing madness, then it was complete... I could feel my hallucinations, their residual heat remained on my fingertips. And if it wasn't madness... then... what? Well, I guess then it was a reset button. But for what purpose? I mean, for resetting something, obviously. But... again... what? I stood up and walked around to the other side of my desk, wading through the piles of garbage and dirty clothes that had accumulated during my period of "self-employment." My joblessness, in other, more accurate, words. I was looking for the back of the reset button. However, from the other side, the button did not exist. There was only a slight, shimmery distortion hanging in the air, like the way the world looks through a soap bubble.

The phone rang just then. It was Helena, my wife. We argued, as we always argued. I am no good, says she, and she is a suffocating bitch, says I. But, despite my general lack of goodness, I was to make sure the laundry got done, the kitchen tidied up, a healthy, low-calorie dinner made, by the time she got home. She was calling to remind me of all this; to make sure my writing wasn't getting in the way of my chores. I tell her I won't forget. She says I had better not. I wanted to ask her what the consequences would be if I DID forget... but I didn't. That would have only prolonged the argument and, honestly, the less I have to talk to her, the better. Instead, I slammed down the phone, which didn't make me feel any better about anything.

A reset button? Just hanging there. I stared at it for a long, long time. And then I looked around my filthy office where I spent most of my time pretending to write. Actually, I came here to hide. Then I looked inward, trying to see directly into my miserable, lonely heart. What looked back at me was ugly. Sad. My high school senior photo, on fire, my eighteen-year-old self crying at this vision of what he would become. I made a decision.

A reset button. Just hanging there. I put my whole hand on it. Felt it's heat. Slowly I pushed it in. Everything went white. Then very warm. Then latex covered fingers pulled me out of a wet, dark place. I was slapped and I cried. And now I'm lying here, under a mobile of airplanes and rockets, hungry... so hungry... I'm still aware, though. Still self-aware. I remember the office. I remember the button. Just hanging there. Most importantly, I remember my wife, my life, the path I took. I remember it all.

And now it is time to try again.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

never commented before, but felt very moved by this piece of writing.
but, instead of something clever or interesting, i am just speechless.

11:01 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

I concur. Very cool!

12:24 AM  
Blogger ML said...

:) interesting. and positive. i like it.

12:37 AM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Anon... Heh, thanks anonymous dude. Glad you liked it.

Todd... No, YOU'RE very cool. But also, thanks!

ML... Thanks! When I die, if people at my funeral are overheard saying, "Well, at least he was interesing and positive," then I think I'll be a very happy ghost. Can't think of two things it's nicer to be. Okay, maybe "dead sexy" and "wealthy beyond anyone's wildest dreams," but, you know, otherwise.

5:59 AM  
Blogger jason quinones said...

it's that last line that gets you!

cool story man.

i often wish my life had a command z function.

7:02 AM  
Blogger jason quinones said...

p.s.- noticed in your last post you mentioned the french horror flick haute tension. i haven't seen it yet as i've herad mixed and mostly meh reviews on it.

i did however recently see this french horror flick called sheitan starring vincent cassel from eastern promises. it wasn't exactly gory or scary but the fucked up creepy level was pretty damn high.

you might like it.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous stew said...

whoa, nice.

but would would have happened if you had pressed A,B,A,B,A,B,A,B?

1:41 PM  
Blogger Todd said...

That 'select' button always pissed me off. Why did it mock me?

1:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

surfing around I passed this... liked it ... gonna look for more on your site :)

8:59 PM  

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