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Thursday, August 5, 2021

Short Story: 1, 2, 3, Ding!

Welp, guess it's time to share my original fiction. I'm not really sure if it's up to snuff with my regular write-ups, but I hope you all nonetheless enjoy it.


 1, 2, 3, ding!


We turn the corner and stand at the top of the steps.


Get up, stretch out. 5:30 A.M., early enough to shower. Walk in, strip down, use the toilet, get in; water’s cold, but time is of the essence.


Finish up, brush teeth; back, forth, back forth, back forth. Rinse, spit, rush downstairs and have cereal. Watch television; someone was shot in the city in a robbery, it will be scorching hot outside, and rain is scheduled for tomorrow.


Put the bowl in the sink, run upstairs, get dressed, use the bathroom one last time. Make a sandwich for lunch, get your guitar case, throw your shoes on, and head outside. The heat is blistering, but who cares; school calls.


Say hello to the elderly lady next door as she steps outside for the newspaper; who reads them anymore? Evidently her, but why are you thinking about this when school calls?


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the first step.


Get into your car and start it up. Turn on the A/C and turn to your local radio news station.


The President is an idiot.


Your Senators are an idiot.


Your Congressman is an idiot.


Drive down the road and nearly get t-boned by someone at the intersection.


Everyone is an idiot.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the second step.


Park and rush into school, nearly trip on the stairway up. See the cute girl; her personality is bubbly, her smile could kill, and her looks could be classified as a Weapon of Mass Destruction. Wave to her, she waves back.


She does that to everyone.


Get to your locker, take the necessities and store the stuff you don’t need. Go to your first class, science. Teacher takes homework, some buffoon forgot his. You snicker to yourself as he makes a fool of himself.


Learn about biology. Female anatomy; you couldn’t care less and nearly fall asleep.


Bell rings after some time. Get up, rush out, history next.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the third step.


Get to history class. Sit down; the pretty girl is sitting next to you. You feel a rush of excitement; maybe you can impress her with your knowledge of World War II. You get excited. The teacher comes in and puts on a documentary about the Battle of Berlin. You realize that talking during this would be a bad idea, and sit watching the film absentmindedly.


The bell rings after a while, and the movie stops. You get up. You spotted inaccuracies, but that doesn’t matter to anyone. Most of the kids are busy talking about how Reznov was the real hero. You can also hear the pretty girl talk about how interesting the movie was. She even asks you what you thought of it. You respond half-heartedly and say that it was pretty great.


It was subpar.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the fourth step.


Health class.


Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. Eat healthy. Live a healthy lifestyle. Work out. 


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the fifth step.


Time for music class.


That means it’s time to practice the guitar with the other bandmates. You excuse yourself and grab your guitar case from your locker. Once you reach the music room, you get to work on doing what you do best: listening to the music instructor. Pluck a string, fine tune the guitar, get everything in place, then lose yourself in the world of music. Fly through the sky that is your mind and pretend that all is okay.


It lasts a whole 25 minutes.


So little time to learn to do the one thing you dream of. Better to just do it at home on your own time, but it gets you away from being told to eat healthy, live a healthy lifestyle, and to work out.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the sixth step.


01010100 01101001 01101101 01100101 00100000 01100110 01101111 01110010 tech class.


Place your guitar back into your locker. Get a move on over to the computer room. Learn about how great technology is, how to code, and what binary is. Living in a big tech city is as wonderful as living in a castle made of shit.


You tune out and begin to fantasize about living on a prairie. Just you and a beautiful meadow. The pretty girl is your soulmate. So much time to spend together. You feel like a fool for thinking you’d ever have a chance with her, but in your dreams, your wish is your command.


Your focus is broken when the teacher calls on you to explain who the inventor of the Internet was. You throw out an answer and somehow get it right. You immediately go back to fantasizing, but can’t find the same happy place you were in before. With a heavy sigh, you wait for the bell to ring once more.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the seventh step.


Lunch time. Head to the cafeteria, sit down at an empty table. The pretty girl sits next to you; you both begin to converse. It’s going great, you’re both laughing and enjoying each other’s company. She rests a hand on your wrist and leans over and asks you out. You say yes.


The bell rings. You shake your head. You’re alone. You haven’t eaten your sandwich. You haven’t even taken it out of the plastic bag. Your head had been resting on your hand as you stared at the wall.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the eighth step.


Free period.


Go to the library. Sit at a table. Pull out your phone and look up random stories. The land of milk and honey has a limitless supply of foolishness for you to enjoy. Corruption, shadiness, mass murder, and charlatans who swindle the gullible.


Images of violence, women, money, and glory flood your mind as your eyes scan the words. Thoughts of what you could be if you just tried a little harder weigh heavy on you. Try, try, try. Fail, fail, fail. You will never be anyone. Still you persist, only to fall to rock bottom.


The bell rings. Math now calls.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the ninth step.


Hurry on over to the classroom. All are waiting, eager as a lamb to the slaughterhouse. Pull out your homework, hand it in, then open your textbook. Blah, blah blah; the teacher’s words go in through one ear and out the other. You scribble down the answers to various problems. You like to pretend that the devil’s in the details, but you know that most of what you learn here will never be used. Not when your aspirations are as meager as the average junkie who makes late-night visits to the men in the alleyway.


The bell rings after a grueling 45 minutes. Class is over. Now onto gym class.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Run. Run. Run. Jump. Jump. Jump. Climb. Climb. Climb. Hustle. Hustle. Hustle. Your legs burn. Your heart races. Your mind draws continuous blanks. Sweat runs down your face.


Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Ding. Class is over.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the tenth step.


Art class. Everything the teacher says doesn’t register. Your body aches. Your breathing is still heavy. Still you paint a beautiful picture. It is your obligation. The people demand it. Your peers expect the best. Your teachers require you to do the best you can. Your parents demand it. You thank the teacher and excuse yourself.


You go to the bathroom and stare into the mirror. A visage of 15 eyes stare back at you. Each blinks one after another. One stares into your soul. Another stares into your mind. Seven stare in different directions. Forward. Backward. Leftward. Rightward. Northeast. Southeast. The nether. The others all clamp shut.


Your right eye twitches. Your left eye rolls into the back of your head. You let out a scream and fall to the floor.


Suddenly, you hear the bell ring. You look around. Your painting is a mishmash of colors that make no sense to even Picasso. You stand up and smile. It’s perfection. With a skip in your step, you walk out of the classroom and head on over to your next class: English.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the eleventh step.


You waltz into the room like you’re a cartoon character, making exaggerated movements. Your fellow classmates look at you like you’re a clown. A few giggle. Others raise their eyebrows. One laughs. The rest look at you in disgust. The teacher, meanwhile, tells you to sit your stupid ass down before he sends you to the principals office. You stifle the urge to tell him to jump out a window and sit down.


Shakespeare is the topic of discussion. You mentally tune yourself out as the teacher talks about how wonderful Romeo & Juliet is, how MacBeth is the greatest thing since sliced bread, and how A Midsummer Night’s Dream is terrific. All of it registers about as well as a minor earthquake to the average person.


After a few moments, your vision begins to blur. You feel somewhat lightheaded. Your mind races. Your heart rate increases tenfold. Anxiety courses through your veins. You excuse yourself and run to the bathroom. This time, you pinch yourself. You aren’t dreaming. Your head spins. Sweat rushes down your brow. You run over to the sink and splash water on your face. Looking in the mirror, you can’t help but grin. The whole world has become topsy-turvy; everything feels upside-down. A tear runs down your face.


Without a second thought, you make your way back to class, the same grin still on your face. When you step inside, the teacher asks how your impromptu trip to the bathroom was. You respond with a simple thumbs up and sit down, grinning. The student next to you shifts awkwardly. Without hesitation, you drop the grin and rest your head on your hand and sit through the rest of the class without making so much as a peep.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the twelfth step.


Test time.


Oh. No. You forgot about this. The teacher hands out a few sheets of paper on Shakespeare’s influence on the art of literature and language as a whole. You look at the sheet. Some questions you know the answer to. The characters to various plays, the words that Shakespeare created. Others you don’t. Plot points to his plays. The names of more obscure plays he wrote. You hastily answer the questions you know the answers to. You stare into space with others and wing it.


Time ticks by. Eventually, you flip the paper over and realize there’s another side to the test. With so little time left, you rush through the answers. You realize you’ve likely failed. You don’t care.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the thirteenth step.


School is almost over. There’s but one class left.


Social sciences.


Mandated by your overlords—or so you say to yourself—you drag yourself to the final classroom of the day and take a seat. The teacher yaps on about stuff you don’t care about and you feel yourself slip into a daydream. You imagine yourself in a field with your crush. You’re enjoying a picnic. The sun eventually begins to sit. You both enjoy some ice cream. She rests her head on your shoulder.


Suddenly, the scene changes. You’re in a hotel room in Las Vegas. You’re holding your head in your hands. It’s staring back at you. You stare at it. It begins to talk to you. Why have you not gambled with the luck you have? Why have you sat in this room for ages, a prisoner to your own faults, and not tried to better yourself. Why have you not taken risks? What is life if not a game of cards; play them right and you can win it all.


You have done nothing but be a drone to the most basic of requirements to be a human.


You throw your head across the room. You curse yourself for thinking such pretentious nonsense. You hurl the lamp at the wall. You throw the pillows. You scream and scream. You tear clumps of hair out of your head. You claw at your face. You punch a hole in the wall. You crush your water bottle.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the fourteenth step.


You kick the door open and storm down the hallway. A voice in your head curses you for your failures in life. You have not listened to the advice of your fellow peers, your family, your friends, your teachers, the books you’ve read, and the stories you’ve seen on the Internet. Failure is your destiny and your legacy.


You get onto the elevator and go down to the lobby. Tears stream down your face. Your cheeks redden. Your heart aches. You eventually walk out into the lobby and rush out into the streets. The sun is setting, yet the heat remains all the same. You frantically look around. The sidewalk is desolate. There are no cars. The street lights eventually flicker on.


It’s the dead of night.


The sun rises high up into the sky.


Day turns to night.


Night becomes day.


The stars race through the sky; the Moon becomes full, crescent, then is gone.


Eclipses come and go.


Days become weeks, which become months, which become years.


You soon realize you’re an elderly man.


You have done nothing with your life.


The bell rings.


Death has arrived.


The world becomes darkness.


1, 2, 3, ding!


Our foot hits the fifteenth step.


It’s the end of the day. You drag yourself out of the classroom and into the hallway. You grab whatever you need from your locker and ignore questions from your peers about what’s wrong. The pretty girl even grabs your arm and asks if there’s something wrong. You yank your arm away and tell her to fuck off. She looks visibly hurt.


You walk over to your car and throw your stuff into the back before peeling out of the school and heading back home.


1, 2, 3, ding!


The bottom; we’ve entered the hallway finally. The floor opens up and a large grey hand reaches out from the abyss. It grabs a hold of us and drags us down into nothingness.


You will die alone.


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