Mildly mature content. Please be advised.
By Leonard Pigg III
Frank Felcher was born a middle child in the thick of a broken home. He didn’t really fancy his parents. They seemed more like roommates than an actual married couple. When they split, he didn’t really seem to care that much. All of his brothers seemed to be stronger, smarter and more charismatic than he ever aspired to be. He felt that popularity, and even excellence, was a burden which he wasn’t comfortable bearing. Content to simply get by, he avoided challenges. He didn’t play sports in school or engage in any other activities. He was content to be the invisible wallflower that seemed annoyed with everything. Once he was of age, he moved away to a nearby town and got a factory job. He didn’t think college was for him; he felt chained down enough in school. Frank also knew that he was content to do repetitive work, which afforded him time to think about other things. After a few years, the factory folded and he happened upon an office job, which paid the bills and covered his vices. The only things he really enjoyed in life were watching documentaries, pornography, drinking heavily, sleeping and listening to progressive rock. He didn’t care for any of the modern music as everything sounded too synthetic for his tastes. He never thought he was a snob for his musical preferences, simply that he might not be ready to move into the future. The time capsule of music he listened to reminded him of simpler days and a world before everyone was connected by the internet. He did enjoy online gaming up until the point people were antagonizing each other over headsets. He was the kind of man who would watch sports occasionally but mute the sound. He found sportscasters annoying and pointless; they interfered with what was not unlike watching animals in the wild. Radio was annoying to him because the broadcasters would always talk over the songs and he never really cared what the weather was going to be like. He stuck to his music collection to keep him sane in an irrational world.
Before he goes to bed each night, Frank prays to his higher power for an atomic bomb to drop in his neighborhood or at least his place of work. Maybe a black hole would appear and suck the planet off into oblivion. He drinks a few sips of cheap whiskey, pops a pill or two and forces himself into a state of unconsciousness. Even sleeping had become a bothersome event, a necessary evil. Every day that he wakes up, he gives out a deep sigh of disappointment as the alarm goes off. He dreams of the day where he just dies in his sleep and doesn’t have to call in. That seemed to be the path of least resistance. Employers never seem to have an issue with a no call/no show at work when you’re dead. He once had a girlfriend that he would let stay at his place with him. The only time they seemed to get along was mid-coitus. Other than that, it was a passive-aggressive mating dance that would never seem to end. He regretted picking her up from the bar all those months ago but she was his opposite. She was exotic and seemingly dangerous at times and he wanted to live life on the wild side for once. After the one night stand, she declared her undying love for him and invaded his life. Often times, he would initiate arguments with her in the hopes that she would break things off or kill him in his sleep. The relationship eventually ran its course and one morning he woke up with a letter from her. She was long gone and encouraged him to seek professional help, either a prostitute or a priest. He didn’t seem to mind being alone again so much. If all else failed, he would deal with the situation manually.
Going to work was a chore, a necessary evil. He made it a point to minimize his interactions with co-workers and management. He preferred a certain level of anonymity. By his second year at the office, he was content to not know the names of anyone he worked with and even avoided office parties at all costs. He did make sure to drink plenty of coffee but never to make any more when the pot was empty. Lunchtime was often spent in his car in order to limit human interaction— casual conversation in the break room was anathema to him. Sometimes he would smoke a little marijuana in order to dull the pain of human interaction during his breaks and then go back to the office, floating through the rest of the day. Frank liked the mind-numbing filing and time at the desk, leaving his mind to wander. There was a recurring fantasy of someone coming to the office in a homicidal rage and gunning everyone down. He imagined how he could have a dramatic death in slow motion, like in the movies. Once, he even dreamed of being the shooter and would come in with guns blazing, taking himself out at the end. He had pretty much resigned himself to the idea that the office was run by idiots and he was content to ride it out until the place fell apart. Occasionally, he would pleasure himself in the men’s room, leaving the stall unlocked. One fateful day, a man opened the door and was shocked to see Frank, who locked eyes with him and simply said, “Next.” The man ran out of the bathroom and would go the other way when he saw Frank at the office. The novelty of socializing was wearing thin. In his mind, he worked alone and only spoke when spoken to. The people around him in the office were phantoms and he found Zen time in the idea that all the world is actually like this: the reluctant last man standing on a planet of dead-eyed drones.
Frank hated his life. The way things were, are and always seemed to be. One day he woke up and took a long, hard look in the mirror. He spat at his reflection, unsure of why he had grown discontent with his own visage. From that point on, he wouldn’t shave or cut his hair. There was nobody to really impress. He stopped going to work, never giving notice to the office. It was one less burden on his day, giving him the opportunity to actually sleep in. He stopped paying bills, never bothering to check his mail. He stopped helping his friends and family, which had previously given him great joy. He felt such a great burden off of his shoulders. For once in his life, he knew something akin to happiness. Then, he lost his apartment, his vehicle and his support system. This made Frank sad. He was offered a room at a homeless shelter but the prospect of living among the unwashed masses gave him a wave of nausea. He would spend his days sitting in the park or walking around town, digging through garbage cans behind restaurants. At night, he slept in the vestibule of banks or other businesses that have an open lobby. For months, he did this and survived. He convinced himself he wasn’t homeless, but simply a “Modern Outdoorsman” on an aimless journey. As he lived on the streets, he finally decided that enough was enough. He climbed to the roof of a tall building downtown and jumped to his death. When they found his body on top of a smashed car, there was a note pinned to his jacket. It read, “Sorry about the mess.