‘Nothing Happens In This Story’ – Extract.

Having been in full time employment for the last 3 months, I feel about ready to jump off a bridge soon. Not a tall one where I’d die, but one where I’d really hurt my legs so I don’t have to go to work. I want to get into my doodling again, as my work desk is covered in doodles on post it notes, drawing strange glances from those around me. Anyway, I came up with an opening line to a story, then just went with it, and here’s the first section. It’s not great, but I’m bored. Bored of existence. Bored of the relentless monotony. Which is sort of like saying I’m bored of boredom. Enjoy…

Nothing Happens In This Story.

The problem with first impressions, is that if you make a good one, it’s all the more disappointing when everyone discovers you’re a talentless arse.

When I say talented, I’m not necessarily speaking about acting – which isn’t so much a talent as it is an exercise in abject pointlessness, or say music, or even dancing, if you call synchronised arm flailing to some music a talent. No I’m talking about any sort of gift, or ability. Damn it, even if you’re good at delivering a newspaper I’d call that talented.

Thing is, talented people are in short supply. Like really talented people. People with charisma, people that can engage you in a lengthy conversation without reusing too many words. People that can make an anecdote about buying some cheese sound like an adventure worthy of an epic poem. People that can be trusted to get a job done with minimal effort and fuss. They are very few and far between.

Most people are boring, and that’s the worst thing I could say about anyone. Hitler may have been a mass-murdering fuck head, but hey, he seems kind of interesting. A lot of people are perfectly nice. They’re charitable, they’re friendly and would bend over backwards to help you, but they’re still boring.

I’m boring. I’m incredibly boring. I’m so boring that even I can’t sit through one of my anecdotes from beginning to end.

***

“Perhaps now we’ve got to the stage where we can go around the circle and say why we drink. If you can truly understand why, then it’d be far more easier to live without it.’ He said.

I have to fight the urge to interject and say that what he said wasn’t quite grammatically correct. I’m not so pedantic that I get caught up on the whole ‘your – you’re’ thing that enrages so many people on the online world, but that more was entirely unnecessary. It was jarring, it created a sense of off-key dissonance, but not in a cool jazz way, it was more ‘a fly had just landed on the keys and the pianist – enraged by his passionate hatred for flies – just had to squash it, ruining his rendition of ‘Fur Elise’.

Thinking of pianos, there needs to be some clichéd piano piece playing as everyone takes their turn to try to elucidate their own reasons for drinking. It takes some people some coaxing, and some insipid moral support for them to come to their own dull predictable conclusions as to why they drank. It’s Eddie’s turn now. I quite like the fat bastard, but he’s not exactly the brightest star in the sky, not the smartest bunny in the box, not the sharpest tool in the shed; he’s a fucking idiot – I don’t mean that maliciously. He’s great really.

‘I think, since my wife left me… I… I struggled to cope. After work, the evenings … they were boring, and I’d be on my own, since the kids went with her. I was just alone, and I got sorta depressed, I found drinking helped. I’d drink until I fell asleep. I didn’t think I had a problem, I still went to work and everything, got there on time and did my hours. Then I’d come home, drink and fall asleep again, ‘cause y’know, I don’t watch a lot of TV and I’ve never been one for books really. So, what else was there to do?’

That was sort of the gist of what he was going through. Standard divorced drunk. I was alone and sad so I started drinking. I bet he drank when he was married anyway. Probably one of the reasons he got divorced. He’d come home from work, they’d have nothing to talk about, so they’d both just drink until they fell asleep and start the whole routine again the next day.

He’s a great bloke though. Good sense of humour. Very self-deprecating, but I suppose you’d have to be if you were as dense as he was.

‘You’ve been awfully quiet this week, Robert.’ I give an internal groan, I see this line coming a mile off. It’s something a lot of people say to quiet, introverted types in a vain attempt to get them to speak to come out of their shell (if you’ll excuse the cliché, if it helps, picture a snail instead of a turtle). The fact is, I’m fairly quiet most weeks. I have been since the last time I really spoke out. I nearly started a fight and someone left crying, can’t really remember who, I wasn’t paying too much attention.

‘I don’t know,’ I respond lazily not looking the guy in the eye. His name’s Noah, pretty pretentious I think. He’s in his late thirties, average looking, black hair, slight stubble. He’s got one of those annoying smiles. One of those annoying ‘I like you, don’t be scared, we’re all friends here,’ kind of smiles. A condescending smile at best, or at worst a very naïve one. I hate him.

Well that’s a bit much. I don’t hate him. By his own admission – by his constant own admission – he was once an alcoholic. He found the right support though, he found it and today he had gone four-hundred-and-sixty-nine days without touching a drop. Shame really. If he drank a bit he’d probably be fairly entertaining. Sober, he’s a boring self-righteous prick. But no, he’s great, it’s good he’s trying to help others I suppose. More than I’ve ever done.

‘You don’t know?’ He repeats soothingly. He must have read a book on psychiatry or psychology- whichever one it is. He must have googled ‘good therapy techniques’ or something. HE seemed to repeat what people said back as if it were a question, as if he could cleverly get them to come to some crystallising epiphany just by reflecting on their own words.

‘Well I do,’ I shrug, I do know why I drink, everyone knows why they do things. They must do. What idiot doesn’t know why they do things, heck even Eddie knows why he drinks, because he’s a lonely boring idiot.

‘Care to share with the rest of the group? Sometimes talking about our problems aloud, to –

‘Yes sometimes talking about our problems aloud to an objective audience can aid the healing process or something like that I’m sure,’ I interrupt. I hate being told things I sort of already know, especially if they’re being explained as if it’s new to me. I hate that. Makes me feel stupid. Which I probably am to some degree. Not the same kind of stupid as Eddie, but I wasn’t a straight A student. I was more a wobbly B student. B’s across the board. I hated maths and numbers confuse me so I got a D in that.

‘Well, do you want to share?’ Noah asks in that benevolent, ever patient way of his. HE didn’t even show a flicker of annoyance, not one sign of indignation. I hate people like that. Is it insecurity, or confidence that makes a person react like that to rudeness, or outright antagonistic behaviour? Was he so desperately insecure and cowardly that he wanted to avoid confrontation at all costs, or was he so secure in himself that he can just let comments like that bounce off? Guess I’ll never know, unless I bash open his head and eat his brain or something. No, I’m just kidding, I know it wouldn’t work like that – it’s a funny image though.

‘Well, I drink because I enjoy it.’ I say casually. I brace myself for some sort of astonished gasp, some sort of acknowledgement that I said something different. I don’t get this reaction however. Of course I don’t. No one’s interested in what I have to say, just like I wasn’t interested in what any of them had to say.

‘And why do you enjoy it?’ Noah coaxes, probing his way ever deeper into my repressed emotions that I presumably drown in alcohol.

‘Because it tastes nice, it’s fun.’ I say, this is genuinely my answer, I’m not trying to antagonise anyone, this is why I drink.

‘Why do you find it fun?’

‘Because I do.’

Noah, sensing some sort of vague hostility, moves on. I always find these talks rather amusing. I really do. It’s like all those TV shows with the fat people. Those monstrous, pitiable people with their numerous rolls and their sweat glistened skin. They’re not as popular now, but they once were. There was a time where every channel had at least two programmes featuring these truly deplorable, vomitus messes. There’d always be a bit where they explain why they eat. Why they pile on pound after pound, why they shove pasty after burger after endless slices of pizza down their miserable greasy gullets.

There’ll be tears. Tears will roll down chubby cheeks as they say.

‘Ooh, I didn’t have any friends, I was really sad, I was really self-conscious and insecure. I turned to food as my only source of comfort. I ate for comfort and got fat, got depressed because I was fat and ate because I was depressed.’

What a load of shit.

IF you’re insecure, eating food is the worst thing you could do. Everyone knows the logical thing to do would be to score some cocaine. Can’t feel insecure when buzzing on that stuff. If anything you have the opposite problem.

Advertisements