Lonely Man Chronicles: West Side Finale

by admin on December 24, 2011

Lonely Man Chronicles

West Side Finale

What if every day you woke up you felt like killing yourself? What if all the words, self- help books, drugs and alcohol didn’t help and you still felt the same? What if you knew that your life was a joke and you yourself never got it although everyone else around you did? What if the sight of your own face and body in a mirror caused you to grimace in disgust? What would you do if you realized that you were going to be alone for the rest of your life despite all the efforts that you had put forth during your so called life not to be otherwise?

These questions race back in forth in his mind as he stands naked in front of the bathroom’s medicine cabinet mirror, a look of hopelessness reflected back at him. At thirty-three, he had the look of a man almost ten years his senior; a direct result of years spent indulging in cocaine, scotch and wayward women. Now all that running the streets all day and night and burning the candle at both ends has finally caught up to him mentally, and he cannot bear to go on like this for another day or minute. Looking back into the image before him, he knows what needs to be done to end all this pain and suffering. It had been building up for quite some time, now it has arrived in all its glory, ready to be birthed into this world by the naked man who fathered it.

Opening the medicine cabinet, he surveys the contents within. Tylenol, Listerine mouthwash, cotton swaps, Colgate toothpaste are among the many things occupying the two shelves within, but that is not what he is searching for. His eyes finally fall on a small, orange medicine bottle, strategically placed behind a half empty bottle of Tylenol. It is in his right hand before he realizes that he was reaching for it. Turning the bottle’s label around with both hands, it is what he expected: the last remnants of the sleeping pills he was prescribed when he fought a two month battle with insomnia sometime last year. They had helped, allowing him some semblance of normal sleep but he had quickly grew tired of the pill-popping and into the medicine cabinet they went along with the other pill bottles for all the other ailments that plagued him. Now they were ready for usage again, only this time a much deeper sleep will be called for, a much deeper sleep from which all his hurt and pain will never be realized ever again by those around him and in particular, himself.

The expiration date on the front of the bottle almost stopped him. Almost. They had expired almost four months ago. Four month old sleeping pills wouldn’t do the trick, would they? Could they possibly be just as potent as they were when they first were manufactured? Better yet, do pills “get old?” How was he to know? All he wanted to do was end all the confusion and pain in his life, not worry about the sleeping pills he wanted to use to end his own life were expired or not. Can’t he even get this one thing right? Then the voice of insanity answered in an almost too calming voice; an answer so simple and elementary that at first he thought that it was wrong, but a split second later realized that the voice was all too right.

“Just take the whole bottle. That way, you cover all your bases.”

The hair on the back of his neck stood at attention as he looked around to make sure no one else was in the narrow bathroom at the same time as he was. Of course there was no one there but if that was the case, where in the hell did that voice come from? Perhaps he has truly gone mad after all. He must be because no sane man would take his own life by swallowing twenty odd more-than-likely-expired sleeping pills. “If this is madness,” he thinks, staring in the mirror once more, “then I welcome it with open arms, warts and all.” The sound of the medicine bottle shaking its contents within brings his attention down to his right hand. That’s when he notices the slight shaking hand; the culprit of the interruption of his thoughts. He places his left hand over the right to calm the rattling of the pills and to open the bottle as well. As he aligns the safety arrows along the top and the actual bottle itself, twisting them in opposite directions, that voice comes back once again, only this time surprisingly calmer than previously.

“There you go. You’re almost home. Now, just cowboy up and finish the job!”

“Hey, I’m doing the best that I can,” He says out loud to nobody. “Don’t rush me!”

“Pussy ‘till the end.”

“I AM NOT A PUSSY!!!” and as quick as the words left his tongue, the bottle was on his mouth, forcing it to open wider, his neck craning back to accommodate the total contents with in. Never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined that swallowing half a bottle of any pills could be so easily executed, but here he was, digesting 250 milligrams each of a sleeping aid without any problem whatsoever. Amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it he thinks as the last white and orange capsule slides down his throat. Dunking his head under the sink to retrieve a healthy gulp of water, the voice speaks in a tone of respect.

“Way to go, Buckaroo! I knew you had it in you the whole time! I’m proud of you! You’re all grown up now!”

“Yes, I’m a good Buckaroo and I AM all grown up now.” This he says to the reflection staring back at him, it too dripping water from its chin and with blood-shot eyes.

“Now, pour yourself a drink and lay down. You deserve it, Buckaroo.”

He leaves the bathroom in silence, heeding the words of the obviously much wiser voice within his head, heading to the kitchen where the scotch was kept in the small cabinet above the refrigerator. The Oban 20 year old single malt was only consumed on those rare occasions when he felt somewhat happy. He had had a couple of quaffs last New Year’s Eve with an ex of his, both of them watching Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Years on television while seated on the worn denim sofa they both had purchased together some years past. It was the last time they were as close as they broke up less than two months later, him not having a choice in the matter, she claiming that he wasn’t as affectionate as she’d like, in fact at times that he was down- right frigid. The only other times it was drank were when the occasional friend would stop by or if his football team (die hard Redskins fan) would win a playoff game. Outside of that, it was never even touched. Breaking tradition, today it will be drank out of sadness and despair, the remaining half bottle of the peaty liquid will do nicely as the last drinks of this life. He takes the scotch down from its dark home and closes the cabinet door. Next stop: the living room.

Less than thirty seconds later, he is sitting up on his couch but not before stopping by the DVD player on the other side of the room and putting in his favorite movie, West Side Story. His mother had introduced him to it back when he was eleven or twelve and he had fell in love with it after its first viewing. At the time, no movie he had ever seen came close to its realism or energy. All the dancing, the fights, the music… it had taken him by storm with its brilliance. By the age of fourteen, he knew every song by heart and could recite close to ninety percent of the dialogue word for word, right along with the movie playing before him. While the rest of his friends and schoolmates were rocking out to AC/DC and Foreigner, in the privacy of his home (when no one was around), he was recreating the high school gymnasium dance scene, step by step, envisioning himself as one of the Jets or Sharks, fighting to keep their turf safe from the other rival gang. Throughout his life whenever the problems of the world seemed overbearing or too much to handle, he would slip in WSS, taking a three hour hiatus from reality and getting lost in nostalgia. This was one of those times. With the single malt scotch an arm’s length away from him and the remote on his right thigh, he watches the opening credits of the movie displayed before him and like that, he is transformed back to the early 80’s, whistling the all too familiar Jet battle cry (tweet- tweet –TWEEEET!!!) in unison with the film.

For being naked for the past hour or so in his apartment, he is surprisingly not cold or hot. He is… just right. That’s the best way he can describe himself during the end of his life. Ironic, he muses just as Maria and Tony are performing their famous balcony scene while singing “Tonight, tonight”, one of the film’s classic moments in his opinion. In the end, it is the only time he has felt normal. That deserves a drink. And drink he does. Not only then but for almost the next hour, every five minutes a generous “sip” is taken by him until by the time the DVD is at the big rumble under the tunnel, the eighty proof liquor is depleted along with any reservations he may have had about staying here in this world.

“That’s right, Buckaroo. Down the hatch.”

“You still here,” he says aloud to the room, his speech slurred and eyes glassed over as the combination of the alcohol and the sleeping pills have finally began to do their job properly. “I thought you would have been gone long ago, friend.”

I’m here to the end, Buddy-boy. Me, the Jets and the Sharks.”

He smiles at this while on the screen Tony is running through the streets and back alleys screaming for “Chino, come and take me too!” for all to hear.

“Watch your back, Tony, ma man. That Chino is one slick fucker,” but fucker now comes out sounding more like ‘fawka’ as his motor skills quickly wane from him with each passing minute. “A slick fawka jus lik dem Sharks.” A slight chuckle follows but is quickly cut off as the toxic substance combination knocks him out a second later. What brings him back to is the sound of the remote control which has fallen off his lap and with a loud clink!, hits the empty scotch bottle on the floor beneath him, briefly awakening him but he finds that he cannot move. The half-off, half-on on his back with his head laying on its left side facing in the direction of the television is the only position his body will allow itself. He tries again to will his body at least upright, this time with all the mental faculties at his disposal but still it’s a no go. Have…to…get…up… but he cannot even manage to wiggle a finger or toe because now his motor skills are all but gone.

As if this wasn’t frustrating enough, his bladder goes. Under normal circumstances, he could feel that all too familiar tickling and pressure from a desperate need of urinal release but by no means was this normal circumstance. He had no warning whatsoever. What starts as a trickle slowly rolling down his left thigh onto the hard-wood floor beneath him, in seconds is a full-blown golden waterfall, creating a sizeable puddle on the floor not to mention a humiliating blow to his ego. Even in the end, he thinks, I still have shame. This is his last cognate thought as the pills, alcohol, and finally his absent will to live finally overcome him. A single tear builds up in his right eye and releases itself down the side of his cheek just as Maria is mourning over Tony’s fatal gunshot wound by the hands of Chino (the fawker!) on the television. It is the last scene of the film and this is the last scene of his life. As the credits roll and the medley of the musicals songs play, his eyes roll back in his head and he closes his eyes for the last time.

He died the way he came into this world, angry, naked and alone.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Glen Carionette 12.31.11 at 2:23 pm

Mr McCant I’ve been following this blog for some time now, and would now like to make a suggestion.

“The job of fiction,” writes Stephen King, “is to find the truth inside the story’s web of lies.” Lying and exaggeration are a critical component in a fiction writers tool kit.

Oscar Wilde once said that all storytellers are consummate liars, but added, there is more truth in their lies than in people who live on the surface of life and call it truth.

Fiction writers are basically telling their own story, from as many angles as possible. The truth the reader brings to the story is his own experience, but communicating it with imagination, and in a way that helps the soul of the man himself.

The problem we have here is, where does Mr McCant, with a healthy appreciation for fear and conflict of the human heart, go from here?

More importantly, how does he plan to organize the wellspring of his own immortal soul, in a way that interests, rather than confuses readers.

If you want to take your blog to the next level, and write page turners, then write stories that echo the life and beliefs of others, as much as yourself.

The problem with lonely man chronicles is he came from no where, wandered aimlessly, talked only to himself, and was given no home except the grave.

As well, the musings of personal disappointments blur the lines between the writer, and his fiction.

For all it’s worth, a couple of your stories reveal great imagination. With some discipline, and a good edit on an organized blog, they may stand a chance.

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