08 December 2010

The Manner of His Scramble

Here is an aging apartment on the seventh floor of a building. Inside, the countertops, and walls, and laminate, and everything, are tinged with a yellowness that comes with affordable rent for the poor. The outdated kitchen appliances are aching with different gravities, creaking with gossip, and you could hear it in the sounds of their settling if you were there. They are quite fond of their inability to shutup. The person they talk incessantly about has remained the same for thirteen years— a gaunt man named Mr. Boothe, who right now is inside of the bathroom closing the doors. It might be interesting for some to note that this poses difficulty for a man of sixty-six years old; as the door is too big for her threshold, perhaps not unlike a woman who gains weight with age, he had to strain himself to shut it tight. It might also be interesting that Mr. Boothe lives alone, making this bathroom door the closest thing he has to a loving relationship with a woman, making privacy a nonissue, making the situation increasingly strange. So there is an aging man to go with an aging apartment. There is a handful of people who are prone to call this a match made in heaven, but it is most certainly not that.

He is sitting on the toilet seat, which is made of the same material as expensive decorative dolls and collectible angel figurines, sold in shops whose billboards deem them as inspirational gifts. Mr. Boothe smiles. This is short-lived, however, for he remembers feeling he is going to catch ill soon, most likely the next day or the day after that. With this in mind once again, he sets off on a mental stroll through a tidy collection of absurdities. It is an evening dream of the most trifling productivities, one with the microscopic desire to ease the time between now and his cold, much like a lullaby. So he certainly would set up the coffeemaker for tomorrow morning; he would pick out and lay out his clothes for work; he might even take a shower, though he took one last night, and does not need one.
He nods his head in approval of these ideas, gazing into the peeling paint of the opposite wall, not unlike it were the wall itself that thought of them in the first place. He wipes his rear end, then suddenly his brows furrow into a vexed look. The act of touching his own anus through paper product reminds him of something very inappropriate Eric had said at work yesterday. Eric carries a better-than attitude around like a picket sign and takes night classes downtown for, as he claims, bettering himself. Eric said that some people do not get over the anal stage of psychological development for their entire lives, and that that is interesting. Eric said this in passing as he passed Mr. Boothe's shriveled desk. Eric is the sole reason Mr. Boothe has lost all faith in the future of youth and country. And Eric's wrongdoings set the flame to Mr. Boothe estranged and antiquated current thoughts on the toilet. 

And so they came, like dirty waves lapping upon saddened factories of rust, naturally and without cessation.

Mr. Boothe begins, thinking that mankind shouldn't know so much, particularly matters of the body. There is no need to research why aspirin makes his bum knee hurt less, save the concise description printed on the back of the bottle. There is no need to question or complain about taxes or death, as they are forever going to grasp ineffable truths man cannot alter. And for Mr. Boothe, there is no need to pray. He and God have had a lengthy understanding of looking up or down at one another here and there, and like an adolescent bickering with her mother before a large family function, "We'll talk about this later."

But he was not always so lonely. Years ago he was married to a woman he loved, in the same apartment, with the same tablecloth he has now. She eventually said he was distant. Of course he thought this to be nonsense, as he was always around her, early evening until morning at least. Months before the divorce, they had celebrated their 5th anniversary by purchasing a computer, though it was more of a last stand attempt at staying current. Anxious to leave with her belongings, with a bit of hope he'd become more in touch with the times, she had left the computer behind. He did not understand much of how it worked and thought the world wide web's words were often misleading. His last attempt to win her back was a complete failure-- he had tried to mapquest his was back into her heart.

However, the computer did suffice as an acceptable means to pass the time before bed, and he spent more time browsing the internet with time. Internet and time breeds pornography, and soon enough Mr. Boothe had clicked his way through the advertisement forestry into the universe of perverted nudity. He was dumbfounded, astonished, the like, and ever since has picked up his pace when walking by people in the street, has shifted his eyes downward when a stare was met, has shook his head when alone, as if everyone but him were behind this otherworldly curtain, on this stage of porn. How strange they are! What can creatures like this possibly be thinking all their days? Are there even enough cameras?

But what had struck him most in this gradual discovery is that nearly all of the sex acts depicted through his pixels ended in precisely the same way. The woman, or women, would cease coitus or oral sex, and the man would ejaculate upon her face, at times even spreading the ejaculate further with his penis itself. It seemed the more area covered, the better. The question of "why?" was implanted in his mind, and he could not escape it, to the point of obsession. Why would they possibly do that? What point could possibly lie within this action? Why is everyone indulging in this bizarre activity?

It should be stated that Mr. Boothe not once had ever used the imagery as a sexual stimulus in any way shape or form. That is, until tonight, when this question of "why" became too much for him to bear.

At this point, Mr. Boothe has decided he will indeed take a shower, though, as he said to himself before, he does not need one. As he runs the hot water, the "why" hits him again, and again as he undresses. His belly sags in the mirror; many things sag in the mirror. Suddenly and without precedence, a new question arises..

Why not?

It is the only way to come to peace with the issue at hand. He's been losing sleep over the ordeal for goodness sake. This has to stop. Mr. Boothe turns the water off and begins to look at the shower in a new light, more like a construction worker and a blue print. He sits inside with his legs extended fully and looks at the connected wall. He feels now that this will certainly do. Mr. Boothe flops onto his naked back, using the momentum of his weight to grip his feet on the wall. Slowly, he begins baby-stepping lightly towards the ceiling. Moments later, his entire body is upside down and erect, resting on the crook of his neck. He begins to rub himself absentmindedly, save the notion aforementioned. Why, stroke, why, stroke, why. Within a minute (it has been years) the supposed answer awaits. Quickly, he corrects the aim as the murky liquid drops upon his poorly shaven face-- a quiet splat.


There was no epiphany. There was no ignominy. There was only a washcloth with a spot of semen and a faucet dripping. 

He is still drooping somewhere in that apartment, still fretting over coworkers' shaggy dog stories, still brooding upon brainchildren that are bound for abortions. And what's left in Mr. Boothe's destiny is nothing more than haircuts the first Tuesday of each month and brown sugar in his oatmeal-- exactly how it is supposed to be.


Leigh Rose said...

It's playing over in my head, perfect. Keep writing.

Wolf Run Wildlife Refuge said...

Do you know who wrote this story? My last name is Binetsch & it is not a very common name! I wonder where he got it?? Great story so far!