It isn't FLCL related, but it's still an original work that I want to post.
I wrote this 'short story' last night. It was just a way to get feelings out. Some helpful criticism would be nice.
Depending upon the reaction, I might do something more with this. Or I might not. We'll see.
Also, it doesn't have a name. So if you want to give it one, by all means, feel free to do so.
Oh yeah. It filtered fuck a lot, but I didn't write it censored. I'm just too lazy to change it.
The first thing that you should know is that I’m not crazy.
“This song always reminds me of that book,” Jackie says, his headphones placed firmly over his ears, the music inaudible to everyone else. I had no idea what he was talking about, and he couldn’t care less that a gun was pointed at the back of his head. “Y’know, the one by that guy?”
The second thing you should know is that I’m not a nice person.
The fireworks display was shooting off in the sky in front of us, and I was worried about chemical poisoning. All those different chemicals, burning off in the air, forming different colours and different sounds. Different toxins.
“Y’know? That guy, the one who was pretty famous a few years back? Oh, jeez, what was his name…? He had all those movie deals and shit…”
Another load of chemicals explodes in front of us. Fireworks in the night. Explosions in the sky. It would’ve been really pretty if I wasn’t so scared of it all.
My hands started to sweat. And then shake.
Time was running out.
And yet, we still had all the time in the world.
“Anyways, it reminds me of that one book he wrote – the one that wasn’t turned into a movie. Y’know, that really famous one? And it was all philosophical and shit?”
The third and most important thing that you should know is that I’m not the one who started all of this.
But I’m sure as hell going to try and end it.
More fiery explosions flash out across the night sky, burning their colours into my retinas and leaving me momentarily blind. It really was beautiful, if you didn’t look too close. If you didn’t think too much about it. If you didn’t dwell on what it all meant.
“Except I never liked that book,” Jackie continues, a glowing cigarette rolling back and forth between his fingers and his lips, the dirty red light shining off of his glasses. “It never sat right with me, never gave me any satisfaction. I dunno why, but it always reminded me of this one thing that I’ve never been able to forget.”
Now that I’m thinking about it, now that I’ve got some of my head working right again, these fireworks actually remind me of what’s gong on right now. All that they are, all that they ever will be, is just explosions – momentary displays of gusto. A showy end to a brief existence, before they’re claimed by the night once again. Quick as they started, they end, never to be seen again. Used up. Useless. Empty. There never really was a point to them, no meaning to their magic, other than some sick joke, or an unavoidable coincidence.
Something in the back of my mind says you think too loud, and nobody wants to hear that sorry old shit. It’s already all been done a hundred times before.
And then I realize it was Jackie who said it.
So I say shut up, and my hands start to shake a little harder. I say, shut up! I meant it, I mean every word of it. I’ve had it. I’ve had it!
Calm as ever, Jackie tells me that I don’t mean it. In between drags on his cigarette, he tells me that I’ve never meant any of it, because I’ve never had a reason to believe what I mean. Until now. He says, reaching his hands up into the smoky night sky, that if I really meant it, if I really believed in my reason, then I’d be gone by now, and we’d be done here. But I don’t. And so we stay.
And then he tells me to shut up, and that I still think too loud.
“Besides,” he says, his mouth heavy with smoke, “nobody likes that philosophical shit. Not after we’ve all heard it a thousand times before.”
I bite my lip.
My hands tremble.
I clench my fist.
And then I reach for a cigarette of my own.
And I wish I had my pills with me, but I don’t, so a cigarette will have to do.
I’m not crazy.
I’m just in a rush.
I’ve got things to do, but no time to do them.
Except for a lifetime ahead of me.
“Need a light?” Jackie asks, flipping a lighter out of his pocket. I oblige his offer and relish in the momentary irony of it all.
After all, I’m the one holding the gun.
I’m the one pressing it against the back of his head.
“Maybe that’s why I never liked that book,” Jackie muses, and I watch him hit the replay button and start the same song over again. The song that reminds him of that book by that guy. “Y’know, ‘cause it’s all philosophical and preachy? Except, it’s nothing new – just a different package for the same old toy. It’s been done by a million people before, and it’ll be done by a billion more again. It’s nothing special, and yet it still tries to be. Like a kid trying to break away from the mainstream, not realizing that counter-culture is as mainstream and overdone as anything else in this world.”
His words stung me on a personal level. I hated him so much, and yet I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger. Not yet. Not until we’ve said everything we’ve had to say. That is, if we have the time for it.
Which we don’t.
At least, I think we don’t.
A few more fiery explosions break off in the distance, and then comes the main event. A deafening blow shakes the earth beneath us, built up to its glory by all the smaller explosions beforehand. The rocky cliff side rolls as the explosion and its colourful aftermath strike fear and awe into the hearts of all the onlookers. For a moment, it’s as bright as day, the chemical light washing over the landscape. And then the night comes crawling back, to claim the world another time. It was just a blip on the radar, this one. Just a moment amongst an eternity of others.
And then the screaming starts.
And I realize this one might mean something more.
I feel something for a minute, deep inside. A feeling I haven’t had in a long time. And, for a second, the numbness subsides.
For a second, I feel as if there is more, as if this is sign that even after something ends it can remain, it can linger, and have meaning beyond its existence.
And then another explosion goes off, of equal proportion to the last. And then another. And another. Until there’s an orchestral symphony of chemicals and fiery, colourful light. All of them, equally amazing, like a thunderous rain. Equally deafening, like a storm of fire. All of them, equally meaningless.
And then I feel empty. Hope is lost. Significance has ended. What was once meaningful, like all things, is now hollow. The universe is cold.
Because, no matter how hard I try to believe otherwise, that one single explosion means nothing when stacked up against the rest. The ones before it mean nothing when compared to those after. And this whole event means nothing when billions of years have gone by, and these few seconds are already up.
“Fuck you,” I yell. “Fuck you, Jackie! Get the fuck out of my head. Get the fuck out of my head!”
No. You listen, you whiney little piece of-
“No, Jackie! Fuck you! You listen to me for a change! Leave me to my thoughts! Leave me to my own little bundle of meaningless, unoriginal pain, and just shut the fuck up. I’m done. I’m done with it all. And if you try to tell me different one my time, Jackie, I swear to God I’ll do something worse than kill you. And you know what I mean.”
And so we sat there, smoking. Me, listening to the explosions, my ear drums slowly threatening to burst. Jackie, listening to that same song over and over again, constantly repeating it. Me, sitting there, holding the gun that kept Jackie in place. Jackie, sitting there, looking over the dark world through his tinted glasses. Tinted orange. Like sunset. Like sunrise. Like the dirty glow of a cigarette. Like every explosion that went off below us. Above us. Whatever.
“It reminds me,” Jackie whispers, “of the day I died.”
Which one? I ask, calmer now. The book, or the song?
“Both,” he says softly. “And maybe that’s why I can’t enjoy it like everyone else does. Because, to them it’s just a song. To me, it’s a memory.”
And then he looks up at me, with an honest fell to his face, and lets the gun rest on his temple. And then he says to me, with all the faith in the world, “Do you understand?”
Another explosion goes off in front of us, lighting up the night again, and more screams come. And my hand has been trembling for a while now, the gun shaking with it. The cigarette took away the felling. Not the effects. I hug my knees into my chest.
I can handle the screams. I can handle the death. I can handle the fact that I’ve killed hundreds tonight. Maybe thousands. I can handle it because I know it doesn’t matter. None of it. None of us.
What I can’t handle is that there’s someone in there that I might’ve killed. I might’ve lost them for good. And the thing I can’t handle, is that they don’t matter. I don’t matter. We don’t matter. None of these feelings are new. Just repackaged, like Jackie says. I can’t handle it. I can’t.
“Yes,” I lie. “I understand. But do you?”
No, you don’t understand. Not yet. Not now, at least.
Shut up, I say. And get the fuck out.
And then there’s silence.
All except for, y’know, the screams. And the explosions. The sounds of night-life. Jackie’s infinitely repeating song. My burning cigarette. My racing heart. My sobbing mind.
A tear races down my cheek.
I’ve lost her.
And she never mattered.
And I can’t handle it.
I can’t handle any of it.
I need an escape.
I need a new life. A new mind. A new outlook.
I need amnesia, like in the movies.
I need to wake up in the desert without a single memory, and find a new life, and love every minute of it.
I’ve said all I’ve had to say. For now, at least.
“Have you?” Jackie whispers.
“Yes,” I lie again.
The gun is pointed at the back of his head now. He turned around sometime ago, and let it go back to its proper position. He had all the faith in the world. He believed what he believed with every bone in his body.
“It won’t change anything,” he says.
“I know,” I reply.
“It won’t change you, either.”
It won’t change how things are going to play out.
I won’t change how many people will die.
It won’t change me.
Shut up. Get the fuck out.
“You have a choice,” he whispers.
It’s already been made.
“You still have a choice.”
“You can’t kill me. You know that.”
It won’t hurt to try.
“I won’t die.”
“I know,” I whisper.
And then I cock the gun.
I take a breath.
I hold it.
“You can’t kill me. I’ll be back, and you know it.”
“No you won’t.”
And then I pull the trigger. And exhale.
And the glorious finale of the chemical bombs roars out from below, the burning city an ember forest of fire and destruction beneath us, smothered helplessly under a blanket of smoke and screams.
No one will save them.
We planned it that way, Jackie and me.
Except I didn’t know what it was that we were planning. And Jackie did.
The bombs have ended. The fireworks are over. The night is empty and dead. The universe is cold. Jackie falls forward, dead as well. But there won’t be a body for them to find. Jackie was never really there.
“Goodbye, Jackie,” I say. “For now, at least.”
And then I get up, and walk back up the cliff side to the car, the engine still running, the driver door open. But first, I put on my headphones and play a song that reminds me of somebody I once knew. I light another cigarette with my lighter. I take off my tinted glasses and try to pull myself together.
Jackie was right. Every moment, every second, has meaning. Even if nothing is special by itself, the overall masterpiece still deserves mentioning. But I can’t accept that, because I killed her. I can’t handle it, because I want it to all be meaningless. I want nothing to matter. I want my actions to have no meaning. But it all matters. Everything.
They won’t find a body, because Jackie was never really there. But I was.
I’m not crazy.