Help! There's Somebody Who Looks Like Me Following Me Around Slapping Me in the Face
My assailant is six feet tall, skinny, extremely pale, brown hair, freckles, one and a half dimples, rosy-ass cheeks. He looks just like me.
And he looks very amused, like it's some big joke he keeps clocking me in the jaw every five minutes.
Here's what happens.
I'll be going about my business, hitting the hot water button on the coffee machine in the breakroom filling to the line inside the styrofoam container of my 59-cent chicken-flavored Ramen "Instant Lunch"...
Or you know, I'll be going up a flight of stairs to the twenty-fourth floor to get the mediocre drip coffee because anything's better than the goddamn Keurig shit on the twenty-third...
Or maybe I'm running into my manager in the bathroom and trying not to have that "we both know you're an apathetic bottom-feeder in this department" eye contact...
Just going about my business.
And then, the moment a certain type of thought appears in my mind, when I think something like, "You're going to be a poor miserable slob 'til the day you die because you're lazy and majored in English and you're a fuckhead"...
...or, "The girl you love will marry someone else, she may like you now but she'll end up with some other guy who's not a fuckhead"...
...or, "Your writing sucks and nobody really gives a shit about it, as is evident via your miserable hits, weak number of Twitter followers, and the fact you have yet to write anything long or especially memorable."
I'll think something like that and this man, my twin, same face, same body, same clothes even, will emerge from around the corner or the next room over and slap me so hard I'm looking left for five minutes.
I try to reason with him.
"I'll only be a self-pitying sack of shit on Sunday evenings," I say to the man, my double, "when the sadness chokes me like a gallon of peanut butter force-fed down my throat with a giant spoon by someone very strong 'til I can't breathe or chew or do anything but moan weakly, head lolled."
But the guy's merciless. Whenever I try to bargain with him he only slaps me harder. One time I said "I've only stalked her Facebook every other day this week" and he gave me a black eye.
He is lurking all the time, wherever I go. I can't escape him. I'm not sure what his criteria is, what constitutes a slappable offense. He's always smiling. He's always slapping me.
I wonder sometimes if it will ever end, if one day I won't need him anymore.
Friday and Saturday it rained. I watched through the windows at Filter Cafe.
I looked for B.S. Johnson books at Myopic but didn't find any. I wanted the one with the pages loose in a box, to be read in any order you want.
I knew I wasn't going to find that one. I was killing time.
On the train I remembered when we were on the train together and what you said. I realized I hadn't been slapped yet that day. I wasn't sure why. I felt like I had done plenty of self-pitying.
Sunday afternoon I walked around Lincoln Park trying to clear my head. I stopped and sat on a bench. I thought about the past and the present and the future and the imaginary present, which I'm in.
It was a windy day and the fallen leaves were wet.