Entry Eighty-one: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[The next many entries are the current story I am working on. This is eleven of who knows how many will be posted. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

He ran to the door and looked outside, trying to spot a truck or a car or a kid on a bicycle, hoping, but knowing their existence would make no sense. Then again, neither did the newspaper. “I’ve been inside for four days and haven’t had a paper delivered… I’ve never had the paper delivered!” he said, never doubting why those were the first thoughts on his mind, questioning the “what” instead of the “how.” He stared at the bundle with no intention of picking it up. It was not a disciplined response; the idea of the newspaper basically gave him the creeps. He paced and he smoked, trying to relax, trying to arrive at a calm enough place that he could respond and not just react. In the midst of his fear, confusion and pacing a logical thought finally surfaced. “How did it get here? If there aren’t any people left on earth, who put it there?” The questions did not bring clarity, just an overwhelming sense of not being in control. There was no simple explanation for the newspaper or for anything else, for that matter.

The combination of everything he had been through that week plus the fresh jolts of emotion that morning made Adam nauseous, so he sat down on the sofa and tried to compose himself. He stared at the intruder, lying lifeless on the floor, smoking another cigarette and trying to decide how to proceed. He had almost been to a place of compliance, accepting that he truly was the last person on the face of the earth, and now the newspaper dropped in to shake what little confidence, if it could be called that, he had developed. The thought finally occurred to him that he should pick up the paper and, minimally, check the date. For some reason that made sense and it convinced him to stand up, walk to the door and pick up the plastic bundle on the floor.

He returned to the sofa and shook the newspaper out of it’s plastic sleeve and let it fall to the cushion next to him, being careful not to let any of the newsprint get near his skin just in case it was poisonous or dangerous in any other way. The paper fell open with the top of the fold visible. The headline, in the largest letters possible, all caps and bold, was the single word “BORING!” Perplexed, Adam leaned over the paper, still being careful not to touch it, to see what the article was about under the strange headline. The subhead was “Boring, boring, boring, boring.” The byline was “Boring.” Every word in the article was “boring,” repeated over and over. As he scanned the rest of the text on the top of the front page, he realized that every available space that a word was printed simply read “boring.” He hesitated, looked around and spotted a discarded t-shirt on the floor near his feet. He reached down, picked it up and used it as a crude glove to pick up the paper and flatten it to fully open status so he could examine more articles. To his consternation, every headline, every byline and every article on the entire front page displayed the same thing. “Boring.” He cautiously pulled the top sheet back to reveal the inside pages and it revealed the same results. “Boring, boring, boring.” Even the ads, regardless of size, all blared the same words over and over. “Boring.”

All words and images ©2006/J. Colle

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