Entry Ninety-six: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

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

He filled the mower’s tank with gasoline and pushed it to his driveway. Before cranking the engine he surveyed his small, bedraggled kingdom, trying to formulate a plan. “I may as well start across the street and work my way around. It shouldn’t take me too long to cut six yards.” Satisfied, he pulled the starter rope and prepared to get lost in his new lawn maintenance career.

Fifteen minutes later he stopped. He was out of breath, dizzy and had to sit down. He dropped on to the steps leading up to his neighbor’s porch and tried to regain his composure but the air was not filling his lungs fast enough and his heartbeat was throbbing in his ears. His struggles lasted for several minutes before some normalcy returned and he was able to start a regular breathing pattern and gain enough control to walk across the street to his home for some water. As he sat in the kitchen, smoking a cigarette, he wondered what was happening to him. He had never been in great shape but this was beyond any physical struggle he had ever encountered; he’d never had to take a break from cutting the front yard before. Had his recent movie phase sucked that much out of him? He wasn’t sure how long he had camped on the sofa but apparently it was long enough to alter his constitution and aerobic capacity. “This is ridiculous.” He wanted another glass of water but he wanted to get up and fix it even less. As he stared at the empty glass, wishing his autonomy had come with super powers so he could make the glass fill on its own, a massive realization struck him. It wasn’t massive in that the idea it generated was brilliant, but it was massive in that, like a lot of things, the small idea led him to move, to take a baby step, to begin an activity that would eventually evolve into a turning point in his existence as the last person standing on the face of the earth. “I need to get in shape,” he said out loud, to no one in particular.

All words and images ©2007/J. Colle


Entry Ninety-five: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

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

Chapter Ten
Adam stood dead center in the doorway that provided a portal between his bedroom and the rest of the house. With a clearer head, post hot shower, the site of his recent habitat depressed him further. What had he been thinking to allow himself to fall into that circle of hell? What was causing his random dives into apathy and indifference? “Besides the fact that I’m the very last person standing on the face of the earth? And there’s no manual?” The ridiculousness of that reality made him smile, slightly, and he moved into the living room to begin another round of clean up. He glanced out the window framing the front door on his way to the kitchen to grab a garbage can and what he saw stopped him in mid step. The Broughton’s house across the street was surrounded by a jungle of overgrown yard and plants. The sight of their normally manicured lawn so overgrown and in disarray jarred him and he slowly walked to the front door and stepped out on the front porch to get a closer look. He scanned the houses on either side of the Broughton’s and they revealed a similar state of disorder. The three yards were indistinguishable, no lines of demarcation, no way to know what belonged to whom, just one big, messy field with three houses plopped in the center for show. His own yard was in need of a cut but, since he had mowed his recently, his stood out as a showcase for maintenance. The yards on either side of his house were in the same sorry shape as the ones across the street. And all of the shagginess bothered him. With a sudden sense of urgency, Adam turned and walked through the house, out the back door and headed straight for the shed. “I’ll mow, that’s what I’ll do.” He felt like a recovering addict, fully engaging in the creed of “one day at a time,” only altering it for his own unique situation to “one activity at a time.” He gained energy and warmth when he had a task at hand. It was the time in-between tasks that were killing him.

All words and images ©2007/J. Colle


Entry Ninety-four: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

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

Armed with fresh supplies, Adam bivouacked on the sofa and returned to his previously established rhythm; movies, food and bathroom breaks. He wasn’t sure how long he could maintain that particular lifestyle but he was far from concerned about it and pushed it aside when it floated to the forefront of his mind. Ignoring them wasn’t an arduous task, the thoughts weren’t there very often, maybe forming as he switched out the movies or as he sat on the toilet, but never fully developed. They were easy to dismiss. His near fanatical desire to watch movies proved stronger than any other thoughts he could conjure and he saw no reason to fight that urge. The cadence he had created was mesmerizing and numbing, both welcome states that masked his situation and helped him ignore the obvious. Besides, he was king, emperor and sovereign ruler over all as the last man standing on the face of the earth and if he wanted to lie around and watch movies all day and night he could; there was no one to stop him. And the “no one” part of the equation was what made being numb and mesmerized so appealing.

He had no idea how long he remained in that reclusive condition, lost in the repetitive tempo he had created and perfected. The movies were blurring together, none making sense any more, relegated to serving as a sedative, far removed from entertaining him as he camped out on the sofa. His food and movie supplies dwindled to dregs at approximately the same time and by then he had no idea if it was morning or night much less what day of the year it was. He was sluggish and had just woken up on the sofa, music playing in his head. As he lay there, adjusting to post REM consciousness, trying to gain a toehold on where he was and who he was, his thoughts turned to other things. Maybe it was the music which he now identified as coming from the television, the background accompaniment to an ignored DVD menu repeating a dissonant loop of violins and cellos, which was familiar, but not by much, just enough to stir something deep inside him. The cavern, the bottomless chasm, still echoed, yet to be filled. Maybe the latest phase, the catatonic videophile stage, had run its course. If he had hoped it would fill a need he had been wrong. He was suddenly aware that he needed to try something else, anything to pull out of the funk he had snuggled into. But what? Something familiar would be good, something that would require little thought. He sat up and his body protested. He was stiff and even the pedestrian attempt to lift off the sofa was harder than he had anticipated. As he scanned the living room he observed the arc of nastiness he had created over the last few days—weeks?—which was limited to a three foot radius around the sofa. The rest of the house appeared tidy but he had to kick wrappers and discarded plates out of his way to clear a path to his bathroom. He avoided his reflection, sure it would be alarming, and he turned on the water in the shower. He was vaguely aware that he had come full circle but he was not sure what he could do about it.

All words and images ©2007/J. Colle