Entry One Hundred Three: Adam Mahoney, You Just Won!

[This entry is the current story I am working on. This is thirty-three of who knows how many will be posted. Enjoy it while it lasts...]

After his workout, Adam wasn’t ready to leave the gym. The thought of driving straight home after his shower didn’t appeal to him so he decided to explore the school and see what treasures he could discover in its deserted halls. The first corridor off the gym doors held the history classes. He remembered that a lot of the coaches taught history so their proximity to the locker rooms made sense. He started walking east, stopping and looking over classrooms when he had the urge, but mainly staying within the confines of the halls, the contents of the rooms not offering much of interest. He was an alumnus but felt very little nostalgia.

Somewhere near the middle of the school he came across the library. The sign over the door stated it was the “Media Center” but it had always been a library to him. Shelves of books, no matter how many computers were interspersed throughout, was not enough to warrant a name change, at least according to Adam and he was the only one who counted anymore. He walked in and for the first time the silence of the world seemed appropriate. He meandered through the rows of books, scanning titles and occasionally pulling a book down to thumb through. He had never been much of a reader because it had been too time consuming. Now, faced with nothing but time, the books still didn’t appeal to him. “Maybe I just don’t like to read.” And he was okay with that. He suddenly wanted a cigarette so he left the library and lit one in the hall.

Around the corner from the library was the cafeteria. It was the one place in the school that looked and felt the same to him based on his limited memory of high school. It was large, but smaller than he remembered, with high ceilings, all the tables lined up in rows with the chairs upside down on top of them. The maintenance crew had created the sculptures in order to mop the floors the night everything changed. He walked in through the double doors and stood still, finishing his smoke and thinking about how much activity that room would normally have sustained—laughter, flirting, fights, pranks, bullying, hiding, staring. It would never be that way again and it made Adam sad. He reached into his pocket for another cigarette and turned to leave but something on the wall that had been at his back made him stop. It was a large mural of the United States of America. It covered the entire wall and he had to step back deeper into the room to take it all in. It wasn’t drawn very well, almost crude in execution, probably created by the same artist who painted the bulldog in the weight room. Quality aside, the sheer size of it was impressive. Each state displayed its capitol, labeled and denoted by a star, plus a smaller graphic of some item or thing that represented that state. Georgia had a drawing of a peach, Texas an armadillo and Nevada a poker chip. Adam stood and stared, quietly smoking and examining the mural state by state. It wasn’t signed so he’d never know who created it. The only words were the labels for the capitols and the names of the states. The finished mural wasn’t much of a concept but Adam gave it an “A” for ambition and the diligence to get it up on the wall. “The United States of America.” He let that hang in the air. “I pledge allegiance to the mural of the United States of Adam Mahoney.” He saluted, flipped his cigarette butt in a water fountain and started walking back to the gym. He was suddenly ready to go home.

All words and images ©2007/J. Colle

No comments: