Fiction: Waves Under a Microscope

April 18, 2018 Fiction , POETRY / FICTION

Craig Sunter photo

 

By

Amadeus Del

 

 

“Look at this, it’s cruel and unusual!”

An oversized screen, in the most hostile setting possible, the corner of a 250 sq. feet apartment made for one person maximum. There the two of us sat, Gene and I, paralyzed within the confines of an Ikea sofa’s sea of pillows—Gene would remain in his designated spot, next to a beat-up acoustic guitar, an instrument he insisted he would learn to play. I routinely tried to have Gene let me teach him to no avail.

In the corner, this comically large screen radiated a white glow of information, emanating from countless pixels. This miracle of modern technology illuminated everything in the direct vicinity, mainly the remote in my hand.

With the myriad options at my fingertips, I defaulted to the weather, a decision I hoped I wouldn’t be happily making until my sixty-fifth birthday. The change in scenery on the display brought eyes to the main spectacle, a meteorologist describing the conditions of the ongoing hurricane. The poor sap stood in the heart of it, fighting with the gale force winds to remain T.V. ready. With the surfeit of knowledge of the climate variety at his disposal, he was forced to stand outside and describe conditions his own profession deemed dangerous. This was a serious problem.

“Look at this, it’s cruel and unusual!”

“What are you talking ab—”

“Look at this sad sack! Do you know what it takes to become a meteorologist?”

“You need a psychologist.”

“Riddle me this, you spend eight years in school, become buried in debt and for what? To be pushed into the literal heart of it for the sake of visual? Who says we need to see the shitstorm anyway?”

“Sometimes it’s effective to see the conditions, what’s your point?”

“That this just might be the saddest job out there. Well, maybe not the worst one…”

“…”

“Do you want to know what is?”

“Fine, wh—”

“Bathroom attendants! What the fuck is this institution? Who went to take a leak and thought that the aspect of the experience that was missing was for someone to sit there by the sink listening to them? How dare they.”

“Who?”

“Them!”

“What’s the problem? Sure it’s stupid but there are a lot of stupid jobs.”

“The problem is what it says to the employee. It takes all the dignity from the worker, the whole connotation is sick.” The weather channel had become my vice—there was no doubt I would ultimately burst a blood vessel. I switched the channel to Telemundo to the immediate visual of a woman holding a newborn. There the mother sat in a blue hospital gown, in a hospital bed, probably in a hospital. An additional woman promptly walked in smiling.

“Todo Bien?”

“Si, gracias a dios. Maria, dónde está Luis?

“…”

“Que paso?” Accompanied by a fast zoom and what appeared to be the very dangerous illness of chronic overacting Lady #2 spoke her truth.

“Mija, Luis murio.”

“NOOO!” The woman’s completely proportional reaction to the news was to full on fling her baby out of the window like Ben Roethlisberger under pressure out of solidarity for her lost lover—or something like that. Or maybe Luis’s premature death had disrupted a convoluted revenge plot loosely based on the story of a completely different telenovela. Or maybe—

“You understand any of this?” Not a word.

“Yup. Every word.” The plot has managed to take an inexplicable turn, transporting our noble heroes to a cave where they went searching for the secret medallion that would unlock the power of the sun.

“What the hell is happening now?”

“They’re looking for her father, he died while researching black holes in the Amazon.”

“What?”

“What?”

My hand slowly tensed up, enclosing the remote tightly—namely the scarlet red button reading “power” underneath it.

With the absence of rapid Spanish, the rain’s obnoxious pattering took the center stage. It pounded onto the ground, drop by drop, washing away the refuse from days past, leaving a blank slate. A tabula rasa.

“Hey Gene,” my questions fluttered with the wind.

“Do you ever think there’s actually nothing inherent about an individual that make them themselves?”

“Well no, I’m pretty sure there’s a genetic component that has an influence on one’s personality.”

“Sure, but to what extent? I think it’s fair to say that a substantial part of your personality is dictated by your environment. So suffice it to say that the majority of things that makes you yourself come from experiences.”

“Sure but that’s assuming that whatever identifies you is internal. Who says that your physical status doesn’t take that role.”

“If that rationale made sense, identical twins would have the same identity aside from minute physical differences. No, it’s psychological. So with all this, when do you become you?”

“When you start asking that question.”

Time would eventually pass as it always does, creating new dirt on the ground and a new identity. As the water fell it only seemed to increase in intensity, plummeting with an eerie rhythm, a perpetually fluctuating syncopation calling for something—calling for me.

“I gotta go.”

“Where?”

“I’m not sure.”

“Why?”

“I’m not sure.”

Silence.

“Ok see you later.”

These walls dissipated around me until there was nothing left to keep me within the confines of my glorified closet. The downpour overpowered the rest of the world until I was isolated from it all—the best way to ignore everything around me.

This was of aid to me as there’s no stronger root to happiness than complacency. In this world, if someone can truly be happy they have to ignore the always evident atrocities surrounding him and if one is able to cope with doing that then maybe one doesn’t deserve happiness. So what is the purpose of life if not to be happy? Is it about personal accomplishments? Why should I even bother when John Lennon (Lennon-McCartney officially) was writing the three times harmonized “Because” at the tender age of 29 and yours truly is, well, not.

The rain continued to aggrandize, eventually blending together into one solid, droning note—Precipitation in the Key of C Minor. The piece began to rise into a crescendo until abruptly, nothing was left except silence and the sound of a heavily modified Fender Telecaster Deluxe. Descending arpeggios persisted under Thom Yorke’s voice springing off the ground.

“He’s not coming back. Look into my mouth. I’m not coming back.”

Drops of water continued to fall only on mute, crashing to the surface one by one like a broken metronome. It persisted, sporadic yet organized to the end. On the micro scale, oceans were formed—on my own scale, there were growing nuisances at my feet—on the macro scale, none of it mattered.

“Look into my mouth. It’s the only way you’ll know I’m telling the truth.”

None of it mattered. The downpour grew to frightening levels conquering everything else in my plane of vision. I could no longer feel the ground at my feet, just the rhythm in the air.

I was no longer a simple reflection of society. I wasn’t a product of my experiences. I was me.

Intrinsically me.

 

 

 

 

 

Amadeus Del

Amadeus Del is an author of short fiction. With razor sharp wit he attacks serious questions about the human condition and with equal aplomb unnecessary questions about anything that comes to his mind. He is the author of “Waves Under a Microscope.”

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