Passive-Aggressive Spider Circling

I wish I had new stories to tell.

It’s just, all the interesting parts of my life are dwindling behind me, and what did I do today? I got up, showered and worked, watched the street from my window. Couldn’t decide what to eat. I wanted chips, maybe salad, but also something hot. I waited too long, till my hunger turned to nausea, and I got bubble tea. It was sweet.

All my stories have whiskers on. I’ve been sat here a while, trying to pick one to tell, but they’re all so damn old. Half of them aren’t even stories, just jokes without punchlines—this one time, I squashed a spider to my wall. My housekeeper cleaned around it, so I circled it twice. She still left it there, so I sort of got used to it. It stayed through the year, till Mother came by. You’d think it’d have stained by then, but Mother used Jif and it came off in one swipe, and my circles did, too. And, goodbye.

(True story, see?)

There’s the one with the cyclops, but I’ve told that to death. There’s the time I pea-shot a wad of wet paper at the ceiling. It left a mark on the paint, which is probably still there—I don’t think I’ve told that one, but who cares? Maybe if I’d done it in the Sistine Chapel, but no. It was my parents’ upstairs hallway, between their room and mine, behind the chandelier.

There was that time in the car when I’d just got new specs, and the first buds of spring were out. I’d never seen them before. I finally understood what “sap green” meant, in my box of oil paints. That’s not interesting, is it?

Someone just walked by and lit a cigarette. It lit up his face for a moment, the flame from the lighter. That’s what passes for action, these days, a glimpse of some guy’s addiction. Y’know, I’ve never tried it, smoking. I used to do this thing where I’d sit in my father’s chair and wear his jacket, hold his pipe between my teeth and drink his whisky, except not. I’d pour myself a glass and hold it to my lips, but it tasted of turps and old shoes. I’d sniff it, mostly, and sniff his tobacco, but I never lit his pipe. I have no idea what that feels like, a hit of nicotine. I’m not all that curious. I wasn’t curious then. I just wanted to be cool. Like my father. Jesus fuck. I’ve told that before, haven’t I?

Oh, here’s something new: Mother found a gadget on the Internet that reduces your stress levels by stimulating your vagus nerve, only she calls it your Vegas nerve, like that’s what lights up when you hit a jackpot. Anyway, she wants to send me one. She should send me to Vegas. That’d be new.

It’s coming on ten. They’ll be closing the Dollarama soon, though they leave the sign on all night. They should at least dim it down through the wee hours. I can see it through my eyelids when I’m trying to sleep. I dream I’m outside, staring up at that sign, and—oh, they’ve just turned down the inside light; that’s it for today—and my dream sort of stalls, ’cause the sign’s really there. I can’t leave it behind, can’t go anywhere else. I’ve had so many dreams like that, trapped-on-the-street dreams. I’ll petition the city to plant a forest out front, a pine screen down the median to keep the signage at bay.

Oh, what did I do to deserve this? It’s all right there. Why can’t I touch it?


PS – Mother just e-mailed and blamed the “Vegas nerve” on autocorrect. Yeah, okay. Seems legit.