Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Matters of lesser importance.

On the eve of the apocalypse, Everette Thomas was sitting in his girlfriend's apartment eating a gallon of peanut butter zig zag ice cream. His girlfriend had reassured him several times she didn't want any, and yet he continued to solicit the ice cream to her; saying: "Come on! Just try it! It's so good!" And every time - with an air of earnest bourgeois elegance that Everette had come to admire so fondly - she would tell him no and then thank him for the offer; each invitation abrading her patience until it was so thin she eventually stopped acknowledging him altogether. Everette hardly noticed. He just kept shoveling spoonful after spoonful into his mouth. Like coal thrown into the fires of a locomotive, his rambling seemed to be running on ice cream. Suddenly, he shouted: "The description has 'chocolate' in it twice!"

"What?" his girlfriend asked indifferently without looking up from her laptop.

"The description for this ice cream uses the word 'chocolate' twice!" he reiterated, his voice still full of milky exaltation. Staring at the gallon of ice cream in his large, numbing hand as the ape regards the skull, he was suddenly seized by a powerful and disconcerting vision. Unreal events began to unfold in his mind with such arresting intensity that he nearly choked trying to get out: "I just had a horrible vision! Holy shit!"

"What is it?"

Still not completely free of his feverish consternation, Everette replied: "You mean: 'what was it?"

"No. What's the description?"

"Of my vision?" he asked, still lost, but back in familiar mental territory at least.

"Of the ice cream."

"Oh," he said in poorly veiled chagrin, "it's: 'scrumptious peanut butter and chocolate flakes swirled in a rich chocolate." His girlfriend stared unflinchingly at her laptop. Everette watched her for a response. Nothing. He repeated the description, this time in an assumed voice with pretentious inflection he'd heard snooty waiter-type characters use on t.v. His girlfriend laughed through her nose and turned to look at him. A word her mother had used earlier that day resounded in her mind. What was it? she thought. Echo-something. Echolalia?

"What's up?" she asked disregarding the thought. A smile stretching slowly across her otherwise stoic face. He started to tell her what he'd seen in his mind's eye, but recoiled when her smile vanished after having only heard: "Well, you know how I can sometimes, like, tap into the, like . . . ubiquitous collective consciousness of the universe?"

"No, don't stop," his girlfriend said noticing his sudden diffidence. She got up and went to the couch and sat beside him; putting her arm around him like a suture to the burning laceration she'd inflicted on his pride. She recalled the conversation she'd had with her mother earlier that day; of her boyfriend, she'd said: "He's entirely perfect, mom. He really, really is. Except that he's kind of sensitive. He takes things very personally and he's got severe attention issues. It's strange how much he talks to himself, too. Even when other people are around you can see him sitting there and, like, he'll be having an argument with himself. He craves attention, but it's like he's smart enough to realize how annoying those types of people can be, so he's adopted this weird, split personality and every time he starts to tell a story or something, he'll lapse into this argument with himself. It's really strange sometimes." She spoke accurately of Everette despite having only known him for about a month's time, cumulatively.

Her mother had a thousand things she would've have liked to have told her daughter, a thousand warnings and hints and advisories she would have love to have given her youngest daughter, but decided to just enjoy her coffee instead; taking tiny sips and pursing her even tinier mouth to help endure the bitter taste. She usually sugared her coffee, but her daughter's presence had a way of intimidating her, especially as of late. Slowly, but definitely, her daughter was becoming more and more the austere adult her father was and less and less the whimsical, ageless and carefree woman her mother had always envisioned herself. Whether it was drinking bitter, black coffee or speeding up for yellow lights, the woman's visiting with her daughter had become increasingly unpleasant as she strove to merely "keep up." She felt as if she were fighting a cold war against an unknowing enemy and thus far all casualties were caused by friendly fire. . . .

"I think the world's gonna end tomorrow," Everette said in a sincere and grave voice, dowsing his girlfriend in cold water, pulling her from her reverie. She stared at him, unblinking. He stared back, but blinking many times. Unsure of himself, he said: "You wanna try some of this ice cream? It's seriously so amazing!" His acclaims now nothing more than deflated mockeries of himself.

"What do you mean?" his girlfriend asked, encouraging him to ignore the subterranean voices of self-criticism.

"You mean 'what do I mean about my vision?' . . . Well, I was sitting here and this thought came into my mind like a drop of knowledge from the spigot of the universe or something. I don't know what I mean exactly, but that's what it's like. It's like something just falls on me and I . . . I just know it. I know it to be perfectly true. There's no apprehension or hesitance in any way. There's no filter, even. I don't even pass it through any kind of standard social appropriateness filter or whatever, ya know? These thoughts, like, just pop into my head and then . . . voila, ya know?"

"And this time the thought that popped into your head just now was that the world is going to end tomorrow? In what way? Like Revelations from the Bible or something? You don't really believe that, do you, Everette? I thought you were Atheist?"

"I know. I am. I am Atheist, but shit - I've been wrong before, ya know? I don't know. It's probably not a big deal. I just had this vision of, like, buildings on fire and people maiming each other in the streets and huge massive weaponry being fired at the whims of madmen and a three-headed dog being ridden by the Whore of Babylon and . . . I don't know. It's nothing. I don't really think it's anything. I was only kidding. I'm just high, ya know? . . . You want any of this ice cream?" He asked her, palpably embarrassed and tail-spinning into self-derisive introversion.

Putting her arms around his neck, Everette's girlfriend pulled his reluctant head towards hers and buried her face into his thick, brown hair. She kissed the top of his head several times and - from the side of her mouth, in a whisper - said: "You know, you're so handsome and so smart and I'm so glad I finally found you. I love you, Everette. I love you so much. And yes, I'd love to have some ice cream now."

1 comment:

My Idea of Fun said...

The plot thickens! Great job as usual!