“And contestant number 4 begins to type on the computer, yet again!”
“Not only that Tim, but it’s at quarter to 7 in the morning! I mean he would long be asleep by now!”
I sat there, trying to ignore the commentary; it seemed to penetrate the layer of deception I had draped over my body. How had they found me? I wondered as the words seem to come out on their own, “Listen, why don’t you guys cut me a break? I don’t suppose it would be very nice for the viewers if I was boring, and had some regimented computer schedule.” I knew it was a mistake, but like I said the words just came out.
(aside) “That was NOT cool kid, you DO NOT talk to us you hear me?”
Fuck those guys, but I knew the rules, albeit even if I learned them after signing the contract. Talking was stupid, the crowd loves me subtle actions anyways. At least I assume. I tried to push them out of my mind as I looked back at the blank, white window with a flashing horizontal line in the upper left hand corner. The word processing program window was set against an ambiguous fractal wallpaper.
“And umm… We’re back folks. You’ll have to excuse contestant number 4, as he is under a lot of stress as you know; he has a big essay due”
“Yes, an existential essay Tim, and for you viewers out there who are wondering what that is, do not worry, it’s basically just an essay about getting out of dealing with anything. Just an example of the irony we present to you on a daily basis here on the network”
I rolled my eyes at this. “Ok” I said to myself, let’s just get this done. I ‘tisked’ my teeth at this as I thought about ‘just getting it done’. I mean, why should I really write this essay? It seems like this stress is worse than any arbitrary mark I could get. So long as I graduate, does it really matter how good my marks are, or I should say, is it really worth it to be ‘at the top’. It seems like a lot of a sacrifice, especially with something as subjective as this? How can you really put A LOT of effort into this essay over and beyond the regular continuity, and grammar checks? It is weird, working in this ‘looking forward’ mentality, while trying to write about the now, and the past.
“He seems to be having some trouble here folks; this thing could likely go down to the wire!”
Alright, the voices were right, I had to get started. I literally ripped whatever thought was passing by in my head, out of it, and threw it down on the page. I watched the thought writhe there on the electronic surface, raw and still alive, struggling to be free of the confines that come with a paper domain. The one thought became a couple as a proceeded to type away, but the more I exposed some of myself to the reality of the essay, the more the multiplying thoughts began to get out of control. It came to the point where they seemed about ready to grab a hold of my hands and pull me into the chaotic void from which they sprang; a suicide that would have no return for me. I slammed shut my notebook and stood up, beginning to pace about the room.
“Well this does not bode well for the contestant, what is he doing taking yet another break? He has a perfect track record so far in these events, but perhaps number 4 will be taking a his first fail of the season!”
“Perhaps Jim, he just might. I mean, there are two types of action in this world. There is productive action, and there is non productive action. Contestant 4 tends to do a little too much of the latter category, and I think that this time it may have got him in trouble. Winning the game is, after all, the main goal here.”
I paced my room, watching the cameras with a cold awareness of their existence. I could feel the eyes, on my skin, it was constant and irritating. Flattering and disgusting all at the same time, I figured I would have smashed one by now, but it wouldn’t do any good, they’d just replace it. Besides, it gave me a sort of a sense of purpose, after this long I think I would find it lonely without them there, watching and judging.
I think I need to get outside. I began to put on my jacket and shoes.
(aside) “Alright guys he’s on the move. This fucking kid, I swear he does this shit just to piss me off, I truly do not understand him, and I’ve known him his whole life”
I walked down my street slowly, though it still felt like I was trying to outrun the camera crew behind me. The feeling was illogical, as no matter how fast or slow I moved, they would find a way to stay the same distance away, just outside my perspective. Illogical or not, the feeling maintained. I found myself making my to the small park around the corner from my house, I also found a small smile creeping onto my face. It is an odd feeling going back to a place you can connect with ‘being a kid’. It’s almost like another world; everything seems smaller, even though you feel the same.
“Well folks, it seems as if the contestant has come to the park of all places, in an attempt to draw some inspiration, I’ll tell ya, things are not looking good for the young rookie”
“I agree Tim, I mean there are no books to read at the park!”
I sat down on a swing, and with the power of hindsight, set myself in motion. As I swung back and forth, and I had a thought about the good, and the seemingly quite harsh evils I experienced on a playground not unlike this one, back in my wonder years. Looking back, I am at the top of the swing, at the hinge, the potential. Each end of the crescent for the swing’s motion represents good and evil comparatively. Like the exercise of going for a swing, the consideration of good and evil in the world are useful fictions, much like as a child, swinging is a fine way to pass the time.
Yes, I liked this concept, I can work with this I thought as I hopped off the swing and headed back towards home, a small grin creeping its way across my face as I did so. I turned around to regard the camera crew for a second. It was still dark, the very early hours of the morning, so they had the lights going full blast. Sometimes I could actually feel the heat emanating from the small suns. With that thought I looked above those losers to the clear, shimmering night sky. The stars looked like distant crystal snowflakes, stuck there in the tar curvature of my infinite realm of perception. Most of them not even real, only the bibliography of a book long since read. These eyes peer down on our perspective, somehow outside of their own, stuck as a universal constant iris between existence and oblivion; the real cameras so to speak.
“Folks, it appears like the contestant has stopped, and it simply staring at the sky”
“Perhaps he’s praying for the essay to simply drop from the sky?!?”
(aside) “Seriously, Tim…what the fuck is he doing?”
“Folks, our tacticians have informed us that contestant 4 will, based on his previous experience, have about an 80% chance of failure to meet the word count deadline as of right now”
I could sense the confusion in the camera crew, so, to help them out I pointed to them, then pointed to the stars before turning and making my back to the house, where these dorks also reside, albeit in a different part.
___________ _____________ ______________
“Did you hear that?”
“I heard something”
“Check, is he in bed?”
“Yeah, looks like it. Camera light?”
“Nah, he probably just kicked the wall or something, that lanky kid”
“Alright so where were we? Oh yeah, so this weekend I’m thinking of going after that brunette, you know the one I always tell you about. I’ve done the rest of her friends, she’ll give into my charms”
“Why don’t you just get a steady girlfriend? I mean doesn’t this cost you a fair amount of money, going out all the time?”
___________ _____________ ______________
“Well folks, here we are on the deadline, and we have what appears to be a strange turn of events”
“Yes Tim, we know that contestant 4 went to sleep last night, having not completed the essay, but yet he seems to be getting ready to leave anyways. Perhaps he has thought of an excuse he thinks will stand up to the professor’s inquiry."
It is not that I am proud of myself, like I said, I distain the cameras half of the time. I thought, walking to class. Rather, it is the desire to demonstrate, to show my personality. Words are tricky so I prefer action. I walked into the educational building and make my way to class. Walking down the aisle I realized that there can be no showing off, no fame, there is only action. The rest are, like good and evil, completion or negation, simply illusions, albeit useful ones. It was with this in mind that I reached into my bag and pulled out the video tape I handed to my professor.