IT WAS CLOSE to midnight, maybe a little past, on a Saturday evening. I was sitting on an old blue couch in the dark of my one room apartment, eating Doritos and watching stand-up comedy on cable. I was in a t-shirt and boxers, ready for bed in about an hour. The boxer shorts had little soccer players all over them. My mom had given them to me for Christmas about five years ago, even though I don’t play soccer. Well, I used to play in high school. I got cut in college, but my parents were really supportive of me through the whole thing.
I sighed out loud, wanting some orange soda or something to wash down the Doritos with.
The guy on the comedy special wasn’t very funny. He was taking stabs at presidential candidates. Somebody must’ve slipped the audience nitrous. They were all laughing like crazy, clutching their stomachs, and wiping at their eyes. It was horrible. There are retired antique buffs working as tour guides in history museums that look like spastic, rubber-faced comic geniuses compared to this guy, I thought.
Most nights go on like this for me anymore. I get home from work and I strip off my pants and shirt and tie, and sit around in my underwear and undershirt until I go to sleep.
My job, it just sucks.
It’s funny how four years of college and a degree in economics qualified me for a job that could be performed by an elementary school kid with a calculator.
The t.v. just droned on and on, then the phone rang, an electric sheep bleating in the darkness. It rang once, startling me, then twice, three times. I turned my head away from the smiling jackass comedian and I picked it up on the fourth ring, careful to lick the Doritos cheese residue off of my fingers and then wipe them across the front of my shirt before I picked up the phone. I had to decide which magazine or piece of trash the phone was buried under as it rang. At my place, you’d never know the phone and the receiver were a pair.
“Sup. You there? I told them, I tried college, you know. Let me up. They think after time all that time I went back to smoking pot. Up.”
“Okay, Mike, just hold on, I’ll get my door unlocked, just come on up.”
“Okay fucker bye.”
I hung up the phone, my stomach sinking. People laughed maniacally in the background at unfunny jokes, I guess just to make their day better. Just so they could go