the runner on monitor 49

eric kept the rolled up paper snug under his left arm and buried his hands deep into his pockets as he briskly walked the four block loop from his forty-eighth street apartment to feldman’s corner newsstand. it was his typical weekend routine, a black coffee, the saturday edition of the herald, and a short walk to get it. the landscape of eric’s world was column upon column of brown buildings and gray cracked sidewalks that were tied together with endless rows of rusted chain link fences and dotted with the occasional malnourished red sunset maple. eric walked with his eyes to the ground and was careful not to step on the cracks. he lived alone and felt uncomfortably anxious in his solitary and uneventful existence. he often wondered if his entire life was an elaborate charade, and he was the only one not in on the sick joke. he walked passed the same businesses everyday and wondered what went on behind the meticulously designed facade. the run-down pawn shops, the jewelry boutiques and the family owned watch repair shops. everything seemed to fit perfectly into the drab life story of eric. everyone he came across seemed to be a typical “nobody special” character in a bad movie of his life. the jogger with the typical gray sweatshirt, the bank teller with her typical blue blazer, the elderly mailman and his typical satchel of letters with random addresses, on his typical route through the shadows of the hulking brown buildings. eric’s life had become so routine that he wondered if he were to suddenly go off his schedule it might throw his writers off balance. “okay, now you’re just thinking crazy.” he thought. just then a jogger ran by in a gray sweatshirt. eric stopped walking and removed his hands from his pockets. he turned and ran as fast as he could across the street into a small inconspicuous korean market, running past a surprised old woman and through the doors marked “storage” into the back room. he found the shelves empty and a cardboard cut-out of a korean man with a broom leaning in the corner. “holy shit!” the angel said spilling coffee on his lap and jumping up. “we got a runner on monitor forty-nine!” the angel’s supervisor came over and leaned in for a better look. a man was yelling in a vacant storage room on the small flickering screen. “nice going carl! eric's punchline doesn't come up for another twenty-three years! what the hell were you doing, sleeping?!” the supervisor yelled at the angel, “looks like the eric joke is over, back up his life five seconds and..." "oh oh, can i do a dropping piano?" the angel said getting excited. "no you idiot, just bring in a speeding bus, and clean up this damned coffee!”

4 comments:

Molicious said...

Great! Now I'm depressed. Great writing though. :o)

Lizabeth said...

I agree, another good one though! Bravo!

Brian said...

Ok, so i have had similar thoughts, thats bad isnt it?

Mathieu said...

Makes me think of Time Out of Joint, by Ph K Dick, no?