Maybe I need to try to experience each morning like the first petals of sunrise over the horizon. Walk outside, tell myself, The snow isn’t crushing that rhododendron, see how the leaves curl in to protect themselves? Even in October. Brush some snow off if you think it’s too much.
Say, You don’t have to drive to work. Put the keys in your pocket and run into the woods, flick the snow off the branches. Make a snowman with the smallest snowball on the bottom, like he’s standing on his head.
For instance: the pigeons under the overpass are not going to pluck my eyeball out. Our eyeballs are connected with veins or something, it wouldn’t be that easy.
I need to dwell less, be happier. Pour myself a glass of wine anytime. Merlot has the beautiful bloody color. Swirl it around, touch the edge of the glass to my lips.
Slugs mate in October, the snow can’t be helping. They’re hermaphroditic; sometimes the penises get stuck together during mating, and one slug gnaws the other’s penis off. That slug lives the rest of its life as a female.
I say to a customer, “Good morning, how are you?” After fifty times a day the words are shards of glass coming out of my throat. He says, “I need two money orders and a balance.” I can’t take it personally they don’t acknowledge that we’re living beings. Maybe they’ll pay for it later in a hilarious and painful way. Make myself smile thinking of that.
My mom will say, You can’t let things slide, that railing will rot off one day and someone’s gonna get killed. It may be a crap apartment but it’s yours. Watch a YouTube video or something, figure it out. She probably already knows I haven’t visited Dad’s graveyard in months, last time I forgot flowers, just left a broken pinecone.
My co-workers are in the same boat as me, but they’re not my friends. As in: I don’t have a crush on Donny, our Mortgage Officer, that’s a fiction. I’m in charge of watering the plants, what does it matter that I spend extra time with the African violets in his office? Trish and Darlene shouldn’t laugh about it when I’m in the breakroom eating my bagel bites. They should notice the rich green and velvety purple, how under the fluorescent lights the violets are thriving, how much they must love it when I touch them.
Truth: it’s not the clown I’m afraid of, it’s the twisted person inside, hiding his perversions under the big red nose.
That slug, that’s how I’ll live from now on. Stay strong no matter what happens. If I get injured, so what. Grow another organ to replace the missing one, or say Screw it and leave it there on the ground, throbbing, dripping fluids—screaming even, if it had a mouth to scream with. Walk in the other direction leaving that bloody part of me behind like it doesn’t even hurt.
Timothy Boudreau’s recent work appears in Trampset, Reckon Review and MonkeyBicycle, and has been nominated for Best Microfiction and a Pushcart Prize. His collection Saturday Night and other Short Stories is available through Hobblebush Books. Find him on Twitter at @tcboudreau or at timothyboudreau.com.