All the little doors and all the little daily dramas faintly echo out from behind all the little peepholes. Down a dark, narrow, low-ceiling-and-flickering-lights hallway. The jangle of keys collide with each stride, accompanying the wet slosh of no longer white tennies. They’re worn and the soles are weak so when he steps, the side of his foot rolls into the upper fabric of the shoe.
He gradually slows at a nondescript, grey apartment and fingers the door key, pressing it into the lock.
The walls are plastered like flypaper telephone poles: Lennon at Woodstock, Hendrix, Cobain, Biggie, Uma Thurman staring at us with those iconic lips, those damning eyes. The gun and the magazines. Nosejob women stand in rows with their asses turned out in bikinis. It’s a healthy mix of blonde and brunette- the vanilla flavors.
In the bathroom, the faucet screeches right and a thin, choked stream of lukewarm water dripples out. In moments the bathroom is slick and steamy, the mirror perspirating so his face is a shadowy blur. He locks the door.
He steps into the shower, the warmth spreading down the small of his back; twisting, streaming down between his inner thighs.
He begins to masturbate. With a sigh his eyes roll back and he leans into the corner of the shower, forehead jammed into his left arm.
The little rectangular mirror is fogged up so the scratches in its surfrace stand out as the razor blade nicks under his chin. His towel is threadbare, but clean, and he scrubs his head with it, shaking out like a wet dog. He replaces it on the hook that is ripping clean through the material and pulls on a fresh pair of boxers. With a little extra pressure of the thumb, the stiff lock slips free and the door swings open.
The refrigerator, which is crowned by a box of Lucky Charms and soiled napkins, squeals open to reveal a six pack and some leftover loners. He grabs one of those- a PBR- a cracks it with his pointer finger, turning to his laptop at the desk. With a click of the spacebar, a video springs to life, flashing colors and a cackling soundtrack. Stand-up on a Friday night.
The comforter is astrange and musty and it smells like it’s been smoked on. It’s off- brown and muddy red with a thread count of about 60 so it chafes the legs when one sits on the side of the bed, like those of a motel in mid-state Nevada. He pulls it down and gets comfortable on his side with his weight on his elbow, the screen turned towards him and the faces on the wall, the PBR hanging loosely from his other hand.
The sheets are ripped from last week. The girls were on the bed, sprawled out like long, twiggy creatures. They missed mouths, slurred whispers to each other, and screamed too loud. He had just returned from a smoke with the guys; he had been unable to sleep when he laid down, restless yet stoic as he stared at the posters on his wall. Caged tiger shit.
When he returned they were there, so he did what he had to do although all he desired was a beer and to be alone.
The laptop emits laughter, breaking the stillness of the melancholic man cave. A singsong soundtrack. It’s impossible to know the hour; the lights in here are all the same. An empty can slips from his hand as he turns towards the wall, half-moon dazed tired eyes. Chapped lips.
Life is shit and then you die.
I know this because he left a video camera running in the upper right corner of his ceiling, the red light blink-blink-blink-blink…