She’s gone, now I can go to the café up the street, thank Christ. Like a fish dropped back in water. I just need to go there and write. Because every single day you don’t write is a day you would have conjured up the PowerBall blog post that would have changed your fortunes forever. Even if I genuinely like the girl and she makes me laugh I just want her to go. I need me time. I need to engage in the silent zen discipline of hanging up my clothes and scrubbing the fridge shelves.

The morning after. Both of you affecting nonchalance, like you weren’t grunting demonically filthy shit to each other through clenched teeth at sunrise. The hand towel on the floor holds the dried crust of hypothetical offspring. For every Dylan Klebold you’ve blasted onto her pale belly there’s a da Vinci to match him. But mostly, it’s a lot of oafish lugs named Todd or something. They’re the majority. C-students with brown hair. Future temp workers who order Egg McMuffins on their way to work. When you get laid all the time you get a new set of problems. You worry you don’t diversify your positions enough. And you worry about the placement of the shot at the finish. You have to consider the marksmanship; you want a nice vertical grouping, right up the middle, from navel to clavicle. And you realize that you won’t be able to get a satisfying jack session in later because your balls are empty now.

I say this because some virgin reader needs to know this. For the same reason I rabidly consume newsstand magazine interviews with successful figures. Mining them for hints of agony and suffering, some clue that these people cannot possibly be so happy with their money and validation. Jon Stewart says he lives in a constant state of depression; this pleases me. Getting what you want just sets a new baseline. You become the bus from SPEED.

Here in the café three ajummas lean their wrinkled faces together conspiratorially. Their eyes sometimes flick to me. Like they know something I don’t. Like we’re in an action movie and a vicious melee is about to break out. Myself vs. some belligerent townsfolk. Every room I enter, I imagine how I’d Bourne my way out of it. In this particular case I have a boiling hot Americano that I’d throw in their faces before shattering the mug and using the handle to jag my way to the door. These thick pine tables could be flipped up to deflect bullets if firearms enter the equation. This will never happen. I don’t live in an action movie. I live in a low-budget drama directed by an NYU grad, with muted lighting and unpredictable plot beats. People I know and love grapple with serious conflict. But for what it’s worth I think my part is underwritten. And my dialogue needs a lot of work.


Author: Fred Colton

Fred is just another guy online.

4 thoughts on “Potential”

  1. This post reminds me of a Roald Dahl short story I think you’d like. It’s called A Fine Son and was also published under the title Genesis and Catastrophe.

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