TV news was really awesome tonight ~ custom made for adrenaline junkies.
“Get off my screen!!!” Jerry yelled at the weather girl with a mouthful of hamburger, as he awaited the lottery results.
His vacation started today and the only thing he did so far was to max his credit card. The $100 million mega draw mousetrapped him into buying prize tickets worth several months of his salary. But this time he was really sure he would win. All his hundreds of quick-pick fantasies were signed and systematically laid out on the dinner table while he waited for the lottery show. As he relentlessly ripped apart greasy fast food with his teeth like a ravenous animal, orange ooze slimed down his neck and furry arms.
At long last the big-haired, tightly corseted lottery model reached for the balls printed with the winning numbers, as they dropped from the Random Number Generator like bird-poop. With effeminate mannerisms, she bent slightly at the hip to pick up the spherical objects one after the other. Each desperately coveted heartthrob in hand prompted her to take a deep breath ~ lifting her big fake “Silly-Cones.” After several teasing seconds of anticipation, the oracle of fortune revealed the worshipped numeric characters with her freshly injected swollen lips. “And the winning numbers are...3…5…8…13…21…and…34. Good luck!” said the flirty mannequin.
Jerry had remembered those same numbers, from a long ago school assignment, which had gotten him his lowest mark ever. They were the Fibonacci Sequence ~ the ancient Golden Ratio. And, that set of numerals was glowing brighter than the others on his table.
He won!!!! Jerry just won a $100 million dollars!!
Silence invaded the room. The TV blared lottery propaganda and cheery music, yet the cosmic quiescence drowned it out completely as Jerry stared vacuously at the screen ~ stunned.
As his breath slowly returned, an intense cold-warm shiver radiated from his solar plexus and enveloped him in a feverish realization that he was no longer a “Loser.” He was finally a “Winner”! Exploding from his seat like a grenade, Jerry was ready to grab the life that he had been cheated out of.
But it was Friday night of a long weekend. The lottery office would not open until Tuesday. He had to keep his treasure and himself safe until then. In a panic, he opened and slammed shut his cupboards and fridge in search of food and booze. Nothing to eat! Yet he must not leave the sanctuary of his home. Outside, a ten ton truck could flatten him.
However...there were a few 8 year old bottles of fine booze he was saving for a special occasion. This was a very special occasion. Dancing nude in his living room, swigging a dusty bottle of wine, Jerry shrieked with blood curdling joy. His hirsute jelly-belly, man-boobs and whale-blubber buns, were bouncing in all different directions as he danced and kicked the air with pigeon-toed clumsiness and flailed his pudgy arms around ~ shamelessly caterwauling Lady Gaga songs.
Three bottles of wine later, he was passed out on the floor. When he woke, the house was shaking from the gale outside. He could see the twister through the window. It was headed straight for him.
The walls were trembling. Wooden supports were cracking, shredding into splinters and crashing with a thud. Metallic beams were being twisted like melting cheese. Electrical wires became firecrackers of subatomic light particles as they were being mangled. Then it went dark!
The house was imploding from the 150 decibel whirlwind. As part of the roof flew away, a pillar collapsed onto Jerry, trapping him under metal, wood and plaster debris. When the dust settled, he could see gloomy grey clouds churned by gusts of wind forming fingers, which clawed towards him. Rain and thunder relentlessly pounded the wreckage as he lay paralyzed. Frantically struggling to get free, he yelled for help but he could not even hear his own voice from the deluge.
Any minute now a reporter with lights and camera crew would lift the house off him like superman, to interview him for TV. He would deservedly have his moment of fame... Trapped under the rubble, hungry, hung-over and bruised, Jerry waited to be rescued. But no one came.
With no TV to distract his introspection, he realized that he was experiencing “news” the way no reporter could convey it ~ seeing and hearing, but also feeling, smelling and tasting the news. The television journalism that had so delighted him for decades, he now saw as an abstract cubist portrait of multiple noses, eyes and ears, hacked off, bleeding and collaged together —a continuous ephemeral barrage of horrid events, devoid of context and humanity. Each crisis was just a visual gulp of adrenalin; entertainment for hollow voyeuristic masses to momentarily feel something at a safe distance, remotely controlled, without having to commit to anything.
As he became hungrier and weaker, he started to hallucinate. Lying in the crumbs of his life, he reminisced about memorable moments of his yet unwritten story. Since childhood he had wanted to become famous, but did not know for what. Flunking acting school dashed his hopes for celebrity. Design training was another embarrassment. His stubby fingers could not master fine skills. And, he was told by one snooty bitch professor that that his creative visions were irksomely mundane.
At the theatre where he worked as a stage-hand, he memorized each new script and the roles of all the actors, hoping to replace someone who actually did “break a leg,” or anything else. He listened to each utterance and quality of breath. Every emotion of the characters had a visceral effect on his soul as he carried his props around ~ sometimes tearfully ~ backstage. He got into trouble once for whispering the lines to an actor who had forgotten the words.
Love had also been painful for Jerry. At school he had been the fat mascot for bullying. Brown hair, brown eyes, bald by 25 ~ most people looked past him. But the ones who looked through him were the most hurtful. So, he was eager to please. He was obsessively compelled to gather positive reactions from everyone he met, with overwhelming attentiveness and annoying optimism. A quiet moment meant inevitable rejection ~ hence he worked himself into a frenzied Attention Deficit Disordered chatterbox around people. He was too much, yet not enough, all at the same time. On the rare occasion that drunks gave him a chance for sex or romance ~ they ran for their lives half way through the “date.”
But he now wanted to forget the past and dreamed of being held in a loving warm embrace…
Jerry became aware that he could not feel his legs and was starting to drift in and out of consciousness. Saliva was collecting in his throat, producing a choking, crackly “death rattle.” Then a final moment of lucidity.
Wanting to be rich and famous like the celebrities he saw in the media caused him to chase fool’s gold aspirations based on mass manufactured plastic daydreams. All his beliefs, lifestyle and goals had been clichés programmed by television. The nasty design teacher was right. It was time for a makeover. He promised himself that he would no longer be led around by the nose by mercenary propaganda. Discovering who he really was and what he really enjoyed would be the foundation for his new, intrinsically motivated life, if he could ever distil what that is.
With his last breaths, Jerry started to giggle. Like the Buddha, he was laughing at the folly of humanity ~ and his own. He recognized the irony of winning the mega prize just before he would die and could never use it, nor take it with him. Jerry loved irony, parody, satire and sarcasm. The idea that the cosmos would have a sense of humour was hilarious.
Rain drops on his face washed away all that was ever meaningful to him. Possessions, rejections, dashed hopes, even momentary delights became irrelevant. Nothing mattered. He saw everything, including himself, as just molecules ~ less dense and more dense conglomeration of molecules strewn about in space…temporary clumps of dust, to be scattered back into the universe by earthly, solar and galactic winds. Then his mind went empty. He had reached enlightenment!
Clutching the mega prize ticket over his heart, Jerry’s soul left his body. He died laughing.
On quiet days, echoes of his laughter ricochet amongst buildings, gleefully chased by children
"There is no such
thing as perfection.
Each step is a step
towards the next step."
Thankyou to my lovely,
smart sister Susan Fisch
for helping to edit my writings
in both English & French.
She does a great job.