Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Epilogue

Thomas Stone descends into his alcoholism. He sees the approaching psychosis as inevitable. Additionally, he views the delusional chaos as a condition paralleling the confusion generated by his education—a swirl of ideas with no anchor.

One morning, at a bar, enjoying a Guinness and Jameson after a long night’s work, he loses himself into an eddy of color staining the side of his pint glass—the result of holding the empty, foam-soaked glass in the shadow of a nearby blinking neon vodka sign.

He sees his entire, mundane life symbolized by this glass. Reluctantly, Stone embraces his destiny.

Days later, feeling acutely morose, he struggles to get ready for work. He wants to quit. He dreams of teaching literature—of penning a lauded, ground-breaking novel. He wishes he was a visionary, but he’s not—he’s a night stockman at a grocery store.

Mindlessly, he listens to the latest news on Iraq pour out of his television. Click. Click. He extends and retracts the blade of his box cutter. His dreams of another life increase in grandiosity. Each dream falls to reality. He has nothing to look forward to except eight hours of stacking cans.

Thomas imagines a day alone off the coast of Connecticut. He’s alone on the tides. The sail is down. The boat drifts aimlessly. An overcast day, gray extends across the horizon. Infinite dullness. A voice calls to Thomas and asks him to approach.

Thomas swigs from the chilled bottle of vodka. He tries to raise the sail, but the ropes are tangled into a hopeless knot. The voice calls again.

He cuts the ropes and tries to fasten a new tie, but it doesn’t work. The voice calls a final time.

Thomas stares into the horizon and then the short, choppy waves, and, finally, plunges into the ocean.

Oddly, despite the lack of sunlight, the water feels temperate. He begins to swim towards the horizon line—his arms cutting through the warm water. He fills with joy. For the first time in his life he thinks that God might actually exist.

Then he awakes from his daydream. He’s on his couch—warm blood flowing down his arms and soaking his shirt and the couch. The box cutter remains wedged in his right forearm. Blood squirts. He fades. He dies.

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