I’m not exactly sure what I just wrote.
A dark room, curtains drawn, illuminated by a flickering television. It is this rooms natural state, and it is clear that light is not welcome in this place. There he sits, propped up in a hastily patched beanbag, eating a vastly innutritious cereal. He avoids the sensible, boring kinds of cereal, preferring the kind that makes your teeth ache in protest, and insta-diabetes an ever increasing chance with every spoonful. Day or night does not matter here; it is merely a forgotten memory, an alien remnant of a former life left rotting amongst the dirty clothes and empty cans. Dishevelled and surrounded by junk, barely awake, eyes blankly peering out from pallid sockets and transfixed upon the chattering TV, movement seems an unfamiliar concept to him. Perhaps he did it once, but he was sure he didn’t enjoy it. As a result, the scene remains in this state for some time, inert and frozen, a stationary holdout against the pace of modern life. A slow, crunching movement breaks the stagnant vista, as he sluggishly gropes for the remote control. Grasping the device, he levels his aim, and points it at the television. People will sink to great depths, and exist amongst darkness unfathomable to most, but at the very least, we have expectations of a remote control. We point it at things, and are given a response. An unchanging comfort, the result always the same, and the fact that nothing happens alarms him on some instinctual level. Shaking the remote, he tries again, only to be greeted by the same outcome as before. Evidently, getting up to change the channel himself is not an option. The television may as well be on another continent. But, he is not defeated. One does not achieve such a degree of laziness without a great deal of effort, and he is not giving up just yet. An idea begins to sputter to life inside his head, and he turns it over gingerly, attempting to process information through the clouded haze of one just rudely awoken. His gaze falls upon the drawn curtains, and the plastic rod used to open them. The idea crystallizes, fully formed and beautiful in his head. He reaches for the rod, but is careful not to leave his place. Straining, beads of sweat begin to form upon his rutted brow, and they begin to snake down his face, carving rivers of salt and leftover chip material across his cheeks. With one terrific effort, he grabs the rod, and pulls. A loud crack emanates from the railing, and it crashes to the ground, burying itself in piles of indeterminate refuse. The remnants of the curtains clatter and fall, mangled and beyond salvation, an unavoidable casualty of this plan. Taking a minute to compose himself, he pokes at the television, and changes the channel to something more suitable to his tastes. A renovation show perhaps. He hurls the rod away, a tool now without purpose, and it lands on the other side of the moonscape, left to remain an eternal reminder of what he has overcome. With a sigh, he leans back, content and basking in the completion of his task, his ordeal now finally over. A few minutes pass, and he remains motionless, the exertion requiring a few weeks of concentrated immobility. The sounds of a finance report begin to creep forth from the television. Stirred once again, he reaches for the remote, and presses the worn buttons. Nothing. A brief flash of comprehension flashes across his face. Looking across the room, he sees the rod lying on the floor, a companion perhaps disregarded too soon. And so he stares, bound and inert, trapped in a bean-filled prison to which he most likely ate the key. Hours upon hours pass, and he stares across the room, a silent and ruinous despair creeping into his weakened bones, where it threatens to overwhelm and crush whatever peace he had found in this life. Days and weeks passed, the indifferent sun sliding across the sky in indecipherable blurs, to be replaced by a pale electric moon, staring coldly through the windows at the man who cannot move. That’s how they would find him, frozen and staring across the room for what he could never have; skin drawn taught across his face, an outstretched hand reduced to a distorted claw, but still always reaching, craving for the unattainable. Sometimes our prisons don’t have bars.