I stared at myself in the mirror. I don’t know why, for some reason I couldn’t look away. I think it was my eyes that did it. Empty eyes, glazed over and lifeless. There was nothing in them.
I wasn’t supposed to stare at myself, wasn’t supposed to stop and look in the mirror. I made myself put the razor down, looked in the mirror to make sure I’d shaved properly, and hadn’t missed any places. I was getting ready for work. To be safe, I combed my hair again, even though I knew it would not stay in place.
And I saw those eyes again.
I practically growled, “Enough! Get ready.” It was time for work. I grabbed my black tie, buttoned the top button on my shirt, and tied that sucker on, joking about how it was a modern-day hangman’s noose.
Those damned, empty, lifeless eyes were still in the mirror, looking at me. I didn’t have time for them. I walked away.
By the time I got to the car, empty briefcase in hand, it was show time. Wave at the neighbor getting in his car. “Pretty day, ain’t it?”
“Have a good one.”
I didn’t break the speed limit in the neighborhood. I stopped at all the stop signs, waved at people walking their dogs, slowed down for any school busses, and swung wide around the kids at bus stops. It was the right thing to do.
Once I got to the main road, I moved with the traffic. So what if the traffic did 55 in a 45 zone? It was how things were. “Don’t think. Don’t be different. Follow the rules of the road.” That included riding the ass of the idiot in front of me who wouldn’t get the fuck out-of-the-way. Crawling along. Stupid ass hole. “Add gas! What the fuck’s wrong with you!” First chance I got, I floored it, got around his ass, and left him way behind. Yeah, he caught up at the next stop light, but I didn’t care, ‘cause I was in front of him. He wasn’t in my way anymore.
When I got to work, the first thing anyone said to me was, “Hi, how are you today?”.
I answered, “I’m good,” as expected.
At my desk I pulled my bottle of naproxen out, popped the top on my Coke, and had two pills and a long chug of soda, just to cut off the headache I knew was coming. I hate my job. I know that. It sucks. But, it fucking pays the bills, so I suck it up, and work. It doesn’t matter how I feel about it. It’s a job. It’s supposed to suck.
At 1130, Helen walked up, “Lunch time!” The best part of the work day. Lunch. A bunch of us guys, and Helen. She’s always the center of attention too. Not that I mind. She’s a lot easier on the eyes than George, or Henry. Or any of the rest of them. It’s an hour we get to escape from work. We get to laugh. We get to have fun.
Then we go back to hell.
That day I was working on the design of the DVD labels. How to properly label at DVD made using the computer system. I had to draw a sample DVD label. God, I hate that. “How’s this look?” No one cared how it looked, but we’re pros, so they said, “Move this here. Add this. Use this font. Make this in bold.” Make it look professional. Took all afternoon to tune that sucker up.
And when I got home that night, those damned empty, lifeless eyes were still in the mirror.
Yeah. Life sucks. So what. It’s how it is. How it’s always been. How it’ll always be.
The next morning I stared at myself in the mirror and felt better. Those empty, lifeless eyes were still there. It was what I expected. It was normal.
It was time to get ready for work.
It was show time.
Welcome to year 2, week 52 (Week 2.52) of Jeff Tsuruoka‘s Mid-Week Blues-Buster flash fiction challenge. This week the prompt is the song, “Eminence Front” by The Who. Please, go read the other stories in this week’s challenge.