Overshooting Insanity

Posted: December 11, 2013 in Fiction
Tags: , ,

There comes a point, he realizes, during castigation such as this, when the mind begins to wander. The torrent of meaningless verbal abuse rings hollow after a time. There are no fine points of critique, which may have been valuable. The sole purpose of this exercise is humiliation. His brain’s capacity to endure mental excoriation is limited. It can only take so much before its neurons begin to slow their firings until all that is left is the dim pulse of a distant, dying star.

The Derbyshire walls and oak paneling begin to fade into a mossy gray fog, the sharp edges become smooth, and the framed print of Koester ducks, becomes his focal point, the place where his attention seeks escape.

The words “disappointment” and “incompetence” echo faintly somewhere in the back of skull.  They no doubt had entered through his auditory canal, but were then immediately rebounded, by the pinball flippers of self-preservation, away from any cognitive process that might make sense of them. Instead, the thought of ducks had taken root in his mind, and he imagined himself reclining on a grassy back, admiring the tranquility of waterfowl.

And he thought of unspeakable violence.

He doesn’t remember leaving the high-rise office suite or the commute home; he has no recollection of the hours that have passed since 11:30 am. And for a moment, a wave of fear and nausea grip him, because he is unable to discern whether the bloody images that seem to be emblazoned on his retinas are real or the fantasy of a disturbed mind.

Stars twinkle brightly in the cold night sky, and it occurs to him that there is supposed to be a comet – Comet Ison – somewhere in all that vast loneliness. Leaving his courier’s bag on the door step, he walks around to the backyard and drops heavily into a worn Adirondack chair, ready to witness the glory of the heavens.

He casually slides through screens on his phone, searching for information as to where in the sky the spectacle will appear. And he grimaces, close to tears upon learning that it has been declared dead. Presumably consumed by the sun, it will not rise from the flames. Always once removed from greatness, he summoned the courage to make peace with obscurity.

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Comments
  1. Carrie Rubin says:

    “They no doubt had entered through his auditory canal, but were then immediately rebounded, by the pinball flippers of self-preservation, away from any cognitive process that might make sense of them.”—I loved that line. A good description of something we all do as a means of protecting ourselves, whether it’s in our best interest or not.

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