Pity Party

Peter awoke feeling sorry for himself. There was no real reason, it was just an occasional indulgence. Pity for the things that could have been, but hadn’t happened. Oh, he could have been a world-class athlete, a devoted husband, a father to many smiling children, a vast landowner, a big game hunter, and so much more. He lay awake, looking at the ceiling.

In a high corner of the cabin was a spider’s web, and there was the little black rascal spinning it. The powers of this eight-legged creature were awesome: to create a world from your own body, and to entrap and enfold other beings within it.

Peter looked out of the window. It was a gloomy day. Why couldn’t it be sunny, so he could go for a run along the Meadows Road? The sunshine inspired him; it was something to run towards. But this weather was cheerless. Why would someone want to go outside in that?

After an uneasy sleep-in, he accepted that there was no way out. He had to get up and go to work. He did a fat shit, brushed his teeth, and had a quick shower. Pulsating eucalyptus  waters roused his spirits, but when he opened the fridge, they fell again. Fuck! He was out of milk. Why didn’t he buy some from the gas station yesterday? Or keep a stock of evaporated milk? But he hated that stuff. And cereal with water was just wrong.

Because of Peter’s sleep-in, his timings were off. He was a half-hour behind schedule. As he started the truck, he heard the closing bars of his favourite radio show. That Native comic was hilarious, and the East Indian one, and the woman with the lisp – talk about shameless! How could she even conceive of doing that with cayenne peppers! But shit! Shit! He’d missed it. There was some show about psychology, talking about how your thoughts affect your perceptions, which in turn affect your behaviour. Then flaky bullshit about affecting your “realities”.

He was late so pushed the truck hard, slowed behind an old lady driver, and once around the bend, flew past her at 160. No cops here ever. He saw her look of shock in his mirror. He, he, he!

But then his truck wobbled. Bastard! He realized that he had a flat. The low-pressure warning light blinked last night, but he hadn’t been concerned. That sensor was way too sensitive. But the slow puncture was now a flat. He changed the tire, cursing continuously. A spider ran out from somewhere. The old lady driver flowed past him, smiling.

Peter entered the office hoping for company, but there was no-one about. Where was that pretty new receptionist? He enjoyed flirting with her. Anyway, it was all good if she wasn’t there – he could watch porn and play video games.

He switched on his computer. It took forever, and then the blue screen wobbled and quickly died. Cunt! What the hell was wrong with that machine? He called the IT guy and left him an abusive message, telling him to choose between “the blue pill or the poison pill, either way you’re fucked.” Then he went out to grab a coffee.

The girl at the coffee shop seemed familiar, but he wasn’t sure how. Her golden orbs were pushed together, bursting out of her low-cut top. She tried to charge his card, but there was a system error. She swiped it again but still no luck. Peter said to her “Why don’t you swipe it down your cleavage, and I’ll give you a tip?” She bared her teeth uncomfortably, and tried a third time. This was successful. But while Peter was adding cream and sugar, the manager came over and asked him to apologize to her. Peter told him to fuck off, and was immediately asked to leave, and banned from the coffee shop. Idiot people around here, he thought, they can’t take a joke.

When he returned to work, his boss was waiting. She said, “Peter, may I have a word with you?”

“Sure, right now?”

“Yes,” she said severely. “Right now. I’m afraid I have some bad news. Complaints against you from staff, suppliers, and customers have built up to an unacceptable level. It seems that you do not comprehend good behaviour. The company can no longer be associated with such rudeness. You can either resign immediately, or I will fire you. Which would you prefer?”

Peter informed her of his choice – and plenty more besides. He left her shaking with rage and tears. At least he’d made a lasting impression.

He went to the pub and ordered an early drink. In the daylight the pub looked different; less shiny, less clean. More hopeless. It even had cobwebs. That barman should dust higher.

Peter stayed there all day, moping. He told each new customer his woes. Eventually he was too drunk to speak coherently, but kept bothering people, leading to a small tussle with the barman. Peter fell and bashed his head on a chair, and his mouth was edged with blood. “Bash-tard! You broke my tooth!” He slurred as he was thrown out. “I just wanted one more beer.”

Peter managed to start his truck and drove it a hundred yards, before red and blue lights flashed behind him. He pushed the accelerator to try to get away, and then the brake to stop. He was breathalysed and ticketed, and his car impounded. A taxi took him home, where he found an eviction noticed pinned to his door. “Your sexual harassment of my niece today at the coffee shop was intolerable. Please vacate this suite tomorrow. Your damage deposit will not be returned.” Peter ripped the notice off the door and tore it up.

He fell into bed but couldn’t sleep. In the high corner of the cabin, the spider’s web had grown larger. His unfocussed eyes made it seem that he was within it. His sunshine, his breakfast, his laughter, his truck, his job, his coffee, his beer, his home, and his dreams, were stuck in its strands. Each dark deed trapped him further. And Peter wondered if he was the spider, the insect, or the web?


One Response to “Pity Party”

  1. …such language!

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