.Flash Fiction Effort
I am a bit late, but think I will still be included as Cormac postponed the final submission date. I will look forward to your comments:Escape“They always had to kick out the back window to escape.”
thought Benjamin as he looked quietly out the window. He was recalling one of several story arcs he had seen over the years in various detective dramas.
The two that were the most vivid in his mind were from long ago, the first was from an episode of the “Mod Squad
”. Linc (played by Clarence Williams III) had been knocked unconscious and shoved into the back of a cop car that had been sent off the dock into San Francisco Bay. As the car was beginning to submerge, the bound and gagged Linc had to kick out the back window of the Impala to escape. The second was from an episode of “Simon & Simon
”. Rick had been bound and gagged in a room of an abandoned burning house. As he started to succumb to the smoke, he gave a few last, valiant attempts to crawl over to a window where he was able to kick out the glass, eventually leading to his safety.
“Such cliches, but oh, so very true as well.” thought Benjamin. The rage he felt inside was being kept at bay by sheer force of will.
If he knew a way to not get in deep shit for it, he would like to kick out the window of the office that he sat in, and run though the hills like a screaming banshee, letting the rage and the anger, and the disappointment emanate from every pore of his being in much the same way that he truly felt. Life was not going well for him, and he felt trapped like a wild beast inside an iron cage.
His life was like others, just a bunch of bullshit and a daily grind, yet he always thought his life would be different. He was the guy who tried hard to follow the path to allow him those gifts that men cherish... freedom and flexibility in his life.
He spent many long years working in graduate school, and finally became the professor he had envisioned for himself to be. He enjoyed being a professor, he truly did. He also enjoyed his research, for it was interesting and meaningful. He focused on trying to understand how the biochemical environment of an animal shaped how the brain developed and thought. He had a loving wife whom he adored, and great kids who were the true apple of his eye.
Yet, and this was the crux of the matter, he was disproportionately unhappy. And to top it off, he did not know what he needed to do to “become” happy. All he knew was that he was frustrated, apathetic, or grumpy as hell the vast majority of the time.
“I keep searching, I keep trying, I keep on keeping on. But, it never changes, and I don’t know how the hell to change it.” he thought as he reached over to the ashtray by his office computer and picked up his full-bent Petersen pipe.
“Where is the joy? Where is the drive? Where is the passion? Where is the spark?” he lamented, and then ruefully looked into the bowl of the Petersen at the crumbles of vanilla tinctured pipe tobacco.
He then reached for his lighter. It produced the only sparks he could muster now. He slowly lit his pipe and inhaled deeply, the rich smoke.
“Is this all there is? Am I lost?” he murmured, slowly exhaling.
A loud, abrasive sounding knock resounded from the door to his office. Grimacing, he turned towards the door, not wanting to answer whether it be a student or colleague. Even though it wouldn’t do a helluva lot of good, he laid his pipe in the ashtray and then slid the ashtray behind a row of books on the bookshelf near the window. He wasn’t supposed to smoke his pipe indoors any longer... an idiotic policy of the university he chose to ignore.
He opened the door. There was no one there.
Aggravated, he cursed under his breath and closed the door, retrieving his pipe.
On the way back to his desk, he glanced at himself briefly in the mirrored surface on top of the centrifuge he had brought back from his lab. It had given up the ghost, and he needed to have his secretary send it in for repair. Seeing himself, however, he focused on how gray his beard and mustache had become, not to mention the hair on his scalp.
“Where did time go?” he sighed. Then, “How the hell do I “fix it”? How do I find happiness again?”
Why is happiness so elusive? Another knock came on the door.
Again, no one was there when he opened the door. More aggravated, he slammed the door harder, and heard the paper he used to cover the thin, 6 inch wide window along the edge of his door above the doorknob. The paper rustled from the force.
Going back to his seat, big, salty tears of fear, rage, and despondency began to cascade down his cheeks into his beard. “What do I do?”
A third knock was heard on his door. Upon opening it, it was once again only to a vacant hallway.
“Shit!” he cursed loudly as he threw the edge of the door into such a powerful arc to slam it shut that the impact of the door into the frame actually caused the door to bounce back a bit and not actually latch shut.
“Son-of-bitch!” he hollered as he forcibly palmed the door with his hand slamming it hard into the frame. There was a sound of breaking glass.
In slamming his hand against the door, he had picked the paper covered window area to exert the impact. In doing so, the shattering glass cut through the artery of his wrist.
Large amounts of blood poured out of the open wound. He could have clenched the wound shut with his other hand and easily saved himself. But instead, Benjamin sat down in a heap on the floor, and let the blood continue to flow. Although it was not his intent, he did relish the euphoria of oxygen deprivation as he bled to death on the floor, for it mimicked in a small way, the feelings of happiness.
His torture was over. He no longer had to search for a way to fix “it” so that everything was better. Everything was simply done. He had broken through the window, and escaped.
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