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Crack This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   At 3 a.m. the streets were bare, and the lone crack on the sidewalk of the city lay alone, disrupting the symmetry of the sidewalk. It was like stone, ever unmoving, ever unchanging.

At 5 a.m. a bum stumbled across the sidewalk, stepping directly on the crack. The bum managed to make a few more feet of progress before bending and vomiting across the sidewalk. Several pieces of what appeared to be beef jerky made their way into the crack, and stuck.

At 6 a.m. a paperboy drove over the crack in the sidewalk, spilling the contents of his pockets around the crack. Some change, a stick of gum, and a dead rat. The life of the child, described openly for the crack to see. There they sat, until they were pushed away by people slowly filtering onto the streets. Some hair from the rat nestled in the crack.

At 7: 30 a.m. the streets were humming with people braving their way to work, pushing through the crowds, trying to survive one more day in the world. Why do they try? Why do they just keep on doing what they do? They make money for their retirement, so they can die. All their lives were spent in preparation for their deaths.

At 8: 45 a.m. a man singing the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" at the top of his lungs stood directly on the crack and began attracting attention. People were plugging their ears as they walked past, trying to ignore him. The police came and took him away. Some women in the crowd shook their heads.

"It's so sad," they said. "He does that every day. He's a veteran, fought in Vietnam. And one day he snapped. It's horrible how he changed, fighting for his country."

Then they shrugged and moved on.

He fought for an imaginary line on a map. That's all. That's all that countries are. Imaginary lines, no more real than that. Now, he was edging to death, simply because he killed a few people in a battle for those imaginary lines. It all leads to death.

At 9: 17 a.m. a police officer went running after a boy on the street.

They each stepped on the crack in turn. Why was he running? What did the boy do? Is it really important in the long run?

At 11 a.m. a hot dog cart set down on top of the crack. Some people yelled at the vendor, telling him he was killing innocent animals. They spat at him and moved on. The vendor made good business for the day. We all have to die sometime, it fits with animals as well as humans. May as well be sooner than later.

At 1 p.m. the vendor moved to a more prosperous part of town.

At 3 p.m. children rushed across the crack, some stopping to play jump rope. They had just gotten out of school. School is to prepare them for their lives, for their jobs, so they can retire and die. Why prepare them for death so soon in their lives?

At 3: 56 p.m. a "happy" couple pushed a stroller along the street, taking a moment to stop over the crack and play with the baby. Why do they have babies? So they can carry on the name? So they can teach the child everything they know? Is there a greater conceit than having a child? It is like building a monument for yourself, and then thinking that monument will not have the same problems you do. Indeed, the greatest conceit, and the greatest stupidity as well.

At 5: 21 p.m. the people got out of work stepping around and on the crack, rushing home to cook dinner and live their home lives. They return to children who don't love them because they spend too much time at work (where they'll be going one day soon). They return to a pitiful life that they build around their career (preparation for death). Their jobs cause them to be stressed and die early, so they cannot even enjoy their retirement (moments before death).

At 7: 55 p.m, after night falls, there is a fight on the street, over a girl. One boy stabs another. The dying boy bleeds into the crack, and dies, covering it with his corpse. They fight for a girl, so they may marry and have children (be conceited) and have someone to retire with (grow old and die with, someone to mourn at the funeral because no one else will mourn for a pitiful working drone).

The police take the winner away. What makes their laws right? Who says that the laws that one may wish to impose on another are correct?

Civility is imposed on us, and for what reason? What difference will the word "laws" make on the world when it is a cloud of dust, circling the sun? What difference will the scientific laws of gravity and motion make when there is no universe to make those laws relevant?

At 10: 45 p.m., all the whores started coming out, their stiletto heels digging into the crack. The whores were probably the most honest people to walk the streets. They take money for sex, but they advertise that way. What is wrong about selling sex for money? Is that another one of those "laws" where one group that happens to be stronger imposes a law upon the weaker group?

At 1 a.m., a man who is dressed in shiny clothes drops a box of white powder, almost directly into the crack. He almost goes insane, trying to collect the white powder, as though he dropped his life and his life were as intangible as fine sand.

At 2 a.m., when the streets are nearly empty, the street cleaners come, washing the blood, the vomit, the hair, and the powder from the crack, flushing it of any evidence of the day's activities.

At 3 a.m. the streets were bare, and the lone crack on the sidewalk of the city lay alone, disrupting the symmetry of the sidewalk. It was like stone, ever unmoving, ever unchanging.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 1 comment. Post your own!

Anon said...
Dec. 4, 2009 at 1:13 am:
You have some very profound thoughts on life. You give me a very different perspective.
I like this story alot, how it's made up of separate stories of individuals. It is unique and creative. However, I do think you are a very pessimist person, no offense :P There are many wonders to life. Life is valuable and it IS worth living.
Thanks so much for sharing this story!
 
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