Vexed Without a Grin

He woke up and realized everything had changed...

4 days before...
He stared into the dashboard only to see the reflection of his teary-eyed face and the “E” symbol flickering red. While starting the car, a little boy ran across the street and knocked on his window.
“Please! Please, let me in! They’re coming! Please!”
He deeply stared into the helpless boy’s face. A feeling possessed his body ...

This feeling danced up each individual bone and muscle. It continued, every bend and crease, every last eyelash, each of his dirtied fingernails. All until it reached the final hair upon his head. A motion picture was playing on the inner lids of his eyes. He watched...

There he was, aged eight, in the center of an almost empty field. The high grasses swished to the soft wind, until the heavy hail beat them down. Each small boy sprinted to their waterproof tent and locked their slippery fabric door behind them. Alone, he headed for the nearest tent. He scratched and wailed for an open hearted person to just let him in. Nobody volunteered. He remembered the forgotten anthem:

A scout is a boy who is kind, its true!
A scout is brave, and proud all of the way through!
He gives you a hand when you really need it too!

He reached out to press the unlock button, but instead made a sharp turn putting the car in gear and hit the road at full speed. The boy froze and stared...

3 days before...
He sat down to eat at the 84 Diner, (closest eatery near his small shed like house) and took a big sip of his black coffee. A woman approached the table.
“Anything else, I can get ya?” she said with a slight grin.
He sat and grimaced. Another memory revisited reality...

This feeling danced up each individual bone and muscle. It continued, every bend and crease, every last eyelash, each of his dirtied fingernails. All until it reached the final hair upon his head. A motion picture was playing on the inner lids of his eyes. He watched...

This time, his mind brought him back to the time when he was working at a local coffee shop. He would bus, and wait on tables and get his hourly salary of five dollars. There was one day when two working men, and their spouses came into the shop. They ordered doughnuts, and scones of all sorts. Each of them must have had at least two cups of the signature coffee. The time soon came when they were fully stuffed with treats. They got up and left. Nothing left on the table. Only a tarnished coin was left on the poorly mopped granite that one of men had dropped on their way out...

He got up from his seat, threw a nickel on the table and left.

2 days before...
He was mowing his lawn when he stopped to brush off the dust on the metal inscription on the side of his lion statue. He squinted at the sight of the repulsive corrosion, taken place on it. Then an adolescent girl from next door interrupted his peer. She was singing along to a song on a portable music player, while watering her lilacs. She gazed over the statue he had been hiding behind, took out one of her earphones, and with a benevolent smile said,
“Hello Sir, lovely weather we are having isn’t it? Perfect for gardening.”
An old thought yet again, bewitched him...

This feeling danced up each individual bone and muscle. It continued, every bend and crease, every last eyelash, each of his dirtied fingernails. All until it reached the final hair upon his head. A motion picture was playing on the inner lids of his eyes. He watched...

Once again he found himself as a boy rolling around in a rough soil patch, pretending to be like a small pig on a hot summer evening.
“Excuse me sir!! Sir!!!” it was his next door neighbor screeching from her third porch step. “Enough with your rough housing you little mutt! No need to act like a hog, when you already look like one!...” she continued on with her nasty comments. This was no longer a friendly banter, but a threat. “...Yeah boy, you and that mother of yours don’t belong here. You’re mucking up my award winning flower patch. That soil you were rolling in, that could have been my future! If I see you out in my yard one more time I ought to...yeah, that’s what I’ll do...” her voice faded as she walked into her home.

He started up his lawn mower with one big tug of a wire. He clasped the handle and ran over the glimmering lilacs to leave nothing but a stripped flower, with shredded petals lying over his dried out excuse of a front lawn.

1 day before…
“And one last cut rii-ght aa-bout here! And you’re done!”


The hairdresser said this while handing him a mirror. This woman was the most giddy person that he had ever seen. He questioned how a person could experience such happiness, when he didn’t even know what it felt like to smile. He stopped brushing his teeth at age six because he figured there was no use to if nobody was to see him smile. Each time he encountered a person who would dare to grin in his presence he would do nothing but get a sharp tingle in his stomach. This, he hated most of all.
“Soo…? Don’t you love it!” She said, with a huge smile and a single dimple on her right cheek. He was tentative and wary about the image that had lied ahead. Fierce jealousy triggered his anger. A final rush repeated itself...

This feeling danced up each individual bone and muscle. It continued, every bend and crease, every last eyelash, each of his dirtied fingernails. All until it reached the final hair upon his head. A motion picture was playing on the inner lids of his eyes. He watched...

The florescent tree glittered with a sensational purpose of hope, and surprise. The shimmering red carpet was soon to be filled with dozens of tissue, and sparkling wrapping paper, strewn about, revealing the gift it was previously hiding. All of his fingers and toes were crossed, in a sense of desire for the unknown. He had been craving a new comic book, (by this point he could recite it from memory).
After already knowing what would happen next, as if watching a horror movie for the second time, he tried to shake himself out of this trance. He jumped high and low, wishing he wouldn’t have to re-live another awful childhood memory. It was no use.
He finally stared down at the blank red carpet.
One look and an instant scowl appeared on his seemingly inanimate face. It was no longer the poorly cut hair he obtained what made him angry.
Back into history, he remembered walking into school the following week glaring at the children who had their new comics at hand, each child obtaining a smile.
Vexation rushed through him, and he could no longer feel his ever so constant state of equanimity. He leaped out of his chair, and he ran across the room so fast, the scantling below him shuddered. The hairdresser looked back, baffled.

The Day…
He stopped his car at The Dump, and removed his ring-stained coffee table from the back seat of his car. He dragged the wooden piece down the gravel pathway, its legs etching down to nothing from the sharp pebbles. He finally reached his destination to find six construction workers at the gate of The Dump. One of the construction workers walked over and said,
“Oh, sorry man, but The Dump is closed for organizational purposes. You’ll have to come back Saturday.”
Discarding this warning, he continued on the path to the drop-off section.
“Sir…you cannot go beyond here…Sir. Sir. Sir!” the construction worker’s words suddenly became an order rather than a warning.

Just as the previous days, an old remembrance came to him. Although, this time he was reluctant to observe. He took a final step and a shadow of a remarkably large truck overtook him, followed by the incredible force of the windshield proceeding to puncture and bruise, his once lush skin.

The construction workers looked fixated at the crushed man. One of them took out their mobile phone and dialed an ambulance, which arrived shortly after. The ambulance took him to an Emergency Room.
He was knocked into a coma with a temporary neurological dysfunction. The workers visited him every day. Each day they brought in fresh lilacs from the most prominent flower shop down town. Together they would watch over him while drinking their black coffee from the 84 Diner and one of their wives waiting outside in an almost empty gas–filled car (although every now and again she would leave to return to her day job of a hairdresser). The hospital treated him nicely, even though the workers requested a private room for him and got a double. He shared a room with a little boy who was jumped, despite his efforts of escaping to a sour, smile less man in a car.
He was out for a while…

Eight Years Later…
He woke up and realized everything had changed…





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