December 8, 2007
The downtown apartment was average. Average in the way the upholstery was frayed at the arms of the chairs, the duct-tape pressed into the creases of the windows that didn’t-quite-shut. It was average to the extent of having an empty milk carton in the refrigerator, and moldy forgotten clothes in the ill-used washer. Well, the extent of this ‘average’ included thirty-something’s bachelor pads. Everyone was not expected to reside in such squalor. The couch sagged in the middle, television remotes in easy reach from the coffee table that sported several water rings. An abandoned two liter bottle of Coca-Cola was tipped on its side, dark contents staining further the dingy outdoor carpet. Average. The television was left on, the muted white snowy screen casting an eerie glow on the surrounding room. Average. And this of course, was just the entrance room.

The hallway that stretched to the doors of bedroom and bathroom was unlined with photographs, chipped and graying lime green paint the only adornment. Tiny bathroom included a stand-in shower, toilet, and sink, wastebasket beside the latter overflowing with used tissues and disposable razors. Mirror hiding the medicine cabinet was a-jar, revealing randomly placed Advil bottles, throat lozenges, a dusty box of condoms, and an empty orange prescription bottle, sporting the label, ‘Mr. Gerard R. Simon-Welbutrin XL 150 Mg.-Take once a day morning or evening.’ Ah, a depressed thirty-something bachelor. Average. So average. So patterned, so normal.

The tour finally was brought to a halt in the bedroom, bedside lamp still on, though one of the two light bulbs was burnt out. There was no carpet here, only scratched and streaked wood, rug by the bedside soft with use. Cheap plywood dresser was set in front of the only window in the room, blocking out moonlight and sunlight alike. Dark blue comforter was thrown back, a thirty-something average bachelor propped up on two pillows reading a book.

Mr. Gerard R. Simon.

And he was the average thirty-something bachelor. Still the traces of youthful handsome-ness remained, light blue eyes under dark eyebrows, hawkish nose, high cheekbones and full lips. Though age and the beginnings of surrender were starting to show in an increasingly large forehead due to a receding hairline, the remaining dark brown spritzed with silver, round reading glasses perched a little too far down on his nose, the resulting crook of neck accenting the beginnings of a double chin. Average in height, six feet, his body had obviously once belonged to an athlete. Once belonged, the evidence of being let go obvious in the protrudence of a beginning potbelly, the skin on his arms sagging as he held his book up.

…If he was a woman, he would be described as a beautiful flower gone to seed, but in his case, he was the alpha wolf beaten to the bottom of the ladder.

Gerard sighed and meticulously dog-eared the page of the paperback western, dropping it to the floor with a dull //thump.// The flashing red numbers of his radio clock read ‘2:47 AM,’ and, instead of stowing away his glasses, rolling over and going to sleep like an average thirty-something bachelor would, he sat up and rose out of bed. Average white and graying boxers were all he wore, goose bumps breaking out across chest and the visible part of his thighs. Groggily he shuffled to his dresser, pulling out pants and shirt, both an identical khaki.

Ah. A night shift. Back to being average. He wasn’t a psychotic night prowler then.

Gerard pulled on the clothing, almost cardboard like in texture. He rotated his shoulders and neck, satisfying crack bringing forth another sigh. He pulled a pair of black tennis shoes from the bottom drawer, laced them tightly to his feet after withdrawing a square metal pin from one. He clipped it to his button up shirt over his heart, text reading, ‘Gerry Simon-Security Guard.’

Ooh. A man in uniform.

Gerry completed his ensemble with a belt complete with taser, metal rod, handcuffs, but no gun. He yawned, pressing the back of his hand over his mouth, gold wristwatch dully rasping over a day and half a night’s sleep’s stubble. Ready.

Before leaving his domain, Gerry stopped in the bathroom, grabbing the orange prescription bottle. Oh no, empty. Gerry ran a hand through his hair before tossing the bottle into the trash, though it uselessly bounced on the overflowing heap, falling with a dull clatter to the tile. Ignoring this, Gerry had already turned around to briskly walk out the door, telling himself like he had so many times before, ‘Maybe I’ll pull myself out this time.’

His tennis shoes made no sound on the carpet as he left, an annoyed hiss of breath his reaction to the spilled Coke. Ah well, perhaps he’d leave the door cracked so his landlord across the hall would see it in the morning during her morning prowl… A kind old lady who would clean it up herself without saying anything. Yes, that’s what he would do. He lifted his keys from the hook by the door, put them in his pocket, exited, and left his door open.

The trek to the elevator was as monotonous as ever, past the numbered doors of the other tenants, the harsh yipping of the chihauha behind the last bringing a smile to Gerry’s lips as usual. Pets supposedly weren’t allowed. The reason being the musky odor that Gerry inhaled as he waited for the elevator to pick him up.

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