Sisyphus has a manic episode, ruins his anniversary, drives to Iowa, relapses and quits his job. BUT OTHER THAN THAT THINGS ARE GOING GREAT!
“It’s Angel’s last day, pizza in the break room.”
I waited in line, paper plate in hand. They had Domino’s, 2-liters of soda, chips, cookies— the whole shebang.
“Damn, do you think they’re gonna throw a party like this when you leave?” my coworker asked.
“Fuck no!” I said. “You guys won’t be able to find me when I leave.”
“We can barely find you now!” he said.
I could feel the earth smoldering beneath my feet.
It was our second anniversary. We had reservations at a fancy restaurant downtown— our one splurge for the month. After this, it’d be back to eating plastic hot dogs in our Fun With Friends Kitchen.
“Welcome to Lupi & Iris, my name’s Kate and it’s my pleasure to serve you today. Can I start you off with something to drink? Sparkling water? The blood of a virgin?”
“Sparkling water’s fine,” I said.
They sat us directly in front of the band. We must give off poverty vibrations. Come to think of it, that’s a pretty good name for a band.
A saxophonist wailed in the corner while his partner on the keyboard banged out sounds of no recognizable rhythm or melody.
I kinda love jazz musicians. They take pretentious people’s money and then just make random sounds at them. It’s a pretty good bit.
Do they ever see how far they can take it? Do they ever just play the same note 50 times in a row and see if anybody notices? Play the Pokemon theme song and see if anyone looks up from their food? Start scatting, but then it slowly fades into “The Whisper Song” by the Ying Yang Twins.
Skee-ba da-dee my dick
Skee-ba da-dee my dick, HEY BITCH
It was my first time in a bar in over two months. I was doing my best to swallow a panic attack while Abby looked over the menu.
“Did you see the trans rosebud black ass?”
“WHAT?” I said.
“Pan-roasted black bass,” she said, louder.
“This music is really overstimulating,” I said. “I can’t hear myself think.”
She made the yikes emoji face.
“I’m sorry I’m in a bad mood. I just wish these people would message me.”
“You don’t have to worry about that right now,” she said. She couldn’t smell the smoke.
“I’ve done three interviews, they all went well. It’s been over a month, what’s taking so long? They must’ve hated my writing samples.”
“You don’t know that,” she said.
I sent them three of my highest-ranking landing pages, three websites I built, and then, at the end, I did something kinda stupid:
“P.S. If you’re really brave, here’s an example of my creative writing. It can get kind of weird and introspective if you’re into that kind of thing.”
I haven’t heard back since.
Not a fuck you, how do you do, nothing.
I guess I didn’t account for the fact that there’s also articles on this website about smoking weed, jerking off and throwing a bottle of piss out the window at a Taco Bell drive-through. Maybe not the best look.
This is what I get for being honest.
The smell of soot hung heavy in the air as we made our way to the Milwaukee Art Museum. There was some sort of outdoor festival that cost $22 a person. I put my sticky paper wristband on too tight. I always fucking do that and then it rips out my wrist hairs. I need my mom to do it for me.
We walked around and saw a lot of cool shit we couldn't afford. It was a step up from the virgin-blood jazz jam session from earlier, but I soon ran into another problem.
I came back to work too early after hip surgery last year and the dang thang just hasn’t been right since. Within 20 minutes of any walking or standing engagement, my right hip joint locks up, causing me to limp around like Patchy the Pirate.
We roamed around the art museum for what felt like an appropriate amount of time for the money we spent. On the ride home, I randomly started sobbing.
“What’s wrong!?” she asked.
“I just don’t want to be like this anymore.”
I woke up the next morning to an email:
Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Unfortunately, we can't provide the number of hours you are looking for on a reliable basis. I'll keep your info on file and reach out in the future if that changes.”
It hit me like a fireball to the chest.
I slammed open the bathroom door and screamed at the top of my lungs. I wanted to jump through the mirror and strangle that fucking guy. I went into full, autistic Donkey Kong mode and started smashing everything in sight. I spiked my hard plastic water bottle against the wall, shattering it to a million pieces and leaving a giant hole. I mashed up bananas between my fingers and flung them around the room in a blind rage. That’s when I met eyes with the knife block.
Nope. Time to go. Time to go! I don’t know where I’m going, but it’s time to go.
I got in my car and headed toward work. After eight months of holding my tongue, I was more than ready to recreate that classic scene from Half Baked.
I crested the hill and there it was— my work, standing out on the horizon like a haunted mansion from Scooby Doo. I had a split-second decision to make. Do I turn left, or keep driving?
What am I saying? I can’t go to work like this… I shouldn’t be making any permanent decisions right now— FUCK!
I kept driving.
Five minutes later, I made a U-turn.
If not now, when? These people are evil dickheads. How much longer am I gonna put up with this? Every fucking step of the way in my life, there’s been a domineering bully trying to tell me what to do, how to feel, how to act— trying to control me for their own benefit. Making me feel small. Making me hate myself. When am I gonna draw the line?
As my work approached on the right, I made another split-second decision to keep driving.
I repeated this process at least five times, circling my prey like a shark.
Two and a half hours later, I was in Dubuque.
I parked in front of Monk’s Kaffee Pub, my old stomping grounds. I tried to feed the meter but it gave me an error message. Fuck it, I decided, give me a ticket. I don’t live here anymore. What are they gonna do? Put out a warrant?
I walked in and saw one of the owners, Casey, behind the bar.
“Hey, what’s up, man? What brings you to town?”
“I just need to be in a place that makes me happy,” I said.
“Fair enough, what are you drinking?”
“I’ll just take a PBR,” I said.
“Two bucks. Any guesses?”
“Five of clubs and uhhh… ten of hearts,” I said.
He turned over the bottle cap to reveal a king of spades.
“Damn, I wasn’t even close.”
If you guess correctly, you get a free one. God, I miss Dubuque.
I sat down on the back patio and had my first sip of alcohol in two months. After a while, Casey sauntered out for a cigarette and I bummed one.
“So, how you liking it out there?”
“Honestly, I kind of hate Milwaukee,” I said. “I just keep getting stuck in these dead-end, entry-level jobs...”
A customer interrupted my pity party and Casey had to run back inside. Thank god, because I was about to rant for like ten minutes. For your own safety, you should never, under any circumstances, ask me how I’m doing. Because I’ll tell you…
As I finished my cigarette, I noticed a Razor scooter leaning up against the bike rack. To the right, there were two birds fighting over a Croc.
Casey came back out a few minutes later and relit his cigarette.
“Did someone actually roll up here in a Razor scooter?” I asked.
He laughed. “I don’t know how half of this shit gets here, man.”
“I saw two birds fighting over a Croc a couple minutes ago.”
“Yeah,” he nodded. “There’s a guy who comes around and fills all the loose Crocs with birdseed.”
God, I miss Dubuque.
“Can I grab another one out of the cooler?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said, putting out his cigarette. “Any guesses?”
I punched in at 9:37 a.m. on Thursday morning, my first appearance in the office all week.
Not too long after, my boss pulled me away for the obligatory “We need to talk” meeting.
“Hey, just so you know, you can’t stay punched in during lunch anymore,” he said. “You need to punch out any time you leave the building, even if you’re just going to the gas station.”
“Damn, even the gas station?”
“Yeahhhh,” he said. There was regret in his voice, like he didn’t even agree with the rules he’s enforcing.
“Anyways, how are you doing?” he asked.
I’m so tired of making up excuses, I just told him the truth.
“I had a manic episode and drove to Iowa because it was either that or kill myself.”
“Jesus,” he said. “Well, just, try not to do it again, I guess?”
Cool. Yeah. Awesome. Will do. He gave me some lame advice about exercising more and that was it. I was hoping to get fired.
Why the hell won’t these people fire me? I miss work all the time. I’ve openly said I’m looking for other jobs. I pretty obviously don’t care. Just put me out of my misery already.
If I got fired, I could collect unemployment, get some much needed rest and try to sort out my brain while I plan the next move, but no. They’d rather try to break my spirit with absence policy reminders to build a case against me than pay a single cent supporting my unemployment. Helping people who are obviously fucked up? That goes against everything they believe in.
My team lead, Brian, walked by on his way to the conference room.
“Hey, there’s a Zoho meeting at 10,” he said. “You should probably be there.”
I can’t think of anything I’d rather do less than walk into a room of people who are all gonna ask the same, humiliating question:
“HEY, WHERE YA BEEN?”
On the outer limits of my sanity, is that what you wanna hear? I hate lying. Why can’t I just tell them the truth? I hate my life, I hate this job and I want to die. Why do I have to go on with this charade until I can find another job? Just so the banks can get their fucking minimum payment this month? Fuck that, man. I’m so tired of being on this hamster wheel to nowhere.
I don’t care about money. I just want to make cool shit and be around people who let me be myself. I just want to have nice interactions with people. Is that so much to ask?
I don’t need to OWN a bunch of shit. I don’t need to DOMINATE. I just want to be left alone to write my gay little articles. Is that so much to ask?
I don’t want to be stuck in this shame cycle anymore, where mental problems lead to poor productivity, which leads to more stress, which leads to more mental problems. I don’t want to be punished for suffering. Is that so much to ask?
I looked at the clock: 10:36. Brian sat back down at his desk.
“You really should’ve been in that meeting,” he said.
“Yeah,” I said flatly.
“Well, I guess you’ll figure it out…” I could feel the animosity in his voice.
Suddenly, my cubicle burst into flames
Acting fast, I unplugged my $20 headphones, unpinned a Polaroid picture of Butter and stuffed both into my lunch bag. I got down on all fours to escape the smoke.
Flames had engulfed the entire office. Once in the hallway, I leapt to my feet and made a run for it, passing no less than three American flags on my way out the door.
Smoke billowed out into the warm Wisconsin air. A sudden calm came over me.
I put my keys in the ignition and wiped the soot from my eyes. I sped away as the building collapsed in my rearview mirror.
Then it hit me.
I forgot to punch out.
Today is my birthday and all I want is for you to subscribe to my blog.