Old Man McCarron hung his raincoat on the coat rack directly behind his front door and carefully leaned the umbrella into its usual place behind it as he entered his gray, one-story duplex half in the historic part of town. Almost by instinct he glanced over towards the small desk that had found a home in the corner immediately to his right to check and see if his answering machine had been doing its job while he’d been out. The frightfully small desk was smothered with a large computer screen, an answering machine, a random thing that he had been told was called a “scanner” (who in the hell knew what that meant?) and a few unopened envelopes that had arrived a few days ago looking a lot like they were just reminders that he owed a little money to some big company that already had more than enough money. The desk, and everything on it, hardly ever changed as far as he could tell… and maybe it never would.
But, like almost every day, the “waiting message” light on his answering machine stood still and silent. “No idea why I even bother to look,” he thought to himself, “It’s not like it ever has anything to say.” For as long as he could remember, it hardly ever did, except for those few times that his daughter called just to see if he was still alive, and so she could say, “I hope you are doing well.” Which, from what he could tell meant, “I have regrets.
Honestly, he felt as if that whole corner of his home had been invaded and taken over by some strange alien forces. Last year, for Christmas, his daughter had bought him the computer, the answering machine and everything else closely related to their placement. He hadn’t been in need of any of those things, or so he had thought, until she, in painful detail, explained to him that he did indeed need all those things and it was high time he joined the rest of the world in the great wave of technology that had crashed upon the lives of everyone around him.
Apparently, somewhere along the way, when he wasn’t paying close enough attention, this whole goddamn planet got in a hurry to know just about every damn thing, about everything and everyone… and it didn’t quite seem right to him. But, like a lot of other things in present day life, he had learned to deal with it, if only with slight dislike and distaste. Some things in this life are like a good scotch… it takes time to know how to deal with them. And, that was lesson he had taught himself a long time ago, even before he really wanted to learn.
It‘s not like he had a choice… because there it was… his computer, his answering machine, and that whole feeling like he had joined the rest of everyone else in a fraternity that he never had intended to pledge. And, so the desk had made itself its very own life right here in his very own home… and it was here to stay, with or without him. He guessed that all of this would far outlive him, and, truth be told, he was okay with that, too. More than okay, actually.
And, since there was no immediate attention being demanded by the electronic sense of life in the corner of his home… he made his way over to the liquor cabinet that stood adjacent the lone divider in his flat. It was an old wooden liquor cabinet that he’d had for years.
Okay, truth be told, well… it wasn’t actually a “real” liquor cabinet at all, but rather a large oak duvet that he’d converted to a liquor cabinet some many years before when Sarah had picked it up at a garage sale since she had always been in the habit of buying things that they didn’t actually “need” but things that, according to her, were basically just “steals.” And, if she didn’t buy them, right then there and now… then God forbid, some other person might grab them up and they’d have beaten her to the punch. She had this knack for “finding steals.” Never-mind the actual need for them, or the actual necessity of the item, and no matter how much he knew in his heart that they were just garbage people were throwing away. If it was a good deal in her mind, real or unreal, then it simply must be purchased because Sarah McCarron was no chump and knew a “good deal” when she saw it.
When he reached the oak duvet/liquor cabinet he opened it, pulled a Collins glass from the top shelf, and opened a bottle of Jameson’s that stood proud and upright in the front row of what was the only row that made up his liquor count. It was a lonely place, that duvet of his, and his liquor line, no matter it’s name or its use. There are things in this world that can be so big and so small at the same time. And, his liquor cabinet was the screaming echo of that thought.
He poured the dark amber liquor into his glass “tall and neat.” These days he drank almost everything “tall and neat.” It was something he had learned to do when he was a young man and serving this great country of ours in the War To End All Wars. Somehow that damn war had turned out to not quite live up to its name… but, somehow, in some weird way, the drink had, if only for him And, he knew that for whatever strange reason… it made sense. By the end of it all he knew that there are some things that no matter how hard you try to shove them though your mind there was never gonna come a time where the Ends meet the Means. He had been lied to the whole damn time.
After pouring his drink he sauntered back a few steps and found himself settling into his favorite chair that he already knew would be waiting for him. His butt found it’s place there as he placed his glass down on a worn, leather-bound Bible that sat upon a make-shift nightstand made up of mostly other books he’d read twenty times apiece, but that seemed to always call for recognition in times when he needed someone else’s other words to make up his mind. It always seemed odd to him that the only way that he ever felt connected to the world anymore was through the words of people that he would never really know. Most of them were already dead. The others were dead in thought. And, he wasn’t sure which of those members he belonged to.
(To be continued…)
by Senator Brett