Perfectly normal start to a day; alarm clock went off, waking me from a dream that I couldn't quite remember. I don't quite recall what it was about, but I know that I was enjoying the hell out of it. In hopes of returning to that enjoyment, the snooze button got a little extra abuse. Naturally, sleep was then not a possibility so I decided to get up and shut the alarm off. For the few weeks leading up to that day, sleep had been a fickle mistress. My mind seemed restless, ever worrying about something I could feel, but not quite put my finger on. Just one of those funks, I guess. You know what I mean, everyone gets them here and there.
I cursed the world (with emphasis on school), lit up a cancer stick, and sluggishly drug myself into the shower. I was finally out on my own, in a shitty apartment in the most run down part of town. If I wouldn’t have died from the rusty water that I had to drink, it would surely have come from the hungry roaches in my sleep. At that point in time I believe I had about three dollars to my name, but that didn't faze me. What mattered was that I had my own place, my own car, and my own life. Even if I had to support myself with a shitty job with shitty pay while going through school, it was worth it.
I had just moved out of my house, away from my parents that is, in the preceding July and already the enjoyment I had found in that crypt of an apartment had surpassed that of my other home. Of course, I do love my parents, and appreciate them putting up with me for as long as they did, but we all need to move on some time, and for me that was as soon as I could. I believe it’s the independence that I had that really made the difference. Of course, if you ask any teenager what would implore them to leave home, I'm sure that they would all have the same opinion. It’s easier to live in full independence and few incentives than vice versa. Examples…
I never liked guns any more than your normal everyday citizen; however I had felt compelled to buy at least a little personal protection. Okay, I suppose that the guns I had were a little more than just personal protection. I guess I do have a bit of a flair for the firearm. In the old house with the parents, they would never allow a gun in the house, which is perfectly understandable. Another case is alcohol. Alcohol, when used in moderation, is relatively harmless, as well as forbidden in the old home. I suppose since the big move, moderation hadn’t always been used; however, no harm, no foul. A few drunken nights with friends and good company never hurt anyone, did it? Another case (quite possibly most important) is cigarettes and such smoke-able herbs. This here is self-explanatory. If you smoke, you know what its like to always be hassled about where its okay to smoke, and even more frustrating is straight up being told you aren't allowed to. As with the previous reasons I had really over-exaggerated my freedom with this one too. Since the move, I managed to scrounge up enough money to purchase a hookah, for tobacco uses only, of course.
For all the benefits of living alone, there are just as many downsides. For instance, as soon as school started I had a very monotonous schedule: School, Work, Sleep. Every week day I woke up, got ready for school (or didn't go), and as soon as that was done I came home just long enough to throw my work clothes on, and went to work. After work I would normally kick back a few brews and hit the hay. So as you can see, the week days were not too fun for me.
As I mentioned, I had been working for nearly a year, and as I did not mention, that year of work was at Pizza Hut. The work itself wasn't terrible, and I enjoyed most of my co-workers, so in the end I really didn't mind working there. Hell, it could be worse.... For instance I could still be a janitor back at the YMCA, and let me tell you, that is some very dirty work. Or I could go back to working as a tele-marketer, but that work is even worse than mopping puke off of a YMCA bathroom floor.
Of course there was the constant shortage of money, no matter how many hours of making pizzas I could cram into an already full week. Most of my funds were drained right away on rent and food, and of course there was the price of cigarettes constantly on the rise. Gas and random fines and expenses managed to drain even more of my finances. Somehow, though, I did manage to have enough scratch left over to afford my habits and social life. When you are living paycheck to paycheck there's a constant nagging feeling that you are treading water, not getting anywhere, but I figured I could worry about that when I graduated. It's not like I planned to work at Pizza Hut my entire life.
On most weekends I had a better time. I would normally get to work earlier in the day and be done by five, which gave me ample time to enjoy myself on Saturdays. When I first started working, I made a decision to never work Sundays. At first I gave them some ridiculous excuse about needing to go to church, but I'm pretty sure that by now they had to have figured out that I wasn't the church type. Nevertheless, I never worked a Sunday in the time that I had worked there, which means I was free to do whatever I needed on Saturdays. Saturdays were fun.
Just about every Saturday I had some friends over (much to the chagrin of my neighbors), and we would drink a little, play cards, shoot the shit, and generally just have a good time. Sometimes I would sit down on the drum set, and someone would pick up a guitar, and we'd piss my neighbors off even more. Now, every once in a while we might have gotten a little out of hand, and by a little, sometimes I mean a whole lot. Not too many of my neighbors liked the fact that I lived in the complex, but no one ever called the police, because everyone felt the same way I did about them. Also, a lot of these people who lived around me were engaged in activities the police would frown upon, so at least I never had to worry about them.
Those Saturday nights I cherished and held close to me. I was surrounded by friends, pretty girls, and good drinks and that always kept me in good spirits. There was a tightly knit group of my friends that would always come before the party and stay until the rabble cleared up and it was just us again. It really was what kept me sane and I never minded the repetition, or reputation.
So now there I was in a new home, master of my own domain. The power was quite enjoyable, but the lifestyle that comes with making your own way can be taxing. Whether or not my previous life or this one had more pros and less cons is debatable, but I didn't have the time to figure that out at the moment. After all, I needed to go to school.
I found my way out of the shower, hardly more awake than I was 10 minutes before, and proceeded to run through my daily routine of getting ready for school. What to wear? Isn’t that always the question? I picked up the jeans I had on the night before and made sure that there wasn’t anything incriminating in them (seeing as though I was getting ready for school) and put on the shirt that looked the cleanest. A passing question of whether or not people will notice that I wore a Radiohead t-shirt two days in a row ran through my head before I dismissed it with good ol' apathy.
With three dollars I couldn’t quite make it to the laundromat (even if I had the gas to get there), and I would have to wait for Monday to get any cash. I flipped on the stove, ready to make some ramen noodles, the only real food I could afford to eat (if you can call that real food). The fire from the stove made a handy lighter for my No. 27, and I took a long drag from the coffin nail. The one thing that I truly did hate about that apartment was that damn gas stove. I knew that one day that thing would cause an explosion, ripping my home and maybe a few others' apart. I hate gas stoves. Exhaling the fire from my lungs, I went to the fridge to find me a brew. Milwaukee’s Best? Bleh, I sure as hell didn’t buy that. So a shot or two (or maybe three) of my pal Admiral Nelson was a good way to start the day. As a matter of fact, I felt like walking to school that day, so why not another two or three shots? I always seemed to do best in school with a good buzz going.
As the water began to boil I decided to go and watch some cartoons. I flipped on the TV and started surfing channels, flipping past some local news footage of a riot or something nearby, a dog jumping through hoops, some cheetahs, and finally good ol' Tom and Jerry. 'Man, this place is a mess' I thought to myself. Strewn around the room were beer and soda cans, dirty laundry, fast food wrappers, something I honestly couldn't identify, and general junk. So whilst I waited for the noodles I started to pick some of the shit up.
After I got my living room looking semi-decent I realized that my calendar said August, and I knew that wasn't right. After a quick glance at my phone I was reminded that it was the sixth of November, so I was a little bit off. With my cigarette nearly out, I took another from the pack and lit it with the ember from the first, and flipped through a few months of calendar. In doing so I flipped through a few months of life. School starting, the weekly parties, a few failed dates..... but mostly nothing. Nothing after nothing, and nothing, and nothing. The days blurred into weeks, the weeks to months. Every day a carbon copy of the last, a seemingly never ending chain of monotony. Once again, I promised myself to change it all, and soon. If I kept living like this I knew what would happen. It's the same thing that happens to every other poor bastard from this town. Was there anything I could do to stop it?
I could see it in my head as I flipped through the few remaining months on the calendar; I saw it happening as it did to everyone. I would graduate from high school and continue on to college (if I could afford it). I'd spend four years conditioning my brain, and I would spend the same four years dumbing it down with alcohol until I was docile enough to get a desk job. At that point I may as well sign my death warrant, because it would be the same then as it is now: Wake up, work, come home, repeat. It was the slowest and most horrifying way to die that I could imagine. But that is the American Dream, isn't it? And now I want nothing more.
As I awoke from my daze a little less ready for the day than I was a moment before, something struck a chord in me: the date. November sixth. Something about that day was important, but I could not for the life of me remember what. Was there something I was supposed to do today? Was the rent due? Well, whatever it was, it sure as hell wasn't getting done. Suddenly, I heard some unpleasant screams from the apartment above mine that startled the hell out of me. But that’s a fairly natural thing living where I did, so I quickly dismissed it with some unpleasant yelling back and a broom handle to the ceiling.
Sitting down to my ramen noodles, fresh out of my one and only stove pan, I noticed my neighbor Shauna outside stumbling around. Of course she was probably tweaked on some lines of the devil's dandruff. So I turned my attention to my oh-so-delicious meal. Goddamn did I wish I had some real food. After I finished, I rinsed the pot and left it in my sink. Once again, I turned to the door, and still Shauna was wandering around seemingly aimlessly, so I figured I'd try to see how she was doing. I figured it would provide me with at least a little amusement, and I needed some distraction right then. My thoughts were increasingly dark.