A man named John wakes up. It is Monday morning. His eyes and throat burn with regret. There is a film of bourbon sweat on his forehead and upper lip. His forehead is wrinkled and creased with age. John is 42 years old.
John woke up because the alarm woke him up. He takes a shower because otherwise people will view him with contempt and snicker behind his back. It doesn't matter what John does for a living. The only thing that does matter is that he hates it. He loathes it. It is a parasite sucking the very hope from his shriveled heart. Every day John goes to work and every day he smiles and agrees with something which, in his soul, he thinks is repugnant and devoid of value.
John has car payments to make and his student loans never seem to disappear no matter how often he wishes that they would.
Sometimes John talks to women. In fact, he is relatively certain that he could have a girlfriend if he really wanted one. There is just some block. Something that prevents him from pursuing the matter. He is like a bird dog that is too old to hunt. John is only 42 years old.
Beer cans collect beside John's stove. He is ashamed of them, but he also doesn't care. They make him drunk enough to tolerate the banality of his existence in the world. Sometimes John thinks about the past. When he does he usually thinks about third grade. There was a girl in third grade that John loved more than he has ever loved anyone or anything since. Her name was Rachel and she had hair that fell in soft waves and curled around her face.
In third grade, John was the best artist in his class. Everyone agreed. He was neat and orderly with his lines, allowing them to fall onto the paper using his hand muscles only to guide their descent. John flew threw his drawings. When he was holding a pencil he felt free.
Throughout the rest of John's educational career he got by on his ability to bullshit and the fact that artists were considered different. He was allowed certain freedoms that he did not appreciate. John thinks of this sometimes when he is on his fourth or fifth beer. Sometimes he even picks up his pencil, but he can never think of anything to draw.