by dschapman

The freezer door was hanging open this morning. I noticed it was open as soon as I entered the kitchen and my heart sank. I poked a pint of ice cream and it sunk under the pressure of my finger. The contents were liquified. Five pints of ice cream, all of them liquified. There are worse things, I thought, than melted ice cream, but I can not think of anything right now.

I went to a show last night to be with my friends but I found it difficult to enjoy myself. I did not know how to behave myself. I used to enjoy going to music shows and I used to envy the people on stage and want to be like them. Now, though, I only felt embarrassed for them. All of the performers needed haircuts. I wondered how they could act up like that, how they could get on stage and make a scene out of themselves. Had they no propriety? I felt embarrassed for those around me as well. Everyone was dancing and drinking dirty water. They looked more like apes than usual. One of my friends tried to buy me a drink. I told her that I have been drinking salty dogs, because I wanted to show off that I have been drinking again, even though I have actually only had three in my entire life. She told me that she drinks salty dogs, too. It was then that I realized that salty dogs were a woman’s drink, and I was drinking women’s drinks again.

My sister offered me two tickets to a ballet performance of Don Quixote by the Russian National Ballet. It was good I think but I do not really know what distinguishes a good ballet from a bad one, so for all I know it was not very good. It was a colorful and directionless performance and the titular character did not dance, he simply marched around the stage with a spear held over his head like a hoplite. I kept waiting for him to run towards the windmills but there were not even any windmills on the stage. Windmills are all that I know about the story of Don Quixote, and they are what I expect out of a picaresque. I took my friend to the ballet because my mother was too tired to go and my friend, who likes ballet, said that it was not a very good ballet.

The Nutcracker is coming in December. Maybe I will go see the Nutcracker. The rat king always scared me as a boy. I remember a scene of a crooked old man sitting on top of a grandfather clock. I remember seeing that scene on a television screen one night while it snowed outside. I did not like that, at all. It scared me. But December is a long way away and maybe I will be braver then than I am now, or once was. A man perched atop a grandfather clock – who thinks these things up?

There are snakes all over my neighborhood and they make me very uncomfortable. I am fascinated by snakes and I like to watch them but it is a nervous and frightened fascination. There was a snake belly-up with its head cut off on the sidewalk and it began to rot. Nobody cleaned it up and I did not touch it, either. This morning there was another snake, laying out in the grass in an unnatural position, and I thought it might be dead. My dog sniffed its tail and it sprang to life, coiling up and raising its head. The dog and I ran away from it. I cannot stand snakes. I do not know what they are doing here, they are everywhere lately. They seem to be coming out of the ground like worms in a rain. They are harmless and I hate them.

I have nightmares some nights about snake infestations. I step outside of my house and the whole earth is writhing with snakes. They drop down on my shoulders from the edge of the roof and the tree limbs. I scream because I cannot stand them.

Lately I have been faced with a desire to create enjoyable, entertaining works, although I have done nothing of the sort. I think about things that I like and that people around me would like and how I would like to produce such things of my own, whether in terms of writing or art or music, whatever it means to produce something likable. I thought about drawing some buildings and watercoloring them with pretty colors but I did not have anything good in mind to draw. I thought about writing a story about a romance but I do not know anything about romance anymore. I do not even know if people like pretty colors, or romances. I do not really know what people like anymore.

After watching some cartoons that made me laugh I decided I wanted to animate a funny cartoon, because I would like to make people laugh. People like funny things, I thought, and they like to be entertained. I wanted to write a dry, funny dialogue between some interesting characters, not about anything in particular, just something entertaining and simple. I tried to think of characters and a setting, but it was surprisingly difficult. I decided to animate a cartoon about a boy who is depressed (because they say you should “write what you know”), his dog, and his fish. A dog and a fish came to mind because I have a dog and a fish of my own, and I am not very creative. I thought about making a dinosaur for a neighbor in a burst of creativity but dropped the idea as a silly one.

I decided to make the fish well-travelled and an armchair therapist, but I wanted the dog to be dog-like, with no sense of time and impatient of the boy’s depressive neuroticism. I decided the dog should be talented – he should be able to start a fire with two sticks, for example. And he should be popular with the neighborhood. But the boy is not very popular.

I like the idea of a cartoon but it is not very realistic. I do not really know how to draw or animate cartoons, nor do I know any people to voice them. I don’t even know how to write, let alone write funny dialogues, so the whole thing is a bit of a pipe dream. But every day that passes sees my expectations lowering, and with lower expectations comes the creeping possibility of production. It is about time that I begin producing again, after all, otherwise I’ll miss my chance and I’ll be middle-aged with nothing to my name and no one to think well of me. It is not that I particularly want people to think well of me, but I would at least like them to have a reason to do so if they wanted to. I am not sure why I even want that, but that is what I want, at least.

I am pleased to find that I still want something. Wanting is something, at least. It is better to want than to need.

There are monkeys on my back but I am fighting them off one by one. I have a court date for my criminal charges in one month, so that monkey is safe for a month, but then I will wrestle him and try to remove him. If I lose then he will ride my neck and pull my hair for years. I hope I don’t lose.

Otherwise there are over 100,000 little monkeys crawling over my skin, popping my pimples and plucking my hairs, reminding me of my most recent failures. My portfolio has lost over 30% of its value in under a week because I have invested in stupid, dangerous investments. That is over 100,000 dollars that I may never see again. 100,000 obscene little monkeys, laughing and licking my ears. They are oily, creepy little bastards, and I want to wash them off of my skin and watch them drown, like ants, pathetic and helpless.

The curious thing about my suffering is how consistently pointless it is. I tried to explain to my dog why I was so upset but he did not understand why I should be concerned about anything at all, especially about money. I told him how much money I lost and how much dog food that much money could buy, but when I said how much money I still had he told me I was being ridiculous. He told me to eat some ice cream because there was nothing wrong in the world and I had no reason to act like the sky was falling. The sky is just fine, he said. Nothing is different. Let us lay down and watch TV, he said. And let us share some of that ice cream, shall we? So I shared some ice cream with him.