Unsolvable

Posted on May 13, 2011

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The man sat in his red armchair and thought. He watched the late night shows on his wide screen television, though never actually followed what was going on. The living room was dimly lit with the television and a small lamp on the night stand next to the chair. In the man’s left hand was a shot of vodka, in the other, a .45 millimeter revolver. As he stared off into the television he muttered ,”Unsolvable…” He brought the shot glass to his lips and downed the vodka in one gulp; his throat burned. “Unsolvable…” He muttered again. As despair started to consume him, he became stuck on that one word, which seemed to summarize his feelings, his life. “Unsolvable, unsolvable, unsolvable…” Anger slowly began to course through him, replacing his despair. “Un..solvable…unsolv..able…why am I so pathetic…” The anger became overwhelming. “Why does no one care…” His grip tightened on the gun. He threw the shot glass at the television, cracking the screen as it broke into pieces, and said in a spiteful tone, “Fuck this,” and put the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger.

The man opened his eyes and saw nothing but white. He was lying on his back from what he could tell. It felt like solid floor beneath him, but as he looked around, there was no discerning the floor from everything else. Everything was just white. He sat up to get a better look at his surroundings, but still nothing. “What the hell…”

“That’s it’s name, don’t wear it out.” The man looked behind him and saw another man standing there looking down at him. To his amazement, it was himself, or at least another version of him. His hair was unkempt, he had dark circles under his eyes. He wore tattered and worn black cargo pants and button down shirt. He didn’t have the first three buttons fastened, revealing his bare chest.

“Hello Jimmy,” He said with a smirk. “How the hell are ya’?” Jimmy quickly got to his feet and asked,

“Who are you?”

The Jimmy counter-part seemed surprised at the question. “I am what ails you. Or rather, ailed you.”

“What do you mean?”

“Your misery. Your anger. Your self loathing. I am everything that made you suffer, and ultimately, what brought you here.” Jimmy didn’t respond. He stared at the floor, thinking. “I would have to say congratulations, Jimmy. You did a hell of a job proving everyone who doubted you’d kill yourself.” Jimmy looked up at him. “You shut the fuck up.” The counter-part smiled. “It’s a shame, though. You were supposed to get married, have kids, watch them grow, and then watch them get married. Then they were going to have kids. And you would have been ‘grandpa.'” Jimmy was taken back by this.

“I…was?”

“Hell if I know.”

“What do you mean? You just said I was!”

“I lied. Or I told the truth.” Jimmy started to become annoyed. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“You’re dead, Jimmy. You died at a very young age. Twenty-two isn’t that old ya’ know. I don’t know what was in store for you.” The counter part snapped his fingers and a black leather chair appeared right behind him. He sat down and looked at Jimmy expectantly. Jimmy was surprised by the sudden appearance of the chair.

“You can just make stuff appear like that?”

“Of course. You want one?”

“Not right now. I’ll still stand.” The counter-part shrugged his shoulders and said, “Suit yourself.” He then snapped his fingers again and a small TV and DVD player appeared on a stand behind Jimmy. He turned around and looked at the TV, and then back at the counter-part.

“You’re going to watch TV?”

“In a minute, there’s something you want to say.” Again Jimmy was taken back. There was something bothering him immensely. “Why me? Why did you ail me? What did I do to deserve all that suffering?”

“Why you? Why anybody, Jimmy?”

“Ok, why anybody then?”

“Because it just happens that way Jimmy.”

“But why?” Jimmy couldn’t help but yell. He had lost his nerve. “Who the fuck do you think you are to make me, or anyone suffer like that?”  The counter-part slammed his fist on the arm of the chair. “I don’t make you! You let me! I am what ails the world. I am the suffering, the poverty, the death, the destruction, the misery and hopelessness. YOU embody me, you make all that personal, and you turn it into self loathing! I am your own creation!” Jimmy was speechless. The counter-part was right. He let the misfortune around him get him down. Though it wasn’t death and destruction or poverty that brought him down.

“It was society,” the counter-part said matter-of-factly. “I embody a lot more than I mentioned. I embody the selfishness, the jealousy, the loneliness and all the other plagues of society.” The counter-part unclenched his fist and a DVD appeared in his open palm. He handed it to Jimmy. “Pop that in, would you? I’ve had enough of this talk.” Jimmy took the DVD without saying anything and put it in the player. The movie-or whatever it was-started playing instantly.

It showed one of best friends getting a phone call. The counter-part explained that it was about his death. His friend hung up the phone and solemnly shuffled back to her room. “Thank God!” Was the first thing she said. “No more of his bullshit unsolvable problems!” Tears started rolling down his face. “She didn’t care…” The movie quickly switched over to his other friend who was also getting the same phone call. He shook his head in understanding of what he was being told, said goodbye, and then hung up. He went back to work on his computer without a second thought.

“He didn’t care either…”

“Stop that and take it out, would you?” Jimmy didn’t respond. He was in too much pain.

“Hey! Jimbo! Snap out of it!” Without saying anything in acknowledgement, he took the DVD out and handed it back to the counter-part. He broke it in two using one hand, and the two halves turned into a shiny dust and slowly flowed out of his palm and disappeared into thin air. He clenched his hand  and opened it again, revealing another DVD. “Put this one in.” Jimmy took it and put in the player, and like before, it started playing automatically.

It started out the same way the first DVD had. The friend received the phone call, hung up, and shuffled back to her room. Only this time she got on her bed and pulled herself into a feeble position and began to cry. She said something unintelligible, which the counter-part explained to be “Why did he have to?” The movie switched back over to the other friend. As before, he received the phone call, hung up, and went back to his computer. Though this time he didn’t start working. He too began to cry. Jimmy was confused. He turned around and looked at the counter-part.

“Which is true?” The counter-part shrugged his shoulders.

“You tell me Jimmy. You believed in both. You believed they would be happy without you, and you believed they wouldn’t.”

“Why can’t you tell me?” Jimmy demanded.

“Because this is hell, Jimmy. Not heaven. You aren’t supposed to be happy here. And I’m supposed to make sure of that.”

“So you do know! You know what was supposed to happen to me, and whether or not they’re happy without me!” The counter-part closed his eyes and casually shrugged again. Jimmy turned back to the TV furiously. He shoved it off the stand, but it disappeared before it smashed on the floor.

“You son of a bitch!” He turned back the counter-part, who now also looked angered.

“You piece of shit! You brought this on yourself!” He stood and brought his face close to Jimmy’s.

“Fuck you!” Jimmy spat in his eyes. Then he punched him in the stomach as hard as he could, making him bend forward, holding his stomach. Jimmy then kneed his chin, bringing him back face to face with him and then shoved him onto the ground. He quickly got on top of him and continually punched him in the face until blood completely covered it. The counter-part looked at him and smiled. Then he started laughing. Jimmy wrapped both his hands around the counter-part’s neck and began to slam his head repeatedly on the floor. Eventually there was a satisfying crack and a large splatter of blood. The counter-part lay motionless with his eyes closed. Jimmy panted heavily.

“Congratulations Jimmy.” Jimmy looked up behind him. Another counter-part stood there.

“You killed me. But don’t worry, we have the rest of eternity for rematches.” The counter-part started laughing, and Jimmy started screaming.

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Posted in: Stories