Quiet Desperation
By Rob Bliss

Wake up. The first mistake. Go to work and see the same people who always say the same things. Look and act and believe and are the same. And you’re expected to retain your sameness. Spit in the face of a passerby, jerk off on a park bench, take a glorious shit right beside the dog doing the same. These differences are not allowed. They are against society.
Shooting a cop always makes the shooter look bad, the cop a martyr. A politician becomes a politically-motivated murder. A judge, a lawyer – they have connections and libraries of laws. No wonder people drive far out of town into the country, but nobody hitchhikes anymore. And most farmers are armed these days, coyotes stealing their sheep.
Suicide could be fun, but not if no one notices. I’d protest something, but I’m too lazy to buy the placard, a nail, a piece of wood. Gotta pay for a stick, so few littered on the sidewalks of the metropolis. Rape? My DNA and her possible disease make that impossible.
So work. Save up. Plan. Third World countries don’t have the same laws that we do. Save up enough bribe money in case the corrupt cops there catch you. Pay the cheap price for the forbidden thrill. Beware the man who flies with condoms in his luggage, or worse, in his carry-on. He wants to hit the ground running, ignoring the photo ops to become one with the people of the new freely-forbidden land.
Still, take the standard vacation photos for the water cooler back home. The other photos don’t keep on your phone or laptop – if you’re brave enough to take it, snuggled next to the condoms. Don’t give your nation’s border guards a reason to get to know you in a cramped room full of sweating bodies. They are too well paid to want your pennies.
Let out a primal scream on the beach before returning home. Out of the paradisaical tropical, back to the hellish winter. Home. Watch television. Stare at the wall, but don’t let it talk back. Mention the right shows and movies, then promise to see them again and again, they were so good, not a bad one in the lot.
Smashing the TV, the radio, the phone is anti-social. You need these to exist, to be seen as normal. The farmer doesn’t, but that’s why he doesn’t live where you live.
You sit, I sit, we sit together, and stay put for another working year. You show off your vacation, but keep tight lips about your real holiday. We don’t scream, we don’t tell the truth – the truth never sets anyone free. Just plan your next year’s vacation in silence.
I had a great time. Weather, scenery, friendly people, cheap beer and food and trinkets. Gotta go back. Do it again and again and again.
A nice place to die.

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I am a Canadian writer with a degree in English and Writing. My stories are, or will be, published in Schlock Webzine, SNM Magazine, Pulp Metal Magazine, microhorror, and Blood Moon Rising.

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