Friday, July 8, 2011

Part 2: David

Just a reminder: for the next month I will be sharing with you a story I wrote more than a decade ago, but am just now trying to illustrate. Please yell at me about it in the comments!

Part 2: David

In a claustrophobic building in a tight little neighborhood of a large and angry city, David Alexander found his first apartment. It had three rooms: a bathroom, a living room and a bedroom. In each room there was a round, yellow overhead light powered by a 60-watt bulb. In the living room it flickered. The walls were papered yellow with dusty orange flowers, and the floors were warped wood. David dropped his solitary suitcase on the stained green rug and muttered, “Furnished my ass.”

The living room held a sunken foldout couch, the rug and a plastic wood end table. In the bedroom was a matching chest of drawers and lamp stand, and the bathroom was empty except for the toilet and a shower head protruding from the opposite wall. “Great,” growled David, “I can take a shower while I piss. How efficient.”

That night David slept on the foldout couch, his belongings still unpacked. The next morning he left the apartment to look for a job. For three days straight he left his home to explore the angry city, and for three days straight it turned its back on him. Every morning he opened the neatly packed suitcase, dressed, folded his pajamas and placed them inside. Then he reached into the inside pocket, removed a plastic pencil box, and counted out his money for the day. Finally, he replaced the box in the suitcase, and latched the case shut.

On the fourth day, David quit his job search at 1pm. He entered a warehouse-sized thrift store and wandered the aisles. With the 20 dollars in his pocket, David bought a poorly matched 3-piece suit, platform shoes and a Barbie lunchbox. That night he put the lunchbox in the empty bedroom, and the next morning he wore the suit to look for jobs. With his platform shoes, David reached the height of 5’5”, and he felt much more confident.

For three more days David Alexander looked for a job. He entered every shop, restaurant and bowling alley with a “Help Wanted” sign in the window, filled out an application, and never heard back. The three days stretched to nine, fourteen, twenty-three… David took to visiting the Warehouse thrift shop every day. He bought a plastic flamingo, three plastic roman-style pillars, nine broken vacuum cleaners, several dirty blenders, a Roto Rooter, innumerable flowerpots and six Slinkies. He stored all these things in the tiny bedroom until, soon, he could not open the door.

On that day he visited the thrift shop and used his last two dollars to buy a life-sized cardboard cutout of the Keebler Elf. This he placed on the fake wood table next to the couch. It was 3 feet tall and supported by a length of half inch dowel. When David stood next to it, the Elf standing on the table, and David standing in his platform shoes, the two were nearly the same height.

The next day David Alexander did not go out to look for work. That day David did not get off the couch. He did not get dressed, he did not fold his pajamas or take out the empty pencil box or latch the pitiful suitcase. That day David stared at the wall. The next day, David stared at the wall as well. On the third day, David stared at the Elf. And on the fourth day, the Elf spoke to him.

"Fat bastard," the Elf said.

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