by Madeline Laughs
After laying prone on the sofa for the better part of an hour, Barney decided to get on with his day. He sat up grumbling to himself that all women were bitches. They weren’t good for anything except screwing and he couldn’t even do that to Fiona.
Often he did think about how nice it would be if he had a good looking woman, like the ones in Easy Rider magazine. He bragged to people online that he used to date an Easy Rider model, but he had never had a woman that was even close to good looking. His last wife kept her hair cut like a boy and wore his clothes! When they went out together women hit on her as much as they hit on him because she looked just like a man! Nope, he had never been lucky in the woman department, that’s for sure.
He padded around the apartment in his sock feet emptying the roach traps. Each time he picked one up to take to the bathroom for flushing he did a head count and marked the number on his hand with a pen. When he had finished he did some quick math in his head and on his fingers and wrote the grand total on a calendar he kept in the kitchen. He had no reason to keep a tally, but at least this gave him something to do and it was fun.
Pulling his robe closed he sat back on the sofa and clicked open his browser. Fiona’s chat light was now dark, so he surfed over to a few of his favorite sites and looked at pictures.
Around noon time he decided to put on some clothes to go out to the street and check his mailbox. It was about time for his disability check to arrive. He took off his soiled robe and dropped it on the floor in the hall. Then he pulled on a pair of blue jeans he had hanging up to dry on the bicycle he kept leaning against the wall in the hallway. He shoved and grunted and struggled to get the zipper to close and thought to himself that he either had to lose some weight, or buy more clothes. Losing weight was the cheaper solution.
He surveyed the bike thinking it had served him as a clothes dryer for about 2 years now. It might save him some money if he rode it and worked off some of the fat hanging over the taunt waistband of his pants.
He wondered if the bike still worked. Rolling it into his living room where there was a little bit of floor space, he flipped it over and started checking the gear shifters and the chain. He pinched the tires to see if they needed air and looked around trying to remember the last time he had seen his tire pump.
He couldn’t remember.
That was another thing that was starting to worry him. He was starting to forget a lot of stuff lately. His memory seemed to be slipping away from him. Things he could remember were mostly the stuff he made up to tell people and even those memories were slipping because more and more people were catching him in the lies he told.
He couldn’t remember where the bike pump was. Digging through the mounds of crap he collected wasn’t an appealing thought either. He put on a teeshirt that was draped on the chair next to him after smelling it to see how fresh it was. It wasn’t terribly fresh and was wrinkled enough to look like he slept in it, but he didn’t care.
He decided to walk the bike up to the 7-11 and put some air in the tires. Maybe he would get out a little today and actually ride his bike too. Some exercise would do him good.
Pushing the bike over the threshold of his apartment, Barney felt pretty good. He stopped to check the mailbox and found his check and a few pieces of junk mail. One was a flyer to join a local gym. He smiled to himself that he didn’t need no gym. He could ride his bike and get back in shape and it wouldn’t cost him a dime.
He started pushing the bike up the hill to the store.
Five minutes into his trip he had to stop and sit down on the side of the road. He was breathing so hard he thought his lungs would explode and the not-so-fresh teeshirt was a real stinker now. He rested a few minutes and debated going back to the apartment and just driving the block and a half to the store instead. He could shove the bike in his trunk. Then he could drive to the bike trail that was another block in the other direction. At least riding the bike on the trail would be easier because it was all flat with no hills.
After having a little pep talk with himself, he decided to push himself and continue in the direction of the store. He stood up. He could still see his apartment from where he stood. In fact, he could see the 7-11 from his apartment. It wasn’t like he had far to go and besides, once the tires had air in them he could ride it back down the hill with no problems.
Once he got to the store he was soaking wet with sweat and felt like he wanted to pass out. He threw the bike down on the sidewalk in front of the store and stumbled inside. Making a bee line for the drink cooler he pulled out a 2 liter bottle of the Pepper, cracked it open and swallowed a third of the cool drink before he felt like he had the strength to make it to the register.
Habib, the cashier, was used to seeing Barney. He smiled at him. Barney was a good customer and spent a lot of his food stamp money in here buying candy bars and sodas. “Hey Habib! How’s it goin’ brah?” Habib just smiled and nodded as he started to ring up Barney’s purchase.
Behind the counter Barney spied a sign that advertised those cheap throw away phones he had been hearing about. Burners, they were called. He asked Habib to hand him one. It wasn’t a bad looking phone, as phones go, and he thought he could probably afford one. He tossed it on the counter and motioned for Habib to add it to his purchase. Ten whole dollars! This was money he probably couldn’t spare, but the thought of having a cell phone was too exciting for him to pass up.
Habib smiled and rang up his items.
Sitting on the curb next to his bike in front of the 7-11, Barney felt like a new man. He had a phone! He could call people now! He could call all of his friends back home if he wanted to. He imagined what he would say to them when they answered “Heeeey dude! This here’s Barn! Wassup? I’m living large here on the west coast man. Got me a hot chick and a nice pad. You should come out for a visit man! I’d show you the town!”
He smiled thinking of how impressed his friends back home would be with the things he could tell them about his new life out here. They would never know the difference if he told them the big lies he told people online. He could tell them anything he wanted to tell them and whoever he spoke to would spread the word that Barney had called them. He knew they’d never figure out he had lied because those hayseeds would never make enough money to fly out here and take him up on the offer to visit. Bunch of losers! He was sure glad he got out of there when he did. None of them knew how to live right.
The problem was that he didn’t know anybody’s phone number anymore.
That was okay. He opened and closed the phone listening to it click. He had a phone! He was making some changes in his life! He stood up, grabbing the bike to stand it upright and threw his leg over the side. Releasing the hand brake, he flew the block and half down the hill back to his apartment and Woo-hooed all the way there.
That night online in the chat room, Barney relived the moments of his day with his virtual friends.
“Yeah man! I rode my bike all over town today! Saw a Ku Klux Klan rally in the town. I sure did! They are scary muthas, but they didn’t scare me none. I grew up with the Klan! Oh yeah and hey! I got me a new Blackberry telephone too. It’s one of those high tech phones that does it all fer ya! Cost me a small fortune and the sales guy kept trying to talk me into some lifetime plan for minutes and such! I sure showed him a thang or two ’bout wheelin’ and dealin’ though.”
- Socially Distorted – Chapter 3 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Socially Distorted – Chapter 9 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Socially Distorted – Chapter 5 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Socially Distorted – Chapter 7 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Socially Distorted – Chapter 6 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Socially Distorted – Chapter 1 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Socially Distorted – Chapter 4 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Socially Distorted – Chapter 8 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)
- Make Your Commute a Breeze in Downtown Albuquerque (apartmentguide.com)
- Socially Distorted – Chapter 2 (madelinescribes.wordpress.com)