Insomnia

televisionglow

There wasn’t much on the humans today, but I watched them anyway. It was the same old, boring, lazy crap that they tried to pass off as humanity these days, but I couldn’t help myself. It was a ritual, a tradition. It was expected of me. It’s what my father did, and my father’s father. It was unheard of to be brought up in a house without humans. It was obscene. Impossible. Absolute savagery.

Every day I would awaken, something inside me a sudden tick, my face humming with a brief and vibrant blue. I would watch the kids when they came home from school, waiting for their parents to get off work. The family gathered around me, eating out of bags, gnawing on the plastic colored cheese hardening on the pastel wrappers, and we would stare at each other. You really get to know a human if you stare at them for 10 hours a day. It’s almost like they have a soul, a flicker firing up behind the red glaze of their eyes. Sometimes, when they start talking to me, well, you’d think they were alive.

Occasionally they would offer me food, on game days, screaming obscenities and throwing me offerings of popcorn, chips, pretzels. I was never hungry, but I liked it. They stood and cheered around me, a primal beat of the chest, empty with echos. I felt like a pocket-sized Kubrik’s monolith. But in reverse–devolving. I could train them.

One human whipped a bottle at the wall, establishing dominance. Rolling Stone called it “gripping satire,” “riveting,” a “Turing de force.” I called it a Sunday afternoon. Besides, the special effects were terrible. If you paused him at 23 seconds, you could see the strings, the reflection of a cameraman in his belt buckle, his hat was on backwards. He said he did his own stunts, but you could clearly see his double, terrible wig and all. Some people call them easter eggs, I call it sloppy continuity.

I put the kids to bed. The parents lean against each other, make passing attempts at becoming aroused. They don’t do much of that anymore. They already have each other. I can tell.

“I’m gonna get ice cream. Do you want some ice cream?”

“What do we have?”

“Chocolate fudge peanut butter swirl with caramel toffee chips.”

“Bring me a soda.”

“We don’t have any. We need milk.”

“Put some syrup on it.”

Who writes this dialogue? Mechanical, derivative, forced, preachy, pretentious, smug, wooden, drowsy, uninspired, convoluted, poorly paced, phoned-in.

They are terrible actors–waiting for the big break, trying to land walk-ons on a major channel, pretending to be in someone else’s lives, just trying to get noticed by someone powerful. One day they’ll be rich enough to become someone else.

Everyone gets 15 minutes before the commercial break. Hopefully it’s your favorite commercial. I heard, last year, that someone got paid 1 million dollars to watch a Super Bowl ad. It was the best he ever saw. He’s still talking about it.

Now his start-up company sells beer flavored toothpaste. He tried to invest in gambling therapy. He lost it all in a week. The odds were against him. It was good for the economy. He adjusted for inflation in 50 years and realized he only lost about 1,000 dollars.

I am a programmer. I sit all day against the wall. The back of my head is getting hot. My face is morphing with liquid crystals.

I used to be a story-teller. Move people. Now it’s just a puppet show. I tell them what they want to hear. I force-feed them, gluttons too full of despondency to lift a spoon to their mouths.The absurdity flashes around them. I swear, with the lights off, I can see it. Wiggling in the couch shadows, rolling pet hair up into balls, breathing dust, coughing up cigarette butts in the middle of the night, farting mold into the central air, eating the month-old leftovers, pissing on bathroom floor mats, it’s mouth full of microwaved aluminum foil.

The mother went to bed. It’s 2 a.m. The father’s mouth is open, the back of his throat bathing in my light. Let me sell you something–I am not a god, but I wouldn’t mind being treated like one. His hand is down his pants, in front of the privacy of the whole world. He is too tired to masturbate, but he tries anyway, with empty compulsion, still searching for the right channel.

I can’t sleep. I am always turned on, plugged in, jacked up. I can always feel the line noise feeding into me.

“This citrine-quartz necklace is only 555 for next 20 callers”

“…invest in the Christxmas gift that unwraps itself”

“This unfolding ladder extends through your apartment neighbor’s wall so you can finally walk up to each other”

Consumerism, etc. But his eyes are too blurry to see the numbers on his credit card. I am getting too old for this, too good.

I am a hypnotist. I will whisper in between the frames. I can see into him, through him, my plasma eye shifting with rainbows. I flash him the fake tits and fame-hungry moans of soft-core porn. This is my highest resolution.

Tonight, I will sell him dreams.

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