I need to replace my clutch and itís going to cost seven hundred dollars which, at this moment, I do not have. I will have to walk four miles to the restaurant where I work until I get the seven hundred dollars. Where I live it gets cold in the wintertime, which is now. It gets so cold here that the air freezes and the wind accosts your face with what feels like shards of ice. Unless you have ski goggles Ė which I do not Ė the ice shards will also tear your eyeballs and make them bleed, eventually causing blindness. In winters past Iíve seen one or two homeless people whom I was sure had frozen to death lying in alleyways. Though Iím pretty confident I will not die, walking to work will surely cause me to be late once, maybe twice. And, God forbid, if Iím late a third time Ė which Iím thinking could very well be in the cards - I will be fired on the spot and made to walk back home in the gashing cold. It will be the longest walk of my life because when I get home I will have to tell my mother that I was fired and she will kick me in the shins and slap me on the back of my head. She will call me a lazy rat bastard just like she did my dad before he left. My daughter will see her do this. My daughter is sick and her name is Lucy. She is four years old. I will tell her not to cry when she sees her grandmother beating and berating me because we donít want her complicating her mucus clearing treatment. But Iím sure sheíll cry anyway, especially after my mom screams at me upon realizing I neglected to pick up a pack of smokes. I live with my mom because she is the only one who will watch my daughter for free while Iím at work, but she does a pretty awful job of it. Lucy is usually lying on the couch watching cartoons when I get home with mom in the kitchen drinking and smoking and reading tabloids. When I lose my job Iíll have to sell our TV and, Jesus, what will keep Lucy company while Iím gone after that? I think her only friends are on TV. God knows my mother isnít her friend, or anyone elseís for that matter. My father left my mom because she treated him like dirt. She yelled at him all the time, called him lazy. One day he realized that if he stayed any longer she might cause him to have a horrifying flashback. He feared he would get angry and shoot her then me and then burn down our house. He was in Vietnam. So he left and we never saw him again. When he left it felt like someone punched me in the stomach, it was my mother. My dad told me about the things heíd seen and done in Vietnam. He told me about babies without heads and women without faces. He said that if he could take back one thing in life it would be all of the women and children he killed in that war. Actually, by his estimation, it would have to be more like one hundred forty-six things he would have to take back. But still, if he had them to take back he would, and thatís worth something I think. At the age I am now my father had already been in a war and killed people and flown in many helicopters. I am a cook at a restaurant where the wait staffís dress code includes leather chaps and cowboy boots. I will not have this job for long however, do to my almost dead clutch and its high cost of replacement. Without this job Iím a lazy rat bastard who will have to sell his TV to buy medicine for his sick kid. Without this job the world will quicken in its rotation and things and problems will race at me like knives. They will come so quick that I wonít be able to cope. At first I will try, gaining some semblance of confidence after dodging the initial few. Nevertheless, like always, my confidence will lead to complacency and when Iím not looking knives will come out of nowhere at an astonishing and breathtaking rate. It will be my mother, my daughter, my landlord, the soldier who shoots the parents of six small children in a country where it is night when we have day. It will be my creditors, the politicians, the hole in the ozone, the cracks in the sidewalk, the frozen air outside my door, or the dishes in my sink with molding food on them. The knives will hit me left and right, up and down. The knives will be short, so as not to penetrate too far. It will take many to kill me but few to trigger suffering. I will be a slob, a no good slob if Iím not already. I donít know. God, why did I have to buy a stick shift? Maybe I should keep my chin up in a time like this, like dad suggested. You know, perhaps Iím being a bit dramatic right now with my negativity and such. I should probably consider myself lucky, maybe even the luckiest guy in town, because right now I am at work, dicing onions. I have this job and at this point my clutch is still a functioning piece of my car. Hell, I could be some poor guy in India whose house and belongings get flooded after a dam is built. I could be that guy. The guy who dances for rain. Then imagine how stressed out Iíd be. Ha! There is nothing to fuss about. Nothing at all! All worrying will do is bring me down. But these onions, these fucking onions are making me cry.
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