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short story

title. I guess I need a new chair

date. 2019


God, he wanted to say it, he thought quietly. He’d found that even in his own head he was hesitant to mention the words, afraid that somehow his mind would turn on him, expose him and broadcast that which could not be said. The man swallowed, turning back to the screen in front of him, it was a large screen, a black mirror gazing back at him now thanks to the most recent power outage. There had been a lot of these recently, and as he leans back in his creaking chair he wonders, how does a plastic office chair still creak? You’d think that would be one of the most trivial benefits of advancing from wood to plastic, but no, here he was, leaning back and forth, the only advancement being a higher pitch of creak. The more he leaned the more he started to wonder if it would snap, and the closer it got to snapping, the more he became annoyed that he couldn’t say what was on his mind.


‘Stop that.’ Becky peered around from her opposing monitor, her bunched hair as always pulling her face back into pinpoint displeasure. The man frowns, but stops, Becky flicks a smile and tucks her head away in heroic modesty. He wondered how little she must accomplish generally, how long she must’ve debated whether she should tell him to stop or just ride out the noise. Though often aggrieved , Becky generally said nothing, making this outburst quite unprecedented, it’s noisy in here anyway he thought, then the screen turned back on.


Back home, and another blackout. The man stretched his arms and looked around his bedroom, he felt nothing because it’s his bedroom, there was nothing new to notice. His eyes move but inside his head he stayed firmly still, he did wonder though, whether now would be a good time to say it. No-one’s here, whether he said it or not there would be no difference except surely the alleviation of his turmoil. He felt like Schrödinger’s Cat, from outside the walls no-one could hear him, it would be as if he had both said it and not said it. But you’ll know, he thought, you’ll know you said it.


When the monitor came back on the news was there. Ah, that’s why you don’t say it, even in your home. Just look what happened to that guy, said in a moment of impulse and passion and now, it’s everywhere. He’s just another fool pumped full of a rhetoric that wasn’t his, that he felt so privy to just because it came from inside his own head. How disgusting we can be when we put so much value to the privacy of our own notions, and how repetitive they are when ousted. He realised there really was no point in saying it, it had already been said, by someone completely different and in a completely different way, for a completely different purpose and on a completely different day. The man laughed as he fell to a familiar calm, he leaned back confidently and his chair squeaked loudly to deaf ears.

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