DICK HARDBOILED has an off day

I just woke up. It is 2:30 in the afternoon. Huge slugs cover my body. I really need a smoke.

My alarm clock exploded into a million pathetic pieces, lodged in my walls, formed minefields on my floor, scalpelled my face and surgically reconstructed it into a dishevelled ‘bed head’. I look like hell. I must’ve hit the snooze button, with the ashtray I keep hidden in my leftmost pyjama trenchcoat pocket. My alarm normally keeps the slugs at bay, but last night was especially heavy. Killed my rival, thereby avenging my own death but failed to solve the adultery case I was actually hired for. Since then I’ve been feeling an even greater-than-usual need to remain asleep, fake-dead. Sleep is the cousin of death and this love triangle has its benefits.

I guess I’ll stay in today.

Stuck in bed, which is just a rusty metal frame – not even of a bed, but a destroyed mech –, there’s not a lot I can do. Also I’m being slowly crushed by giant invertebrates. Thankfully, my radio is voice-activated. Two-way models became standardised after radio hosts were confirmed the loneliest and least listened-to people. I tune in just in time for a romance drama – lovely piece of fiction, thank God love isn’t real. Two people in a bed, tangled into each other. Their molecules pouring into the other’s empty spaces, craving to be touching but the laws of physics will never let them truly touch. One asks, “May I kiss your forehead?” The other, “yes.” Continued, “May I kiss your cheek?” “Yes,” quieter. “Your nose?” A silent agreement this time. No more questions vocalised, only a hesitant “should I?” bouncing around their unified heads. The radio shuts itself off. I would cry, if I could feel anything, so instead my eyes elect to unleash four torrents of pure salt as substitute. The slugs burn away.

It’s too late to get any work done, I lie to myself.

I make the regretful motion of rising out of bed, unprepared to make my way to the living room. My foot touches the rug, triggering a chain explosion of alarm clock-mines. Jettisoned through the door and a cloud of unfair anxiety filling my apartment, I perform a mid-air stunt for extra points. I crash into today’s newspaper – the front page reads: “Cereal Thief Caught Red-Handed – The Red Is Blood, Because We Killed Her Good”. The events play out differently than they were previously described, now that I’m inserted into them, not doing anything to help the reenactment. Supposed to act but remaining inert, my entropy is gone. My will to live, to be alive, my will to be is there, just not right now. The thief plants a kiss on my cheek and hands me a bowl of Are-You-Okay-O’s before she escapes, alive, into an alternate reality. Stepping out of the readjusted headline – “Neo Noir Dark Noir City Suffers Major Breakfast Famine, Millions Dead Before Worktime :(” – I sit down at the table with my newfound bowl of cereal.

It tastes like shit.

No obligations today. I’m doing what I want, which is making the day end faster. I clean my record collection – vaporwave, bloodstep, Mediterranean Housemen Cleaning Things With A Pink Duster Vol. 1 – 5 -, I rearrange the furniture in my office to spell out “BIG NOIR MAN” (all caps, New Times Roman), I writhe on the floor for a couple of hours. My work phone rings, I tell it to fuck off. The horn slides off the hook, droopy and abused. I sit down at my desk, hands pulling at my hair, upward, like a noose. No crime, no narrative, no purpose. But I don’t feel bad about it. I watch cute videos of dogs eating mailmen until it’s finally night-time.

Still wearing my pyjamas.

I slide into bed like a bullet into the chamber of a dirty revolver. Was this day a waste? Yes. I did not move myself to perform tasks I am predetermined to do, those I consider to be at my core. Yet, a rebel loosens his lips to let a cigarette in, a thought I never thought I’d have: I am not all that? I am other things. I need to do other things. Even DICK HARDBOILED, existing only by the grace of the thin, white-gloved hand of narrative and apparently now narrating in the third-person wow that’s weird, can have a self-care day.

Yeah. We deserve ’em. Goodnight.

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