humans: they’re just like us!

Mark returned home from work exhausted, but proud of the honest day’s work he had just turned in. He sat down in the kitchen to pour himself a bowl of cereal when his roommate Gary entered the room, looking sad.

“You look like you’ve had a rough day,” Mark said while instinctively checking his pocket for his hunting knife. “Want to talk about it?”

“Yeah, I’ve been so swamped at work lately. Sorry I’ve been such an ogre these last few weeks,” Gary replied while putting a jeweler’s loupe in his eye and turning on a sodium lamp, then forging numbers on a lottery ticket. “Our company’s fiscal year ends next week, so I’ve just had so many loose ends to tie up getting ready for that.”

“That’s okay. Just so you know, you haven’t really been that hard to be around,” Mark replied before reaching into a small refrigerator, pulling out several vials of blood, then rearranging the labels on the vials and placing them back into the refrigerator.

“I appreciate it, but you’re just being nice,” Gary said as he browsed the internet for tattoo removal options, all the while eying the Latin Kings tattoo that for a ten-year term in a maximum security penitentiary had been the only thing standing between survival and being stabbed in the neck with a screwdriver. He will spend his whole life trying in vain to do two things: one, recover his dignity, and two, forget the things he had seen and done in that hellhole, things that still make him wonder whether he can ever qualify as a human being again. “I’m my own worst critic, and I know that sometimes I take that out on you.”

“Buddy, you’ve got to lighten up on yourself. When the fiscal year ends, we should head down to Cancun for a little mini-vacation; just the two of us. You certainly deserve it after working so hard,” Mark said, then took a hit from an inhaler which, instead of asthma medication, contained the vaporous form of the ghost of country music legend Roy Acuff.


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September 2009
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