An Excerpt from the Vaults

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything from my shelved book.  Actually, it’s been ever.  Like, 6 months.  The last time was literally the second post I made on this blog.  No one had anything to say about it and like all writers – of which I do not consider myself a member – I moved on.

I haven’t been creative in a long time and this one chapter’s been circling in my head for a while.  Here I use chapter in the loosest words because it’s really only 758 words.  I wanted to expand on it, but after re-reading it I feel like I can’t.  My terrible syntax and those god-awful contractions stick out like pimples on my beautiful baby’s face.

Just like Edward James Olmos.

Hit the Jump for the chapter from my book:

The Holiest martyr

Maynard Oleander began his day in the ritualistic manner he’d long grown accustomed to.  His inoffensive radio alarm went off promptly at 7:31 a.m. and led to a brief 5 minute struggle to accept that, indeed, the night was over and a new day had begun.  He showered, brushed his teeth, and groomed himself in the least wasteful way possible.  After gathering his things he sat down to an austere breakfast of hot oatmeal – not the instant kind – and left for work in his moderately fuel efficient car.

While commuting he would often wonder about the state of mind of people speeding past him, only to meet him again at the next light.  But he never judged them for it.  Maynard was just curious.

At work he was inoffensive, but not so much as to be laconic.  He enjoyed conversation and was generally amiable.  On weekends, his coworkers never invited him to their excursions, but he preferred to stay home and tend his vegetable garden during the morning and sleep a lot.  Sundays were kept holy, not that Maynard was particularly religious.  His mother often asked his accompaniment to church on a few Sundays and the holidays.  Maynard never turned her down; it was not in his nature.

Maynard read a lot.  His shelves were the most eclectic and pedantic things imaginable.  They ranged from Dostoyevsky to Shakespeare, with biographical topics ranging from FDR to Abraham Lincoln, from Vietnam to Hizballah.

Despite working at the same place for five years he’d only received the corporately mandated promotions.  He talked with his coworkers about his pay, and many people who were freshly hired were making just as much as him.  It didn’t bother him at first.  This is just how things are.  If I had worked harder, he said, I’d be making more money so it must be my own fault.

His wife of 10 years had just left him.  She said she regretted marrying him because she had probably only stayed with him out of habit.  It was all still very hazy, but he complied.  There was no need to be a bother anymore, after a few weeks he was no longer even upset.  Besides, Maynard’s garden was bountiful, and his pup Ivan was a playful scamp that always kept him company.

Maynard was something of an alcoholic.  Doctor’s journals and the literature he’d pored over had clearly explained that a person who turns to alcohol in times of great internal trouble is an alcoholic.  So, Maynard accepted his fate.  The sound of carbonation escaping from the longneck bottle was hardly guilt-inducing.  It was pleasurable.  And that pleasure felt a little guilty.  After the first sip, it didn’t anymore.

One day Maynard had decided to read Catch-22.  Politics wasn’t his thing.  Sure, he had opinions and beliefs that he held dearly.  They were his, and he was sure he was right, but so was the person who thought just the opposite.  That’s what democracy is.  In any case, being so non-partial, it was hard for him to comprehend the book.  So exactly one year later he plucked the blue book from his shelf and read it again.

The man who saw everything twice tore at his mind like talons.  There was everything lain out before him: wrong. And not just his life was wrong: everyone’s was.  Yossarrian mimicked this genius who found the perfect ploy.  Just say that you see everything twice.  Is it PTSD? Is it some new disease?  No.

He’s faking.


He’s dead.

That was it.  Cynicism.  Mockery.  Take advantage of the benevolence of others.  Eat or be eaten.  Take what won’t be missed and give nothing back.  Deny everything and make immediate counter-accusations.  Live like swine.

The perfection of that work was absolutely infinite.

Maynard didn’t want to live in this world anymore.

So, Maynard made some bombs.

Everywhere he went he scattered them like seeds.  Their timers were completely random.  Who cares, he thought.  They’ll blow one day.  And if they don’t; lucky them.

As chance would have it one popped the first place anyone might suspect.  It was just off Three Palms.  It was an abortion clinic.

Overnight Maynard became a hero.

Unable to cope with his remorse he poured over the chapter in question.  There it was; he couldn’t really run for very long.  Just like Yossarrian he felt unquestionably guilty.

In the morning the authorities found him, feet delicately spinning out the movements of an errant compass, just like his books told him they would.


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