Under Constr-… Scrutiny pt. 1

He was extremely dissatisfied with the selection of movies on the video-on-demand service. The one for which he pays a forever increasing monthly fee. That service where prices go up while quality steadily declines. Except for a few of their original series which he thought were worth the price.

He settled on a channel. An anime he completed years ago.

Visually stunning art. Audibly pleasing voiceover acting. Even with the subtitles.

Better than nothing, he thought. What else was he going to do with his Friday night. Not like he had friends he could call. Friends that would want to play non–traditional board games and discuss entrepreneurship and the importance of grit and determination. He considered logging into social media. To air his grievances and frustrations with people. And life. But quickly dismissed the thought when he remembered he was on a social media diet. Or boycott. Or whatever he decided to call it when he decided to take a break from The Matrix.

Marcey entered the living room with her tablet and took a seat on the sofa.

“What you doing?” Marcey asked.

“Nothing…. bored,” He replied. “You?”

“Checking email,” Marcey said.

He switched episodes.

He figured since he watched the series and already knew how everything ended he would skip to the best episodes. Or, maybe he could just switch to the best fight scenes.

He fast forwarded the show.

Maybe he should plug in his turntables and work on his beat juggling. Too early to sleep. Couldn’t waste his weekend going to bed early.  Weekends end too fast. He’d be back to work in a blink. The thought of returning to work was starting to ruin his anime watching experience.

“What about your website?” Marcey said. “You said you’d update it last week.”

“I did?” He asked.

“Yes,” She replied.

“I did,” He said.

“You updated your site?” Marcey said.

“No, I mean I did say I would,” He said.

“So you didn’t,” Marcey said.

“No,” He replied.

He switched the channel to live television.

“Update it,” she said.

“Can’t,” He replied.

“Why not?” She asked.

“Well…” He said.

He scanned his mind for justifications. He had good ones. He knew he had good justifications. Why else would he have not met a deadline he set for himself several weeks ago? He needed good justifications for Marcey. The woman never cared for his justifications. She would always dismiss his justifications as excuses. The word itself, excuses, was negative. It implied he didn’t have legit reasoning he wasn’t getting things done. He had plenty…

“This new job has been stressful,” He said. “Very demanding.”

“Nonsense,” She mumbled.

“What?” He asked.

“Nothing,” she replied.

He felt pressure between his eyes. And stuffy.

It wasn’t a cold. It was his annoying allergies.

He sneezed.

“Bless you,” She said.

He nodded.

It irritated the hell out of him not to be able to breath through his nose. He thought it was too late in the year for that allergy bullshit. He needed pills. But there was no sense in wasting thirty bucks for a twenty pack of medicine just to use one or two pills. Pollen count should lower any day soon. Two months left in the year. Tis the season for the dog to stop shedding so much. He hoped.

“Okay,” She said. “You mentioned your job already.”

“And my boss,” He said. “Demanding as hell.”

“And your commute,” She added.

“Commute’s crazy insane,” He said as he switched through channels.

“Okay,” She replied.

“So drained all the time,” He said. “I think something’s wrong. Maybe I need more vitamins.”

“Maybe,” She said.

“And the news…. man,” He said, sighing. “World’s so depressing these days. You hear what the presidents said in the news?”

“No,” Marcey said.

“Crazy stuff,” He said. “Can’t help but wonder what the future holds.”

Marcey sighed.

He leaned his head back in the chair and closed his eyes.

“Mind’s so clouded with thoughts of life… career,” He said. “And of course, thinking about marrying you.”

“That sounds nice,” She said.

“Yeah,” He said. “You want that right?”

Marcey looked up just long enough to nod at him before returning her eyes to her computer screen.

“And just life…. man,” He said. “I’m at a crossroads…. Just so hard to get inspired these days.”

“Okay,” She said.

He left the living room for the kitchen. Opened the fridge and pulled the bottle of wine from the crisper.

The bottle was chilled. And he could still smell the Taquitos and sweet potato fries they baked for dinner just an hour earlier.

That’s what he needed for the night. A numbing agent. And more Taquitos. He would just work his ass off in his Kung Fu class the next morning, he thought. Work off his overindulgence. A good plan.

“So… what about the blog?” Marcey asked.

He pulled six Taquitos from the freezer. Drew a sheet of foil from the drawer.

“Start next Friday,” He said as he set the oven. “Promise….”

“Okay, dear,” Marcey replied.


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