“SITTING IN THE SHADE” by SEAN M.

He fell back on his bed, powered on his laptop, and watched many things of various colors and moods. His goal for today was to consume as much entertainment as possible. He felt very strongly about it, not being able to feel accomplished without absorbing all the flashing colors. However, whenever his mind wandered, he watched the sunlight, its horizontal grid caused by the half-shut blinds, creeping slowly up toward his eyes. His heart sped up at the thought, at 3pm the Sun will be at it’s most irritating and he’d have to find some way to shield himself, which would probably take a lot of effort.

“It’s not fair”, he thought, “What do I need these goddamn windows for anyway? I got the only window I need on my lap.”

The light was on his legs, he could feel it’s warmth and suddenly he wasn’t as annoyed, but he was still tense. His muscles ached, which he pridefully attributed to his recent bout of jogging. It was a great way to feel accomplished, but its charm wore off after the first few laps. He meant to keep up with it, but his friends on Steam wouldn’t stop bugging him until he finished that show. Besides, since he was still sore and he didn’t want overexert himself. It’s best to take some time to rest up and take it easy. Yes, today was a relaxation day.

His head fell back on the pillows. His goal for today was to think about nice sunny beaches and palm trees and swimming pools. That’s relaxation, or at least that’s what his parents told him. A nice cruise with karaoke and alcohol and room service was the most relaxing thing to them. They had all that money from Social Security to pay for it though. Social Security is vacation money for old people. He couldn’t wait until he was old, then he could live on a cruise liner and drink margaritas and sleep for as long as he wanted. He dreamed about ordering around the cruise-servants and telling them to do funny things. That was their job, to do everything for you, even be funny. It sounded great to him. He wouldn’t let them carry his luggage though, too valuable, couldn’t trust them with it. He looked off the bed and at all the old food wrappers on the floor.

“Not there yet”, he thought, “Soon I’ll have my own cruise-servant, and I’d sing karaoke all night.”

Instead of karaoke, he had an iTunes filled with all the torrented music a boy could ask for. He scrolled through songs, albums, discographies, he felt like a kid in a candy store. This one band was playing at the moment, some indie band from California known for sampling porn a lot in their songs. He thought was very charming. There was this one clip where a girl was making what sounded like whale noises. He liked whales sometimes. They were relaxing, but their size was a bit overwhelming. He found the original video with the whale-noise girl one time and tried to memorise her name, but it was Russian and hard to pronounce, so he renamed her Bibi. The sunlight was hitting his chest and its brightness began to reflect up and dull the colors on his screen. Very annoying.

He thought about Bibi again. She was very cute, a jarring contrast to her profession, like someone you’d see on the subway. If he ever saw her on the subway, he thought, they’d probably make eye contact from across the way, she’d politely smile and he’d smile back, then she’d stare out the window at the long wall of concrete made into a collage of color by layers of spray-painted gang logos. If he was a more ambitious man, he would’ve snapped a picture of her staring out that window. It would’ve been a nice image, well worth the data it took up. But he never took the subway, so that couldn’t happen.

The sunlight was close now, right under his nose. He was in the zone, relaxing like a madman and slightest movement could ruin his whole zen. Zen is when you’re sitting on a very comfy cushion and it molds perfectly to your shape. He watched his laptop while remaining completely still, which made his heart race somewhat.  The audio in his ears was very exciting and the images on his screen were very colorful. He wanted to jump and scream and laugh and cry, but then the Sun would be in his eyes and stop him from absorbing the media as clearly as he was now. He felt like he was in an eggshell, like the slightest movement could crack it open and he’d spill out in a gross, gooey mess. But, when the sounds and images on his laptop came to a finish, he realised the sad truth about being in the eggshell: that he was still as gross and gooey on the inside of it as he would be if it cracked.

He suddenly closed his eyes, right as the light was about to hit them. His heart still pounded, for what he saw wasn’t the darkness he was used to when closing his eyes. Instead, illuminated by the sunlight, his eyelids became a red, veiny veil of flesh and there was no way to look away.