What do you do when the toxic ooze infests your brain?


Escape From Reality

By Neil Watt

For The Enlightened Award


 

It had been a cold, dreary autumn evening in Queens, New York. Standing at the shop counter Laurence looked into space in a vain attempt to divert his mind from shelves of vulgarity surrounding him. He had initially taken his job at Explosive Tingles as a part-time stint during his freshman year at college but, now that he had dropped out, it had become his prison. He grunted lightly.

“I’ll take this and I want half an hour of the show.”

A slightly embarrassed looking old man placed a large container of lubricant and a collection of magazines onto the counter. Laurence’s eyes scanned the merchandise, mentally calculating the total owed as well as cannily scrutinizing some of the content.

“Sir, we actually have an offer on lube at the moment; you may purchase two large bottles and get twenty per cent off the second one. Would you be interested?” Laurence was not being a conscientious employee of Explosive Tingles out of pure altruism, the twenty per cent deal was in fact was one of his many scams.

The man considered the question. He resembled a demented wisp with his thin emaciated face graced with frizzy white hair, which appeared to pop out of his head in all directions. The crowning glory of this risible wonder was a fedora and long trench coat. “Public masturbator trench coat,” thought Laurence, suppressing a smirk. Judging by the look of the man, Laurence was certain he would go for the deal.

“Thanks, I appreciate you mentioning it—I’ll definitely do the deal.”

“Here you go Sir, that’s twelve dollars ninety-five.”

The man handed him a fifty-dollar note. Laurence swore in his head, he hated it when customers failed to consider his delicate change inventory.

“Sir, you wouldn’t happen to have anything smaller than that?”
The man fumbled around in his wallet.

“Sorry, looks like I’m out.”

Laurence smiled at the man and said, “No problem Sir.” Whilst cursing the man-pixie inwardly. Another happy customer thought Laurence, grinning as he removed his “winnings” from the till.

He looked around the store for other customers, no one had since come in. Peering up at the sex themed clock on the wall, Laurence could see that the small dildo was pointed at one and the big dildo at six; it was 01:30. He had one hour left before his shift ended. Drawing in breath he started reading his self-help book, entitled somewhat unoriginally “How to get rich.” Ever since Laurence had dropped out of college he had been trying frenetically to come up with some new ways of making money. He had an intense, undying desire to become wealthy¬ and was determined to do anything to escape the malaise that hung over his life. Having spent countless hours religiously reading the life stories of well-known rich people, self-help guides and business manuals and making pain staking efforts to absorb any relevant wisdom—he was still very much not rich. As the days went by Laurence was getting increasingly desperate for a way out of his cum-stained confinement.

The silence of the shop was broken by voices emanating from behind him. On turning around he noticed that customers were beginning to pour out of the doorway leading to the booths at the back of the store. The show might be over, but Laurence’s work was just getting started. Sullenly he trudged over to grab a mop and bucket from behind the counter.

“Fuck my life,” he muttered.
The clean-up was a slow painful affair; a war of attrition. To Laurence his mop was the heavy artillery and the sterilising agents were air support. He soldiered on, sweeping the booths for signs of bodily fluids before neutralizing them with an assortment of cleaning materials. After what seemed like an eternity of purgatory his task was complete. He said good night to the girls before shutting up shop and beginning his long walk home, relishing the temporary reprieve from his duties.

Each step Laurence took away from his accursed workplace was that much lighter, each thought that much brighter. Just as his th oughts were beginning to drift away from his daily drudgery he was brought back to sober reality by a sharp pang of pain coursing through his body. He had just walked straight into an impressively shiny chrome motorbike, which had been parked oddly across the sidewalk.

“How rude!”

Laurence thought whilst still reeling from the self inflicted blow. He made to begin walking again before noticing the keys were still in the ignition. A guilty thought flashed through his mind and Laurence stopped in his tracks. He looked around furtively as if the very act of thinking about stealing the bike was, in itself, a crime.

Laurence considered his options. He could steal the bike and have an exhilarating evening of daring-do before being thrown in jail. Or, he could simply walk on by and continue with his dreary legitimate life. With little hesitation and with even less self-awareness Laurence vaulted onto the vehicle as a frenzied Mongol warrior would mount his warhorse. This was going to be a night to remember. He revved up the engine with deliberate intent as if to allow anyone within earshot to partake in his moment of cathartic self-discovery.
“Knight of the road. Knight of the road!” He bawled at the top of his voice. Terrence Laurence’s crusade had begun.