Consumed by the Chesterfield

I remember that I was listening to the soundtrack for the movie Across the Universe, when I had the idea to write a depressing story based on a song about a warm gun. I don’t recall writing this truly depressing short story where the main character is suicidal, depressed, and unable to get off the couch. Reader be warned, this is horribly depressing.


The couch had eaten her, or so she texted, to explain why she wasn’t going to the movies. Claiming exhaustion after a hard week was easy, her messages light, and funny, but she wasn’t.

For all intents and purposes the couch had eaten her, her will do anything but lay there was gone. Colors flashed on the TV, but she couldn’t focus, just laying with it on, so that the excuse of watching TV would be there. A song came on, and the words of joy expressed over a still warm gun sent chills through her. She knew where she would be right now had the option been available, and she was glad for lack of ownership in these situations.

The only thing that kept her going, was not going on would take action to achieve, and she didn’t have the energy to so much as get up off the couch. She was still there when her roommate came home, bringing her something to eat.

She had a love/hate relationship with the roommate, who she had never wanted, but had gotten on the recommendation of a therapist long since dismissed. She didn’t need someone to pay half the bills, didn’t need someone taking half her space, and the first one had only lasted days. She lowered the rent, and found someone who would stay, but she had lowered it enough, that they were determined to stay no matter how terrible she often was. Given their tenacity in staying, it would take more spoons than she had available on any given week to try and get rid of them.

They liked her well enough, or maybe they just realized that if she died they wouldn’t get to keep the rent situation, so water was brought to her on the couch, food, and she was checked on regularly when she was in this state, of laying. If she laid there long enough, roommate would make her go take a shower, as roommate drew the line at a certain smell. Roommate who apparently didn’t draw the line at being known as roommate because she could never find the wherewithal to remember roommate’s name.

It would pass though, and she knew it would pass, it always passed, and for a time things would be better, she would be better, and she would do things and see people, and be happy for a bit. What kept her lying here at the moment was the other knowledge, and that was that she would always end up back here again too, maybe in a day, or a week, maybe if she was lucky it would be months, but she would end up here, on the couch, not wanting to be, and for now she just let it overwhelm her, let herself feel what she was feeling, and hope that soon, soon it would pass and she would be her again.

Independence Day

You make look at the title and think I am American, or that this is about the holiday or aliens. None of those are true. This was a half finished work based on a prompt somewhere along the lines of “a character finally making their only decisions” I took that and ran with it, going with a character that let someone run his life until the day he said no.


“No” The sound of his heart pounded in his ears, as his face burned. He felt like he couldn’t breath, and the silence went on far too long for comfort. He had finally said it.

“No?” Lana asked, disbelief plain in her voice.

It was easier the the second time. “No.” His voice sounded oddly calm even to his own ears, and he finally raised his eyes to meet hers dead on.

Lana didn’t even look that angry, it was more condescension in her pose. Like he was a disobedient child, or a puppy that had made a mess on the rug.

He wasn’t sure how they had gotten here. How had he let it get this bad?

“Don’t be stupid, we both know you are going to take the job.” Disdain dripped from every word and he couldn’t take it anymore, interrupting her before she could continue.

“No, I am not.” He said evenly.

“So, what, you are just going to quit? Be unemployed, be nothing? You are on a good path Bran. Its a growing company, its only managing one person now, but in a few years it could be a whole department. You could be something.”

He cut her off again. “I am something, and I don’t want it Lan. I”

It was her turn to cut him off. “You don’t want it? You aren’t 15 anymore, Bran. Rent, food, these things ringing any bells?” She sounded like his mother.

“Lan,” He started, he hadn’t wanted it to go this way.

“Don’t Lan, me. I let you live here, for next to nothing. I agreed to this to help you get on your feet, to make something of yourself. Because lets face it, a little pressure and you just collapse. But I am not going to just let you fuck off, and ruin your life. Either you take the job, or you find another place to live.”

“You aren’t my mother.” He cringed internally, this isn’t where he wanted to go with this.

“What the hell does your mother have to do with this?” She sounded offended.

“You don’t remember? Really, Lana? The reason I moved in with you in the first place, it wasn’t the “pressure”. It was my mom. She told me that I either went pre-law, or she wouldn’t pay. So I got the scholarship, and I moved in with you. And ya, for that first little bit I guess I needed help. I was so used to letting Mom decide everything about my life, that I kind of lost it when I left.” He took and deep breath and continued.

“I should have stepped up, but it was a lot with school. So I let you take over, and I shouldn’t have. Or I shouldn’t have for so long, but Lan, its my life. MY life. I get to pick my own job, and ya you don’t have to rent me a room for dirt cheap. But if you are renting me that room, as long as I pay the rent, you don’t get to tell me how I pay it. “

“I can’t believe this. You are honestly comparing me to your mother? Unlike her I have your best interests at heart. I know you, you couldn’t be a lawyer, but you can do this job. You could be okay doing this job.”

“You’re right, I could.” And the victory on her face faded as he continued. “But I want to be more than just okay. I wanna be happy.”

“I get that you think that, but I am not going to stand around and watch you throw everything away. My decision stands, either you take the position, or you find another place to live next month.”

He stood silent, and he hated that this is what it had come to. “Are you sure?” He asked a little desperate.

“It’s two weeks, and its your decision.”

“Ok.” He swallowed, and nodded. “Ok, if you are sure.”

“I am, and deep down you know that this is the right thing. You,”

He cut her off. “I am not taking the job.”

“Seriously?” She sounded bewildered.

“Serious, Lan.” He replied, voice even.

“And where exactly do you plan to live when you are unemployed?” She demanded.

“I won’t be unemployed Lana. Its a promotion and one that I am in no way obligated to apply for. I will still have my current position, and enough time to work on my art. I know its a long shot. I know the chance of ever making what I need to live on it is low, but its something I need to do.” He tried to explain. Lana would understand, wouldn’t she?

“Brandon,” She started, and he knew this was it for them, the patronizing tone of her voice setting his teeth on edge. “You make rent here, food, your art supplies, and you what save 50-100 dollars a month. You cant afford a place on your own, you are going to what find a roommate?”

He could, but that wasn’t the direction he was going. “I am going to be moving in with Christopher.” He stated, and it felt like this argument had been going on for an eternity.

Lana scoffed. “I would have thought being his sugar baby would have been below you, but then again I assumed you were smarter than this.”

Line officially crossed. A thousand biting retorts came to his lips, the advantage and disadvantage of being old friends is you knew every soft spot to hit. He stopped himself though, what was the point.

What he said instead was. “I am really going to miss you.”

Lana sighed, sounding defeated. “It’s okay, I will be right here waiting for you when you realize you made a mistake. Just like always am.”

“Goodbye,” He said simply, and she turned and stormed out. He just stared for a bit at the door before shooting off a text to Christopher.

It only took an hour and a half for a team of professional movers to come and go with his stuff. He had left his keys on the table, and locked up with the spare. He had hid it away, and walked out of the building. He had gotten inro the car Christopher had sent for him, and never looked back.

That was 30 years ago, and he could remember it like it was yesterday. He had tried to get a hold of Lana, but she was unwilling to back down that he was making a mistake. He looked down at his desk, where a picture of his eldest sat. It was of his university graduation, and there he stood, happy with Brandon and Christopher flanking him in the traditional proud parents pose. Thank god, Brandon thought, that I said no.