Here is a short story that I wrote a few years ago. Please feel free to judge me for my words.
Fred Williams was a middle aged man. He stood an imposing six feet four inches and hunched his shoulders when he walked. His posture was poor and his weight was high. His cholesterol had tipped the scale at a whopping 300. He felt bad about his appearance and his weight, yet did very little about it. He constantly planned diets for Monday but would find a reason to quit after ten AM. His work history moved him all around the continental United States. He had worked in Sacramento, Seattle, Portland, Miami, Norfolk, Virginia and Denver the previous five years. He was a Disc Jockey but had recently been forced into a scandalous talk show. His program director a year prior had sat him down and told him to titillate the audience into ratings. He had discovered his inner loudmouth and had been spouting insults right into the ratings book. He had gone from second to last in the ratings to number three. He parted his hair in the middle which made his imposing figure seem larger. He slept in 700 thread count sheets in an apartment in the middle of downtown, an apartment that had been featured in many local magazines as in example of an incredible view of downtown .
During his illustrious career he had been divorced three times, although he still loved his first wife who left him after discovering him in a sexual liaison with the cleaning woman. Fred was not even attracted to the cleaning woman he just wanted to exercise his inner machismo. He wanted to match his personal life with the life of the voice on the radio. He had cried when she left although he soon was re-married. His second wife was a listener to his radio show. One day on the air he described his impending divorce and loneliness. Maria called into the show and they were married six weeks later.
Maria left Fred when her first husband was released from prison a year after Fred and Maria were married. Fred was not broken up about it as he viewed Maria as a rebound from his true love. Following the Maria debacle Fred went into a destructive phase where he slept around and acquired HPV.
Fred would sweat the moment the microphone was on up until he would spin the next record or fire the commercial break. He would spend most of his time during the commercial breaks smoking cigarettes or marijuana. He attempted to cloud his tortured mind with relaxing devices. He had recently been prescribed valium but hated taking medications. He also hated himself. Self loathing ran rampant in his family.
Fred’s third wife had been a Miss Ecuador. Fred met her at a cocktail party hosted by the owner of the radio station. Fred was the only one at the party who spoke Spanish. A language his mother had forced on him as a child. Fred hated speaking Spanish as he saw it as a mutt language, but with Carlotta it seemed beautiful and exotic. Their romance was reported in local media. Their divorce was covered by the same reporters six weeks after their marriage. Carlotta decided that she wanted to be with the local professional football player instead of the middle aged radio loudmouth. Awkwardly Fred was asked to interview the football player shortly after his own wife had left him for him. During the interview Fred broke down and confronted the player about his infidelity. Fred was fired from the show during the commercial break following the interview. Fred then moved to Seattle.
In Seattle, Fred had been given the figurative keys to the afternoon drive time shift at a local talk radio format station. He turned a restrictive four hours into an exciting and positive show without pushing the envelope too far. He was not hated by management but was rather regarded as a hero.
Fred would wake up every morning at eight. He did not require an alarm clock although he had one sitting next to his bed on a nightstand. Seemingly every morning when the clock struck eight he would wake up as if he had been trained to do so. In the early morning he would get his running attire on and walk out his front door towards the elevator in his apartment however after pressing the “down” button he would turn around and head back to his apartment having convinced himself that running was not for him.
On the rare occasion that Fred would have a visitor to his apartment, the visitor (female companion of the night) would find themselves with a large stack of dollars in their pocket and disappointment in their minds. For the most part Fred was embarrassed of his sexual conquests. He found it difficult to meet people outside of his social groups and he felt terrible hiring a “woman of the night”. Yet every third Sunday of the month he would find himself driving down the same road he had been down the month prior.
Elvin Jasper (board operator) knocked on the window of the studio after a good three seconds of “dead air” on the radio. Fred snapped to attention and dug into one of his signature diatribes. He bitched about taxes and religion for ten minutes until his next break mark. Once he fired the first set of commercials the energy seemed to be sucked out of him as if all of his self –esteem and self-importance had been stolen from him.
Fred stared at the computer screen looking over potential callers. No one seemed of interest to him so he dumped all of callers by plunging a phone bank from on to off. He stared out into the wilderness planning his next move.
Elvin entered the room and waited for Fred to say something but silence carried forth. Elvin gathered portions of the newspaper while Fred stared into the wilderness. The commercial break was coming to a close and Fred whispered an inaudible voice to himself. Elvin looked at him as if Fred had lost his mind. Once Elvin left the room Fred stood up and locked the door behind him.
Fred was now completely alone. He stared out the window for the entire sixty second commercial spot as he had done for the previous four commercial spots. Once the microphone was active, Fred leaned in close to the microphone and discussed a movie he had recently seen. The phones lit up and, following a long winded dialogue about how “Hollywood” had lost their edge, he podded up a phone caller.
“Hot 88, this is Fred Williams”
“Hi, my name is John and I have to tell you that…You know when I ………..I just feel like…………….”
Fred hung up on him without batting an eye.
Two hours later Fred’s shift was over and he exited the building holding his head low as if carrying a large amount of mental anguish. Fred found himself walking into an Alcoholic’s Anonyms meeting even though he was not an alcoholic. The class was held at a local office building. The building was dark and non-descript. He walked in and sat toward the rear of the room looking to not make a scene. He was grasping at straws. He searched for any outlet to verbalize his pain. He had tried therapists but he felt as though they were paid to listen and he didn’t receive a hug afterwards just a bill.
Fred rubbed his hands together for thirty minutes waiting to be called by the leader of the class. Fred felt tired and beaten by the system.
“Hello, my name is Fred and I am an alcoholic, it has been six weeks since my last drink and I feel like the pain will never go away. I feel a complete emptiness in my soul and my mind. I cannot shake the demons that seemingly surround me with ever step I take……………….”
Fred was interrupted by another patron.
“Wait, are you Fred Williams from hot 88?………………..Hey everyone this is the guy from hot 88. I love this guy”
Fred promptly gathered his things and exited the meeting.
The next morning at eight AM Fred promptly pulled his head off of the pillow and placed his running shoes on. Once he exited his front door he viewed a small bag by his doorstep. The piece of baggage was labeled with his name and address. He looked around but did not see anyone in the hallway. He lightly kicked the piece of luggage, in a way examining it and in another measuring its ability to receive pressure onto itself.
Fred stared at the piece of luggage for a few minutes and then decided to scratch his morning jog off of his to do list and place the luggage in his apartment. He shaved and showered all the while thinking about the piece of luggage the entire time.
After he stared at the piece of luggage for another minute or two he placed it on the dining table and attempted to pry it open with a butter knife. Suddenly the phone rang which startled Fred.
Fred searched for a cordless phone in the house but could not find one.
Twenty minutes later the briefcase was open and Fred found a large number of papers in the briefcase. Each piece of paper Fred examined closely. There were thousands of pages. Each page that Fred read was a complete page on the everyday events of Fred’s life beginning at sixteen and seemingly ending the day prior to his receiving the piece of luggage.
Fred read about his twenty-first birthday and his twenty-eight birthday, he read about his marriages and divorces. He found himself reading specific pages that chronicled days that he did not recall, however due to their complete accuracy he found them completely believable.
He read one piece of paper with the inscription of August 8, 2008. He read the body of the paper in which it stated:
“Mr. Williams was seen in the hallway of his apartment at 0800 in the morning until 0806. He then re-entered his apartment, showered and exited his apartment at 0945. He went to the grocery store and was viewed by many patrons looking at containers of milk measuring their expiration date. He eventually purchased a candy bar, an energy drink, an orange, and two packs of gum. Mr. Williams then drove to his therapist “Dr. Hayes” and discussed his childhood. Once Mr. Williams exited his office Dr. Hayes made a phone call to the local newspaper (Scott Wheeler) and attempted to sell the notes that he had written about Mr. Williams. No deal was made as Mr. Wheeler was contacted by our office and the deal was broken. Mr. Williams arrived at 6800 Firecrest drive (Hot 88 studios) and discussed local news and politics for four hours. At 1923 hours Mr. Williams exited the building and was approached by one Kelvin Stewart (student from local University) for an autograph. Mr. Williams obliged the request and arrived at home at 2006. From 2040 to 2300 he watched television (monitor through video screen camera in apartment), he retired to the bedroom at 2300 and masturbated into a sock before he fell asleep.”
Fred looked around his apartment for a camera but did not find one after an exhaustive search. He returned to the pages and read through many more days. On some pages there were red marks that lined through entire sections of copy. Fred examined these pages carefully and then placed them to the side onto a separate pile. Fred nervously looked out his window but only saw a group of school children making their way to school. He frantically searched for a camera again but once again came up empty handed.
He yelled at the pages as if they had imposed on his life. He screamed “why are you doing this!” As if the papers were a human being with real emotion and character.
After three hours of rummaging through the pages he placed them all neatly inside of the briefcase and left for work. He made sure to place the briefcase in what he determined to be a safe place under his bed. He made sure to not just lock the main fastener but the deadbolt as well when he left his apartment. Fred felt embarrassed and ultimately concerned for himself. He felt shame in his lifestyle choices as many of the pages chronicled his use of women as objects and not real people.
When Fred arrived to work he was welcomed by a large group of people who were celebrating. He attempted to make it to his office but the celebration impeded his travels. He eventually ended out in his office with stale streamers covering his face and shoulders. He violently shook off the streamers off of his torso and hair and picked up the phone. He dialed furiously.
“Dr. Webber, I need to talk to you. No, no, today, no not my childhood. We are going to have to put that aside for now. How about we worry about……..I know I am behind in payments………Listen, I need to talk to someone…..Why, why?”
Fred slammed the phone on the receiver following a disconnection. A moment passed and then an intern walked by his office. Fred opened his door.