By Brian Haynes
So, here I am again sitting on my couch in front of the TV with my remote control, channel surfing like there is no tomorrow. Life is good. After working a boring job all day that I absolutely despise, and running useless errands around this pathetic town, I deserve some time to relax…right? I mean, how else am I going to enjoy all my favorite shows on my brand new plasma television. There are six hundred channels to choose from, and believe me when I tell you that sometimes I struggle which one to watch. But somehow as my thumb starts to slow down on the small, smooth, rubbery button on the remote control that sort of feels like velvet, I find what I need and my brain begins to be consumed by the voyeurism nature it was designed for. If you could only see what I’m looking at——the clarity is almost unbelievable. This 60 inch beauty hangs right in the center of my wall. A splendid slim depth design high definition 1080p, with a 600Hz sub-field drive processor. Life is not just good, it’s marvelous.
I wish I could remember the first time my Mother sat me down in my little rocker, turning on the tube to get me to stop crying. What a glorious day that was…sucking my thumb and watching a cartoon that teaches me, a little toddler all the rules of life. Indeed it’s a cruel, brutal world we live in and I’m taught from the beginning the absolute of all circumstances; life is not fair. As I grew older, my preference in shows obviously changed. Coming home from school was a wonderful time——forget homework my show is on at 3:30. The perfect time in the middle of the day, that little Jimmy had to interrupt me wanting to go outside and play. And believe me when I tell you this kid was annoying. After the third ring of my doorbell, and Jimmy saying through the side window, “I know you’re in there, open up!” I reluctantly get off the couch and go open door.
“Jimmy I can’t play right now.”
“Sure you can dude lets go, the Watson brothers want to play a pick up game of basketball…two on two.”
“I’m busy Jimmy, I have a lot of homework to do.”
I’m starting to get mad because I’m missing the best part of my show.
“Aaahh…come on please?”
“Jimmy not today!”
Jimmy is now frustrated, and I can see his disappointing expression slowly changing to anger. Jimmy stared at me for brief moment. I’m not quite sure if that was sweat on his cheeks or if he was just starting to cry. The truth is I really don’t give a damn.
“Come on just one game, we need another person!”
I say “maybe tomorrow,” while slamming the door shut with a loud thump. Less than a second later you can hear the metal slide then click, as I double lock the dead bolt right in Jimmy’s pudgy red face.
Through the years my expertise in television became quite extraordinary. A connoisseur of sitcoms one might say. The knowledge I had on all the best shows: the characters, the years, names of all the actors, actresses, times, dates, places, on a wide variety of different programs——I am literally a walking TV guide. I love the classics, but the invention of reality TV was a milestone——you can thank COPS for that one. The six hundred channels my cable TV has might not be enough: local, history, movies, sports, news, reality shows, classic reruns, cartoons, traveling, cooking, comedies, and of course MTV. Perhaps I’m not quite sure what I would do without it…my wonderful plasma.
The more I think about my life and all the teaching and learning that my new plasma will give me, it gives me comfort. I would not be what I am today, if it were not for a television that’s for sure. How else does someone get cultured? Plus, what fun is there besides relaxing on the couch? There is no fun going out in the world and dealing with all those people——loathsome. Idiots in traffic, fools in the grocery isle, and morons at the park…certainly not for me. You know, the truth is most people are narcissistic. Their big ego is all that concerns them. What’s in it for me right? Everyone wants your money, and that is the only thing they want. Their smiles are nothing but a mask to put over their greed. Buy from me why don’t you? Excuse me sir, can I have a moment? The answer is no, not interested! All the billboards that are filled with advertisements actually give me a headache. I get all the advertisements I need from commercials. I mean, these companies really know what they are doing. The commercials on TV now are so entertaining and funny; I often look forward to them. Like mini-sitcoms maybe thirty seconds or so, that’ll educate me on the things in life that I actually need. Important things that I can not live without…thank you plasma.
The plasma produces such an elegant picture inside my home. Clear colors illuminate like rays of sunshine that brighten up the whole house at night. You can actually see the wrinkles in the broadcaster’s face, the sweat dripping down the player’s nose, the blades of grass shinning from the sun…all the details of real life. Because TV life is real right, all my programs teach me that.
Finally I get home from my dreadful job, plop down on the couch, my thumb pressing the small rubber button——what a nice picture. When suddenly the phone rings right in the middle of a good show, with a good part coming up too!
“Hey man what’s up…want to go out tonight?”
It’s Rob from the office, he calls himself a reader…so repulsive. Plus, didn’t I just spend eight hours in a cubicle next to the guy——how irritating. Rob’s the kind of guy who thinks going to the book store over a cup of coffee is fun. The guy is clueless.
“Why? What else you doing——wait a sec…let me guess. Yoooouuu are waaaatchiiiing teeeeveee.”
He’s trying to be funny and his sarcasm is so dull.
“Of course I am…my show is down to the final two contestants. Wouldn’t even think about missing it——DVR is not an option Rob, I need real time.”
“All you do is watch TV, don’t you get tired of it?”
“Of course not Rob…do you need anything else? I need to get going.”
“You know, we all have been warned.”
“What? Warned…from who?”
“Orwell, Bradbury, and King.”
“Who the hell are they?”
I need to get him off the phone now, it’s hard to talk and watch at the same time and I’m missing my show.
“Orwell called it the telescreen, Bradbury named it the Wall-TV, and King labeled it the Free-vee…as early as the 1940′s, we were warned.”
“What are you talking about Rob?”
“Look Rob I have to go…sorry I can’t go out, but I’ll see you tomorrow at work okay.”
“Well if you ever have time to unglue your eyes from that plasma, why don’t you try reading something?”
“Bye Rob!” I say hanging up the phone with an extra hard shove onto the receiver. When the phone crashed down I heard a loud snap. If I broke the phone than that’s a good thing, hopefully Rob can’t call me back.
So I’m watching TV again on a Friday night, it’s about three o’clock in the morning and all the lights are off in my house, the rays are shining from my wall like crystals. The mystery show is on and for some reason this episode is new to me. My eyes are getting heavy and the remote almost slipped out of my hand. I tightened my grip and tried to focus. For reasons unknown I felt a chill enter the room, maybe I should just go to bed because it is getting late. I was just about to turn up the volume when suddenly the plasma shuts off.
The room was dark and cold. The TV made a static sound and turned back on, but now it’s not my show; it’s the black and white picture of nothing——fuzz of space, snow, and that terrible sound. There is sort of a dark green swirl that starts to shine from the plasma. The little red power light at the bottom in the center of the TV started to grow and stick out. My picture goes from green to crimson…there is a horrid sound of chains that are coming from somewhere behind the wall. The chains rattled louder and I realize now it’s coming from the plasma. I feel a lump in my throat and I try to swallow but can’t. This can’t be real——chains coming from behind the corners of the television. Growing from each corner the four chains now seam to be reaching for me. The chains are black and I can hear each link bump over the sides of the screen. When the chains got closer I notice there were sharp sliver hooks welded on the ends. My heart skipped a beat, and then pain entered in to my shoulders and both knees. The sharpness hooking into me was cold at first, and it hurt. But after the barbs protruded out of my skin, the feeling went warm and rigid. Blood began to drip down my arms, chest and legs. The chains began to tighten down and the TV and I became one. My body started to levitate off the couch, the chains sort of stretched to do so. At first I felt sort of like a grotesque puppet in the middle of the room. Each shoulder and knee being manipulated by the plasma’s will. Then I began to swing back and forth like some kind of sadistic pendulum. I tried to scream but no sound came out. Back and forth, back and forth. The growing red power light from the bottom of the screen turned in to a cable, and it started coming at me like a slivering snake. As the snake got closer I saw little sharp teeth from its opening. Suddenly the cable bit me and plunged into my stomach, sending sharp needles all over my body. When I looked back up at the TV, the red swirls were gone and my show was now glowing from the picture.
Now if I could maybe just finish my show, then I’ll go to bed! The TV began to suck my blood like it needed it to survive. Or maybe it just needed my plasma from the blood for it to function with the clear, perfect picture it has. Please stop! My body changed from warm back to cold as the blood rushed from my veins into the veins of the TV. I felt drained and sleepy as my swinging began to slow down. My vision was blurred but I somehow noticed that the show was finally over. The cable slowly ejected from my stomach and slithered back towards the TV. Red drops dripped from its mouth on to the carpet, as it went back into its proper hole. The chains loosened and then dropped me back on the couch. I was frightened when I saw the barbs sticking out the front of both my knees and shoulders, and I wondered how I’ll ever remove them. Right before my breathing started to calm down, the chains suddenly rattled tight. I wish I could describe the pain to you…but when the plasma ripped the hooks out of my skin, I wanted to die. The closing credits went from top to the bottom of the screen, and the mysterious music played on…
Life is so short. Now that I’m getting older I’m wondering where all the time went. Yes of course I have my plasma, only now it fills up the entire wall——5′ by 7′ or something, plus now over one thousand channels to choose from. What is a plasma anyway? I mean why call TV a plasma, right? Make no mistake about it the name was not labeled out of ignorance, but it was given a name for a purpose…Plasma.
The more I thought about what happened that night on the couch, the more concerned I became, which made me sad and depressed. The essential body fluid in blood that contains 95 percent clear water, consisting of sugar and fat which holds the red and white cells. The clear liquid part of blood——the clear plasma picture. Over half of our blood’s volume is made up of plasma. All the wasted hours spent watching TV, the blood pumping through my veins like liquid purple cables longing for a home. All those hours my heart was beating, pumping, and pushing blood throughout my body. Just like the plasma carries the cells of life, the couch carries my life away from knowledge. The ignorance of my life consists of red and white cells, clotting platelets, and plasma.
I really don’t have any friends and I’m not close to my family anymore. Imagine all the books I could have read and the knowledge I could have obtained, so sad. Not long ago a thought occurred to me that I was standing inside the grand Library of Congress. It was like pouring gas onto my already burning depression——a sad blaze of fire that grew more every day. The library was so beautiful! I could smell the paper and leather coming from the shelves. The Greek splendor and Roman influence flowing from the walls. So quiet so still, yet I can almost hear the authors trying to speak to me. I imagined myself standing on the marble floors looking up at all those books. Rows and isles of books stacked from the marble floor to the historic painted ceiling. My eyes could hardly absorb this wonder. An eternity of books, with endless pages and countless words that are written for the ages to come. I could not help but think of somewhere, in this sea of literature stacked perfectly away, a solemn numerical category of published binding. Standing upright, perhaps even leather bound: 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and The Running Man.
Indeed life is not fair, or is it? I wonder at times how Rob is doing and where he might be. Sometimes I think of my health going bad and next thing you know I’m in the hospital with no visitors. But wait, I would be okay right…I would have a TV in my room, a plasma the size of a wall——even though I’d be hooked up with all sorts of tubes and wires in my frail body. What a life I’ve had…I can’t help but wonder how many hours I’ve spent in front of the TV. Thousands upon thousands of hours——more like days, weeks, months, perhaps even years. Who really knows anyway, the wasted time I had all flushed down the drain of life, the plasma.
For some reason it’s difficult for me to explain about the horror that occurred to me that night, or why I’m now afraid of the TV…but what I can tell you is that I never want to see my plasma again. All my life’s memories on the couch are now drowning in a sea of misery, as I finish tying this rope.
I can not stop thinking about all those years spent on the couch. Dreams I had that never came true. Depressing is it not? The rope around my neck is sort of an old one. The fibers that are tied together are starting to come apart and it itches my neck. It should hold though, I hope it will anyway because If I can’t succeed in this act than I’m a true failure. My despair has consumed me——I stand on this chair and wonder how worthless I’ve become. The chair is old too you know, I’m having a hard time balancing myself while it wobbles. Maybe I should have fixed the front post a long time ago. I let out a deep sigh…I’m so depressed.
The time clock keeps ticking in my head: tick, tick, tick. My life wasted away I can’t stop thinking about it——it’s getting so hot in this garage too. Keep the Plasma away from me! My knees are starting to shake making it that much harder to stand on the chair. My blood is pumping faster now and I can’t stop the chair from moving. The garage is like a huge oven of death. The blood is starting to show through the gauze where I bandaged my knees and shoulders. I hope this itchy rope is tied down nice and good because I’m now stepping off the chair———No tags for this post.