Fulcrum gazed at the bathroom mirror, marked with water spots and bits of toothpaste flung from his mouth during yesterday’s energetic attempts to brush away the taste of the previous night’s experiment with bourbon and sloe gin. He stood staring at his reflection, illuminated by an ancient fluorescent tube, whose ballast was crackling and humming. Fulcrum hoped it would last a while longer, just long enough to finish his morning routine. Studying the thin, patchy salt and pepper stubble on his face and searching his brown blood-shot eyes intently for signs of light, he coughed and snarled at his countenance in the glass.
Words that eluded him last night, when he was trying to write the opening paragraph—before the drinking began—finally began filling his head:
There are days you wake up and wish you hadn’t, days that reveal the ugliness that resides where you wish it didn’t. The bright days fight valiantly against those ugly ones, but they rarely win. Some days, the loser wins big. Some days, the one who should be a winner is beaten senseless, torn apart and left critically wounded on a busy downtown street.
Though pessimistic and self-prosecutorial to the point of insanity, Fulcrum believed himself to be a writer. Or, at least, he believed he was as capable of writing as he was of doing anything else he had ever done. That seed of belief in himself, a malnourished as it was, had always tipped the scale in favor of living. But this time, the idea of suicide felt different. It felt inescapable, as if taking his own life was as natural as breathing and just as hard to stop without a brutal battle he was destined, ultimately, to lose.
[This keeps popping up on my ‘to be massaged and used someplace’ list, though I don’t know where I’ll use it. Maybe my upcoming writers’ retreat, wherein I will be expected to write, incessantly, for three days will kick-start this and other stuff I’ve been allowing to languish. I have all these unfinished and unplaced scenes that need homes. That’s the issue; I’ve been doing interior decorating for far too long, failing to recognize that I must first build the damn house.]