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Friday Flash – Locked In – Friday Flash Fiction Part 1 of 3

Friday Flash – Locked In – Friday Flash Fiction Part 1 of 3

‘“I am the patron saint of mediocrity”.

I have a love hate relationship with that quote from ‘Amadeus’. This is partly because I adore Salieri’s dialogue and F Murray Abraham’s performance, but mostly because I can see how it applies to myself.

I’ve always wanted to be good at something, anything. Or at least competent, more than average. Instead, whatever I try to do turns to ash.

Let me explain. I’ve felt this way, known this essential truth ever since I was a child. I never excelled at school, never had a talent for playing a musical instrument or participating in any sport or school play. I wasn’t a pretty or likeable child, in fact I never had any friends. It wasn’t that I was especially pretty or outstandingly ugly. Just plain. Hell, I would have loved to been ugly, if only to abuse that privilege.

But I wasn’t. I was just plain old mediocre me.

I’m sure my parents didn’t want me but their catholic belief system precluded an abortion and for some reason they couldn’t be bothered to have me fostered. Then again, who would have me? I remember overhearing my father say he wished he’d never squirted me into my mother’s womb. Neither my mother nor myself felt any desire to disagree.

I achieved average grades, nothing special, got a 2:2 degree in sociology at a provincial university and drifted in and out of various low-paid jobs. I endured periods of unemployment like all my contemporaries, but then they seemed to settle into something they got to like or got good at, whilst I was just flotsam and jetsam bubbling along on the ever changing stream of life.

So I had no money, no hopes, no prospects, nor did I really care that much. I had vague ideas about working in a museum, such was the scale of my vision, or doing something artistic, whatever that meant.

With my meagre benefits, I bought some acrylic paints and tried to fill the blank canvass with something meaningful, expressive, the sort of thing that would express the inner longings of the artist struggling to give birth to the raw spirit of creation. A piece of art that people would knee in front of in awe, feeling that it spoke to them profoundly and personally, giving them a unique sense of the divine muse.

Or at least I aspired to be able to paint a bird or dog so that it looked like something more convincing than a vague series of splodges of badly mixed colours.

Fail.

I could cobble words together after a fashion and thought that creative writing might be my gift. After all, I could read anything and find something to criticise and ways to bitch about any author and who they must be sleeping with to get published.

So I got pen and paper out and sat staring at the blank page for hours on end, searching within myself for a plot or some compelling characters. Once, I managed to get two lines of a poem onto the contemptuous page, then scanned them, scrobbled up the sneering page and consigned it to the bin.

Obviously I needed something a bit more sophisticated to inspire my literary talents to take flight. I managed to get hold of an antiquated computer from a charity shop. I’m sure they took pity on me, most people do, but then I guess it’s better than contempt. It didn’t take too long to work out how to use the old Wordstar software, so I played around with some stock text, messed about with fonts, formatting and so forth, dreaming of the day my magnum opus would be typeset.

The only problem was that I never got round to writing it, and when the computer hard drive failed, it seemed that the universe was having another chuckle at my expense.

I met a few guys, who used me physically and I realised how needy I actually was. I read that people loathe needy people, but that never stopped me being cloying and clingy. After all, it’s better to lie in the wet patch next to some sweaty sleeping guy than festering alone and weeping for your loneliness and misery. No matter how mediocre you are, there’s always someone equally banal who wants to discharge into your body.

Eventually I found a guy who could tolerate me for more than one night and vice versa. The idea was that I’d provide him with children and he’d pay all the bills. Deal. So, after a few minutes at the registry office, we were hitched.

We tried that night, the first night of our magical matrimonial bliss and passion. It took him all of three minutes then he fell asleep. I didn’t have an orgasm and for all the good it did us, he might as well not have come either.

Nothing happened. I didn’t get pregnant so we gritted our teeth and tried again. And again. And again.

A few months later, we hit paydirt. Maybe a beautiful child would be my crowning glory, my ray of hope, someone to love, adore, and bring up. Something to be proud of.

And of course, I miscarried. Again, and again, and again.

After a year or two, he started drinking and spending more time away from the house. He found someone else and divorced me. They now have three children and are blissfully happy.

In my inconsolable rage and grief, I started to look for some meaning in my life, something to fill that empty void. I toyed with religion, but couldn’t quite fall for it, so I tried personal development. Hell, I read everything on the subject. I tried gestalt, meditation, NLP, any acronym you can think of in a vain quest to find out who I was and what would make me happy and give my life meaning. I encountered my inner child and wished she’d been strangled at birth, and took a swim in Lake Me and wished that I could drown.

I never found what I wanted, not that I knew what it was, so thought ‘fuck it’, and decided to kill myself instead.

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