The Title Has Nothing to Do with the Story

This boy wakes up and he’s a man. He’s wearing long pants and he’s near-sighted with longing dreams looking at a short future. Still, at heart he’s still a little boy, frightened at the very real world that had seemed so make-believe the night before.

“What happened?” he asks the cruel mirror mirror on the wall. “What am I supposed to do? Go to work? I don’t know if I can even spell, ‘work.’ Let’s see… w-o-r-k. Work. I guess if I can spell it I should go there and do it, wherever that is. Look at me, I’m dressed in a suit and tie. How’d I get the tie on? I can’t tie a tie, can I? I bet if I untied it, I couldn’t tie it back up.”

He stares intensely at the perfect windsor-knot choking out all innocence. He decides some things are better left tied up just as they are.

So, he picks up his briefcase with his initials monogrammed neatly in gold-leaf next to the combination lock which he doesn’t know the combination for, and walks out the door into a car he doesn’t know how to drive.

“What am I supposed to do? This looks so much more complicated than Pole Position on Atari.”

A force the little boy doesn’t recognize as his own, leads his hand into his jacket pocket and pulls out a key, inserts it into the ignition and the car roars to life.

“I think I’ll smoke a cigarette,” he says, pulling into a 7-11 (thank heaven), buying, unwrapping, then smoking his first cigarette, his first immature act as an adult. He hacks, coughs and wheezes his way to manhood, eyes watering. “This sucks,” he spits, but smokes the cigarette right down to the butt anyway.

Work is easier. He punches into his computer, logs on to a cyberworld flooded with boy-men just like him, who have no idea they are trading stocks with John@work, who only the night before had been the starting pitcher of his championship Little League team.

He makes money, he loses money, he doesn’t care. It is all make-believe.

Back home it turns out he is married. Though, he is sure he is still a virgin, he has a wife and two and a half kids. The other half is due in less than five months. The wife is sure it is a girl, but, he doesn’t care. Really, he doesn’t care about anything.

‘Heck,’ he thinks, ‘how can I care? How can I take stock in a world that lets you fall asleep dreaming of pitching for the New York Yankees underneath a Star Wars blanket, only to wake up in a suit and tie tied in a crisp, clean windsor-knot? Reality is more whimsical than my most childish fantasy.’

His wife asks him what he is thinking.

“I think I’m hungry,” he says, rising from the bed. He walks to the fridge to appease a sensation so simple, it is shared between the biology of both men and boys, who spend Sunday trading baseball cards, Sunday night dreaming of pitching for the New York Yankees, then wake up Monday, tie a crisp clean windsor-knot and go trade money back and forth with other men who shared the same dream.

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3 thoughts on “The Title Has Nothing to Do with the Story

    1. cottonbombs Post author

      I guess I should retitle this: What Men Are. There was the movie: What Women Want. If that had been What Men Want, the movie would be five minutes long.

      Reply

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