Mundola Fantastic

He wanted to fly to Sri Lanka or Yemen or maybe all the way to Pluto in space and beyond, to waterfall stars and deep blood blue oceans with fish that glowed like neon and maybe somehow smoked magical cigars.

Mundola Fantastic. A person walking along the edge of a lake. There's a canoe in the lake. The lake is surrounded by mountains. A bluish glow is seen on the right.

Sometimes a man gets too sad to breathe, too sad to see, to sad to sit or stand or fall or lie down. Sometimes a man gets too sad to eat or drink or wish upon a star or look at Mars or hang out in the underworld of Old West bars in a time without cars but only scars from the red sun, the blue mountains, the green sky and all its hearts popping like balloons over a river down in the snug of some psycho cult compound where the women bake pies and wash babies and the men shoot arrows and ride horses and build flying machines to some other astral plane.

He stood at the end of a long narrow hallway on the 19th floor of a tall building in the middle of a city that bustled far too much for any man. At the opposite end of the long hall was a rectangular window that reached nearly to the ceiling. From where he stood on the other end of the hall, he could see the blue sky and a few white clouds that skittered by like marshmallows thrown into the air by an unsettled and spoiled child.

The man took a deep breath and then ran down the hall as fast as he could, he ran straight for that window because he wanted to burst through the glass and just fly like some great bird or a spaceship untethered to any sort of gravity. He wanted to fly into the ozone and beyond, he wanted to fly so he could escape the mundane and the worthless and the obsolete and the unloving hands of whoever was in the bed that month. He wanted to fly to Sri Lanka or Yemen or maybe all the way to Pluto in space and beyond, to waterfall stars and deep blood blue oceans with fish that glowed like neon and maybe somehow smoked magical cigars.

The man worked an incredibly boring job in a very boring office in that tall building and he had excused himself from his boring cubicle. He told them all that he needed some air for just a moment. He told them he was sick of looking at the computer screen and talking about complete worthless bullshit on the telephone with people who were assholes. They had all turned in their cubicles to look at him, but just for a moment because they lost interest in everything so quickly. It was five seconds later and not one of them gave a damn what he was going to do next. They didn’t even watch him walk out into the hallway one last time. No one even bothered to say goodbye.

And as the man ran down that hallway toward the window and his attempt at flight, he screamed at the top of his lungs. He screamed something wild and unintelligible. It was just an angry scream, a heated spew of pent-up frustration, layers of it, his angst could be measured in geologic time, each layer another chapter in the circus, a flash in a pan, a long, drawn-out nightmare in the sun, trying to choke down a dry chicken sandwich at a Sonic Drive-In in a land of vapors and ghosts and green pulse lines of a failing heart. One failing heart after another. One more parking lot rung by a black chain-link fence. One more iced tumbler sweating in the corner of a lonely midnight of some hotel garden.

He hit the glass at full speed. It did not break. He bounced off it like a beach ball against a man made of ice. It threw him back and down onto the floor with a thud and a grunt. He just stayed there on the carpet, that real flat carpet that one would see in an office, a wild pattern of colors like purple and wine, or green and blood. His heart was pounding. He was trying to catch his breath as he looked up at the boring, meaningless ceiling. The man heard the far-off ding of the elevator at the other end of the hall, like falling into the precipice of a dream when going to sleep. He thought he heard someone coming toward him, he could nearly feel the vibrations of someone’s polished shoes flowing beneath him, scratching his back. It was a soft thundering vibrato through the ornate fibers, burrowing like the flushing evil of a corpse god. Then there was someone standing over him, looking down at him. He could hear him breathing and thinking. It was a man in a very fancy suit, and he was holding a briefcase and chewing gum like some high ferocious prick. He looked rich and successful, well-polished, nearly perfect, everything life wanted out of someone.

“Are you okay down there?” the man in the suit asked, blue eyes blinking in perfect rhythm to the heartbeat of a dripping wet jungle a million miles away. “Did you have a stroke or something?”

The man on the floor of the hallway looked up at him and sighed. “No. I’m fine. But why does this glass never break?”

The other man took a moment to look at the window. He went over to it and touched it, examined it like a gynecologist or architect. “It’s designed not to break. But I don’t know why. You would think people would want it to break… You know, in case of a fire or something. It might even be bulletproof considering the thickness of it.”

The man in the suit knelt beside the man on the floor, smiling like an idiot, still smacking his gum. “If you’re trying to do yourself in,” he said in a whisper. “Why don’t you just go up to the roof and jump from there.”

“I’m not trying to do myself in,” the man on the floor protested. “I just want to get out of here. It’s awful.”

The other man stood back up and looked down at the man on the floor. “You mean you just want to get out of here? Out of the building?”

The man on the floor propped himself up on his elbows. “I suppose that’s right. I hate it here. The job is awful. The people are awful. Everything is awful.”

“That’s why they call it work. It’s not meant to be pleasurable.”

“You seem happy enough.”

“I’m not, though. I’m just pretending like everyone else does. No one is happy in this glass cage doing the bidding of the gods that aren’t even gods. But we do it anyways. That’s just life, friend.”

“It’s not a life I want,” the man on the floor insisted. “I just ended up here… And I don’t even know how I let it happen.”

“That’s right. It’s designed to work this way,” the man in the suit said as if he knew everything about life and perhaps designed it all himself. “We’ve been conditioned to it for eons. There’s no escape. All you can do is just get through it.”

Then he reached out a clean and perfectly manicured hand toward the man on the floor and helped him to his feet. They looked at each other. “I have to get back to work,” the man in the suit quickly made clear, and he turned his head and looked at a large brown door. “In there. I hope you have a better day, friend.” He smiled and went through the large brown door. It closed with a heavy click. The hall was silent and lonely again.

The other man, the one who had tried to jump out the unbreakable window, slowly walked back to the far end of the hall where the elevators and the entrance to his office were. As he walked, he reflected on his entire existence. It went quickly. He was terribly bothered by that. He was bothered by the insignificance of it all.

When he got to the opposite end, he took a deep breath, turned, and ran down the hall toward the same window again. This time the glass shattered when he struck it, and he flew like a magical bird for just a few euphoric moments before hitting the sidewalk and breaking for good.

END


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