Short Stories

Nightmare of a Softboy Chapter 1

Nightmare of the Softboy: Chapter 1


I don’t know how to fully separate what happened before and after the event. Of course, we as people are accustomed to think of ourselves linearly, as arrow whose points end on our present and whose entire lives are essentially just training for whatever moment we might be living in.  But this is misleading. I can’t say that I haven’t always been like this, as I write this. Weeks ago, before it happened, of course I would have sneered at even mentioning that my body could be stricken with such maladies as I am today, but I was no different then. Maybe less aware. My life has undoubtedly changed in that I have actualized something which has probably always been there, now. But I have no right to call my metamorphosis an offense. 


It would be best, for the sake of this narrative, to start before my change.  Again, the reader must keep in mind that however strangely I may have acted compared to myself now, it is still me and each of these versions have always existed within each other.  But I digress.  


There was, or is, a certain pleasure I took in alternativism.  Prior to the accident, I found protection from the banal in layers of scratchy sweaters, ironically dirty socks, malnutrition, lazy summers, terrible interior decoration, underwatered plants, plastic glasses, four dollar green teas, occasional pink eye, etc.  And even if I initially revelled in it, its boundaries undeniably remained within consumption. It was my main hobby, consumption, that is, and my lifestyle could not be uncoupled from simple variations in my consumption patterns. This included crack injected coffee, ridiculously inflated footwear, prank jeans, research chemicals, and, most importantly, my favorite radio station: 88.1 WKNC.  Nowhere was my self-inflicted solitude more quickly recognized here; and through my status as a faithful listener of North Carolina’s most alternative epicenter, I retched at the idea of having my ears soiled by any other radio station. That is, until the accident.

 – Cliff Jenkins