Short Stories

Nightmare of a Softboy Chapter 2

Nightmare of the Softboy Chapter 2

I’m uncomfortable marking my infidelity as an aberration of bad choice.  Maybe I would have before the accident, before I became who I am today or, I should say, realized a piece of my own figure which was given inadequate attention.  It seems, one could posit, that this lack of attention is what subsequently led to a frustrated transgression, a rebellion which gives too much agency to its master when considered as a lapse in judgement.  I cannot claim my body; my body claims me. As such, moving against the grain in a refusal to acknowledge an inalienable part of my being was destined to end in supposed catastrophe. 

Just as I would start any day, the morning in question began at 1:00 PM.  I must admit that my personal life had deteriorated severely in the preceding several months, and I must admit that I do not have a job.  My days are, or were, understandably free. There is no use in explaining whatever semblance of a routine I had here in this narrative. It would be useless.  It would be infinitely difficult because my days were spent inwardly, exploring tangential realities that the mind is left free to explore when material is lost with social interaction. This is why WKNC was so important to me, to us, to an entire world that has essentially disintegrated into will.  Whenever the opportunity presented itself, or whenever I could be bothered (these two are operationally the same), I would switch on my house radio, which was always set to 88.1 It wasn’t me who switched it to my trusty station originally, or if it was I couldn’t remember. What was important is that I became a subject beneath it. 

Such subjectivity breeds alienation, anger, hopelessness.  The apparent viceroy of unbias would here point to me, or what was me, or what has always been me but historically more so, and screech with an obtuse digit that “it is your own doing, you cretin! It is (or was) you who switched to WKNC! If not, then it was still you who remained under it! Whose life was built around it!” after  which I would retort, “Yes! Yes! Exactly that! I am only it and so I cannot without!”.

But, of course, rebellion creeps slowly.  And I had nothing but time. It doesn’t matter how long before that morning I was listening to WKNC, the reader just has to trust that it was long enough to question my own vacuous existence.  And so, in an action which was no more prophetic than it was a mistake, I tuned my dial to 102.9.

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