I went to school with a guy called Peter Parker, I shit you not, and another poor unfortunate named James James. You don’t need to be Stephen King to dream up the hellish playground experiences those short straw bastards endured. There was some kid grew up around the corner from me with Nigerian parents. They called her Comfort. Her sister, her name was Princess. Christ on a bike. Did these people not think, anticipate even for a second the road ahead for their offspring and the ticking time bomb monikers they were saddling them with?
Mothers only want the best. But you really have to wonder sometimes, who for. My mom must have took one look at me when I popped out, face engraved with a look that said put me back in, and concluded my best chance at making friends would be to christen me with a name that would make people feel good.
So, she called me Friday.
Sometimes I wish my dad had been still around to talk some common sense into her, and, I don’t know, call me Sue, how do you do. Anything but fucking Friday. That name has been like a noose made of barbed wire dipped in dog shit around my neck all my life.
The rationale behind it kind of made sense.
Everyone loves Friday.
No one can wait for Friday to come around.
She may as well as have called me Leprosy, what with the wide berth everyone gives me. Let’s just say my name and my face are not compatible. Now I’m not ugly. I think. At least no one has ever called me ugly. But then for that to happen, someone would have to be talking to me. And that’s the problem. I’ve never been what you would call approachable. Conversation does not come easy to me, sometimes not at all. And if I’m honest, I’m not interested in talking. At all. To anyone.
Some people hate the prospect of going into a clothes, electronics or furniture store to have a chilled out browse, only to be ambushed in nanoseconds by a sales assistant wanting to know if they need any help. I do not have that problem. Quite the opposite. In the rare event that I wish to purchase something, I’d need to file a missing persons report for the sales assistant I spotted on the way in to come help me. If I were that way inclined, shoplifting would be a doddle.
I’ve learned to see the funny side in post office counters closing when I approach, bank tellers going on lunch when I am next in line. It would be enough to give a guy a complex. But it’s the only thing in the world that makes me smile.
Seeing people disappear, that is.
Yeah. It will probably come as no surprise.
I am not a people person.
Others dream of meeting the right person, settling down, having kids, grandkids, sowing their seeds and immortalizing their bloodline.
Others’ idea of a nightmare is living out their days on their own, alone and friendless, no one to share their lives with.
That. That is my fucking dream.
A plague that wipes out everyone on the face of the planet except me? The “I Am Legend” model? Me all alone in a world with no people. Dystopian? More like Utopian.
I am now five minutes from realizing my paradise.
My disposition shaped the social half of the ideal, of keeping distance between myself and everyone else. Nobody ever wants to talk to me for long, and I don’t want to be talking to them at all. My mother’s passing – and no, I didn’t go to the funeral, obviously, duh – provided me with the means to bring the other half into being, of physically putting distance between me and humans.
A poorly thought out Christian name isn’t all my mother left me with. Turns out my father had some money, some hell of a lot of money, that she kept squirreled away. Her last will and testimony, when I glanced at it, said something about not wanting to spoil me while she was alive, about her desire to have me growing up understanding the real value of things, about what really mattered in life. On some level, she achieved that objective. Turns out what matters to me, what’s most valuable in my life is my space and my solitude. And the stacks of cash dear old mom stashed down the back of the proverbial couch have enabled me to live off the grid miles, hundreds of miles, away from anyone.
It doesn’t matter how far you travel, over what kind of terrain, to get away from people, even when it’s a thousand acres of arid desert or evergreen forest, somehow they still seem to find you.
Oh sorry, we’re lost.
No, we didn’t see the signs.
Really? We didn’t know this was private property.
Do you not get lonely living out here all on your own?
There’s no need to- oh no please, put the gun down.
You get the picture. It’s them or me. Even if I blew every last cent I had and bought an island in the middle of nowhere, some hapless group of douchebags would be sure to drift up on shore in a lifeboat sooner or later.
We’re saved! Think again, dickheads.
No, one of us, and by us I mean either me or the other three hundred and thirty million people of our great nation, has to go.
Which is what, after many months on the dark web, and the past dark few weeks in dark corners of dark bars in dark parts of Eastern Europe has brought me to Ukraine. Where it seems you can buy anything if you have enough of them dollar dollar bills y’all. Which I do, the anything in question being twenty-four warheads left over from the old USSR, which have been left neglected in the corner of some warehouse, which I now own, and after much pressing of the right flesh and the liberal greasing of too-greedy-to-give-a-fuck palms, I have the means to use.
It is four minutes to midnight, Eastern Time, on the fourth Thursday in November. In just under two hundred and forty seconds, thousands of idiots chasing cut-price flatscreen TVs will burst through the opening doors of malls and stores all across the States, right as a dozen of my secondhand ICBMs burst through the cloud cover overhead.
I’m using a dozen, not just because I want to etch my name indelibly into the psyche of everyone and redefine what the day after Thanksgiving will be remembered for, but because like cheap fireworks bought out of the trunk of a car, I’m expecting there to be a couple of duds in the batch. But not to worry, I have a dozen more put by to use next year, should not everyone get the message.
And the message is simple.
Leave me the fuck alone.
Photo by Katleen Vanacker on Unsplash