The voice recorder was a nifty little thing he got for himself from a dollar store. It was silver with a black behind where the batteries went in. There were only a few buttons and it was easy to use. Initially he bought it to record conversations with interview subjects, but after mastering the device he figured he’d use it in other aspects of his life. He began to record random conversations in cafes, lobbies, sporting events, etc. Then he began recording conversations that he initiated with strangers and later, conversations with his coworkers. He listened back to all he recorded and found it all very interesting. He kept the ones that were in some sense inspirational. Maybe he could use them for something. Then he found another use for the device, perhaps the most obvious use: to record his own thoughts. While driving to work, he had an ingenious thought and wanted to get it down before he forgot it, he perked up when he realized his recorder was close by. From that moment forward he used it exclusively for his thoughts and had deleted all the previous recordings (after transcribing them of course). This is where his fun began.
Why are we here? This is the dumbest thing we’ve ever done. This guy could be a complete fucking maniac. This is the shit that gets people killed in horror movies. I’m going to be murdered tonight and It’s all my fault. Why am I still here? I should just leave these fuckers. Always into someth—
“Yo, Osc, he got an aux!”
Good for you, you dumb shit.
“Put on the whispers first” Terry said.
“Nah, put on the music ones. I don’t usually like acoustic shit, but that actually sounded pretty good” Matthew said.
He’s gonna come in any minute and kill us all.
“Guys, let’s get the fuck up outta here”
“Oscar, shut the fuck up. Fuckin’ pussy,” Shawn said.
I hope he gets you first you fucking prick.
You ever thought about having a life of adventure? Many dream to have such a life, but very few get to live it. That’s because most adult people lack imagination. They’ve abandoned it long ago and forgot that life is what you make it. I’ve manufactured my life. It’s weird to think that one can manufacture their life, but it is indeed possible. I’ll give an example of how it’s totally within reach for any and everyone. That is, if one chooses to believe in the process and work hard for it.
Have you ever wanted to get to know that one guy or girl in your class? You’ve never talked to him or her. You’ve walked past him or her to bring some sort of attention to yourself, but it didn’t work. Perhaps you’ve chitchatted with him or her before or after class because he or she seemed friendly and always said interesting things during class discussions. However you soon found out that he or she was not what you’d hoped he or she would be. Boring. Maybe rude. You tell yourself leave it alone, but you come back to class the next time and still find yourself wanting to talk to him or her. Wanting to peel back those layers and know him or her. But you’ve got three months left. You’re a sophomore and this is a required course. He or she does not major in Journalism like you do. This will be your only opportunity to lock him or her in. After that you are a dissipated vapor unnoticed by their goggled eyes.
This is where listening comes in. Listen to everything. You never know how you’ll be entertained, or more importantly, what you’ll learn. You listen to him or her when he or she’s talking to the person sitting next to them. You find that he or she enjoys listening to punk rock. You listen to him or her talk to the professor. You find that his or her younger sister plays volleyball with the professor’s daughter. You listen to him or her rave about art films…
You live near the city, which is good because so does he or she. You do your research and find out about Spelunker’s. You don’t like punk rock at all but you keep going to Spelunker’s. Week after week. You don’t see him or her but you don’t abandon hope. You don’t stop going there, but you divide your time between Spelunker’s on the weekends and volleyball events at Wakefield (his or her sister’s high school). You missed the first game, which he or she was surely there for, but you’ve managed to go to every game since then. You still have no luck, but you don’t give up. Once the season is over you now divide your time between Spelunker’s and the draft house that shows the art films he or she loves so much. You remember—because you listened—that he or she wanted to see that new experimental film with Ryan Gosling. In keeping with your attentiveness, you notice the small, fluorescent colored ad in the newspaper you are reading: Ryan Gosling looking forlornly (in a vest-suit) at something off in the distance. Neon lights provide the glow that makes him stand out amongst the darkness. “Only God Forgives”. July 19th.
You have a week before it comes out. You decide to watch every artsy film Ryan Gosling has ever been in and every film the director, Nicholas Winding Refn has made. “Only God…” isn’t the only film they’ve done together. Their first film was “Drive”. You watch that one over and over, coming up with more analyses each and every time. You know this film in and out. You know he or she has seen it. You’re prepared.
You stand outside of the theater; you pretend to be on your phone. But you’re attentive and you wait. Patience is another thing that is required, you know. It’s better when you wait; delayed gratification, fruits of labor, the journey, all that jazz. And there he or she is. Its midnight and though you were tired, you immediately spring into action. It’s manufacturing time.
I don’t like this. I don’t like this. I shouldn’t have fucking smoked. Nice thinking, “Mellow yourself out, Oscar” Great, now im on the verge of a bad trip. Why is he opening that goddamn door?
“Don’t fucking open that!”
Too late, fucking asshole. I’m the biggest asshole here. I should just leave.
“Look at this shit,” Matthew said.
“What is it?” Shawn asked.
“Just come look at this shit, yo”
Aw fuck. What the fuck is in there? What the fuck. They’re really going in there. Fuck. I’m not staying out here alone. Fuck that, fuck that shit. I can just leave now. Yeah, I’ll just leave. No, no, no. Wait, he could be out there. We have to leave together. This isn’t Scooby-Doo. No splitting up…You’re right, this isn’t Scooby-Doo…what am I afraid for?
“Yo, Osc.” Terry called out.
“Coming. I’m coming.”
“The fuck? He just collects this shit? For what?”
“Fuck if I know, man. This one’s from two years ago—aw fuck! Silver fish.”
“You know what man?”
“He said something about journalism, didn’t he?”
“You right. Yo Osc, hook this up to the aux…I think it was one of the later ones,”
It was a new experience. I enjoyed it a lot. At first it was cold, of course, but after a while it began to feel warm. Like warm grapefruit. Even the smell it left behind was like fruit. Something like a mango gone rotten. The old tropes comparing fruit to the youthful vagina are quite clever. Yet, what about this? Has anything been said about the vagina in this state? If not, I suppose I could come up with something; there are, of course, some fruit that require preservatives.
“What a weird fuck this guy is,” Matthew said.
“He sounds like he’s been off his fuckin meds, that’s for sure”, Terry said.
“He must’ve wrote all of these,” Shawn said.
“True, why else would he keep them,” Matthew replied.
“It’s just weird though, you would think all this shit would be online. Why collect them?”
“Maybe he’s sentimental about it. Now can we get out of here?”
“We just got here, didn’t the last memo say make yourself at home?”
“Yeah, Osc, let’s just stay a little bit longer. There’s gotta be some reason he wanted someone to find this place.”
“He said his name was Danny right?”
“Yeah, it was Davey”
We are never leaving. I don’t care anymore. This is it. I don’t care if I have to leave by myself. Fuck them, they’ll find a way ba—
“What was that noise?”
“I don’t know. Lets go check the other room”
I’ve finally manufactured the life I wanted. Everything’s perfect. Now I can sit back and let my legacy manufacture itself. I will continue to shape the world around me and my ideas will live on. I genuinely feel for those who ask their kin to burn their journals and diaries. I feel worse for those who comply and destroy those irretrievable thoughts. We are all trees and our roots, though often hidden, can have unspeakable effects on the Earth in which they are embedded.
I only wish I could see the great things my roots will do. It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to take though. I won’t allow the distraction that is my life offset the results of my hard work. These are valuable lessons I contain. The fact that I was the vessel chosen for this information makes me the happiest person in the world.
The hallway leading to Davey’s bathroom had cardboard boxes filled with newspapers he had written in lined along the right side. The four young men in their baggy clothes shuffled through the narrow hallway as quiet as their crinkly jeans would allow. They first went into the bathroom, which was small, barren, and had an orange hue from the single light bulb that hung above a spot-covered medicine cabinet. One of the young men opened the cabinet and found a full tube of toothpaste, a fresh toothbrush, and two full pill-bottles. They passed the bottles around silently. The young man who was the most timid, recognized the pills: Divalprolex and Fluoxetine. He told the others that his cousin took this medication for manic-depression, though he was the one who actually took them. He advised the others that they should leave.
Coming back down the hall, the one in front stopped and held the others back. He held a fist to his mouth in shock. The others looked down where he had been focusing. The closet, on the opposite of the boxes, had something like molasses seeping from its crevice. It looked like prune juice, but it was blood that had been slightly congealed.
Upon opening the closet door one body, which belonged to Davey, slumped forward onto boots of the young man closest to the door. The young man jumped back causing the body to roll away from him, which in turn widened the door and made room for the second body—this of a woman—to fall out. A brown rat crawled out over her body. The young man who took the same medication found in the bathroom regurgitated a stream of yellow the same consistency as a banana smoothie. He immediately ran out, jumping over both corpses on his way.
The woman’s body was far more decayed than Davey’s. The group of young men deduced that she had been dead longer. They decided that he had killed her and they were right. Looking closer at her body, they realized that her entire stomach cavity had been removed. More brown rats fled.
The remaining three would eventually leave after calling the cops to whom they handed the voice recorder. All four would be questioned and then interviewed by the media. This would happen for several months. After several years they all but forgot about the strange ordeal and the rest of the country forgot on the whole. The young man who was also manic-depressive, however, never forgot to take his pills; the image of the full, orange pill-bottles burnt itself into his memory.