All or Nothing
We are so bored with our lives. We have it all: money before hitting our forties, professional accomplishments, and what everyone it seems strives for—leisure time. Yet here we are sitting across from one another, our coffee table book, Post-Modern Nihilistic Endeavors of Subaltern Anti-Imperialist Post-Colonial Literary Theorists: A Case Study into Lacanian Freudian-Adjacent Paradigms in Subdialetic Post-Marxian Focaultian Pre-Baudrillard Post-Irigaray Justice Narratives: A Case Study in Social Constructivism Outside White Heteronormative Linguistic Post-Coital Machinations: A Case Study in—Are You Still Reading This Title?, placed right on the table, staring at our screens.
“What are you doing?” I ask my wife as I type a message to—I already forgot.
“Yeah” she replies as she stares at her screen.
It wasn’t always like this. We once had a fire, as individuals and as a couple.
“I’m so fucking bored!” I yell so loudly all her hair falls out. I stare at my wife, now bald and eyebrowless. She finally puts her phone down and produces a samurai sword. I get up and summon two little daggers.
“I hate you because I hate my life!” she yells, and in one motion she chops off my head. It grows back. So does her hair. There is just no conflict. Life is so arduously monotonous and boring. So we make an unspoken plan, to have fun again by hurting each other.
I jump into the air and backflip onto my chair. My wife pulls out an AK-47 out of her ass and begins to shoot me. I fall back; blood splatters everywhere. I front flip forward and land on both feet while simultaneously hurling both daggers that pierce through her skull.
“I blame you for making me bored and unhappy!” I scream as I watch blood trickle down her face. We both fly into the sky blowing a hole through our mansion’s roof, Spanish terracotta tiles suspended in the air before crashing down onto the ground.
She shoves a nuclear bomb warhead down my esophagus. I fart out the explosion killing most of our neighbors. We look down and realize that maybe we could have fun by hurting others instead of each other. Maybe then we can feel whole again.
We deliver death to all our surviving neighbors: Susie Thompson walking her baby (both speared), Gavin McGines cheating on his wife with a male hooker (wife’s already dead, for Gavin we summon a demon to behead him, hooker we let go and tip him like proper liberals but then he dies from the radiation. Watching his skin bubble and head burst and then bones transmute to chalk almost made my wife and I want each other again sexually), and our ethnically ambiguous banker neighbor Donde Esta-La-Substancia (we just bludgeon them [their gender is also ambiguous] to death with the smooth rocks we collected on a riverbed on our trip to the Hindu Kush back when we loved one another) who is tending to their rock garden unaware of all the death around them because they are wearing AirPod headphones.
Killing rich people, we realize, isn’t that fun. So we make an unspoken agreement: to kill the poor, the brown, the already suffering. Surely we will find meaning in that.
We fly to the Bronx and bomb entire housing projects watching the people flee their huge urine-drenched-at-the-base buildings only for us to launch lighting bolts, zapping them, watching them from the sky, their bodies curling up like dried, crispy ethnic ants under a sun powered magnifying glass.
We realize that killing American poors just isn’t as fun as real poors. We want to see bloated brown bellies, and flies and vultures waiting for a child to die of starvation, and mud huts and mud roads and frowns on muddy faces hiding under regal palm trees, to be enriched by the cultural experience like the sophisticated cosmopolitans that we are.
So we go to the third world and peel the skin off the bodies of crying babies, transform into the very nightmarish folkloric monsters that these people fear; we reign terror on little villages nestled inside jungles, deserts, canyons, grasslands, but my dick still doesn’t get hard; my wife still doesn’t’ laugh, and we still don’t experience the euphoria of what it means to truly be alive.
Back home, sweating from a day of hard, fruitless labor, we look into each other’s eyes for what seems like the first time, and a tsunami of realization washes over us: we each need to hurt ourselves in order to feel whole again.
So I stab my face for half an hour. My wife bathes in hydrochloric acid while drinking and inhaling hydrofluoric acid. I slit my throat. She gives herself a mastectomy.
“I hate myself!”
“I hate myself more!”
I chop off my penis with a scimitar. She hangs herself with sustainable and fair-trade hemp rope. I bolt nails into my shins, thighs, and thoracic cavity. She self-immolates sitting in lotus position (an artistic homage to her favorite iconic picture: Vietnamese monk Thích Quảng Đức protesting by setting himself on fire while meditating).
But we just don’t die. We are condemned to live. We all are.
Finally we give up.
“Want to watch Netflix while staring at our phones and ignoring each others presence and needs and feelings and company?” I ask my wife, taking a selfie.
“Yeah, cool,” she says already reading an email and then sending a text.