The recruit sat in the comfortable plush leather chair.
He was enveloped by the dim tranquility of the psychologist's office; bathed in soft blue light from a high resolution waterfall landscape mounted on the wall.
He watched the doctor sitting at his desk, calmly reviewing the test results. The room was impossibly serene. It was like a cocoon nestled in the heart of the bustling building, carefully designed to put you at ease. But just beyond the shadowed door he could hear the muffled sounds of reality. Only a few short strides from the comfortable leather chair was a gateway beyond the blue silence, a portal to the glaring white neon cacophony of the main office that he knew was waiting for him to return.
The psychologist looked up from the file and smiled. He spoke in a soothing languid tone.
"So, first of all I want you to know that you're not in any kind of trouble."
He smiled again. Genuine warmth.
"I asked you in here because I had a question about one of the answers you gave on the psych eval."
The recruit cocked his head to one side and adopted an appropriately quizzical expression.
The doctor continued. "In response to question 137 which states, 'True or False: I sometimes fantasize about hurting people who have wronged me.' you replied, 'True'." He smirked good-naturedly. "Is that correct, or did you just accidentally fill in the wrong bubble?"
The recruit looked at the doctor and then at the old fashioned clock on the desk.
11:07 and 46 seconds.
"Well...honestly...I guess the source of my rage is that ultimately I feel like my entire life can be summed up in two statements; unfulfilled potential, and missed opportunities. It makes sense. We live in a society that promises the entire population that they will all grow up to be in the top five percent in terms of wealth, power, and prestige. Society never extols the virtue of being a plumber or a garbage collector. No, it promises 100% of the people that they will all be in the 5% elite. That means ninety five percent of us are doomed to be pretty fucking disappointed. And the closer we came to greatness, whether in love or career, the more disillusioned we end up. It's a bitter pill to swallow, facing the realization that no matter what you do from here on out, it won't change the fact that your youth was a wasteland of failure, regret, and unfulfilled dreams. What begins as an endless horizon of possibilities, slowly narrows to desperation, middle age, decay, and death. Only the truly heroic narcissist among us can stave off the demons by assuring himself that he still has a "destiny", that he is meant to be elevated above the common man, the drudgery of existence; spared the vampiric touch of mediocrity. I try to live in the now. I try to project myself into a positive vision of the future. I try to believe the encouraging words of my family that I’m “special”. But sometimes I feel like I'm just a shadow of a life that never was; that my soul is frozen somewhere in the past, trapped in a paroxysm of terror, helplessness, and rage. Sometimes I feel like this life isn't real; merely the hallucination of a fading possibility. When I'm alone in the dark, this truth calls to me gently, like a haunting melody drawing near. I feel currents of darkness swirl around me, and everything I am, everything solid, seems ethereal and distant, like a dream; reminding me that I am not bound to this world; that my pain is the caldera of a sacred will; and that my unmoored soul is capable of anything. The real hero doesn't meet death sitting in a wheelchair with a wrinkled face, a full diaper, and a thirty years of service gold watch wrapped around his spotted, paper skin wrist; No, he meets it with destructive berserker fury, a gleam in his eye, hatred in his heart; overturning the tables of the money changers, butchering the peddlers of potential, smashing the icons of a rigged and deceitful lottery, and bathing in the blood of all the priests and idolaters who ever convinced him that there was hope..."
11:07 and 46 seconds.
"Well of all the bubbles to fill in incorrectly!" The recruit laughed, but not too hard. He shook his head and sighed, "I guess you got me."
The doctor laughed too. "That's what I thought. But hey I gotta ask." He made a notation in the file and without looking up gestured absentmindedly to the recruit.
"Ok great. Hey do me a favor and send in the next guy will you. Oh and welcome aboard."
The recruit reached the door in three strides and smiled back at him.
"Will do Doc. And thanks."
He opened the portal and walked through it, into the glaring white neon cacophony of reality. He headed for his desk amidst the shattered silence, as the blue tranquility of the cocoon rapidly faded to a distant memory.
Copyright © 2017 Short Stories by Christopher Daniel Barnes - All Rights Reserved.