The Bliss Of Tragedy

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There she was, sitting on the ground in a phone booth, crying her eyes out. Mascara running down her face, her hair in ruin. At that moment, she was the definition of beautiful.

It’s probably terrible writing etiquette to start a story at the ending. But then again, I’m not much of a writer. In fact, this isn’t even going to end up being a very well written story at all. It has no protagonist or antagonist, no conflict. Hell, it doesn’t even have much of a plot. I guess it’s not really even a story at all. Just ramblings from a lonely nobody.

Let me rewind this, back to a beginning we haven’t even been to yet. Let’s start at the start, which makes much more sense. It’s not as stinging, but it does make more sense.

Actually, let’s back it up even further. Before the beginning. A preface to a story that isn’t a story. The beginning before the beginning of nothing at all.

I was on the bus.

This is probably terrible writing etiquette, but let me interrupt right here and say one quick thing. You’re going to learn very fast that I’m not a great narrator to my own life. Perhaps that’s why this isn’t even a story? It could be a story, if I knew even one fucking thing about telling stories. But alas, I’m not a writer. Just a nobody telling a nothing. Enjoy.

Anyway, yes, the bus. For some reason, the fates always place a screaming child on my bus. Today, I’m even blessed with two. And I guess, in some weird baby language, one of the children told the other “Hey, kid, you, me, screamin’ contest!” to which the other baby must have responded “let’s throw down, fucker!”. I assume this happened, because for the next thirteen minutes, they played a game of “out scream the other bastard child”. One would resonate with a loud, echoing boo-hoo of sorts, and the other would return to sender, with a little higher pitch. I have no idea what was at stake, be it pride or maybe just bragging rights, but these children were relentless.

I wasn’t even heading anywhere in particular. Just riding the bus. Took a different line today, just to see where it’d take me. The 25 is a rather lengthy ride, stretches from one side of town all the way to the other, and into the suburbs. I had the whole day to waste, and nothing to do. I got off at some random stop just outside of town, when a tiny roadside diner caught my attention.

“Misty’s Home Style Chow”

Yeah, home style. Nothing says “Home Sweet Home” like a tiny concrete building pressed between an Asian Nail Salon and the lair of one Rick Tripton, Bail Bondsman. The whole sight was gag worthy, yet I wanted to see what the place was like. Somehow, it’s always the little hole-in-the-wall joints that have the best coffee.

Considering I hadn’t slept in over four days, I could use a cup of kidney-punch force coffee.

The door had more resistance than it should have, as I shoved my way in. The immediate smack in the face came from an aromatic mix of burnt coffee, over-cooked hamburger, and body odor. It smelled, and felt for that matter, like this little diner was actually sweating.

And then, there she was.

It’s hard to describe the feeling of seeing her for the first time. I can only do it in a metaphor. Imagine driving in a massive rainstorm, the sound of water on glass pelting your ears from every side, and then you drive under the overpass. A blink of the eye tranquil moment. Just a split second of complete silence in contrast to the utter chaos. The peace amongst madness. That is what seeing her for the first time is like.

The word “hipster” comes to mind, but somehow seems too ordinary. Even the counter-culture was too cliché for her. She was an outsider to outsiders. An exile from the in crowd, then an exile from the exiled. She was a stand-alone prophet for all things outcast.

Lucky for me, there was a spot open next to her at the diner.

It’s probably terrible writing etiquette, but I’m not even going to bother going into detail about the diner. Sure, some writers are going to provide you with a page and a half of vivid imagery. This is what the sign looked like. This is what the patrons looked like. The guy flipping hamburgers, he had this color hair. The cars parked outside, they were this model. The guy next to me had this many nose hairs. That always seemed excessive to me. Just get to the point, asshole. And that’s just what I’m going to do. Get right to the damn point. Excluding this paragraph, of course.

“This place is total trash…”

Because of the fact I’m an intellectual, I know a thing or two about opening lines. And I knew from the moment the words parted ways with my cracked lips, that this… this was a fucking awful opening line.

“I don’t know, I rather like it.”

Without missing a beat, the response came with a confidence that made you think she’d scripted this whole conversation out in her head hours prior to me even stepping foot in that place. And it wasn’t that asshole quick wit confidence either, it was more or less a “fuck if I care” kind of attitude.

I know it’s probably terrible writing etiquette, but I swear. A lot. You’ve already noticed, and if it bothers you – Why the fuck are you still reading?

There is a part to all of this where I get my coffee. And yes, it was pretty damn strong. In fact, it may have even been too strong, because my stomach was swirling around like shit in an Australian toilet about five minutes after gulping the last, cold splash from the bottom of the cup. I’d discuss the coffee more, but what do you care if it was good or not. You’re never going to visit Misty’s.

I hate to keep repeating myself, but this is probably terrible writing etiquette. To completely cut out the dialogue that followed. I never understood formatting and grammar. I was never good at punctuation. I was barely capable of typing at all. So the whole thought of “does the comma go outside the quotations?” and “what do I capitalize and what don’t I capitalize” just seems totally nauseating to me. So, instead of a manuscript of the interesting twenty minutes of conversation that followed, I’m going to give you a terrible summary paragraph. Enjoy.

Her name was Tragedy. Oh, by no means was this her birth name, but it’s what people called her. Tragedy was too cool for school, as the old shit saying goes. Her parents thought she was insane, her teachers thought she was a fuck up, and her peers thought she was a rebel. Tragedy didn’t think any of this. Tragedy said she was the only person on the planet who was plain.

Tragedy jumped off a low bridge onto the highway median and broke her leg when she was 13. Why? Because she fucking felt like it, that’s why.

Tragedy once decided she wanted to go in and get her uvula pierced. Why? Because why the fuck not?

Tragedy got herself pregnant just to have an abortion. Why? Because she wanted to know what it felt like to kill a baby.

Tragedy was a disaster waiting to happen. And I knew this the moment I saw her. But you know what? Who gives a shit, really. This would all be worth it someday. Maybe someday I could attend some seminar to learn to tell a story worth a fuck, and then I could tell me kids all about Tragedy, and how she helped me realize what life actually is.
But until then, you’re stuck with this piece of shit.

Tragedy got up and left, without saying a word. We were in the middle of discussing what it’d feel like to eat glass (Yeah, fucked up, I know) and suddenly, in mid sentence, as if some invisible force was tugging at her shirt sleeve, she just up and damn well left.

I didn’t bother to stop her, or even say anything. Just watched as she shuffle stepped out the heavy door and back into the sun-coated real world. The real world she wasn’t a part of, except that she was.

This is probably terrible writing etiquette, but let me go back and cover something I forgot to tell you earlier. I’m a scatterbrain sometimes, I swear. I’d lose my own testicles if they weren’t stuck to my leg.

What does Tragedy look like? A poetic question, if you ask me. But one I shall answer now. Tragedy looked like any ordinary hip girl her age. Short black hair, with purple streaks in it. Thick-rimmed Buddy Holly glasses, those ones that don’t look good on anyone but Buddy fuckin’ Holly. A Ramones t-shirt, actually THE Ramones t-shirt, you know the one. And tight denim jeans with holes in them. And not that stupid trendy pre-torn shit either. These jeans were torn by adventures and various levels of mischief making. These jeans had some damn character. And I didn’t look down, but I’d be willing to bet a pair of Converse shoes were keeping her feet in check.

Anyway, where was I? Shit I suck at this. Oh right, she just left.

Do you go after someone like that? Someone that captivates you from the very second you start talking? You do? I guess I’m no good at this whole “human interaction” thing. ‘Cause I stayed and got another cup of coffee. And an omelet. It had ham in it, I think. But what do you care, you’re never going to go to Misty’s.

Thirty minutes had passed, and I couldn’t shake Tragedy from the back of my tired mind. I pushed myself through the door, and dragged my sorry ass back into the paved-over world of the walking dead. And guess who I saw.

Fucking Tragedy.

Right there, in the phone booth on the corner. On the phone. Because that’s what people do in a phone booth. Probably why they CALL it a phone booth. Wow, that was a pointless sentence, I apologize.

Shit, I forgot something else. I know, I know, let me go back again. To the bus. Yeah, yeah, get off my back already, I know that was a long ass time ago, but this is important.

There was some dude on the bus. Yeah, just “Some Dude”. In fact, that’s what I’ll call him for the remainder of this story that isn’t a story. Alright, so Some Dude was sitting next to me, and we were going on and on about the Dueling Screamers in the back. I was quickly realizing that Some Dude is what most of you would call a “douche bag”. You know the guy. When you say “douche bag” the same guy always comes to mind. It’s as if when they actually made real physical douche bags, they knew that someday the word would be used to describe a particular type of person.

Anyway, Some Dude was telling me about this “crazy bitch” he was fucking (see, told you he was a total douche bag) and how she was threatening to blow her brains out right in front of his house. Some kind of “Go Fuck Yourself” statement or something. To be honest, I’d rather key the shit out of his car than kill myself, but hey, that’s just me. I knew the keying would work wonders too, because just like most douche bags, this guy seemed to work his precious car into every sentence in some way or another. You know how some religious people work Jesus into everything? He did that with his Firebird. Or Corvette. Or maybe Mustang? What the fuck’s it matter anyway, the guy is a douche bag.

Shit, I got lost again, where was I… right, so Some Dude was telling me this girl was, (and these are his words not my own)“hot as fuck, but more annoying than any other bitch could ever be”. See, again, he’s a total douche bag. I hope his Mustang, or Corvette, or whatever the fuck, gets crushed by falling space debris. On and on he went about this girl and her apparent short comings.

Luckily, I got the fuck out of there. And now I’m here. Standing in front of some craptastic little hole in the wall, sweat smelling, too-strong coffee serving shit hole of a Home Style Diner, staring at Tragedy talking on a phone.

I told you the story of Some Dude, Certified D.B., because it turns out, his “crazy bitch” was, you guessed it, my very own personal Tragedy.

And guess who was on the other end of that phone call?

How did I know? Because the only sounds that came from the phone booth were “Fuck you, Carson!” and various statements about how he loved his “car” more than her. How did I know Some Dude’s name? It was printed on his leather jacket. Yeah, he is THAT big of a douche bag. I told you.

Tragedy slammed the phone down on the receiver pretty suddenly, almost as sudden as how she walked out of the diner. But with a shitload more force and anger. This wasn’t just hanging up a phone, this was hanging up a phone with some fuckin’ gusto.

And then we go to where we started. The end. Tragedy curled up on the ground in the phone booth crying. The mascara. The hair. All the way it was when I first starting yapping. What did I do? What any human does when they see another person in distress. I left.

I’ll never know what happened to Tragedy and Some Dude. I’d hope for Tragedy’s sake she left the stupid fuck. I wish I would have gone over and…

…Wait, I know this is probably terrible writing etiquette, but why am I even still telling this story that isn’t a story? Does it even have a purpose. When I started, I figured it did, but now, I just don’t know. Maybe there is something to be taken away from all of this? Some moral or hidden lesson or philosophical musing or something with some damn substance.

I bet I could find one, I am, after all, an intellectual.

Here we go, how about this: Tragedy is only tragic if you let it be. Life is a series of fuck ups, missteps, and general disarray. But you know something, it’s damn beautiful. Tragedy did that for me. Showed me that everything’s horrible, and beautiful, and scary, and peaceful, and utter garbage, and perfect. Life is a black hole swallowing all our souls, and puking us right the fuck back out on the other side. Torn apart, cut up, beaten down, and spit at. We’re just a bunch of mindless Tragedy’s walking around. But you know something? It makes the good shit more meaningful.

My life is a wreck. The minutes spent with Tragedy were great. Tragedy brought a little bit of decent into an otherwise totally useless existence.

I know it’s terrible writing etiquette but let me sum it up in one more sentence: without bad, there can be no good.

I know it’s terrible writing etiquette, but I have an after word too. Something I learned after the story that wasn’t a story was finished. If something that is nothing can even end, that is. I don’t know how to say it better, so I’ll just be blunt. Tragedy killed herself. Right in front of Some Dude’s house. Splattering that injured mind of hers all over his douche bag car. She went through with her threat. And she really stuck it to that piece of shit. Somehow, her death made me smile. It’s sick, but it’s true.

Anyway, I guess I have to go. Sorry that you had to read this, but I hope the reason it was written made a little sense. Hopefully. I doubt it, but hopefully.

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