My own challenge, part one.

I’ve decided to challenge myself to write a short story, over the course of a few days, to see how well I can wrap it up. Figured it wouldn’t hurt to toss it on here, for the hell of it. Hope it doesn’t suck.

Many years back, when I was a bit younger, I found myself in a strange position. I could go on as usual men did at the time– find a decent job, a more decent wife, and live in the American dream.  Or I could do what I had always wanted… what that was, I hadn’t quite figured out yet. That never mattered to me, though. I just knew my ideas were not that of my fellow man. So while most guys were busy in their early years chasing tail and hunting for the good old dollar, but I spent mine dreaming. I dreamed of a life that I couldn’t even fully imagine, one where I was king of my own destiny. This is how it began and ended, and why I think you need to know.I supposed that now is a good time to note that I not only found this strange life, but is well beyond anything anyone could have expected at all.
There was no great hurrah surrounding it all. I just woke up one day and decided, oh, this is the idea… I get it now. So I left the girl I had promised to marry one day, (she ought to have known better, to be honest) ditched the petty job and shitty apartment. I took off down the road with little more than a pack of smokes and some cash I had saved by not bothering with the expenses most guys craved– loose girls, heavy drugs and expensive liquor. There was plenty of time for that sort of thing later on, I figured, well after I had the rest all sorted out. I never really did get it sorted out, but who cares.

It’s not romantic to wander off as a vagabond, despite what the books tell you. It’s dirty and cruel, rendering you no more than a hobo with a selfish cause. People will look further down on you than you ever thought possible, I found. You’re below most street urchins– at least they got there by some sad circumstance. Tell a guy you need a buck because you’re on a journey and well… doesn’t go over quite as smoothly. They whisper that you’re a nutbag, and possibly rightfully so.

I hadn’t been out tripping balls on the high of escapism for long when I met Paul, this fucked up kid that was wandering the country for kicks too. He had other plans, though, big ones that would never work out. Paul said he was out to screw the government, trying to put it back in the hands of the people. “I’m out to save the world from themselves,” he’d scream. “The American people don’t have a clue what’s going on around them, and I wanna change that.” When he offered to travel with me, I declined. I didn’t need that kind of rhetoric blinding my own tasks ahead of me. Last I saw of him he had donned a ski mask and was probably about to get shot. Kids and Utopian dreams are a ruinous mix.

I had passed over the state line when I got my first whiff of law enforcement. Some fat cop with a grudge decided I would be a good choice for his ego to smack around, so right into a cell I went for loitering. The pigs took my smokes and what little cash I had left, leaving me unable to make so much as a phone call. I didn’t expect much from these guys, so I shut my mouth and waited a couple of days until they gave up and let me go. I had to hitch a ride to a bigger town to find some side work, since they had basically robbed me blind. Can’t win against the cops, though. At least they didn’t beat me senseless. That came much later, and it wasn’t the law doing the roughing.

So here I was, shoveling shit for some pocket change. Nothing special, just cleaning up around a restaurant for some old weirdo with a strange, almost sentient hairpiece. I swear that thing spoke to me, asking for freedom to join his squirrel brothers again. It was an odd week, but I managed to get through it. I took off once I had enough money to float me through a few more cities. Still that voice in my head raged on, “Go get it.” I still had no idea what I was chasing, but it was leaving me exhausted and broken. Homeless folks tried to rob me, the regular sheep tried to pretend I didn’t exist. My shoes had worn through and my clothes looked like shit. I was nearing hopelessness when things got a million times worse.