Unacknowledged and Ignored
As with every day he works, Owen is the last employee to leave the warehouse. At the hour approaches five, he meanders into the back to dust the dirty shelves and sweep the floors like a good little boy until the head compounder shuts off the radio and closes the overhead door, signaling his leave. A few minutes of clutching his sunken, empty stomach later, Owen hobbles up to the front and pokes his head into the office, wishing his manager a wordy good evening and blatantly ignoring the assistant manager’s presence. Then, he hops in his car and cruises home.
Owen parks in the mouth of his parents’ driveway and throws on the emergency break, blocking in everyone else’s cars until he decides to move out of their way. It’s not that anybody’s going anywhere, Owen just likes to wield this power, even if it’s only for a few moments. As he climbs out of his car, Owen catches his foot on the lip and falls down to the pavement, scraping his elbows upon landing. He then gets up too fast and not enough blood flows to his head, sending Owen spinning through heavy storm clouds of darkness and down to the pavement once more. When he comes to, he starts screaming expletives at the top of his lungs, rousing his father from the couch in the living room.
“Owen!” shouts Owen’s father with one foot planted on the front steps, his tired face expressing nothing but concern. “Are you okay, son? What happened?”
Grinding his teeth, Owen screams, “Shut up, father! My name is Owen Wolfgang and you will address me as such!”
“You don’t have a middle name, son, I’m not calling you that! Are you okay?”
“I’m fucking fine, father!” As Owen continues to scream, his voice rises in pitch and only gets more nasally. “Just go inside and watch your political news like the sheeple you are, you capitalist pig!”
Owen’s father exhales slowly through his nose as he shakes his head and closes the front door. He debates locking it, but that would just cause more trouble, so he simply returns to the couch and continues going through the tall stack of essays he has to have graded before next week rolls around.
When his circulatory system finally rebalances itself, Owen opens the mailbox. His eyes light up at the sight of the package. It came, it finally came, the Unacknowledged DVD and companion hardcover book bundle, the ultimate exposé on the extraterrestrial presence on Earth and how the terrible, tyrannical United States government has covered it up for the past seven decades. Owen’s already seen the film – when he saw the shipping process would take a whole three days, he promptly purchased a digital copy on the internet so he wouldn’t have to wait to see it – but he paid a whole paycheck’s worth of money for the DVD/book bundle and the obligatory expedited shipping. He’ll be damned if he doesn’t watch it again. Maybe he’ll even read the book as he watches the film and get twice the immersion. Yes, that sounds very good… but Owen can’t watch it yet. He’s just too angry, his father has enraged him past the point of being able to focus, he can’t possibly be expected to concentrate on the truth of the Universe now.
After closing the mailbox with the rest of his family’s mail left inside, Owen gets back in his car and rips open his package. He gives the hardcover book a lick hello and places it, along with the unopened DVD, into the glovebox, which he then locks up so nobody can steal his valuable treasures while he’s not home. After parking his car in his designated spot in the driveway, Owen gets out and sprints as hard as he can into his backyard.
Behind the Johnson household, like all the houses on Fricker Drive, is an expansive forest through which Owen has carved an impressive system of trails. There are two entrances to this trail system, one by the pond up at the end of the road and one behind Owen’s house, because if anybody deserves immediate access to the one piece of work Owen Johnson has done in his life that can actually be considered genius, it’s The Genius Himself. From the couch, Owen’s dad watches Owen dash through the mouth of the trail system and disappear into the forest, shaking his head all the while. This isn’t the first time Owen’s ran off, and it surely won’t be the last. At least he comes back every time, right?
Indubitably so; as far as Owen sees it, he’s the only reason his family exists. Were he to vanish in these woods, their lives would effectively be over – they’re basically meaningless as it is. While disappearing would be the best-case scenario for Owen, he knows it would ruin the lives of his parents and brother, so he does plan on coming back to them, just not right away. On days like today when everyone else in the world is a total asshole to Owen for no reason other than the fact that he is existentially better than all of them, our genius likes to venture into the woods and smash dead branches against trees while screaming expletives at the top of his lungs for his whole neighborhood to hear until his hands are numb and oozing blood from the splinters. Owen travels deeper into the forest than he normally does today, he even leaves the confines of his trailway, and he doesn’t stop running until his vision cuts out completely from the exertion, leading him to run face-first into a tree. Owen falls to the leafy ground, knocked out cold.
The two beings watching all this from the cloaked spacecraft which happens to be hovering over the canopy of the forest around Fricker Drive today share a thankful look. Then, they activate the tractor beam and lift the unconscious Owen into their spaceship.
Hello Commons, this has been the third subchapter of the first story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.
Convenient Incidents is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Convenient Incidents is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Convenient Incidents and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here.
Be well Commons~