The Law of Attraction – Convenient Incidents (52/84)

The Incense Salesman
The Keeper’s Finds (Part 2)

The Law of Attraction

[You have disconnected.]

Stranger: [F19, not a bot] Kik: V^ikta00 (Remove the ^ symbol.)

[You have disconnected.]

Stranger: M 69 horny gay and ready to play

[You have disconnected.]

[You have disconnected.]

[You have disconnected.]

Stranger: [F19, not a bot] Kik: Vik^ta00 (Remove the ^ symbol.)

“Well that settles it. You’re definitely a bot.”

[You have disconnected.]

It has been a long, long day at The Keeper’s Finds, Treeburg’s premier (and only) secondhand shop and auction hall. Located in the Monksville Plaza alongside County Road 511, the awareness of Keeper’s presence is injected into the sleepy consciousness of more than twenty thousand potential shoppers (on average) over the course of the day as they rip on down County Road 511 going fifty miles per hour on their way from absolutely nowhere special to somewhere equally as mediocre. Cyrus, the keeper of the shop’s brilliant title, cannot for the life of him figure out why nobody will give him a chance and stop off for a peek at his finds. For the first half of this dead day he just sat around listening to the same classic rock songs he listens to every day until he finally had enough and went to get himself a bite to eat. Of course, the phone rang when he was halfway out the door, because why would potential clients materialize when it’s convenient for Cyrus? The nameless caller wasn’t even looking to buy anything either, he was just trying to pawn off some junk incense burners that Cyrus didn’t even want but accepted anyway.

Cyrus is looking at these shoddy burners now, mesmerized by how they kind of sort of look like a pair of titties… titties tattooed with stars and crescent moons with wide golden nipples.

“Yeesh, I really need to get off Omingle.”

But he won’t. Just like his habit of collecting desirable junk – especially desirable junk which belongs to other folk, because that makes the junk twice as desirable – Cyrus is hopelessly addicted to Omingling. The therapist he sees on some weekends is trying to help him break at least one of these habits, and Cyrus is trying his best to follow the Doctor’s advice, which goes something like this: in order to change one’s behavior, one must first change their thought patterns.

Cyrus didn’t have the most wonderful childhood (by his own standards), and his parents weren’t exactly classroom helpers if you’re eating the apple I left on your desk; for a long time he spent the majority of his waking hours thinking about how he’s just a big fuck up, how his parents irreversibly damaged his psyche and ruined his chances at a normal life by raising him in a fashion that some backwoods group home kids would have deemed downright lofty, how they are the sole reason he can’t stop going on Omingle. Cyrus blamed his dad’s strict disciplinary style, distant behavior, and caustic, sandpapery language for his inability to see himself as an equal to other men, and he blamed his mom’s toxic habit of going out of her way to pull petty nonsense solely for the sake of making him uncomfortable and upset as an excuse for his inability to look a woman in the eye, let alone speak to one.

Granted, these are legitimate concerns for a child or teenager (or anyone who’s stuck living at home well into their adult lives, and yes, it still counts as living with your parents if you’re paying rent. You’re not roommates, you’re not housemates, you live in their house under their rules they set for you to follow. Just accept it already), but Cyrus moved out in his early twenties. Cyrus is in his thirties now, Cyrus’s parents are both dead – restfully dead, he doesn’t even see them in his dreams anymore – and he lives on his own. Cyrus is his own man with his own life, and he’s responsible for his own self. Cyrus first acknowledged all this a long time ago, right around the time he went searching and found his answer to the question of why his business wasn’t running as smoothly as he wanted it to: the New Thought philosophy. He tried to apply the spiritual teachings of the internet’s hippies to his professional life to distract him from his qualms over his lack of a social life, and at first it seemed to be working, but after a while, he just wasn’t getting the results he was looking for, and the negative thoughts kept coming back. So, he started seeing a therapist.

According to the Doc’, all that new-agey spiritual hullabaloo about reality starting in thought and how all thoughts eventually come true is something, but it’s not the whole thing. It’s more like getting the right answer by using the wrong formula; take the law of attraction, for example. The law of attraction states that positive or negative thoughts bring about positive or negative experiences in one’s life. That is to say, if one spends their time thinking about how they’re a failure and that they’ll never go anywhere in life, they’ll unavoidably wake up on their fifty-sixth birthday to their unblinking senile mother hovering over them with an unfrosted cupcake sporting a half-eaten wax candle. On the other hand, if one spends their time reassuring themselves that things will only go up and that life is good and God is gooder, then they’ll surely end up as a success in their own eyes.

This is a very nice idea, it’s a fun thought experiment to run, but as far as Cyrus’s doctor is aware, it’s not the whole truth of the matter. Reality is… well, reality is this strange, complex thing which many claim to understand but none truly understand. No species of physical beings living in the modern age really knows how it works, especially not any of the humans; for all we hairless monkeys know, our kind baselines somewhere on the bottom half of the consciousness spectrum, meaning there’s a whole lot more stuff between us and God (or whatever you’d like to call that which sits at the top) than there is between us and the inanimate rocks we crush up and use in the building of our wooden caves. The idea that one can change their entire reality simply by thinking some positive thoughts is a nice thought and all, very fun to play along with, but… that’s just what it is. A nice thought that’s fun to play around with.

However, that’s not to say it’s all bullshit. Cyrus’s doctor is a very successful and wealthy man – he’s the world’s top expert on schizophrenia spectrum disorders, he owns just about every single house on the street he lives on, and he’s traveled the world giving other researchers the chance to pay him in return for hearing the sound of his voice – and he didn’t get that way solely by reading a list of affirmations to himself every morning. It took hard work, it took drive, it took motivation and determination and unrelenting willpower; as far as Cyrus’s doctor can tell, the positive thoughts themselves don’t cause the change in reality, it’s the human being behind the thoughts that does, as well as any higher beings looking out for that human and arranging opportunities in an opportune way.

In essence, the law of attraction and all those belief systems that branch off from it are methods of motivation; if one wakes up every morning and thinks, ‘Another day in hell, I fucking hate my life,’ they aren’t going to spring out of bed and seize the day, they aren’t going to get their work done. If one wakes up and thinks, ‘Today, I am going to manifest everything I’ll need to bring me closer to success, abundance, and above all, my best life,’ well, they’re going to have a better (and likely more productive) twenty-four than the other guy.

When he opened The Keeper’s Finds, Cyrus affirmed every morning that he would accumulate the coolest inventory of any secondhand shop ever, and that’s exactly what he did. Folks came out of the woodwork looking to sell him their junk to be displayed in his store and/or auctioned off online; he filled up the entire shop in less than a month. But then, when it came time to sell it all and collect his share, things didn’t move so quickly. He spent an hour every morning and night affirming that he would get troves of customers, that his shelves would empty out each day; he made himself totally open to the flow of wealth and abundance, but yet the spigot stayed dry. At first he thought he manifested the influx of goods too hard, but then he met the Doctor and learned of one man’s beliefs about the world’s currently popular spiritual beliefs, and it helped level him out. Cyrus still at least somewhat believes in the law of attraction – like the Doctor said himself, no human really knows how reality works – but he knows now that humans are much more inclined to take money than to give it up, and that’s just what it is.

But yet, just like how he continuously goes back to Omingle, Cyrus can’t stop taking in new stuff. ‘It’ll probably move fast,’ he always tells himself whenever the opportunity to fill more of the store’s limited space comes up, and yet the things never move fast. That’s why he doesn’t outright buy stuff anymore – wasting space on junk that’ll never sell is one thing, but wasting money on it? Entirely another. There will never be a shortage of sellable stuff, so as long as it means more frequent transactions, he may as well take a smaller cut of the total take. He’s probably making about the same profit anyway, as he doesn’t have to pay for consignment inventory. Cyrus’s only real expense is rent, and the sales tax of course, but that only comes up when he actually sells something. Which he hasn’t today.

Or this week.

Or this month.

If it weren’t for the collectibles auctions Cyrus holds online, he would be bankrupt, and he knows it very well. He holds one of these auctions each month, and the current one doesn’t close for another week; next month’s is already set up, and now, as closing time slowly approaches, Cyrus has just about nothing to do. So why not go on Omingle, right? So what if he’s doing it because he feels like he has to, so what if the interactions only serve to make him more depressed and less motivated to do something about his life, so what if every random chatroom connection only brings him closer and closer to the edge of isolation-induced insanity? It’s not like there are any more old songs to add to his classic rock playlist on Spotify, he already put up all the good ones. ‘It’s not like I have anything better to do.’

And so, despite all the bots, scammers, and horrifically playful old men, despite knowing much, much better, Cyrus clicks the Text button underneath the Chat now… heading and waits as he’s connected to yet another random stranger who plugged the same tags into the interest bar as him: North Jersey and Treeburg. He’s basically given up on meeting a friend/woman through this black hole of a website (unless the opportunity comes up, in which case, kowabunga), but if he can lure some bored local dude or dudette into his shop and get the chance to collect some cash? Well that’s not giving into his addiction at all.

No, not at all.

Hell, that’s just the law of attraction.

Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the tenth 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 OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.

If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~

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