Matt Rowan

Eyesore of a Thing

Jon always liked the view of the street from his home, until that guy put a thing in front of his home. Not directly in front of his home, but close enough that it was like the guy had put it directly in front of his home. The thing was big. It was gross, according to Jon. It looked like a big mound of a thing, a cankerous mound of a thing with lots of divots and crannies. It made his eyes sore. That’s what Jon thought. Maybe these were symptoms brought about by some kind of hypochondriasis, built up by the fact that he hated the eyesore of a thing in front of his home. The symptoms felt real, though, plenty real enough.
He yelled at that guy who put it there. He yelled at him so long and with so much gusto that the guy finally yelled back, “Geez, leave me alone.” But Jon didn’t leave him alone. And that guy was like, “I’m sorry about the thing but it’s there now. I couldn’t move it if I tried, if that’s what I truly wanted. It’s heavy as a ton of shit.”
Jon asked if that was, indeed, what that guy truly wanted, because it should be, Jon said. Since you’re leaving it there.
“I don’t know what I want,” said that guy.
It was like how on sitcoms people watch with the expectation that they are going to see the failure of people, people who are pretending to be just like them, and who then do fail in hilarious fashion. And then the people watching get to laugh and not feel so alone in the fact that most things people do are often met with failure, hilarious failure. The horrible irony being, of course, that if you are a person on television, an actor, playing the part of one of these sad but funny people, you really are -- in all actual fact -- not a failure but a person enjoying one of the fullest successes life has to offer, stardom. At least this is true in our present place and time and in our most specific, possibly most superficial collective ways of thinking.
So while Jon was thinking, that guy left, mostly unapologetically. (That guy might have been heard muttering “sorry” half heartedly to himself.) And Jon was left to figure out what to do with the eyesore of a thing, because his eyes were getting extremely sore. His eyes were in a lot of ways beginning to feel as though the eyesore of a thing was the only thing they could be a part of, the only thing that could truly be seen. It was like Jon could only ever see the ugliness in the world, that ugliest part of it. He could no longer see past the ugliness and he hated the eyesore for what he perceived it had done to him.
The eyesore had in a sense connected with his eyeballs, like plugs into electrical outlets, and while he was still free to move around the world at his leisure, the eyesore always tagged along, “plugged in” as it was.
Its eyesore was everywhere. He saw it in the faces of elderly people who looked bitter about the past. Crappy visits to the Grand Canyon, crappy faces that looked like the Grand Canyon, especially if the Grand Canyon were crappier. They plagued him and his eyes. Especially his eyes.
His eyes that never got any rest or respite.
In dreams, his eyes were sore. In waking life, of course, his eyes were sore.
His eyes were shackled red. He felt big flecks of the sclera falling off as though run up against a particularly spiny cheese grater.
He felt his eyes’ soreness trickling into his brain. He screamed often, and he lashed out at the world more than ever. He’d hoped to get back at that guy who’d originally caused all the soreness, by placing the eyesore, the mound of a thing, in front of his home. But that guy was now long gone and would never be seen again, it seemed, by Jon’s sore, sour eyes. So he redly beamed elsewhere, apparently needing a direction to channel what’s sore, all the furious pain that had made its home in his bodily cavities, eyes at first and now creeping to others, the skull, nasal passages, the mouth and anywhere else internal openings allowed it to slither.
Television glowed into his senses like a smoldering laser. Computer screens did something similar.
Soon the soreness, the red energy of his eyes, of every cavity, was left with no place else to go. It had to send itself outwardly. That guy responsible for the eyesore of a thing was gone, yes, but the eyesore of a thing was not. It was instead still there.
He went to it. He had a weapon. With the weapon, he raged down on the eyesore, over and over and over, repeatedly. Pounded it to a flattened pancake of one-time-mound-of-a-thing.
And when it was gone, he looked up and around. He felt no satisfaction. He felt no relief. It was not over.
And there’s really nothing funny about that.