Crush

I

I was sure that the TV had been off when I left the room.

Positive that I had turned it off.

But when I came back in, the set was on.

Weird. Wiring problem. Happens sometimes.

Bad wiring.

I reach down for the remote and press the power button.

Look up just in time to see the television turn on.

It hadn't been on. Took a few seconds to power up.

Wiring problem.

I turn the TV off and set the remote down. Walk away.

As I leave the room I hear the pulse of the television turning on again.

I look back. It's off.

Bad wiring.

It's an old set. Cheap too. Korean or something. Asian anyway. Probably Korean.

Sankoo-Yung. Sanyung-Booku. Something like that.

Doesn't matter. Need a new TV. Have needed one for a while. Still works though.

Need a lot of new things. Fridge saw the end of the Cold War.

Freezer didn't see much past that.

The air conditioning hasn't worked for a few months.

The springs in the middle of my bed mattress gave out, so now there's a pit in the center of the bed.

My couch is lop-sided.

Need a lot of new things. Need money first.

The door wouldn't open.

I looked at the front door. It was open.

Did I open it?

Don't remember opening it.

Close the door, then I go back to my room. Was getting ready for work.

Getting ready to go make tacos for nine and a half hours.

Mexican food is terrible. Never eat the stuff.

Yet I make it every day.

Out of my bedroom, I hear the TV turn on again.

It's 7:15 am.

Too early for this shit.

I get dressed and leave my room five minutes later.

Wearing my uniform. Complete with a sombrero on the left breast pocket.

Burritos and confetti on the collar.

Hate Mexican food.

I notice the TV's off.

Must be a wiring problem.

Where did I put those damn pliers.

I should fix the TV today. Can't be too hard.

Got about 20 minutes before I need to leave for work. Should eat something.

I make a bowl of corn flakes. Stale. Milk's okay though. Not expired yet.

TV still won't turn on.

Must have done something wrong.

Looking up from my bowl, I stare at the TV.

Some corn flakes fall from my mouth.

Spoon drops back to the bowl, splashes milk on the table.

Across the room, hunched over the television, I saw myself.

Working on the TV.

Stripped the screw. Can't get it to screw back in.

Case is caught anyway. Wire's in the way.

Don't believe it.

Can't be happening.

Crossed wires were shorting the circuit out.

I can't move from my seat. Can't stop looking across the room.

Should fix the problem.

See myself sit up. Stand up.

The TV

turns on.

II

TV took longer than I thought to fix.

Not even sure what was wrong with it to begin with.

No wiring problems that I could see.

When I took it apart though, pulled a few wires from the circuits, damaged it.

Oh well. Got it working again.

Channel 12 doesn't seem to work for some reason. Fine by me.

Goddamn Spanish channel.

I get enough Spanish every day at work.

Don't need to see more of it at home.

Smell my hands. Smell like tacos and electrical tape.

Hate Mexican food.

I get up to wash my hands. Mostly to get rid of the taco smell.

I look down at my cereal.

Turn to walk to the kitchen. Hungry too.

up at myself.

Stop for a minute. Thought I saw something.

gone

Out of the corner of my eye. Could have sworn I saw someone at my table.

Must be getting tired.

Need to eat something.

Open the fridge. Hinge is stuck. Pull harder to open it all the way.

Some fast food burgers in there. Something growing on them.

I didn't even know that was possible.

Hot dogs. Sitting in a puddle of some greenish-brown jelly. Not sure what that is.

Some old pizza. Doesn't look very good.

Milk. I still have cereal.

I pour myself a bowl of cereal. Take a bite. The corn flakes are bland.

Some corn flakes fall from my mouth.

I swallow the flakes. Bland and dry in the milk.

Spoon drops back to the bowl,

My spoon slips from my hand

I try and grab the spoon before it bounces onto the table. Grappling for it.

splashes milk on the table.

My elbow hits the milk jug.

It falls over. Milk splashes on the table and floor.

On me.

Dammit.

The oven flares up.

I jump back from the table.

Bump into the oven. It's cool. Off.

Then the milk gathers again. Slides back into the jug.

The milk rights itself.

I stare.

I stare as, the next second, it falls over again, spilling milk out onto the table and floor.

It pulls back into the jug and tips back up.

I stare as this happens four times.

The frying pan's getting rusty.

How does that even happen?

I notice something pushing into my side. Wasn't there a second ago.

I look. Frying pan.

Didn't put it there. Didn't turn the stove on either.

I turn it off.

Glance at the milk as it spills for the eighteenth time.

Gotta get out of here.

The stove was off.

I look at the stove again. The frying pan was gone.

Gotta get out.

Need a drink.

I walk out the front door. The stove turns on again behind me.

I

I hear the door slam shut. Turn to look at it. Nothing there.

Back to my cereal.

Staring at the TV.

Nothing's there. Nothing's been there for five minutes.

Was anything ever there?

Couldn't have seen myself.

Impossible.

Then what?

Stress. Has to be.

Stressed out. Seeing things.

Gotta get to work.

I finish the cereal. Pick up the milk.

Can't pick it up.

Jug won't move.

Can't even squeeze the jug. Rock-hard. Milk won't even move.

Frozen in place.

I try to pull harder. Then it gives. Milk flies back, out of my hand.

Stops midair.

Appears back on the table.

Flies forward again.

Disappears.

Back on the table.

Stress.

Stressed out.

Seeing things.

I ignore the milk. Impossible.

Reach for the empty bowl.

Won't move either.

Spoon stuck too.

Need to get out of here.

I leave it.

Duck under the milk.

The stove was off.

Get out of the kitchen.

Hear a click as the stove turns on.

Phone rings. I ignore it.

Put shoes on. Nametag. Hat.

Phone's still ringing. I look at it.

The incoming call light isn't lit up.

Phone's still ringing.

I answer it.

Dialtone.

Stressed out.

That's all.

Gotta go to work. Get away from here.

Hah. I'm actually looking forward to work.

I heard the door again.

Turn to walk towards the front door.

Nobody was there.

Must have been my imagination.

The handle won't turn.

Seems jammed.

The door wouldn't open.

Try again. See something out of the corner of my eye. Looks like a person.

I ignore it. Focus on the door. Won't look away.

Behind me, I hear the milk hit the floor. Jug bounces across the tile.

Stays there.

The door handle turns.

My foot slips across the tile. I look down.

Milk.

The door opens. I'm not touching it.

Staring at me.

Outside, on the doorstep.

Looking directly at me.

I see myself. Holding a beer.

Behind me, I hear the milk hit the floor again.

I say hey.

He doesn't reply. Walks through the doorway.

Doesn't seem to hear me.

I don't look behind. Don't look at him again.

Leave for work.

III

I heard the door again.

Nobody was there.

Again.

Must have been my imagination.

Having problems with the stove. Keeps turning off.

Just want to fry a damn egg.

It's my day off. Want to relax. Things keep happening though. Weird shit.

Stove turns off. Doors open. TV turned on, on its own.

House is falling apart.

The stove was still on though. Hungry.

I get an egg from the fridge. Walk back to the stove.

My foot slips across the tile. I look down.

Milk.

Why is milk on the floor?

Didn't take milk out.

Didn't spill any milk.

Doesn't make sense.

Hm.

I'll worry about that later. Gonna fry my egg now.

Gonna fry it and eat it.

I crack the egg and turn to toss the shell in the trash. Notice the milk's gone from the floor.

Fixed that problem.

Go back to the frying pan. Finish cooking the egg. Slide it onto a plate.

Fried egg.

I eat it at the table. After I finish, I go to the couch. Turn on the TV.

I've lost it.

Glad it's my day off. Needed to relax.

IV

I have.

Here I am, talking to myself.

Not myself. Talking to me. Sitting at the table, looking at myself, talking to him.

Me.

I look drunk.

Looking at me with unfocused eyes.

Come on. Doesn't make sense.

He tells me shit's falling apart.

Something about milk and frying pans.

Doesn't make sense.

I came home from work a few minutes ago to see someone sitting at my table.

Me sitting at my table.

He looked at me and turned away.

Avoided me.

I wanted to, too.

Couldn't.

I was seeing shit anyway. Might as well find out why.

Isn't helping though. The man I'm making up is just as crazy.

Great.

He looks at me again.

Says something about milk again.

Points.

I look behind me as a milk jug hits me in the face.

Look back at the guy. He smiles.

He smiles. Bullshit.

I ask him what he's doing here.

He doesn't know. Doesn't want to be here.

Wants to be back in his house.

This house, but different.

He's not sure what.

Different dimension. Something. Doesn't make sense. Time maybe.

He's drunk. Crazy. Imaginary.

I hear the door open. I look to see myself walking in. Myself. Not the other guy. Wearing my uniform.

Walks in just like I did.

Doesn't make sense.

II

I'm sitting at the table.

By myself.

Was talking to myself. I'm gone now.

Probably wasn't there anyway.

Seeing things. Things that aren't here.

Can't see clearly anyway.

Might have been a burglar.

Who knows.

Gone now.

I watch myself walk towards me.

I went drinking.

Came to terms with what happened.

Is happening.

Sits down.

Stress. Going crazy.

Right where I am.

Look at the empty seat in front of me.

Oh well.

Shit happens.

I don't feel anything. He goes through me.

I can deal with it.

Something.

Maybe it'll be fun.

Maybe it'll go away.

Maybe I need sleep.

The fridge opened.

The TV turned on.

I get up.

The TV turns on as I walk by.

I ignore it. Ignore it like the stove.

None of this is happening.

Open my room's door.

Lie down.

See me walk into my room.

See me do it again.

Again.

Close my eyes.

Open them.

Still see it.

Just stress.

Seeing things.

Can't deal with this.

That's all.

I can deal with this.

I

The shit hit the fan.

It's too much.

Fuck.

Too much to deal with.

Came home from work. Saw myself sitting at my table.

Walked to the table and I was gone.

Sat down.

Saw myself come in through the front door.

Walk towards me then disappear.

Happened again.

I got up and saw myself get up. Followed me to the bathroom.

Disappeared into me in the bathroom.

Just stepped into me. Was gone.

I grabbed aspirin.

Some other stuff.

Not even sure what pills.

Anything.

As I did, other hands reached out from me. Grabbed empty space.

Right where I grabbed.

Ran to my room.

Closed the door.

That was ten minutes ago.

I hear the TV turn on and off outside my room.

Someone's yelling out there.

Shouting.

Sounds like me.

My door opens and closes.

I ignore it.

Ignore everything

Can't deal with this.

Don't know what's going on.

Something with time.

That's all I can guess.

I can't leave.

My door opens again. Closes.

I can't get out of my house.

I feel something next to me.

Look.

See myself.

Jump out of bed. Look at myself. Lying there. Asleep.

Not me though.

I'm still in my uniform.

This person isn't.

What is this?

I try to open the door.

Want to leave.

Can't.

It won't open.

I yell. Hope someone hears me.

More yelling. Sounds the same.

The door opens again. By itself.

I run out.

The TV turned off. Middle of a show too.

See myself sitting at the couch. Watching TV.

Myself. Frying an egg.

Myself. Banging on a window.

Gotta get out of here.

Eggs crack and crack and crack and crack.

Milk flies through the air. Lands on the floor.

I'm fixing the TV.

As I watch it.

Try to break the window.

Won't break.

Gotta get out of here.

Try to open the door.

Knob won't turn.

I can't leave.

I can't get out of my house.

Shouting makes sense now.

I go to the window.

Look out it. See someone mowing their lawn.

Riding their bike.

I yell. Hope someone hears me.

There aren't any eggs left.

I try to open the window. Won't open.

Grab a lamp. Try to break the window.

Won't break.

Lamp bounces off.

I see myself by the door. Trying to open it.

See myself everywhere.

The TV turns back on.

TV took longer than I thought to fix.

III

Not sure why it turned off in the first place.

Bad wiring maybe.

It's back on though.

Good.

Was worried I'd need to try and fix it.

Would not be looking forward to that.

But anyway. Don't have to. Get to watch TV.

I hear someone yell.

Yell for help.

Coming from behind me?

By the window.

Nothing's there.

Could be from outside.

Oh well. Not my problem.

The TV was off again.

I press the remote's power button.

I was sure that the TV had been off when I left the room.

It turns back on.

Positive that I had turned it off.

Doesn't make sense.

Maybe a loose outlet.

Maybe bad wiring.

I'll worry about it later. Fix it some other time.

This is my day off.

Thirsty.

Get up to get a drink.

Walking to the kitchen, see the fridge door open.

Closed.

Wasn't open.

Ignore it.

Open the fridge, get some water.

Hear a voice behind me. Saying something.

Something about milk.

I look behind me.

See myself. Sitting at my table.

Points.

At me?

Says something about milk again. Same thing. Can't understand it.

Just understand milk. Points again.

Repeats.

A loop.

I put the water away.

Get out a beer.

This is my day off.

V

I was sure that the TV had been off when I left the room.

Positive that I had turned it off.

But when I came back in, the set was on.

Weird. Wiring problem. Happens sometimes.

Bad wiring.

I reach down for the remote and press the power button.

Hear a shout from behind the TV.

Smoke.

Someone falls to the floor from behind the television.

I walk over to them.

I feel something next to me.

Me.

Eyes closed.

TV's open in the back.

Pliers in my hand.

Shocked.

Dead?

Look.

I check. Find a pulse. Just knocked out.

What do I do with the body?

See myself.

Jump out of bed. Look at myself. Lying there. Asleep.

Put it in my room?

Work out the rest when he wakes up. When I wake up.

Am I awake?

I try to pick the body up.

Heavy.

Have to drag it down to my room.

Takes some time, but I get it up on the bed.

Close the door behind me.

I try to open the door.

Want to leave.

I look behind me. Look at the door.

It won't open.

Hear a shout again. From the front of the house.

Shout for help.

I look down there.

See myself by the window.

See myself by the door.

Both shouting for help. Shouting for help. Help. Again and again.

Looping.

As they move, they leave trails.

Trails of themselves.

Moving behind them. Following. Fading.

I hear a splash. A milk jug slides across my kitchen floor. Milk floods the kitchen.

I see myself. Holding a beer.

House is falling apart.

No.

The door opens. I see myself stumble through the door, beer in my hand. Look at the table.

Walk to it.

Sit down.

Pass out.

The door opens again.

I walk through it holding a beer.

Same thing.

House isn't falling apart.

Time is.

I try to leave.

Try to open the door.

The door wouldn't open.

I ignore myself kneeling behind the TV. Ignore myself eating cereal at the table.

Look out the window. See a man jogging past.

I shout for help.

IV

Fuck all of this.

I don't know what's going on.

Don't care.

Just want it to stop.

I'm in my bathroom. Locked the door.

Taking every pill I can find.

Anxiety pills. Depressants. Sleep aids.

I don't know what's going on out there.

Don't want to look.

Just want it to stop.

House isn't falling apart.

Time is.

I hear shouts.

Doors opening.

Things shattering.

Don't care.

None of it's real.

The other people? Me?

Impossible. Can't happen.

I reach back into the cabinet.

Grab a bottle.

Don't even know what it is.

Try to open it.

Can't.

Cap won't come off.

Bottle won't move.

I let go of it.

It doesn't drop.

Hangs there.

Floating.

I back away.

Into the shower.

The corner.

I yell. Hope someone hears me.

The door wouldn't open.

I close my eyes.

Hear a click as the stove turns on.

See things.

Milk. Doors opening. Myself stumbling in. Fridge opening and closing.

Bits and pieces.

Glimpses.

I open my eyes.

Can't deal with this.

Can't think.

Keep hearing things.

Seeing things.

Too much to

VI

I was sure that the TV had been off when I left the room.

Positive that I had turned it off.

But when I came back in, I was sure that the TV had been off when I left the room.

Positive that I had turned it off.

But when I came back in, I was sure that the TV had been off when I left the room.

Positive that I had turned it off.

But when I came back in, I was sure that the TV had been off when I left the room.

Positive that I had