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Nothing Happened Today

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It gnaws at his brain. This unbearable, agonizing boredom. The sort of boredom that makes seconds feel like millenia. Makes him want to do something stupid just so he’s at least doing something. Maybe scratch a hole in his skin or pluck at his lips until they bleed. Or grab the bottle of whiskey in the top cupboard and see how much his liver can take in a single night these days.

He doesn’t do any of those things, though. Nor does he raid the others’ rooms to see what drugs they might have still have on hand after the last tour, because he doesn’t really want to be high - or drunk or bleeding and in pain. He just wants to be not bored.

He wishes he could just go back to sleep but with his brain spinning its wheels like this he knows that’s not going to happen. He tries doing jumping jacks to tire himself out but that’s a plan that’s quickly foiled when Johnnie bangs on the ceiling of the room below him to get him to shut up and counting sheep hasn’t ever done shit for him, so he’s back to square fucking one again.

Paula’s not around or else he’d have sex with her just to kill some time. He’d jerk off but he already did that not long after he woke up, and if he’s going to be good and avoid the empty vices in his life then he should probably avoid that one as well.

But where does that leave him? Flipping through the channels on the telly until he gets tired of that again? Reread the same books that he’s already read a hundred times before? Play his same old albums until he finally wears them out? Wander the streets and get pissed off at every well-meaning fan who just wants to say hello and has no way of knowing that he’s not in the mood to chat?

Between the angry static overwhelming his thoughts he can almost hear snatches of a song coming through, but whenever he tries to put it to paper the right words elude him. He knows that eventually he’ll find the thread of what he wants to say and his racing mind will quiet and he’ll have, at least for a little while, some small distraction from this miserable and unending boredom - but until then, this is just another frustration as all he has to show for his efforts are dozens of balled-up pieces of paper discarded on the floor around him.

He paces. He paces until Johnnie actually comes upstairs and threatens to tie him to the bed if he doesn’t “quit storming about the place!”

“Ooh, do you promise?” Bob drawls, fluttering his eyelashes at him just for extra obnoxious effect.

Except Johnnie, that fucker, doesn’t even take the bait. He rolls his eyes and tells Bob to get his shit together and he leaves, without even an argument or altercation or anything to distract Bob from the terrible monotony that has apparently become his entire existence.

He cycles through everything on the telly again and settles on the news, not because he wants to watch it but because it’s the only thing that doesn’t make him grind his teeth in irritation. He flops back down on his bed and stares up at the ceiling above him, and listens to the reporters drone on and on.

“Today is Tuesday, March 28th, and this is the evening news. First up is this weekend’s weather forecast. Mary, over to you.”

“Thanks, John. The sunshine didn’t last long this morning and unfortunately it doesn’t seem like it’ll come back anytime soon. The forecast looks cold and rainy for the next few days…”

He stares at the ceiling. Counts the faded stains from old water marks and the small patches where the paint has flaked away. Memorizes the topography above him, the bump in the middle from a settling board, the divot from an area that was repaired and not filled properly… Useless information, all of it, but his brain soaks it up anyway, searching out meaningless patterns and wild connections in the absence of any other stimuli at all because nothing has happened today, not in his life anyway.

Nothing happened today.

The phrase rattles around in his thoughts as he keeps listening to the news and, slowly, a faint smile spreads across his face as the song that’s been eluding him all day finally starts to settle into place.