Unsure what to write, he sat down at his computer. Is this how all the greats do it? Probably not. “Whatever,” he thought to himself and began to type. And type he did, slamming the keys of the reproduction IBM Model M he had ostensibly bought for playing video games on. $100 and shipping down the fucking drain for a habit he couldn’t bear these days. All he could bear was to write. A silly habit to replace his video game addiction, but at least it was productive, or so he liked to tell himself. Putting on some music he didn’t care to listen to the lyrics of, he delved ever deeper into his own psyche, probing at his own self-doubts and fears to produce the best dreck he could dredge up. Suddenly, he stopped for a moment, relishing the music, its droning vocals, the slow piano, and the singer’s tired voice. He checked his phone, taking note of the song that was playing, adding it to the playlist he simply titled “General Listening.” It was what he used to “set the mood,” as it were, to put himself in the space where he did his best work: desolate, tired, and worn. He groaned in frustration; his inner critic had won again, and he just couldn’t bring himself to continue the idea he’d been threading out of the folds of his brain for the past three hours. Why was he like this? Why did he keep stopping himself short of finishing something good? Those are questions he asked himself almost daily, every single time he did this…and no, he didn’t ever change his ways. That would require a lot more willpower than he had at the moment, or indeed had ever. Suddenly, he looked at his computer’s clock. Good God, was it really this late? He rolled his eyes. He’d finish this in the morning. Now, it was time to sleep.

He awoke. Bad dreams. Feeling the usual tightness in his lungs that came with sleeping on his chest. Barely keeping his eyes open, he opened the text editor on his phone. He couldn’t focus for long, his fingers constantly tapping between his Twitter feed and the text. The thing he awaited the most in the morning. The little circle by the bell. Surely, this latest endeavor of creativity and masturbatory work would bring in many of the little circles by the bell. Regardless, he put his thumbs to work, constantly checking the word count. Soon, it would be done, he remarked to nobody in particular.

A few days later, he returned to his work. At this point, he was just dragging the idea out and watching how it bled across the pavement. He decided to put it out of its misery, and stop right there, ending it just before it got gratuitous.