Nouvelle/ Short Story/ Historia Corta *** Intermediate Level / Niveau Intermédiaire / Nivel Intermedio
Word Count: TBA Date Published: 2015 Genre: Introspective Lengh: Short Original Language: English
Simpetweb (that's me)
Four steps and a fall, that’s all it will take. The enemy at large was procrastination. The man steadied himself using the cheap and flimsey step-ladders bought at the local supermarket, another deal that had trouble fulfilling its title. He was mid-drunk, more than half way through his late thirties, and although distressed, was doing an admirable job of maintaining an aura of decorum, this despite the lack of an audience.
* the action of delaying or postponing something.
~synonyms: dithering, delaying tactics, dilatoriness, stalling, temporizing, hesitation, vacillation;
flimsy ˈflɪmzi (adjective)
* insubstantial and easily damaged.
~synonyms: insubstantial, slight, light, fragile, breakable, frail, shaky, unstable, wobbly, tottery, rickety, ramshackle, makeshift;
decorum dɪˈkɔːrəm (noun)
* behaviour in keeping with good taste and propriety.
~"he had acted with the utmost decorum"
~synonyms: propriety, properness, seemliness, decency, decorousness, good taste, correctness, appropriateness;
~"he had no idea of funeral decorum"
~synonyms: etiquette, protocol, customary behaviour, good form, custom, convention, conformity, conventionality, usage, ritual
* particular requirements of good taste and propriety.
plural noun: decorums (archaic)
Four steps and a fall was not exactly all. There was the slipping of the noose around the neck to be interposed between these two sets of actions. It was not so much a noose, in fact, as an elaborated slip-knot: a slip-knot with a knot on the jutting end of the rope to stop the slip-knot slipping off, so to speak. He would have preferred a proper noose, but this ability (of making nooses) was to remain at the top of a rather long list of things he would now never get round to either learning or mastering. And whilst looking at this slipping knot that he had fashioned in advance, he couldn't but notice how nylonish it was. Electric blue and nylon; well, at least it matched the quality of the step ladders, he thought to himself.
interpose ɪntəˈpəʊz (verb)
past tense: interposed; past participle: interposed
* place or insert between one thing and another.
~"she interposed herself between the newcomers"
~synonyms: insinuate, place, put
"he interposed himself between her and the stairs"
* intervene between parties.
~"the legislature interposed to suppress these amusements"
~synonyms: intervene, intercede, step in, mediate, involve oneself;
elaborate ɪˈlabəreɪt (verb)
past tense: elaborated; past participle: elaborated
* develop or present (a theory, policy, or system) in further detail.
~"the theory was proposed by Cope and elaborated by Osborn"
* BIOLOGY (of a natural agency) produce (a substance) from its elements or simpler constituents.
~"many amino acid and peptide hormones are elaborated by neural tissue"
fashion ˈfaʃ(ə)n (verb)
past tense: fashioned; past participle: fashioned
* make into a particular form.
~"the bottles were fashioned from green glass"
~synonyms: construct, build, manufacture, make, create, fabricate, contrive;
*use materials to produce (something).
~"the skins were fashioned into boots and shoes"
And he climbed the first step. This he considered to have achieved with solemnity, but to any outside observer the act would have simply appeared ungainly: alcohol’s first casualty in any head on was dignity. He hadn't drunk a lot, just ¾ of a bottle of Bordeaux, but having for most of his life shied from regular drinking, perhaps as much for the disabling affects upon the mind as for the loosening of the said minds control over the body, this quite reasonable amount of alcohol, amongst drinking circles at least, was making itself blatantly known. No, this man’s drugs of choice were nicotine and caffeine, always together, each double barrelled hit never spaced more than an hour apart if can be helped, and this routine followed strictly since his late teens. The long term effects were showing. Indeed, more than showing, they were weighing. The skin and teeth had taken a hit and the heavy panting when doing anything physical wouldn't be mislabeled as upsetting, but it was the crackling of his lungs by night coupled with cold fingers and toes by day which was beginning to deeply gnaw at his subconscious. He was seriously clogging up the machine, he knew it, and whereas he could change the filters on his car, hoover or cafetière with relative ease, the same could not be said for the filters of his own corporal being. Yet he knew he could never stop this slow burning self mutilation. Even the merest thought of doing so sent him off the wire. From the degree to which he practiced the art he could see that the results were set in stone: he was destined to drown within his own lungs, but much before that, he would fall into ineptitude as his body parts, deprived of the essentials of life, would deny their own user full access. At this point in his reflections he produced an ironic smile, for what was really panicking him (and in this latter statement the ‘really’ should not be under-emphasized) was the fact that these drugs that were meant to sharpen his acuity of mind, were now (indeed, have been for some time) in the process of dulling it. The lack of oxygen was beginning to touch his mental capacities. He was getting 'smokers fogginess'; the double edged sword was now falling the wrong side and despite this, whilst mulling on these thoughts, he assured himself that he could gain a better grip over them with a cigarette hanging of the corner of his lips and so he duly lit one up without a second of hesitation, and then...
solemnity səˈlɛmnɪti (noun)
* the state or quality of being serious and dignified.
~"his ashes were laid to rest with great solemnity"
~synonyms: dignity, ceremony, stateliness, courtliness, majesty, impressiveness, portentousness, splendour, magnificence, grandeur, importance, augustness, formality;
* a formal, dignified rite or ceremony.
~plural noun: solemnities
~"the ritual of the Church was observed in all its solemnities"
~synonyms: formalities, proceedings, business, rigmarole, ado, ceremony, rite, ritual, celebration, festivity;
ungainly ʌnˈɡeɪnli (adjective)
*(of a person or movement) awkward; clumsy.
~"an ungainly walk"
~synonyms: awkward, clumsy, ungraceful, graceless, inelegant, gawky, gangling, maladroit, gauche, inept, blundering, bungling, bumbling, lumbering, uncoordinated;
shy ʃʌɪ (verb)
* (especially of a horse) start suddenly aside in fright at an object, noise, or movement.
~"their horses shied at the unfamiliar sight"
blatant bleɪt(ə)nt (adjective)
* (of bad behaviour) done openly and unashamedly.
~synonyms: flagrant, glaring, obvious, undisguised, unconcealed, overt, open, transparent, patent, evident, manifest, palpable, unmistakable
* completely lacking in subtlety; very obvious.
~"she forced herself to resist his blatant charm"
clog klɒɡ (verb)
gerund or present participle: clogging
* block or become blocked with an accumulation of thick, wet matter.
~"the gutters were clogged up with leaves"
~synonyms: block, obstruct, congest, jam, choke, bung up, dam (up), plug, silt up, stop up, seal, fill up, close;
* fill up or crowd (something) so as to obstruct passage.
~"tourists' cars clog the roads into Cornwall"
* is a lack of skill, ability, or competence. A doctor would prove his ineptitude at practicing medicine if he mistakenly removed a patient's spleen instead of his kidney. Ineptitude and incompetence are synonyms to describe people who have absolutely no idea what they're doing. (Vocabulary.com)
acuity əˈkjuːɪti (noun)
* sharpness or keenness of thought, vision, or hearing.
dull dʌl (verb)
gerund or present participle: dulling
* make or become dull or less intense.
~"time dulls the memory"
~synonyms: lessen, decrease, diminish, reduce, dampen, depress, take the edge off, blunt, deaden, mute, soften, tone down, allay, ease, soothe, assuage, alleviate, palliate, moderate, mitigate
mull mʌl verb
gerund or present participle: mulling
* think about (something) deeply and at length.
~"she began to mull over the various possibilities"
~synonyms: ponder, consider, think over/about, reflect on, contemplate, deliberate, turn over in one's mind, chew over, weigh up, consider the pros and cons of, cogitate on, meditate on, muse on, ruminate over/on, brood on, have one's mind on, give some thought to, evaluate, examine, study, review, revolve;
duly djuːli (adverb)
* in accordance with what is required or appropriate; following proper procedure or arrangement.
~"a document duly signed and authorized by the inspector"
~synonyms: properly, correctly, in due manner, rightly, fittingly, fitly, aptly, appropriately, suitably
~"the document was duly signed and authorized"
* as might be expected or predicted.
~"I used the tent and was duly impressed"
~synonyms: at the proper time, at the right time, in due time, on time, punctually
~"the footman duly arrived to collect Alice"
...he climbed a second step. And this second step was more sober than the first in both perception and reality. Reflecting over this addiction had brought his attention to a major cause of it: his lack of connection with people. And it’s here he felt his first pang of tangible emotional pain, not simply since the start of the day, but probably since a fair few years at the very least. He had made alienating those around him into a sport. Not for the want of not wanting to, but simply by sheer compulsion. People were to be guarded at a safe distance for, ‘to admit such intrusions into his own delicate and finely adjusted temperament was to introduce a distracting factor’ akin to ‘grit in a sensitive instrument,’ and, although these words, once said by Watson of Sherlock, originally referred to emotions in general, according to the man on the steps-ladder in the present case, they could equally be applied to those who induced them; and since all persons were capable of inducing emotion, everyone was caught by (and thus excluded through) this clause.
sober ˈsəʊbə (adjective)
* not affected by alcohol; not drunk.
~synonyms: not drunk, not intoxicated, clear-headed, as sober as a judge; More
* serious, sensible, and solemn.
~"a sober view of life"
~synonyms: serious, sensible, solemn, thoughtful, grave, sombre, severe, earnest, sedate, staid, dignified, steady, level-headed, serious-minded, businesslike, down-to-earth, commonsensical, pragmatic, self-controlled, restrained, conservative;
pang paŋ (noun)
* a sudden sharp pain or painful emotion.
~"Lindsey experienced a sharp pang of guilt"
~synonyms: pain, sharp pain, shooting pain, twinge, stab, spasm, ache, cramp
tangible ˈtan(d)ʒɪb(ə)l (adjective)
* perceptible by touch.
~"the atmosphere of neglect and abandonment was almost tangible"
~synonyms: touchable, palpable, tactile, material, physical, real, substantial, corporeal, solid, concrete; More
alienate ˈeɪlɪəneɪt (verb)
gerund or present participle: alienating
* make (someone) feel isolated or estranged.
~"an urban environment which would alienate its inhabitants"
~synonyms: estrange, turn away, set apart, drive apart, isolate, detach, distance, put at a distance; More
sheer ʃɪə (adjective)
* nothing other than; unmitigated (used for emphasis).
~"she giggled with sheer delight"
~synonyms: utter, complete, absolute, total, pure, perfect, downright, out-and-out, thorough, thoroughgoing, through and through, consummate, patent, surpassing, veritable, unqualified, unmitigated, unalloyed, unadulterated, unmixed; More
*(especially of a cliff or wall) perpendicular or nearly so.
~"the sheer ice walls"
~synonyms: precipitous, very steep, perpendicular, vertical, abrupt, bluff, sharp, vertiginous;
It was not that he was unsociable. In fact, he was rather well appreciated when in company. It was just that he sought at each and every instance to avoid it. He thought to himself, 'look where this has led you, you fool.' In the wake of this thought...
unsociable ʌnˈsəʊʃəb(ə)l (adjective)
* not enjoying or making an effort to behave sociably in the company of others.
~"Terry was grumpy and unsociable"
~synonyms: unfriendly, unamiable, unaffable, uncongenial, unneighbourly, inhospitable, hostile, unapproachable, reclusive, introverted, solitary, private, misanthropic, uncommunicative, unforthcoming, reticent, reserved, withdrawn, aloof, distant, remote, detached, stand-offish, unsocial, antisocial, taciturn, silent, quiet, sulky, mopey, mopish, uncivil, rude, cold, cool, chilly, frigid, haughty, suspicious, distrustful, scowling, glowering
~"he was grumpy and unsociable"
*not conducive to friendly social relations.
~"watching TV is a fairly unsociable activity"
wake (noun) (SOURCE: merriam-webster)
* the track left by a moving body (as a ship) in a fluid (as water); broadly : a track or path left
*: aftermath 3
~ in the wake of
* close behind and in the same path of travel <missionaries arrived in the wake of conquistadors and soldiers — Sabine MacCormack>
* as a result of : as a consequence of <power vacuums left in the wake of the second world war — A. M. Schlesinger b1917>
...he took a third step up. By now he could reach the dangling nylon rope, and the timing was good for without grabbing hold of it as he did, he would surely have fell off the ladders. “Close one there, you nearly came a cropper.” Even as he had had this thought he realized, under such circumstances as those of the present, that it was completely ridiculous. Hard to fight against millions of years of evolution, he supposed. And there, in that last sentence, was to be found one of his biggest bugbears with life in general, for under the thin veneer of all that is said and done between us, us the inheritors of this adorned spinning sphere, he knew would be found Darwin’s hand, and much less invisible than Smith’s* at that.
*Adam Smith's Invisible Hand
A term coined by economist Adam Smith in his 1776 book "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations". In his book he states:
"Every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it ... He intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for society that it was no part of his intention. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good."
Thus, the invisible hand is essentially a natural phenomenon that guides free markets and capitalism through competition for scarce resources. (SOURCE: investopedia.com)
dangling ˈdaŋɡ(ə)lɪŋ,ˈdaŋɡlɪŋ (adjective)
hanging or swinging loosely.
"a pair of dangling earrings"
suppose səˈpəʊz (verb)
* think or assume that something is true or probable but lack proof or certain knowledge.
~"I suppose I got there about noon"
~synonyms: assume, dare say, take for granted, take as read, presume, expect, take it; More
* be required to do something because of the position one is in or an agreement one has made.
~"I'm supposed to be meeting someone at the airport"
~synonyms: meant, intended, expected;
bugbear ˈbʌɡbɛː (noun)
* a cause of obsessive fear, anxiety, or irritation.
~"the biggest villain is that adman's bugbear, saturated fat"
~synonyms: pet hate, hate, bane, irritant, irritation, dislike, anathema, aversion, vexation, thorn in one's flesh/side, bane of one's life
* (archaic) an imaginary being invoked to frighten children, typically a sort of hobgoblin supposed to devour them.
adorn əˈdɔːn (verb)
past tense: adorned; past participle: adorned
*make more beautiful or attractive.
~"pictures and prints adorned his walls"
~synonyms: embellish, decorate, furnish, ornament, add ornament to, enhance;
You see, our man on the steps was a reductionist. Not by will nor wish, but simply as of fact, and almost certainly as a result of the very evolution which now found itself under the surgery theatre spotlights of its dissecting offspring. For our man reduced all that he was, is, and was to be, to a by-product of evolution. If he saw in love, desire, hate, fear, doubt and relief mere tools for assuring that one’s genes were not only passed on further in time and wider in space, but that next time around they would find themselves in a better place to repeat that process than anybody else’s, it was because a thousand generations had honed that trait, for with this information, as with all information, came power, and where power lies men prosper. With this reflection the man’s mind passed to an anecdote he once heard of Ghengis Khan,* that 16 million of his descendants were at large in the present. ‘And the meek shall inherit the earth,’ he muttered to himself whilst shaking his groggy head. Through-out his life he had kept open the hope of finding some trace of god. Not for a voice within nor miracle without, but simply for some pattern built in to life itself that once turned inside out would reveal the hand of a creator. There were times where he had almost believed to have found so, like when he first saw the periodic table, how ordered it was, and thought ‘... the lego of the ‘great builder.’ But curiosity had later led him down paths of discovery which quickly turned to disappointment. The death nail** of these discoveries was evolution, but not for the reason one might think. Most felt that if the ‘survival of the fittest’ was responsible for our being here than nothing else could be. Not so for our stepladder man, he was wise enough to admit that there could be a god who was simply the writer of the rules by which the universe ‘evolved.’
*Ghengis Khan was the founder and Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his demise. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. (SOURCE: Google)
**“Death nail” is a result of confusing two expressions with similar meanings.
The first is “death knell.” When a large bell (like a church bell) rings—or tolls—it knells. When a bell is rung slowly to mark the death of someone, it is said to sound the death knell. But “death knell” is more often used figuratively, as in “his arrest for embezzlement sounded the death knell for Rob’s campaign to be state treasurer.”
Another way to describe the final blow that finishes someone or something off is “put the last nail in the coffin,” as in “a huge budget cut put the last nail in the coffin of the city’s plan to erect a statue of the mayor’s dog.” Something not yet fatal but seriously damaging can be said to “drive another nail” in its coffin. (SOURCE:public.wsu.edu)
reductionism (noun) (SOURCE: dictionary.reference.com)
*the theory that every complex phenomenon, especially in biology or psychology, can be explained by analyzing the simplest, most basic physical mechanisms that are in operation during the phenomenon.
* the practice of simplifying a complex idea, issue, condition, or the like, especially to the point of minimizing, obscuring, or distorting it.
dissect (verb) (used with object) (SOURCE; see above)
* to cut apart (an animal body, plant, etc.) to examine the structure, relation of parts, or the like.
*to examine minutely part by part; analyze:
to dissect an idea.
offspring ˈɒfsprɪŋ (noun)
* a person's child or children.
~"the offspring of middle-class parents"
~synonyms: children, sons and daughters, progeny, family, youngsters, babies, brood; More
* an animal's young.
*the product or result of something.
~"German nationalism was the offspring of military ambition"
*an incidental or secondary product made in the manufacture or synthesis of something else.
~"zinc is a by-product of the glazing process"
* an unintended but inevitable secondary result.
~"he saw poverty as the by-product of colonial prosperity"
~synonyms: side effect, consequence, entailment, corollary, concomitant;
mere mɪə (adjective)
* used to emphasize how small or insignificant someone or something is.
~"questions that cannot be answered by mere mortals"
~synonyms: trifling, meagre, bare, trivial, paltry, basic, scant, scanty, skimpy, minimal, slender; More
* used to emphasize that the fact of something being present in a situation is enough to influence that situation.
~"his stomach rebelled at the mere thought of food"
hone həʊn (verb)
past tense: honed; past participle: honed
* sharpen (a blade).
~"he was carefully honing the curved blade"
~synonyms: sharpen, make sharper, make sharp, whet, strop, grind, file, put an edge on; More
* refine or perfect (something) over a period of time.
~"some of the best players in the world honed their skills playing street football"
anecdote ˈanɪkdəʊt (noun)
* a short amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.
~"he told anecdotes about his job"
~synonyms: story, tale, narrative, sketch; More
an account regarded as unreliable or hearsay.
~"his wife's death has long been the subject of rumour and anecdote"
groggy ˈɡrɒɡi (adjective)
* dazed, weak, or unsteady, especially from illness, intoxication, sleep, or a blow.
~"the sleeping pills had left her feeling groggy"
~synonyms: dazed, muzzy, stupefied, in a stupor, befuddled, fuddled, muddled, confused, bewildered, disoriented, disorientated, vague, benumbed, numb, stunned, dizzy, punch-drunk, shaky, staggering, reeling, unsteady, wobbly, weak, faint;
No, there lied not the fault. To him, it lay with the sheer unjustness of the inner workings of natural selection itself. Our man had met many arse-holes in his life, which didn't surprise him for he knew the world to be jam-packed with such cretins. Each time he had stood before one, particularly in the later more bitter years, he would often think to himself, "how many good, kind, generous, unselfish, loving, docile beings have you and your ego driven, selfish, traitorous, lying, stealing, sexually perverse ancestors taken the place of since the dawn of mankind? When famines came, yours were the ones taking the last loaf of bread out of the village pot whilst no-one was looking and in so doing the only buggers to have survived them, yours were the ones who ventured to strange lands, massacring those found there, taking the women and fields and selling the children to slavery." It’s clearly not a descendent of the dispossessed that would be standing before him at such times, for he knew that being dispossessed was incongruous with survival.
In fact he didn't know which he despised more, the men who did anything and everything to beat the system or the woman who chose the winners. But of course, in time, he had realized that the buck should stop, not at the players, but the games inventor. This train of thought would always lead him to a stark choice between two unenvious possibilities. The first, that natures choosing of the select few, being so inherently cruel and unjust, meant that no righteous god in their right mind could have invented it, and therefore god didn't exist, making ‘the thousand natural shock the flesh is air to’ all the more pointless to endure. The second was more frightening: that natural selection was so inherently cruel and unjust, that it could not have arisen by accident, and so must have been created, and whoever had created it... well.... must be one hell of a sadistic c**t, making those very 'thousand natural shocks' a simple a taster of what’s to come.
In the face of such diabolical alternatives, he let his head, turned heavy under influence of the alcohol his body was struggling to filter out (turned heavier still by the weight of these profounder than usual thoughts) loll to the left. Simultaneously, the balance of weight shifted within his entire soon-to-be corpse. The weight of his head overhanging his left shoulder pushed the centre of balance of his whole body in that direction causing muscles in his arms, both of which were poised upward to the right and whose hands were still holding on to the rope, to contract. The rope, with hands attached, was now acting as a pivot, and his legs and feet, in due obedience with the laws of physics, saw the upperbody’s move to the left and raised it with its own to the right in equal measure. The top of the step ladders, on which the man’s weight had previously weighted, was now pushed off to the right by the feet upon them, who clearly didn’t want to travel alone. This was not looking good for neither man nor step ladder, and for the latter in particular as it's designers, in their race to the lowest build cost they could get away with before the number of potential litigation claims outweighed potential profit, had clearly neglected ‘ease of toppling’ (among all other eventualities it has to be said) as a reasonably foreseeable occurrence to test against.
However, a mili-moment before the point of no return, evolution played its joker: adrenaline. Before the hapless man could have quite possibly taken account of the unrolling of these events, his subconsciousness had already flaired the danger. A burst of adrenaline coursed through his veins, his hands became like vices, his arms locked like steel, and the pivot now became the safety line. His feet hooked themselves around the top bar-rest of the step ladders which were at this point falling faster than the feet themselves. Then, in one determined swoop, the man pulled himself and the ladders into full and proper alignment. A flash of an idea passed through the man’s mind. He... TO BE CONTINUED
Or perhaps not to be continued... Well, not in a way one would expect, if indeed an expectation could have been expected at this particular point. You see, it is here that the second man in this story, the man writing it, would have liked to have continued to explore the depths of despair of the first man in the face of such underwhelming yet overbearing realities of man in general's existentialism. The structure being that with each step up (it was intended to be a high ceilinged house with a rather tall step ladder to reach it) a new depth of despair would have been explored. But the story was also meant to be a story of hope: at the very least a glimmer of hope amongst the stinking pile of crap that can be life, once boiled down to its essentials and the blissful veil of ignorance withdrawn. You see, the man was meant to have reached the top and be at the very cusp of no return when struck by the more than iritating thought that to leave 'this mortal coil' without issuing an excuse for his very soon to be enacted act, however paltry the excuse, to his not very 'loved ones' would have made him even more of an arse in death than he had been in life.
And so, he would have descended the ladders and in a drunken stupour, picked up the nearest writing instrument to hand. As a result of an uninteresting turn of events, not important to mention now, this would have happened to have been a piece of white chalk, broken into a third of its original size (as was and will always be the fate of all chalk sticks in all the known and unknown universes.)
With this crude writing instrument in hand, and encouraged by the half sit, half chaise longue position on the floor that he would have collapsed into through the (what would have then seemed to him like) near monumental effort of picking up the said chalk stick, his choice of substrate upon which to to write his last words would have appeared obvious, if not fated: That very same unvarnished hardwood floor that the second man in this story had intended for first man to find himself upon.
Words... Words strung together to form sentences. Arranged with aforethought these sentences would have semantic meaning. Atleast this was the theory that the first man would have been aware of whilst staring at his blank, though somewhat gnarly canvas. Yet... and yet...
Self expression! The idea would have caused him a shudder registrable on the Richter scale if this story had had been finished with due and proper care. As it is we can only suppose, and in our suppostion we could also imagine what words and sentences would have come to him when he he would have finally broke the seal on his life time prohibition against such self indulgence. At first, the writing would have been controlled and well formed but would have soon have become a flurry of wide half ovals and merging spaces. And the fury of this bursting dam would lead to the whole floor being carpeted with chalky, almost illegible lines of pure internal soul code. The secret workings of man, or at least this very man, our first man, and perhaps quite bit pertaining to our second man, hidden off scene, behind the slightly sweaty keys of his very grubby keyboard.
And both empty, both men fell asleep...
Morning would have broken or just simply have arrived. Light would have pierced the thin eyelids of the chalky fingered man lying over what would have in the coming moments dawned on him to be, had these events taken place, not so lastly of words. His first thought would have been 'f**k.' His second, only slightly more elaborated though none the less crude for it: 'I've got to clear this shit up before anyone comes round and notices.'
This he would have done, and whilst he would be doing so he would notice a perculiar thing: he felt light. But not just this. The day felt light. The room felt light. The air felt light. His breath felt light. The space he could have potentially been occupying had he have been written to have been there, felt light. Even the light that would have struck his face felt light. His very being would have felt... lightened.
At this point, our second man (our ghost of a writer) is going to take charge as time for him is more than of an essence... it's running out. This man of second status fame, much to his own displeasure at doing so so hastily, whisks you to a scene that he would have wanted to describe to you within the story but which he has cut short to a simple description of what he would have written. This is what he wrote:
The stepladder man is lying flat backed on a couch, his head propped by an improvised cushion, his laptop on his lap (of all places.) He finds himself in this position after much deliberation as to the cause of his... erm... lightness. And it took him some time to realize what the cause was, despite the patent obviousness of it all. He had spoken! This may not seem a lot and yet there it was. He had spoken. Not his lips, not his head, not to be obliging, nor to manipulate. Not to make gain, not for a loss to be avoided. Not to maintain an esteem of self among others. To say that he spoke, is in fact misleading. What had happened was that his very being had been expressed, and in so doing, a weight had been lifted. And the logical next step: to continue to do so.
This was why he found himself in the position I just described. He knows he needs to write. But what to write? "Don't make mistakes of the past!" he tells himself, staring at the overly back lit screen. "write what you know, what you've experienced, what, if you dare and dare you must, what you feel, what you have felt."
And so he begins and this is what he began with:
"Four steps and a fall, that's all it will take..."
Though be it by an awkward post scriptum way, you are now being informed that our second man is very much relieved that (though far from satisfied as to the way in which he managed to do so) he had brung his story to an end. He did not know how long his quickly developing dementia would have permitted him to do so, but that matters little now, for he considered his story done. Laying laptop aside for most probably the last time in his life, he settled down to await his inevitable slip into living oblivion.