A semi-sequential (growing) story.
Part One: Shampoo.
The big problem is that nothing ever works in a way even remotely resembling how it should.
Movies establish a very specific order of events. The guy goes through life, getting everything, until he suddenly loses it all. Then he learns something and instantly gets it all back. Lather, rinse, repeat.
For John, it had been six years since he had learned anything. He had been going through life, playing by the rules, and only managed to watch his dreams slowly die in front of him without any notable achievements in the meantime.
So maybe John had learned something.
John learned that movies suck.
John had taken creative writing courses back at his local community college before he dropped out. He had learned about narrative structure, about how everyone wanted to read a happy ending and no one wanted to write one. He had read a lot of death and love.
At night, his apartment was quiet. He didn’t have a television. He couldn’t afford a television. The one room had a cot on one side of the room, a closet on the other, a hot plate and a blender across from the door. Up against the same wall as the door was a desk with a computer, a stack of paper, and a pen.
Every day after the world had taken its toll on his stiff bones, after the sun had gone down and people had stopped putting change in his cup, John came back to his apartment. Most nights he didn’t take off the makeup for hours. If he took it off later, he’d miss larger parts of his face. Every spot he missed was makeup he didn’t have to put back on the next morning; every spot left painted was pennies for next month’s rent.
He didn’t count pennies. He wasn’t there yet. Rent was cheap enough. This city was shit.
At night, as his pores dried up and drank in the toxic sludge he painted on every morning, John would sit at his pile of paper and stare at his pens. And every night he would attack the paper, pouring the day onto the pages.
At night, the world was too loud for the quiet apartment. To drown out the noise, John wrote.
An America Story