Why Won’t You Leave Me Alone?

Some people hear voices inside their head, others simply hear voices, and it tortures them to death. A sufferer begs you to leave him alone, you and your constant demands.

Harpies torture suicides in Hell. How is it you torture me on Earth? What wrong have I committed that you hover here—beside me, over me, behind me—gnawing at my ears? I toil over work that you’ve assigned. I’m capable and keen. But here you are, explaining how to do the job as if I didn’t know, as if you hadn’t told me seven-million times, as if you hadn’t quite expressed the urgency, significance, and magnitude of this, the very work you hinder with your nibbling talk, your PowerPoint proficiency, your lurid, vaporous breath upon my neck. Be gone, and harry me no more!

Yes. You’re right. Transitional effects will make this presentation sing.

And you. Email after email. It is possible, you see, to forward just the body of the message. The torturous preceding maze of forwards needn’t be included. Understand? Your mail is like a box within a box within a box containing feces. After all the scrolling, tabbing, scrutinizing…what have I to show? Semi-filthy anecdotes. Jokes from MSN. Conspiracies you sent me months ago. I’d trash your mail upon receipt, if only you did not insist on asking what I thought, your face as vivid and expectant as a flower, your fragrance like a poison to my soul.

Yes, I read the 70 Osama jokes and 700 >>s. Yes, they ‘were histerical.’ I laughed and laughed, even as my fingernails were scissoring my palms.

Maybe, hypothetically, I’m waiting for a more important call. A genuine emergency. My mother’s on the floor, let’s say, stabbed and shot and clobbered with a pipe. A pipe—a piece of plumbing. She has dragged herself across the room, sliding in a mere of blood, and has, with desperate effort, dialed me for help, knowing I’ll be there for her, this woman who created me, to whom I owe the world. Instead I’m hearing stories of your drunkenness, the party at your cousin’s house, your dating escapades.

No. You shouldn’t mix a cabernet with bourbon. No, I didn’t know your cousin has a nipple ring. What? The condom broke? So did my mother’s heart, just before she died.

Seventy-five, you say? No, I didn’t realize I was speeding. ‘Officer,’ of course. I didn’t mean to call you ‘pal.’ I’m sorry, sir. I promise to obey the law and treat you with respect. How is that sarcastic? No, I didn’t mean to give you lip. No, I’ve never seen the back seat of a cruiser. It’s only 5pm—I swear, I haven’t touched a drop. Yes, I know the alphabet. I just never learned it backwards. See? I’m able to touch my nose with laser-like precision.

Yes, sir. Absolutely, sir. And thank you for the ticket.

Listen here. I’ve put my laptop in the plastic bin. Removed my coat and shoes. I’ve dropped my quarters, dimes, and nickels, paperclips and staples, jewelry, watch, and keys, buckles, belt, and buttons in the basket. What more metal could I possibly possess? I’ve emptied out my pockets, opened up my case, and shaken out my bag. Let me on the plane. Any flight will do. Just let me fly away from here.

Yes. I understand. A second finger makes the search complete.

I’m seeing someone else. I’ve chosen not to date. I love my spouse. I’m moving soon—today, in fact, I’ve got to pack. I’m also gay. Or straight. Or fond of goats and llamas. Candle-wax and whips are ‘warming up,’ as far as I’m concerned. I fart in bed. I never bathe. My body is a jungle rife with undiscovered viruses and germs. My crabs have shells and pincers. I’m a prostitute. And underage. And murderously dangerous. I kill my lovers, one by one. Carve them up and eat them. Mold their suet into ornamental feeders for the crows.

Yes. Okay. I’m free tonight.

Dear God: I know that you are listening. You see the sparrow’s fall. You count the hairs on every head. You are all-powerful. All-knowing. Can’t you handle this alone? Your humble servant calls to you. I know I sound ungrateful after everything you’ve done, but I am weak and weary-hearted. I am overwhelmed by guilt. I have only so much time to help the poor, and aid the sick, and love my neighbor as myself. When, O Lord, will I have time to watch TV? It’s all I ask—an hour to unwind, and have a beer, and wash away the worry of my day.

Yes. I’ll give up masturbating. Thank you, Lord. Amen.