Oh, by the way, if anyone of an impressionable age reads this, there is naughty language within. Nothing worse than some copious f-bombs, but, there it is.
Those Damn Bells
Roger despised those fuckers from the Salvation Army and their precious, little bells. Standing there with their quaint, suggestive kettles like a legless beggar with a tin cup and mournful eyes. He thought it was how they never spoke that irritated him the most. They just expected you pay your tithe. Like it was your civic, fucking, duty to support the the unconscionable wastrels of the world who did little else for their fellow man than take up useful bench space at the park and demonstrate just how much a person can stink of their own urine. They just stared at you, unblinking. Ringing their fucking bell and waiting. Waiting for you to feed the gaping, unquenchable maw of that damn kettle with your hard-earned money and perhaps silence that damn ringing for as long as it takes the doughy-faced fuckers to spit out a staggeringly insincere thanks.
And the ringing. That fucking ringing. Loud as church bells and as incessant as the rising of the sun on a Monday. It starts as a little tinkle like the laughter of a pixie. Almost pleasant, really. That's how they lure you in. You don't even notice it. It just blends into all the other noise around you. Wind. Birds. People talking. Bell. Dog barking. Car noises. Rustling leaves. BELL. Honking horn. Child crying. People cursing. BELL!
That fucking, fucking, bell!
And then, you finally notice it. You can't help but notice it. There they are. Perched like a vulture on a cactus. Like a cat in front of a mouse-hole. Like a snake-oil salesman at a gullible asshole convention. An enthusiastic little tin soldier from the Militant Altruist Brigade and their cute, little kettle.
And of course, their fucking bell.
Roger didn't know who came up with the idea of the bell but every time it's merciless, cacophonous, din invaded his previously peaceful mind, all he could think of was how desperately he wanted said person to develop a particularly determined case of sphincter cancer. Or, perhaps, get beaten to death with a rusty golf club at their child's high-school graduation. Screaming for the help that never comes.
Thoughts like this always made Roger smile. Thoughts like this also kept him out of customer service jobs. And relationships.
Schadenfreude and non sequiturs aside, though, it all boiled down to the bells. Roger could let all the rest of it slide if it wasn't for those damn bells. Roger was actually a reasonable sort of guy. He could have even put up with the bells once and a while. Perhaps every decade or so would have been quite manageable. Roger was not unreasonable. But Roger had one, small, problem.
One of those miserable, money hungry, joy killing, day ruining, fucks had taken up residence just outside of the office where Roger worked, like a squatter in a condemned building.
Every day he heard the ringing. When he came to work. When he left for lunch. When he came back from lunch. When he left work. Sometimes, on a clear day, he swore he could hear the ringing from his office. This of course, was a dubious gripe considering he worked at an insurance agency on the fifty fourth floor. Nonetheless, the fact that he thought he could hear it did prove the veracity of his suffering at the hands, and bells, of those heartless, holiday, debauchers.
Why baby Jesus, why didn't they just stop that ringing?
Roger was now facing down the beast as he had many times before. Standing across the street from the front door of the building where he worked. He had started to hear the ringing, as he usually did, long before he saw the object of his unfettered rage. He had passed the unpleasant sandwich shop around the corner and was listening to a particularly passionate argument between the unkempt, Armenian owner and a customer who had the rather common personality quirk of becoming mildly furious at finding several hairs in his Italian, and then he heard it. The ringing.
The ringing of those fucking bells.
“How easy would it be” Roger thought to himself as he stared down his mortal enemy across four lanes of asphalt and honking metal. “to just trip the miserable fuck in front of a speeding truck.”
Roger was so awash with giddy, school boy, joy at the thought of the bell ringer bouncing down the street like a flabby, shrieking rubber ball that he didn't notice the walk sign had lit up until it became a cautionary flashing hand with only a few seconds left. He bolted across the street under the chorus of blaring horns, stumbled on the curb, nearly tripped into a woman holding a delivery of flowers and when he finally regained his balance he looked up only to gaze into the sulfurous maw of his own personal Hell.
He then noticed that the ringing had stopped.
It was a profound and wondrous silence. He could hear his heart beating. The chirping of birds. The gentle breeze in his ears. The foot steps of people all around him. It was if the volume of the world had been turned up just for him. All was right in Roger's world and he could die a happy man on this little patch of sidewalk. Happy and content in the knowledge that the last thing he heard would not be the banshee's wail of those fucking bells. He could have savored this moment forever.
But life, much like diarrhea, gives little warning before it shits all over you.
He shouldn't have waited. As blissfully seductive as the moment was, he shouldn't have stopped to relish it. He should have ran into his building like a man on fire, dove into the elevator, hid under his desk, and laughed at his good fortune. Laugh, and maybe cry, just a little. Sweet tears of joy.
But he didn't take his chance, and as he looked at the bell ringer, post bliss. He saw them walking over to him. A look of concern, most likely feigned, on their face.
“Shit, fuck, shit!” Roger grumbled to himself in his usually eloquent fashion. He was in for it now. He could normally deter their ruthless advances with deft control of his body language that would have made Marcel Marceau awestruck. Walk fast. Head down. Movement swift and abrupt. It almost always worked. They rarely ever bothered him. This, they must have thought, is a man about town. A man with places to go and corporate ladders to climb. This is not a man to trifle with. To pester with our begging and harassing. This man of action. This executive warrior. This corporate Ubermensch.
This time, unfortunately, Roger was caught flat-footed. He had no defense. They would pine for his money and he would have no escape. No recourse but to concede. To hand over his monetary life blood to these financial vampires. He was undone.
But no. A great surge of defiance rose within him like a bonfire. No. He would not give in. They had no control over him. It like Dear Abby says: “A person cannot take advantage of you without your permission.” And Roger was ever so a fan of Dear Abby.
He felt a swell of confidence building in him as his mortal foe slithered up to him. This day would be different. This day he would make a stand. This day would be the day that he threw off his self imposed shackles of oppression and began his new life as the man that he always dreamed he could be. The man he was born to be.
This day, the ringing would finally stop.
“Mister, are you okay?” The vomitous mass spewed from it's warbling orifice.
“Uh, yeah. I'm fine.” Roger said.
Roger dropped some loose change into the collection kettle with a pitiful rattle.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow would be the day.