Edward had run into a ghost of his past on the train home. An old friend from a job that he had once held down. They had talked, exchanged pleasantries and in earnest Edward wished him well. Had they been friends? They had been friendly and never near a mean word was exchanged between the two. As close as friends as one could expect from the biodegradable manufacturing plant that shat out human beings into existence, he supposed. They were both disposable. That job had treated them as disposable. They had both moved on from that. They had talked and it seemed that their futures were looking bright. They each had their plans, readying themselves for the future. Or was it just a splicing of words that they had thrown together for themselves, not willing to confront the uncertainty of their future as individuals who were once labelled as disposable and so that label remains. It was a dreary thought. The giant machine shitting out lives into existence, to be caught up in the whirlwind of minds greater than they. Or minds far less than theirs’, whatever it was, their determination for the future was at a spike below the power level. Where they had no say or thought towards their continued existence. He bid his former friend farewell and they parted on good terms. Fading away into the mass ocean of other faces that all bore the tale of a nameless existence.

Edward caught the next train headed home. There at the station he departed and walking the streets, he came across another friend. This friend was from the present. They had found each other in the artistic cross beat. They both bore their talent of a kind. But their gigs were sideshow attractions. They had not been able to earn the respect or vocation of a featured artist in the spotlight. From the nameless existence of being churned out from a job, treated as a disposable tool, Edward had been thrown out to the dogs. There they had chewed on him for a while. He had drunken his fair share of cheap booze, as friends who were there when he had a job and money abandoned him. They had gone on to seek riches and his cross intellectual jam of money being worth a bottle of piss fundamentally clashed with the values that they had achieved. He had been abandoned by some. Sure. Others had found him and seen his written rage as a welcome sentiment. To them his words reaffirmed their own ideological stance and so there were a few who became entangled in his web of thoughts. Thoughts, lies, sentiments. He told the truth there, but one man’s truth is another man’s lie. They talked and had a cigarette. Their time together was brief as his friend waited for the next tram. Edward caught the hint of something. An encounter with an old friend, an encounter with a present friend… This was something reminiscent of Dicken’s a Christmas carol. He stated as such to his friend. His friend said it was weird, but these things happen. His friend told him to stop smoking so many cigarettes and they parted ways.

Edward walked home. He had a few errands to run, things to do. He had to buy a shirt for his new job. He felt that he and his friend were on a different level. The future was about to part with the present and Edward waited for what it would bare. On the contrary of his surmise, his future consisted of buying a white shirt for the new job. Very expensive and something that he found difficult to afford. Then he paid his landlord his rent. Then he went out to get something to eat. He chose pizza. The grease of cheese and the cheap pepperoni. Pizza could hardly be counted as a meal, yet it was what he felt like. He sat there, with his pizza, watching the television screen playing soap operas and nighttime programming. An existence that half the country had been numbed into as they churned away working hours, punching in the clock at the start of the day and punching out at the end. It was far better than being chewed on by the dogs, in fits of desperation and countless hours spent sleeping during the day and being driven mad in a creative frenzy throughout the night. It was better than that. The future was a mall full of plastic mannequins. The future was a middle age man reading the obituaries. The future was fake, crisp and clean. As he sat there, he sat as a ghost, watching the lives of the people continue on in their everyday struggles of parenting and their own jobs. He saw a daughter argue with her mother,as the mother’s mother scolded the daughter and pressured her to be more kind. The machine that shits out lives into existence rolled on and churned away. It was bleak. Yet there was something blissful about the youth of the daughter. The youth’s struggle to make sense of the world and find her own place within it.

Edward felt the loneliness creep in. He wished he could shit out a couple of lives into existence. So that he could see their struggle to make sense of the world. Their struggle to find a place in the world. He had found his own place within the machine and now needed to see to it that the machine continued to churn away. But he was a ghost. A ghost in the machine and as far as things went, for now his future was a blank page.

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