Life and death are a series of stupid miscalculations.
You’ll see what I mean.
My parents love to remind me that I was their “Little Accident.” Meaning that my father was either too drunk to wear a condom, or whatever birth control they were using failed. However you break it down, my birth was a stupid miscalculation.
Every choice can result in something unfortunate, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Every time I find myself at a crossroads, I choose the wrong path. And if I’d just been doing what I was supposed to be doing on the day when I made the biggest mistake of my life, none of this would have happened, and I’d still have….
Look, I’m not sure what’s important to you and what’s not. You probably want my name.
I’m Hunter Samuel Thompson. Not to be confused with the much more famous Hunter S. Thompson. I’d like to tell you that I’m just a normal teenager who goes to parties and enjoys them, that I don’t mind leaving the house, that I don’t take so much Prozac that I practically piss tranquility, and that I have friends, lots and lots of friends. But if I told you all that stuff, I’d be full of shit. Being weird is bad enough; I’d rather not be full of shit, too.
I’ve been to exactly one party in my entire life. I lasted until about 8:15 p.m. We played a game of “Truth or Dare”—which is just about the dumbest game ever created, right? No one actually tells the truth in that game. No one but me—another stupid miscalculation.
Evidently it’s strange not to be circumcised. I don’t know why I’m telling you this, after all the weird looks I got at the party—yeah, kinda like the one you’re giving me right now.
You don’t have to write all this down, do you?
Let me start over. The truth is that I spend most of my time sitting around—alone—munching on Cheetos and playing video games. I’ve always had the hairiest legs in my class, and I’m exactly five foot six and three-quarters. Yes, the three quarters matters to me. I have striking blue eyes—or so I’ve been told by every old lady I’ve ever met—but it doesn’t make much of a difference because I’m short, stocky, have somewhat of a unibrow, and I’m equipped with small hands, big feet, and tiny teeth. No, I’m not a hobbit. But I am a virgin. You might as well know that, because it’s kinda important to why we’re sitting here together like this. And I’m also one of the most insecure people on the planet. But you probably already figured that out for yourself.
Here’s another thing you should know: like most guys my age, I used to be absolutely desperate to lose my virginity—that’s the only reason I tried going to that party in the first place—that’s the reason all of this happened. Sex is supposed to be the best thing in the world. Sex releases endorphins. And endorphins make us happy.
Sex seemed to be the perfect cure for my depression—the only cure.
What can I say? I’m still depressed. I’ve been staring at my shoelaces ever since I learned how to tie them. My depression used to be manageable, in a load-him-up-on-happy-pills-so-he-can’t-ever-keep-a-boner kind of way. But after The Incident, everything got worse, and I’m not sure if it will ever get any better.
Told you I was weird.
It used to be that when I wasn’t playing video games, you could usually find me hanging out with my girlfriend, Stoner Claire. Stoner Claire didn’t know she was my girlfriend. Then again, Stoner Claire didn’t know a lot of things.
When I think of Stoner Claire, I think of us sitting on her bed in the afternoon, while her parents were still at work, as she rolled weed in a wide brown cigar wrapper—she called it a blunt. She would suck on the blunt slowly, holding the smoke deep in her lungs, closing her eyes. She wouldn’t move or speak as she puffed it from her lips like a car with a busted radiator on the side of the road. When she opened her eyes, I always wanted her to see something different—someone more attractive. But she would just pass the weed to me and whisper “maaaaan” under her breath, real slow like that, in appreciation of something I didn’t understand until I began to smoke it, too.
We weren’t exactly in love. But like most awkward kids who are lonely and want a girlfriend, I would have done anything to get Stoner Claire to like me—to have sex with me. So I turned into a total stoner to try to gain her acceptance. I’d smoke weed five times a day, and I started to really like it. I even named my bong—Lola. But drugs are what got me into even more trouble. So, after The Incident, I quit doing them altogether.
Okay, sorry, I’m rambling, I know. But I promise, all of this led to what happened. See, to tell this story, I have to go back to three days after the worst day of my life—after The Incident—when Dick was driving us home in his black BMW. I was sitting in the back, and Patricia had taken the front passenger seat. Dick is my dad. Yes, that’s his real name, and yes, he looks exactly like a penis, especially when he yawns. Either way, stop picturing it. And Patricia is my harpy of a mother—more on her later.
So, we were all in the car and Harpy Patricia kept sniffling to make me feel even guiltier, as if I didn’t already feel bad enough. She wore this loose black dress that she hadn’t worn since my first Communion—she used to try to force us to go to church on Sundays, but like most battles, she eventually lost that one, too. Her roots were coming through at the base of her dyed hair, even though, like most rich housewives, her hairdresser was her best friend.
Dick had been so busy at the hospital that he didn’t even have time to get his wrinkled black suit dry-cleaned. He was too lazy to dye his gray hairs, or have anyone else do it for him. He was even too preoccupied to shave. He looked like a homeless person who’d found a funeral director’s suit in a dumpster. In case you don’t know, surgeons are way too busy for almost everything, including their families. But they always find time to tell you that they’re surgeons, and to talk about how important they are.
I stared out the window as the hills streaked by, thinking about how the gloomy day reflected my mood. I felt like my brain had turned off, like the world was passing me by. I wanted it that way. The Incident had turned all the people in my life into emotional wrecking balls. They had all taken their swings at me. I could see them coming but couldn’t get out of their way. And they kept at it until there wasn’t much left of me to wreck.
We spent the entire car ride back from the countryside in silence and sniffles. I had planned on saying something, but I had no idea what. I didn’t even know if I could say anything. My vocal chords were tied in a knot. And it felt like there was a noose tied around my stomach.
The tall buildings of the city came into view at dusk. The sky turned purple and the metropolis ignited into a thousand stars—which would have been a beautiful sight to a normal person.
But I’m not normal.
We sped across the bridge, over the expanse of the deep blue lake. The rivets in the road caused the car to bounce in a perpetual rhythm.
My house is located in a quiet neighborhood just outside the city—it snows a lot in the winter and rains just as much in the summer. We live in a big house—the type fit for a person of Surgeon Dick’s stature. The house is excessive—it has gigantic windows, a four-car garage, multiple peaked roofs, and a brick exterior. To put it into perspective, on the very rare occasion I invite people over to my place, they often tell me it feels like they’re entering a castle.
Too bad this castle is always completely empty.
When we got home, Harpy Patricia went straight for the master bedroom, and Surgeon Dick went straight for the liquor cabinet. I sat at the kitchen table with my back to the swimming pool to eat a bowl of Corn Flakes. My dad brought his whiskey to the kitchen and sat across from me at the table. The golden flakes rang through the air as they crashed into the empty bowl. The milk splashed like rain. And with each crunch, I broke through the deafening silence.
My dad just sat there, sipping his glass of whiskey, staring out at the pool through the sliding glass doors. Then, he turned to glare at me. I avoided eye contact, because I knew the guilt would return if I looked into his eyes.
After a bit, Surgeon Dick asked, “What?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Oh, you don’t have anything to say?” Surgeon Dick asked.
I couldn’t think of a single thing to say that he would want to hear as he stared into my eyes as if he were searching for my soul. I wanted to tell him it wasn’t my fault. That Harpy Patricia shouldn’t have left me alone that day. That if Surgeon Dick didn’t work so much, none of this would have ever happened. But instead, I bit my tongue. And Surgeon Dick winced at his whiskey.
My stomach was on the floor at this point, hanging from the noose. I had lost my appetite. So I got up, rinsed out my dish, and escaped to my bedroom.
I could stare at a ceiling fan for hours.
That night was no different. I’d been lying on my back for hours, gripping my limp dick, watching as the fan slowly twirled around and around. I’d been trying to jack-off, because that sort of thing is supposed to make you feel better. I’m not sure if my dick was so limp because of my medication, or because of how guilty I felt after The Incident. Either way, I was tired of failing at something that every other sixteen-year-old guy does five times a day—even on a day like that day. I closed my laptop and buttoned my pants.
Then, as Dick got ready for bed, my parents started to have the same fight they’d had every night since The Incident.
Harpy Patricia bawled, “I can barely look at him. After what he did!”
It wasn’t my fault.
Surgeon Dick protested, “He’s our son. What do you expect me to do with him? Toss him out on the street? Patricia, he’s our son.”
Ughhhhhhhhhh. Just kill me. Please, if I’m this terrible, just kill me.
My heart started to race. And I could feel my face getting hot. I wanted my parents out of my life. Surgeon Dick should have wrapped his tool on the night of my conception. They should have just aborted me.
Harpy Patricia snapped, “I wish he was gone.”
I picked up my phone to text Stoner Claire.
Then I placed the phone facedown on my chest and waited for a response.
The fight continued….
Surgeon Dick argued, “You don’t mean that.”
Yes, she does.
I felt like a piece of shit. I was a literal piece of shit. I was a waste of space in this family. Thankfully, my parents were always there to remind me of these things.
Harpy Patricia asserted, “I swear to God, I do.”
I knew that they’d be better off without me—I knew that I’d be better off without them.
My phone beeped on my chest. I picked it up to see that I had received a text message back from Claire.
I jumped up from my bed and made for the window. It screeched through the dead air as I forced it open.
Surgeon Dick declared, “I can’t talk to you when you’re like this.”
And that was my cue to jump out the window.
Don’t worry—I didn’t try to kill myself—my bedroom is on the first floor.
It was foggy that night. I needed to clear my head. I felt like I could breathe again as I walked under the beams of the streetlights that were visible in the mist. And it took less than five minutes to get over to the adjacent neighborhood where Claire lived.
I stepped off the sidewalk and onto Claire’s lawn. My one pair of dress shoes sank into the muck as I trekked across the squishy grass. My heartbeat started to race as I stared at Claire’s two-story Victorian house. It was after ten on a Sunday night, so the house was completely dark, but I didn’t care. I had to talk to someone who cared about me. I picked up a pebble and tossed it at her window. The breeze picked up as I waited for her light to come on. It didn’t, so I picked up another pebble and tossed it. Nothing.
I’m not joking. I literally threw two pebbles before I remembered that I don’t live in an 80s movie. I pulled out my cell phone and dialed Claire. My heartbeat raced even faster.
What if she rejects me?
The phone buzzed three times before she picked up.
Claire’s voice croaked, “What?”
“I’m outside,” was all I said before I hung up and pocketed my phone.
Claire’s lights flashed on, turning her house into a beacon on the dark street. She peered through the glass, and my stomach lurched as I held up one of my hands to wave hello. When she opened her window, smoke gusted from her room, forming a cloud that rose in the cool air.
Stoner Claire took pride in always being high, even before bed—her parents were completely oblivious to everything, even the smell of weed constantly radiating out of her bedroom. Her bloodshot eyes made her look like the undead. Her pale cheeks glowed like moonlight, and her frizzy brown hair exploded from her head. She definitely wasn’t the model type, but neither am I.
I didn’t like her tone. I suddenly realized that she wasn’t going to give me what I needed, but, desperately, I asked anyway. “Can I come up?”
“Not tonight, Hunter.”
She was treating me just like my parents did. Maybe Claire hated me, too.
I felt like an ant being slowly crushed under a foot.
“Actually, not ever again. I can’t even look at you, man,” she added.
Claire didn’t understand. How could she? She wasn’t there on that day. She didn’t have to live with Surgeon Dick and Harpy Patricia. I wasn’t the monster she thought I was, but I had no way of convincing her of that fact. I knew, at that moment, I was destined to be alone—and a virgin—forever. And that was the worst realization of my life.
And then she continued, as if she hadn’t already said enough. “I don’t know how you can come here on a day like today and act like nothing happened.”
She took a slow rip from her bong so her words had time to really sink in. I could hear the bubbles popping in the glass base as my mind blew up with despair. I tried to think of a reply as I watched her suck in the smoke, the red ember in the bowl glowing brighter.
I wanted to tell her that I needed her. That even if she didn’t love me back, I just needed someone to show me that I mattered.
Claire exhaled the hit as she waited for me to say something. It became clear to her that I didn’t have a response. “I don’t know what else to say. I’m sorry. Go home, man. Get some sleep.”
And with that, she closed the window on our relationship forever. She turned off the light and left me in the darkness on the lawn.
I ran home, grabbed my keys from my bedroom, and got into my car. My parents were already asleep, and I knew there was absolutely no way they would hear me leaving—the garage is on the opposite side of the house. I started the engine and floored it.
I wasn’t sure where I was going or what I was doing. It started to rain, and the droplets left trails across the windshield as I sped down the highway. I waited for a cop to pull me over, for someone to stop me from what I was about to do, as I exited the highway and ran a stop sign. I don’t believe in God, but that would have been a good time for him to swoop in and save me from myself. But there was no flash of light from the sky. And no police lights from behind as I wove through traffic toward the exit. There was just me and my choices.
I pulled into the parking lot of a ShopMart and drove behind the building where the loading docks were.
This was it—the end.
The idling car’s engine purred as I stared at the cinder block wall. I expected the tears to come. I wanted to cry, to feel sad, to feel angry, to feel something, but I didn’t feel anything. Nothing mattered. I didn’t matter. My parents didn’t matter. What happened didn’t matter.
They were right about me—I knew that I was a terrible person. It felt like thousands of pins were prickling every inch of my skin as I came to terms with what I was about to do. My mouth felt chalky, but I didn’t want water. I didn’t want, or need, anything anymore.
We come into life alone. And we die alone.
At that moment, I was more alone than I had ever been.
I pressed the pedal to the floor, slammed the car into drive, and peeled out toward the wall. The last thing I remember was the sound of metal slamming into concrete, and the airbag going for a knockout punch.
Another stupid miscalculation—I should’ve disabled it.
After that, everything went black.