Short Story: “A Walking Stereotype”

Mel Lombard heard the same thing his entire life, “you’re just not right for it.”

When he was just two years old, his mother, a failed actress, decided show business would be Mel’s future. She took him on audition after audition and to be fair, he won a few roles here and there; enough to make Elize feel justified in forcing this life upon her son. She would tell herself, “Sure, he’s the baby in the paper towel commercial now, but who knows where he’ll end up? After all, Leo was on growing pains.”

It didn’t matter that Mel hated it. As far as he knew, he had no choice. But as he grew older, he realized he did in fact have a choice. He never chose to exercise that god given right, mind you. Instead he chose to rebel subtly. He would botch auditions, or purposely take as long as he could so that him and Elize were so late, they wouldn’t be allowed to audition.

The older he got, the less subtle the rebellions became.

Then drugs came into the picture. Cocaine, specifically. From his first line on, cocaine had a tight hold over Mel. It didn’t matter that he was a walking stereotype: the drug addicted child actor. Hell, he figured there was a reason it was a stereotype in this first place. So he intentionally threw himself further and further down that rabbit hole.

Before he could reach the bottom however, Elize passed away in a car wreck, and the hole suddenly became deeper. Mel didn’t want to feel anything. He wanted to focus on the wasted life his mother had created for him, but he couldn’t help but remember the good.

He couldn’t forget the nights spent at the local ice cream parlor after an intentionally botched audition. Mel never had the heart to tell his mom he didn’t need cheering up, that the ice cream wasn’t necessary. After all, he was a child, and what child didn’t love ice cream? Those nights also seemed to be the only time Elize cared more about being his mother than making him a star.

Thoughts such as these weighed down his heart considerably, and it’s with this heavy heart that Mel decided to lock himself in a seedy hotel room in the heart of San Francisco. It was the type of place hookers conducted their business frequently, the type of place where an addict could have the privacy he needed to fight like hell to kick his nasty habit. He may have considered his life up until this point wasted, but he began to think, “why waste the rest?”

There was still so much living to do, so much potential. All he had to do was get a particular monkey off his back. Unfortunately it was easier said than done. For most it requires a vast support network. All Mel had was the Asian lady at the front desk, and as nice as she was, she wasn’t going to be much help.

For as time grew, the cravings became worse. It didn’t help that he was pretty sure he could knock on any random door in this place and score. No, what he needed was something to keep him going, some sort of motivation. Anything would do, anything at all.

There had to be something, right? Had he really flushed what little life he had down the toilet in a futile attempt at rebellion?

Anything would do.

Anything at all.

A woman?

No, the last one he cared about was Tina, and she said her goodbyes when she went off to get clean, only to overdose on a bad batch of white a week later in the janitor’s closet of the rehab she checked into. No one could ever be sure where she got the batch from, but Abe the janitor was unceremoniously let go from his position within the week.

Coincidence?

You be the judge.

There were no children in the picture. At least not that Mel knew of. Many a nights spent wrapped up in the embrace of some strange, riding bareback, made it impossible to know that for certain. Even if he had knocked up one of those unlucky ladies, the result of their drug fueled fucking wouldn’t have any interest in meeting their junkie father. Why would they? How could they be proud to call Mel, a high school drop out with a couple of commercial credits to his name, their father?

No, there was nothing keeping him here…

Wait…

“There’s nothing keeping me here,” thought Mel.

Everything finally became clear…

He knew there was only one way out.

THE END

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Mr. X
drunkensailor2010@yahoo.com