*Hikikomori -The phenomenon whereby an individual becomes a recluse from society, typically confining him- or herself to the house or a single room…
Doggedly work my way through season 3 of Deep Space Nine, meticulously comparing it with the novelizations on a blog I maintain with an .org suffix, only quitting my fiefdom on Saturday nights to attend a Warhammer 40k battle royale, a block from my house, where I’ll pit my green-skinned hordes of rage against the emperor’s finely armored loyalty.
Wallpaper my room with faded posters of Vietnamese pop stars; crank up a karaoke machine at the ass end of the day and reenact Robin William’s lines from Good Morning Vietnam, nailing his singularly annoying voice – pitch perfect.
Use a Youtube tutorial to learn how to knit a sweater for each major mountain peak (in a range of colors); then sell them on Ebay under the moniker ‘Mountaintop Mike’.
Right every wrong on every internet forum. Ever.
Pen reviews about avant garde theater performances I’ve never seen – so convincingly – that I’m asked to fill a monthly column for money and offered a grant by the Thespians of America Fund that can be diverted via Paypal to the accounts of Japanese girls as incentive to engage in sexy cosplay, ‘sexy like’, via webcams. The scarlet witch and Mrs. Fantastic are favs.
Tunnel to my parents’ bedroom with a filched metal spoon only to emerge on the other side 3 and a half years later, startling them awake, and announcing my triumph with ‘Mon dieu! Enfin libre!’
Reject world of WoW as being too much of a ‘social entanglement’
Find myself embroiled in a romance with that rarest of rare species – a female hikikomori (one building over) use old school IM (pen, paper, binoculars) to communicate my unrequited love; badgering her with my analog texting (legal pad sheets taped to the window) until she shuts the curtains for good on me.
Watch my mother cry at the kitchen table one night while my father, wearing a wifebeater, quietly consoles her in hushed tones.
Join anime fan forums masquerading as a girl who loves glitter, emaciated teenage boys, microwave pizza and steamy cosplay.
My sister comes to visit. As usual she refuses to cross the threshold of my room, as though she feared contamination, but seems to have no problem hurling insults across it.
Have a green screen adventure week by skyping a few others; at the end, after we’re all tuckered out by watching Frodo’s long strange journey, and everyone has signed off, I pop on a paper party hat, and blow a birthday horn – happy 20th birthday to me.
Venturing out for a comic con only to experience anxiety that not even 3 valium and 6 gin and tonics can crush. End up locking myself in a Sheraton inn room where I sink into the bathtub with old back issues of First and Comico titles. Mid-way through a stack of GrimJack and all pruned up after 72hrs in the water when the hotel staff and local police finally break down the door.
Sit on my bed shaving my legs in a Peter Pan outfit I pieced together out of mother’s green felt cloth. With one eye on John Barrymore’s masterful performance as Hamlet on a grainy old box tv, occasionally nicking myself and shouting: Madness in great ones must not unwatched go!
Mail order every naval ship that saw action during the Second World War and painstakingly assemble them and then reenact the battles in full appropriate uniforms likewise mail ordered from a fellow enthusiast and tailor from Kansas City.
Go around the house collecting materials (back issues of old magazines, discarded wicker baskets, unused kindling, hammer and nails snatched from father’s work bench) and shape an iron maiden (with feather dusters for the spikes).
Create a rip line delivery system designed to carry morsels from the kitchen to me. Mom shuts it down after only a few (semi-successful) runs.
Use Google Earth to monitor the exterior of Peter Jackson’s house. Pen a screed every other day, the contents of which detail his incompetence citing the Hobbit trilogy at length.
Make umbrellas out of mom’s old dresses spraying them with industrial starch until they are water resistant. Pawn them off, on suckers and in bulk, on Ebay before the starch wears off.
Write several odes (87 in all) to David Vetter and post them on a blog entitled IN(CAP)SULATED with links to a SCID charity.
Bought a 100 pack of fine-tip colored markers and a 200 pg Star Wars coloring book. Spent the next three days popping mom’s Xanax trying to achieve the perfect shade of Bobba Fett aqua marine and painstakingly coloring in the Wookie one hair follicle at a time.
Jump up and down on my bed playing call and response with myself – shouting “Kaneda?!…….Tetsuo?!”
Pop 60mg of Aderall and slather myself with Ketonal gel until I’m vibrating with numbness, lie down on my bed with arms crossed vamp style and drop off into a deep slumber, levitating just a little.
My sister is shipped off to France where the shame of my life cannot reach her. I write her long loving emails and include photos of my model war planes. She doesn’t ever respond.
My mother leaves to live with her sister in Matsue. On the day she leaves she stares at me while I play a video game. She doesn’t interrupt me. She tells me she is leaving and I pause the game and ask her for how long. She gives me a tired look. She turns and leaves. I turn back to the game.
As I lay down to sleep one night I thought back over the last 27yrs of my life. I could recall a succession of firsts: days at school, introductions, play dates, first trips to the museum, spankings, humiliations, embarrassments, bullying. Each memory was fraught, electric with anxiety. I’ve never dealt with social situations well.
All that changed when I met Erika age 12. We had choir class together and she stood next to me on the rickety bleachers and I could smell her perfume. We went to the same birthday parties and bowling/pizza parties. She was pretty and other kids liked her. I made some friends – I even slept over at Derek’s house and didn’t wet the bed.
I remember it was at Erika’s 13th birthday party. We were at a kid’s pizza place with lots of games and stuff. I’d bought her a gift, a yellow polo shirt that I was sure she’d like. She opened Derek’s gift first – he’d bought her the same yellow polo. She gasped and hugged him. I’d told him about it the day before that I’d overheard her talking about it at school. He’d stolen my idea and now she was hugging him I don’t know why I got so mad. I don’t remember what happened exactly I was just suddenly on top of him, punching him. After that I had to apologize to him and his family. No one wanted to talk to me at school and the summer break started. I never went back.
My father sits in the living room drinking Orion Southern Star and smoking Golden Bats I sip tea out of a Perfect Blue collectors cup. We sit in separate rooms. Sometimes he buys microwavable food.
I’m in a program now. I am 30 yrs old. I clean office buildings at night and hardly ever speak to anyone. When the nights’ work is done I sometimes stand on one of the top floors or on the roof of an office building and look out over the city and the sun comes up spilling its rays over the people and over me and for a moment we are together the people and me.
I lay awake at night and think of a spring day when I was a kid. I went with my dad to the park. It was a spring day and the sun was shining.
We flew a long red dragon kite that we’d put together from a box set. I still have the box.
The next morning I got up and spent the next 72hrs recreating the kite out of cardboard and spent all morning painting it red.
From my window I could see the sun breaking out from behind the clouds. I got dressed, putting on my sweater and windbreaker. And went to the living room to get my dad.
Judson Hamilton lives in Wrocław, Poland. He is the author or three chapbooks: Celebrity Slumbers (Cervena Barva Press), No Rainbow and Black Box (Greying Ghost Press) and a novella entitled the Sugar Numbers (Black Scat Press). His short story collection Gross In Feather, Loud In Voice is forthcoming from Dostoyevsky Wannabe in Spring 2017.