Daniel has wanted to be a writer ever since he was in elementary school.He has published stories and articles in such magazines as Slipstream, Black Petals, Spindrift, Zygote in my Coffee, and Leading Edge Science Fiction. He has written four books: The Sage and the Scarecrow (a novel), the Lexical Funk (a short story collection), Reejecttion (short story/ essay collection), and The Ghosts of Nagasaki (a novel).
An Hour Early
by Daniel Clausen
I always leave at least an hour or so earlier than the others. They’ll go on drinking long after I’ve left. Drunk, I start to walk home. Soon I’m doing a little jog. Then I’m walking again. I’m not going to be a drunk, like my father, I say, silently in my head until thoughts break out into words. Now I’m talking to myself. I think about doing a Yoda impression for good measure. The ground beneath my feet is moist and sticky, but I have no recollection of it raining. I think the most logical thing in my head just to prove that I can. Then I rant about how great I am—real megalomaniac stuff. I say one day I’ll write a novel. As soon as I say it outloud, I’m suddenly depressed. Now, I’m alone on the long path that goes along the Catholic high school to my apartment. The cross at the top of the building isn’t menacing or comforting or anything. It’s just there. I bust out with a few karate moves. When I’m about to cry, I try to convince myself that I don’t love this girl I just met a few weeks ago and that any minute now I can fall into my twenty-third year of life like it’s all some big debauch. Drinking, wild sex, and public nudity to top it all off. I stop to write all this down on a little notepad in my pocket, crazy as I am drunk, but not my father in any way, and continue on my way. An hour early, I feel like I’m always getting home late.
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