In each moment, there are nearly an infinite amount of possible ways to act, think, or feel to construct the latest present. In this present, moldy bread and stale wine fill the air of your small apartment as you decide what your next brush stroke should be. Sitting in front of your canvas for over three hours now, the beginnings of drug withdrawal can be felt in the slight tremors that gnaw on your body. The only accomplishment of the day can be seen in the small hand painted on the corner of your canvas.
You think to yourself: I need this work to be perfect, because if it is, it will be put in a gallery where people will gawk and stare at me as if I am a god. Women will fight for over my body and men will fight over my art. Future generations will read about me in textbooks and use me in everyday conversation when something amazing is done! ‘Little Timmy is quite the Icarus!’ Or ‘Marc is an Icarus in the sack.’ These dreams guide your hands towards the artwork. All of this, and more, if this next brush stroke, and the thousands after it are made correctly. Leaning in close to the canvas, you angle the stool you’re sitting on so only two of the three legs are on the ground. With an outstretched arm and a slow exhale, the brush steadily approaches the canvas. So close now, so very close.
“Ic-a-rus!” screams your Turkish landlord. Looking up, Aydin’s surprising stature is seen standing in front of your door. With forty-five years of pathetic behind him, Aydin has aged into a stout, hairy man. With his poor posture and splotchy skin, his only redeeming qualities are the determined traits of an immigrant and a mustache. It isn’t clear why he has been working on the door for the past hour, but what is clear is that it has been incredibly distracting. Making for his scream to be especially disruptive.
“Aydin! Can’t you see I’m fucking busy‽”
Your outburst surprises the old man for a spell, until he realizes who you are.
“Telephone is for you,” he explains. Getting up, in a show of disdain of the landlord, you clip Aydin’s shoulder while exiting the apartment. He mutters something in another language and walks away as you head to the communal telephone in the middle of the hall. The narrow stretch of hallway rises from one of the ugliest colors of carpet ever seen: vomit orange. Above the carpet, you see once more a considerably offensive use of wallpaper. In a strange show of decorative investment, the wallpaper holds beautiful flowers, making for an aesthetic clash with the carpet that comes off as almost sarcastic: as if the designer chose to mock the residents of the rundown apartment complex.
Reaching the telephone in the center of the hallway, you check the time on a nearby clock: 10:30, A.M or P.M—impossible to figure in the windowless area, but either way it doesn’t matter to an artist.
“Hello?” you ask.
“Hello, beautiful. How are we feeling this morning?” responds the mystery voice.
“Is this who I think it is?”
“I don’t know. Who do you think this is?” hums the voice.
“Thomas, I swear to God...” the charismatic drug dealer laughs as you begin to threaten him. The raspy in and out laugh moves around his receiver making for a short lull where only the volume of his cackle changes.
“Oh, Icarus, of course it’s me! Who else would it be? Do you even have friends?”
Attempts at pithy one-liners fail to appear. These moments always pass by so bitterly. “What do you want, Thomas? I’m in the middle of something.”
“I have a proposition for you. It involves your little problem.”
You struggle to remember a problem with Thomas. It either involves owing him money for heroin or for pot. Which does he provide? No way of knowing over the phone.
“What problem is that?”
“You owe me two-hundred-and-twenty dollars for that heroin, remember?”
There it is. Leave it to me to borrow money for the more expensive option. How good of me. “Oh, of course I do, Thomas. I’m working on getting your money right now.” You lie.
“Put down the paint brush, Icarus. I have real work for you.”
Hearing this makes you a little worried. When a drug dealer offers you the chance to work off your debt, it’s always bad. Refuse the work and you’re likely to get hurt by the dealer, and if you accept, you’re likely to get hurt for the dealer. The distinction is hardly worth the effort.
“What kind of work?”
“I have something new coming to the docks and my friend needs help moving it,” Thomas replies.
“Just that, Icarus. What d’ya say?”
Do you want to take Thomas’s job? (go to Three.)
Or do you want to decline Thomas’s job? (go to Two.)