::: the novel written in seven hours :::
Conversations such as these between Eric and Dave were hardly rare. The pressures of genius lead to an early breakdown of their friendship. The connection the two men shared began extraordinarily intense, as they knew each other in a thorough and satisfying way. It was only after Dave started to place greater and greater amounts of pressure on Eric to take advantage of his peculiar disposition, the Eric quickly began to resent Dave's insistence. Complacent with mediocrity, Eric enjoyed his life, the burdens of genius and the human salvation backfired into a quiet and dull localized apathy. Eric simply didn't care. Humans to him were the objects of their own actions, who was he to interfere? He was not omniscient, he couldn't see or read people's thoughts, he simply had a hyper-keen sense of all that people were capable of accomplishing, he had a vision of human potential. Such was his lot in life. As always, the conversations between Eric and Dave deemed rather unproductive. Dave became too aggressive, and Eric would retreat further into his sacrificed potential. No matter how he encouraged Eric, Dave could never make his "student" see his true potential.
Dave left, unasked. He climbed the stairs to a rather charismatic used bookstore, there, lost upon the unkempt rows of tattered, faded, and previously read books, Dave thought. Several points of key contentions played strongly in this quandary. Eric was far from a savior-archetype. His college pot-smoking habit left a definitive stain on the pristine soul of the average redeemer. There was that one overly zealous stripper that Eric's friends provided for him on his twentieth birthday that left him with the unfortunate, yet transient, case of gonorrhea. And now it was that woman, the goddamned woman who would either entirely ruin Eric or extract his full potential and reveal it to him in its pure form. She was a woman, eternal in her beauty, precise in her perceptions, she knew humanity as though she hand picked each and every member. She was never content, she was insatiable. But she was driven, driven by some internal force that would not cede. As Eric evolved towards the mediocre, she actively advanced towards the exceptional.
The first time Dave had noticed her was as she walked down a street. It was a harsh October evening, the season's first hats and mittens were first appearing darting from building to building. She walked down the street, arms crossed, she wore a plain sky blue T-shirt, her breasts reacted to her deliberate walk, removed from the constraints of a bra. She was apolitical, purely egocentric, and deliciously perfect. Before her, no one had existed. Her recognition of people caused them to exist. She held no power, her potential or history was written in no books. She simply was herself. She was random and rare and no one could figure her out. That, Dave had gathered as she simply walked down the street. She was not from Ann Arbor, she had not lived here a long time, she was young, but lost her innocence when she was born and her nativity began only in the fact that she had simply not allowed enough people to exist. She did not believe in love, she knew what it stood for, she knew she would have to sacrifice some of herself, and that simply was not an option. The problem was significant. How could Dave bring together a resistant and disillusioned computer programmer with this woman. How could they meet? Eric would be content running away with some two-year community college secretary, making babies and spending his Saturdays painting a garage a light blue to match the shudders. Eric didn't mind things. Eric would shrug his shoulders, allow for human error and was often impressed with people he would meet on a daily basis. Eric challenged no one and accepted everybody. Eric felt the unnatural state of his acceptance, but welcomed it as it offered to squash his burdensome feeling of potential. Dave was confronted with the drive of making two polar human beings come together, to allow them to compliment each other. He knew this braless wonder walking down the street did not have the patience for someone like Eric. He knew that she would be able to see him for what he truly is, for all the hard work that he refused to commit to. But why should this woman care? She didn't need Eric, and Eric needed her. The dichotomy here couldn't work. There needed to be a situation in which this woman would actually need Eric. Dave left the bookstore.
It had been several months since Chloe had been dropped off in front of the high school. She had been enjoying herself, her independence, and her sleeplessness. The libraries on campus would suffice for a short while longer, migration would soon be approaching. She did not know where she was to end up next, she simply didn't think about it. She had slept with three people, less than one man a month. They had all been far too preoccupied with her than she could ever imagine being with them. She craved quiet and solitude. She photographed men and women, she would keep them tucked away in a algae green paper folder she had bought for herself. The art school paid nude models well enough for her to subsist on the meager yet highly eccentric life she led. It was bliss. She would stand up in front of the students, disrobed, students would pretend that her body didn't matter, only the way the brushstrokes made her body look mattered. They could do little more than pretend. Art students couldn't paint her, she would be asked to come back less often. She could stand perfectly still, she was never cold, she needed no breaks. The artists could simply not paint her, to capture her essence was impossible, there was something far too real that made any attempt to paint her, to dull her reality, trite and wholly uninspiring.
Eric had come back from another day of work. He was paid that afternoon, his raise had not gone through. It made no difference, Eric never found reason to spend money. There was nothing material he really wanted. There was really nothing at all that he wanted. He often wished to escape his life. Not the life that he led, but simply his own mortal self, the shell of his existence that come to be act as a boundary, the limits clearly set and his existence stifled by the perimeters of his mortality. Suicide was simply not an option he considered. Although increasingly and perpetually dissatisfied with his life, he really could find no reason to end life in general. It was not worthwhile. Dave's periodic visits were bothering him more and more. His apartment was increasingly disheveled and he began to resent the nightcaps that Meghan would often invite herself to after their late night excuses to work together alone at the office. He knew that he was nothing more than an anecdote for her loneliness and the fear of her own thoughts that would cause her to banter incessantly in the evenings over makeshift martinis sans olives. Companionship was never a priority for him, yet rarely objected to company, given that Dave would ignore the conversations about Eric's intellectual potential and his insistence that they sit down one Saturday afternoon and figure out a solution that would end oppression, ignorance, environmental degradation, persecution, and religion. What a pain in the ass. It was all such a strange twist of humanity, that over it all he'd prefer a nice cold bottle of Papst. The defeat of humanity, is the distinctly human ability to deceive its own capacity for greatness.
The decision was flawed. He would simply walk up to her, he saw her often, it wouldn't be completely unnatural. She would stop and listen, she would access what he had to say, she would initially not believe him, and then her subtle curiosity would lead her to cooperate with him. All she had to do was meet Eric. He could be a very handsome man, she would be attracted to him. His desire for her, for her acceptance, for her approval, for some sign that she understood the fear of his very own mind, that would draw him to her. What would she get out of it? Nothing. She did not strive for the selfless satisfaction that she could show somebody else their very potential. If this had to be a conscious effort, she would refuse. She needed to be lured in through some ulterior grounds, through some excellent divergence. Eric would have to be able to paint her nude. Dave was a good worker. He researched her well. He didn't even need to follow her around. Surely, someone like her could not have entertained a traditional job, be in a coffee shop or as a waitress. Her intelligence extended beyond academia, she would attend every french movie, absorb it, and ignore the sub-titles. She would rarely talk. Her method of communication was not vocal, it was carnal. Dave discovered the means through which she paid for her room in a once-gradiose house, how she afforded to buy more film for some camera that he never saw her with. It was by pure accident that he sat on a bench and overheard two art students talk about her as she walked by them. They were preoccupied by the enigma that they were ultimately unable to paint her nude. It was beyond the fact that they felt themselves unworthy as artists, it was simply an impossible task, one that had the odd implication of responsibility.
The greatest flaw to Dave's plan was that Eric had never attempted to paint. Eric's sheer genius extended into nearly every academic field, the entire fine arts had been completely, and embarrassingly, ignored. Eric certainly loved music, his extensive and eclectic collection of records provided ample proof for his appreciation of music. Eric enjoyed literature and art, he had even been known on occasion to slip into an opera and completely lose himself in the sweet arias. But to assume that Eric could actually paint, and paint, seemed ultimately over presumptuous. How Dave underestimated Eric! Dave, too old to be climbing flights of stairs, flung himself up through the stairwell and wrapped on Eric's door with the robust vigor of a pubescent boy fingering through the pages of his brother's hidden collection of magazines. Eric didn't know how to respond to this type of unnatural and horribly uncharacteristic enthusiasm.
Dave began screaming through the door, as soon as he heard the first clinks of the unchaining of the lock on the other side of the door.
"Eric, you MUST hear me out. I have a solution to your funk, I have the way out, I brought you something!"
Eric slowly and with a poignant apathy, eased the door open. Dave pushed by him, carrying with him a canvas, and easel, paints and brushes. The randomness of what Dave was carrying certainly caught Eric off guard. Before Eric could even put forth his initial sign of resistance, Dave began a series of orders.
"Eric, I love you, as I love nothing or no one else. Now paint something for me!"
"What the...Does this have anything remotely to do with any of your visits in the past, or have you simply discovered that you are going to give up on me as the savior of all humanity, and now you're going to deem me the greatest artist of the universe. The only one who can truly paint. Where do you come up with the shit you come up with?"
Dave was far from listening. He quite frankly didn't care what Eric had to say, what he thought about this whole situation. Dave knew that Eric liked to try some new things, he wouldn't mind painting this evening. Dave set everything up as Eric continued on his rather extended tirade of this insane idea as it relates to that insane idea.
And it was so. And it was good. Eric and Dave reclined on the sunken couch, they drank their last of an entire string of cheap beer for that evening. They sat there, it was absolutely beautiful. It was perfect. The completed painting, poised on the easel in front of them. Eric had taken his time with it, there was no need to rush, they had all night. Eric had painted his own reflection in the mirror. There was nothing that could have been altered to make it better or worse. Dave's idea had worked. But this, of course, was just the preliminary challenge. Upon discovering that he could actually and perfectly paint, Dave now had to convince his friend that there was an unpaintable woman, who was the savior to the savior. Eric had only to paint her, and she would help him. It seemed to simple, yet obstacles were certain to arise.
...on to Chapter Twelve...
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