By Hope Daryl Talib
Nineteen-year-old Mitch Cabrera was lying in her bed while waiting for the day to end. It was a beautiful day, she admitted to herself, with bright blue clouds and flowers blooming everywhere on the street, but she was too lazy to go outside, even to move, for that matter. She had even hired a personal assistant to prepare her clothes, comb her hair, and even to brush her teeth.
“Lina!” Mitch shouted. “Turn the TV on!”
Lazy ass! Lina thought as she rushed to Mitch’s room. She can’t even turn the TV on herself. She did what she had been ordered to do and then handed the remote control to Mitch. “Here!” Lina said louder than she had intended.
“Wow,” Mitch said. “I think someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed. I would’ve slapped you, but it takes too much effort.”
Mitch was unaware that a stranger was watching her closely from a window. Lazy, lazy, lazy. Why are you like that, Mitch? You might regret it someday. Who knows? It might even be today.
Mitch dismissed Lina with a wave of a hand so she could watch TV alone. She turned it to Star Movies and settled in her bed, watching one of her favorite movies, Confessions of a Shopaholic.
Mitch had dropped out of college so she could spend more time watching TV and eating cheese puffs with cold mayonnaise. School was too much work for her. All the writing and moving was too much. Finishing the drink with one loud gulp, she threw the can of soda somewhere, knowing her paid hand would clean after her.
She watched TV and ate cheese puffs for the rest of the day. Not much happened in the house, and she didn’t have to worry about money either, because her parents, who had died a month ago, had been rich enough to provide for her. Now Mitch just had to mooch off her inheritance and never had to lift a finger. Mitch got money, Lina, and the entire house. What more did she need?
To live, thought the stranger watching Mitch. To totally live her life. Not just to exist.
“See you tomorrow!” Lina told Mitch before leaving her. As soon as Lina closed the door, Mitch sighed and continued watching a TV series and feasting on pepperoni pizza that her assistant had ordered for her. The TV later showed a boring documentary about starving children in Africa. Mitch wanted to change the channel, but the remote was too far from her. I’ll get it later, she thought, and she continued to eat. Why is chewing so tiring?
Little did Mitch know that the stranger watching her was already pouring gasoline around her house.
“Hurry up!” Mitch shouted to the TV. “I’m trying to watch my soaps!” The documentary was taking forever, and she didn’t give a rat’s ass about the subject. What am I supposed to feel? Pity?
The stranger lit a match and dropped it into the gasoline. Fire instantly ignited, swallowing Mitch’s house in flames. If she moved, she could live. If not, she would be a human barbecue. Mitch coughed and looked around her house, with red and orange flames surrounding her. The only exit was the window.
But Mitch couldn’t get up. Or she wouldn’t. Whatever her choice was, the stranger left her there to decide.