The short synopsis is that a hateful young man on the verge of suicide is given new purpose in life when the ghost of Robin Williams sends him on a spiritual quest to kill an anime director.
And so, I present to you, the 1st chapter of Notes from Under the Cuckoo's Nest:
It became clear during the first few minutes of 2016 that the world wasn’t ending, so I got myself banned from 4chan by posting pornographic pictures of a 13 year old anime robot pilot on /a/ then turned off my computer with a hammer.
I had been let down by the Apocalypse once again.
When I was nine years old my father had told me about how the Y2K virus was going to shut off all the electronics in the world and our family would live an idealic agrarian existence while the wicked people in the cities burned. 15 years later I think I finally understood my father’s subsequent depression and unravelment when normal life continued its unbearable march.
2015 was supposed to be my year, living wickedly in The City That Never Sleeps with You and crowned by the world ending Third Impact on New Year’s, in which all of mankind’s souls would be collected by God and merged into a giant gestalt being. Instead I was sitting alone in my apartment, drunk off three beers and unable to continue masturbating.
It was time to clean up.
My roommates had all gone home for the holidays, and as long as they aren’t here I don’t even resent them for leaving a mess. The upstairs only had mine and Adam’s rooms and bathroom. I had already cleaned the bathroom this week and knew I wanted to save my room for last, so I start in the living room downstairs by vacuuming up the years’ worth of cocaine and ashes ground into the carpet, the product of Osama’s art gallery internship. Cleaning is good for the soul, and I feel my self-worth increasing in fifty dollar increments just like the contents of the vacuum bag.
No one has really done a thorough cleaning since we’ve moved in. At first we took the garbage out and did our own dishes with some frequency, but any discussion of an organized chore list and cleaning schedule got nixed along with the tentative idea that we should pay for electricity and gas. Instead we agreed that we would just clean when it needed cleaning and everything would stay nice and clean; the same way that gas and electric continued to miraculously appear like mana from heaven, as it had for our Hasidic landlords before us during the year they spent renovating the place. Now at the closing of the holiday season the Hanukah oil was burning itself out.
There was a pile of mail atop the fridge, mostly Viacom bills that Adam, the homosexual, had foolishly let Osama put in his name. Those I placed on his desk along with my share of the payment, disregarding his adamantly homosexual orders that no one go into his room. To his credit, it was easily the cleanest room in the house.
I must confess that I had built some resentment towards Adam, the homosexual, throughout the year. I refer to him here as Adam, the homosexual, but in my private thoughts I always just thought of him as a faggot. It’s hard to admit, publicly in NYC at least, that my contempt for him was so base and bigoted, but it was mostly due to the fact I shared a wall with him and even when he didn’t have a guest of indeterminable gender over, I could sometimes hear a mechanical buzzing sound accompanied by his slutty little moans. All year I had watched with disgust and envy as he paraded his theater friends/lovers around the apartment, some of which were even attractive women that identified as such. How happy they were, always discussing famous playwrights and authors and talking about their grad school prospects. It made me sick. I can scarcely stand joy and laughter from simple and decent folks, much less the type of hip, urbane intellectual I used to want to be.
Even more than his polyamorous queer escapades it made my blood boil defensively when he would discuss white or male privilege. Identity politics, and individuality in general, was supposed to be done away with during Third Impact. Now I only had a Trump primary upset to look forward to.
It’s not that otherwise he was a perfect roommate. He never once cleaned the bathroom we shared, despite sometimes leaving bloody cum filled shit stains in the toilet. Towards the end, especially those two days in October the electric company shut off our power, he was openly hostile to Osama and me, in a very faggy and passive aggressive way. Osama came home at 3 AM and was entertaining some young up and coming urban artists over candle lights and a tinny twenty dollar boom box. Rather than go down there and asking them to turn the music down, he started stamping his feet in an impotent temper tantrum. I think I heard him crying when Osama took that as an invitation to turn the music up and invite any little fag boys to come downstairs and do some drugs like a real man. Despite Adam’s cultural sensitively, I think he was deeply disturbed when Osama went up to his door and adjoined with the chorus of the arrangement he was playing.
“I Leave you stanking my African-American brother, what the fuck you thanking my African-American brother?”
It was partly out of spite for Adam’s sodomite ways that I joined in the next time the chorus came around and followed Osama downstairs to do some drugs like a real man.
It’s not that I was altogether heartless to Adam, try as I might. As you might have guessed, I myself am afflicted with some degree of mental illness, so I’m not completely ignorant of the plight of homosexuals. We sometimes discussed literature, and after a discussion of the origins of the crime procedural genre, I lent him a copy Crime and Punishment. I once heard him watching the 24th episode of Evangelion, although the fact that it was the English dub left a foul taste in my mouth. It is these small moments of understanding that I try to remember as I stand in his room with my share of the Viacom bill. In a fit of reconciliatory love, I leave enough money to pay Osama’s share too, as Adam will surely get nothing out of him. I feel a deep sense of forgiveness between us, until I see a copy of Dear White People on Adam’s desk, and take Osama’s share back to spend on booze and cleaning supplies.
The novelty of cleaning relaxes me. There’s something cathartic about casting off old things. I throw out all the bottles and dishes in the sink, watching them break and fragment like my academic career. My smartphone spits and pops in the microwave, the radiation turning all the old text messages from Karen into metallic smoke. I’ve opened all the windows to let out the smell, but even in the cold I’m sweating from the exertion of cleaning.
I considered putting my TV on the sidewalk with a free sign, but getting that thing out of the apartment is probably more trouble than it’s worth. I’ve given away all my things before, when I graduated high school. Books and video games to various friends. A $200 dollar TV to my church. Very expensive when you’re working part time at A&P. I gave my camera and developing equipment to a girl I met in photo class, even though I knew she didn’t possess any talent, and wouldn’t fuck me either way. To my brother I gave a photo of us and our father fishing off the beach at Montauk. It was in the old camera he gave me when he was casting off all his earthly possessions, and remained there for years until I decided I was to become an artist of some sort. When I first got into photography in High School, I tried to develop all my father’s old film, destroying or degrading over half of it with light leaks and finger prints, and passing off the rest in class as my own.
Cleaning and giving away things is quite common before suicide, even if you choose to go via a messy method. I had heard of a man who emptied out his entire house, fixed his plumbing and electrical, and then proceeded to burn his house down around him.
Of course, I rent, so I’d rather not have any debt hanging over my spirit.
There’s a small ant colony inhabiting the thick layer of black slime on the bottom of the sink, so I plug the drain and send a boiling deluge from the tea kettle down upon them. I pray that as it is below, so can it be above, but it has become clear to me that God helps those who help themselves, so after I finish cleaning the apartment I go into the world to do just that.
I've not gotten much further then this, just mainly vignettes set apart from the main plotline about me going out drinking with Osama and bumming around my hometown, the former set before the main plotline and the latter after. It's highly autobiographical, as are most first novels, but I'm not quite the MC, and the MC's relationships are not quite mine. For example, my father is alive and well, and never had any sort of hope for the apocalypses, but I'm kinda making the MC's father a proto-MC, who could not deal with normal life and eventually left his wife and children to go lie in a ditch somewhere. I'm probably going to nix the implication that he killed himself, as I want him to be homeless and mentally ill instead.
I intend it to be a kinda expose on the 4chan generation, angry young men raised by single mothers and anime with no place in the world at large, the same way Dostoevsky wrote Notes from Underground about displaced Russian intellectuals who no longer had their noble parents wealth. I don't know if I'll ever get over 15K words with it (I'm at 11K now), and I doubt I'll ever get published, but I have a horrible suspicion that there are many young men like me and I like to hold a mirror up to them if I can.
I'm looking for any kind of feedback. Would you read the second chapter, or is the first too disgusting to continue? I expect that it'll be highly offensive, and the MC is going to be horrible human being throughout, but I've gotten positive reviews so far from