Bloodshot eyes peaked at the cuckoo clock hanging on the wall.
It was an old heirloom from good times, and he hadn’t had the heart to remove it from sight. It hung there on the wall serving as a reminder of how quickly the tables can turn against one. It did everything but show the time; the hands had come to a still a long time ago. He was a little relived too; the cuckoo’s call made him grind his teeth in annoyance.
His fingers moved over the keyboard, almost blurring due to the speed of his typing. He was trying his best to gain some control over the impending deadlines that had been imposed on him, but had a long way to go. The clicking of the computer keys usually comforted him, but on this hectic night they only served to remind him of the money he would inevitably lose. There was just too much work to do. Regardless, he kept at it, correcting his posture every time he consciously realized he was hunched over.
The laptop showed three in the morning, by the time he was only half done with the project. The cuckoo clock didn’t have to make any noise for him to incessantly grind his teeth this time. All of a sudden, he stopped. There were too many distractions.
He got up, and began to clear his desk. The dishes piled precariously on one edge went into the sink. He would wash them later when he made more coffee to keep him going. The books went back onto their shelves, and the stationery littered around was arranged in an orderly fashion.
Satisfied, he sat back down only to stop again. His hands were dirty, and he couldn’t bring himself to use the computer with dirty hands. Walking fast towards the small bathroom, he thoroughly washed his hands. Looking at the state of his face, he decided to go for a quick shave.
Unfortunately, the way he was quickly slashing away at the stubble made him nick his skin. Drops of blood began to seep out of is skin, as he muttered a couple expletives.
He finished with the shave and slapped on a band-aid. Unable to resist the urge, he washed his hands once more.
Feeling much better as he came out of the bathroom, he stopped dead in the middle of his studio apartment. The bed was unmade, and the room smelled like cheap Chinese food. This could simply not do. Quickly, efficiently, he perfected the corners of the bedding, opened the windows, and then set a diffuser to work.
There was nothing wrong with the place anymore, so he sat down.
His fingers clicked away at the keys for about ten minutes before he began to crave the flavor of coffee. Yet again, he was up and into the small kitchen where he prepared it with care.
Chastising himself for not having washed the cup before, he got over that hurdle too.
Sipping at the hot drink in his hand, he sat down to work for the umpteenth time. A notification clanged at the bottom corner of the screen.
Battery critically low, please insert the charger.
Rolling his eyes, he plugged in the charger but to no avail. He fidgeted with the wire, plugged and unplugged the power supply wire, but nothing happened. Slamming his hand down on the desk in anger, some coffee spilled on him. As he shook his hand in an attempt to soothe the pain, he let out an impatient growl. The laptop showed five in the morning before the screen went dark.
Tears pricked at his eyes as helplessness and desperation overwhelmed him.
It took only seconds before the reservoir of emotion burst. Little sobs and whimpers escaped him, and he longed for someone to soothe him like a child. Alas, no one came, and he ended up trying to comfort himself; curled up in a fetal position on the floor, the weight of both responsibility and failure crushed him.
Life had been unfair to him, he thought, more unfair than it had been to other people. He did not deserve to slave away for a bare minimum wage. He deserved better.
He chanted the last part, and then soon fell unconscious, body unable to handle the stressful situation anymore.
The cuckoo clock never called.