It wasn’t in Margaret’s nature to worry, but Hank’s erratic behavior was causing concern. Hank wasn’t answering her calls or replying to any of her e-mails. She hadn’t seen or heard from her boyfriend in six days. Neither had anyone else.
The door Hank’s apartment creaked as Margaret cautiously pushed it open. All was calm. Dust hung in the air. Sounds from a distant TV were the only sign of human activity.
Margaret hesitated, uncertain of what to do. The last thing she wanted to find was the corpse of her late boyfriend.
A foul odor intensified as she move slowly down the hall. Passing the kitchen, she sensed movement. She looked over to see a grey rat moving among a mound of dirty dishes. She jumped back in shock. The rat looked at her disinterestedly, then returned to it’s scavenging.
Margaret followed the TV sounds to the living room. Peering around the corner she discovered Hank, in the dark, watching TV. He set up two TV tables by his right and left hands. On one sat his laptop. On the other his iPad was propped up. Both were streaming videos.
“Hank,” she said. He didn’t move.
“Hank,” she said louder. Still nothing.
Margaret walked over and flipped on the lights. Hank jumped in his seat.
“Hey!” he said, pulling earbuds from his ears and rubbing his light pierced eyes. It was only then that Margaret noticed his iPod.
“What’re you doing?” she snapped.
Knowing he was alright annoyed her for some reason.
“I’m living my life. I’m having it all,” he said. “See?”
Margaret glared at Hank, not knowing how to respond.
“I had this thought. You hear about people living their lives, doing it all, right? They’re like modern renaissance people who do, like, everything. They Facebook, they write, they tweet. They’re foodies and thrill seekers. They’re on the cutting edge of, like, everything. I wanna be one of them.”
“So you’re doing that by being a couch potato?”
“No. Right now I’m getting my cultural fix. There’s a lot to see.”
“Hank, you have rats in your kitchen,” said Margaret.
Hank’s surprise morphed into recognition. “Yeah, I was doin’ the foodie thing earlier. I guess I forgot to clean up. Know what a chanterelle is? Now I do. An’ I know how to make chanterelle rillettes. Amazing.” Hank kissed his fingers like a gourmet chef.
“Are you serious?”
“Oh, and check it out. I got the new iPhone, Blackberry and Samsung Galaxy S3. Well, I’m waiting for the new iPhone, but it’s supposed to be amazing.”
Margaret moved a bunch of packages marked ‘Shopping Channel’ from a chair and sat down. “Why do you need three phones?”
“Because I wanna have it all. ‘Cause I should be able to. ‘Cause up til now I’ve barely lived. Life’s short and I don’t wanna miss out on anything.”
“But you’re not doing anything. You’ve hidden in your apartment for what smells like a month. When was the last time you showered?” said Margaret. She wasn’t sure if the tears she fought back were because of her exasperation or the over powering body odor.
“That’s not true, no. I’ve done lot’s of things.”
“For one thing, I helped fight cancer. See? I ‘liked’ the Cancer Research Society Facebook page. I blogged about why extremism is destroying our society, and I even listened to two audio books by Deepak Chopra. How ‘bout that?”
“But what about real people?”
“I have 362 new friends of Facebook and 43 new blog followers. They’re real enough.”
“Exercise. You gotta get exercise.”
“I do aerobics on TV. Well, a couple a minutes of it. I’m building up to the full workout,” said Hank. He smiled at Margaret. “See? I’ve gained so much.”
Margaret looked around the living room and shook her head. “You think you’ve gained but you also lost something and I’m sorry for you’re loss.”
A confused look washed over Hank’s face. “What’d I lose?”
“You’ve lost your mind,” shouted Margaret. She stood up. “You can’t do it all. You just can’t. It’s crazy.”
“No. I disagree. I can do it all. I’m gonna prove it. Just wait. You’ll see.”
Margaret sighed. “No, I won’t. I’m not staying with a lunatic.”
“What’re you saying?”
“I’m saying, you’ve already failed. You want it all, Well, you don’t have a real live girlfriend anymore.”
“Margie,” said Hank.
Margaret took a few steps toward the door, then paused. “It’s not so bad Hank. At least you have something to tweet about.”