A Different Life by T.W.Garland

Punk Noir Magazine

Like a daytime driver forced to drive at night, I am shown a different world. It’s dark and uncertain with more excitement than I have ever known. 

Full of headlights and late-night convenience stores. Booming music and deep drinking. Corner stop drug deals and intoxicated fumbles down murky alleys. 

From my vantage at the top of a deserted office building, I look out over the city in the dead of night. I see a different world where the possible is hidden amongst mysteries and secrets. The hunt for unfulfilled desires, leading to clandestine romances, heavy drinking and criminal activities.  

If had known this earlier, things might have been different. I might have ventured outside of the comfortable glow of my TV and conceived of a real world that could have explored, of an existence that could have been lived. Instead, I headed next door when I realised that we are out of ice cream and found that the wife’s late-night job was really giving Jack next door a little late-night amusement. 

I should have known. I could have seen, if I had just been looking, but I wasn’t.  

I might have lived a different life. A night-time life of fun and adventure and the wife might not have ended up in bed with neighbour. At least there are no kids to mourn over the corpses slashed up so efficiently you can’t tell where she ends and he begins. Let no one say I am anything less than efficient when I put my mind to it.  

I admit, I might have got a little carried away and in a different time I might have enjoyed the slashing and cutting. The hiding and running, evading the police, searching for that new thrill. I might have been the best killer the world has ever known, an inspiration to a generation of serial killers, but I never stood a chance.  

My big break came and I threw myself in, gave it everything I had. As quickly as my time arrived, it passed. Covered in their blood, their carved-up corpses at my feet, I saw my mistakes, all the ways I would get caught and all the ways I could have done it without getting caught. All the ways it is too late. 

I will take one last look. One last glimpse of everything that could have been from the vantage of my fleeting success. I stand with the awareness of how much of the adventure of my life was lost in the steady tedium of my existence. 

From here I take one long step off a tall building and end on my own terms. Barely a footnote in the city with the details of my potential lost in a mess on the pavement. 

Bio: In his dreams, T.W.Garland is somewhere between a hard drinking cop and a scoundrel who tries to do the right thing. When he is awake, he spends too much time reading and wishes he had a better work ethic. His stories have been published in Shotgun Honey, Dwelling Literary, Dash Literary Journal, The Daily Drunk Magazine, Dark Dossier, Schlock! and a Sharkasaurus anthology.