5:00PM

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He moved through each day with the same pace as the day before. Never eager. Never rushed. The hands on the clock always moving at the same speed. When it’d come time to clock out he’d go home and sit on the couch. The same spot as the day before. There wasn’t a moment that went by that he noticed.

There wasn’t a moment that went by that he noticed he was alive.

His phone lit up. Another match on a dating app. He got up to get another drink. The rain fizzled outside. The television cackled in the living room. He sat there, on the couch, the brown, spring in your back, nail in your thigh, throne.

Today wasn’t going to be any different. He always told himself that.

His phone lit up again. She responded to his profile.

“Where do you like to go hiking?”

He hadn’t gone hiking in over a year.

He brushed his teeth at the same time every night. He reached for the brush, almost grabbing the wrong one. The one he’d bought for her was still sitting idle in the mug. He picked hers up to toss it into the trash, the bright red, pulsating, six-dollar, investment. He washed it and placed it behind the mirror.

Before going to bed he checked his phone. He opened up the message in the dating app.

“Outside.” He replied.

He wasn’t clever.

But she responded anyway.

Today wasn’t going to be any different. He always told himself that.

“Jeremy, uh, buddy?” said a voice from the doorway. “What are you up to in here?”

“Hi, dad. I’m playing with my toys,” replied Jeremy. “Captain Sharkmeat is about to realize he needs to make some big changes in his life.”

“He is, huh? That’s real nice. Olivia!” shouted his father. “I think it’s time we put parental locks on the TV!”

Fiction writer. Coffee enthusiast. Writer of romance, mystery, and humor. Discover more at Patreon.com/danleicht and DanLeicht.com

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