Harry Seville considered himself to be a postmodernist. Not postmodern like the postman who came to his house every morning with a white hat and headphones, but postmodern like Fitzgerald and his brain dogs. Every morning he arose before the non-postmodern postman and attacked eggs and toast with relish but without the hot dog condiment and ate them, relishing without garnish the yellow yolk encased as it was in the white hard egg whites which he carefully relieved of any crunchy byproducts of the frying pan.
And every morning before the postman came Harry Seville sat out front on his porch with little flicks of yellow around his lips chapped with no chapstick and admired the world unfolding around him, the vaguely suburban sidewalk stretching into an oblivion of past present and future footsteps, housecats wandering around like people didn’t know they were really witches in disguise and dogs wandering around like people didn’t know they sniffed each other’s butts. Every morning Harry also drank a tall can of Bud Light beer with his roommate Larry who didn’t exist in the conventional sense.
“Hello, Larry,” Harry said as he walked outside in tattered white socks and a full set of pinstriped and food-stained blue pajamas.
“Sup” said Larry, unconventionally. He wore sunglasses all the time with a gray suit. He didn’t exist. He picked up a glass of existential beer and drank it philosophically. Larry was a bit of a solipsist.
Harry grunted as he always did at Larry’s ridiculous choice of attire. If one wasn’t to exist, he thought, why choose to not exist like that?
Larry looked at him through his impeccably individual sunglasses. He swirled his glass and clinked the ice cubes in it together before downing the rest of his beer.
“Nope. I gotta go to work. Take out the trash.” He pulled a cigarette expertly from his inside jacket pocket and lit it with a flourish, dragging on it and expelling smoke into the air like frosty breath in a dead wood. The postman walked by and said hello to Harry and the floating cigarette. The cigarette tilted itself in acknowledgement of the postman’s greeting. Larry did this only because he knew that all postmen are insane. The advent of wireless cellphone technology merely gave them free reign to talk to the voices in their head loudly, on the job, and well-concealed. The postman, whose name was Gary, told Other Gary to stop whispering about blood and wandered discontentedly down the street, pausing to scratch the head of a reclining witch.
Harry sighed. Of course it would be his lot in life to dispose the refuse of a man who didn’t exist. On top of the mere fact that Harry always meticulously kept his trash well patted down and was always on time with the garbagemen, everything Larry threw out was weighted down with rhetoric. Harry disappeared into the house and returned lugging over his shoulder a black Hefty bag whose contents were giving an inspired oration on the nature of existence. Larry raised a gloved hand as he zoomed by on his motorcycle and Harry let the lid on the trash can drop with a clank.
Harry’s day was now beginning. He went inside and shaved, going back and forth against the grain until his skin was smooth like Antarctic ice floes. He located his sign, put on his fingerless gloves and went to wait by the bus stop. He said hello to Gladys who always rode this route and who he was disconcertingly sure was a prostitute. Dear old Gladys, he thought, taken aback as usual by the g string adorning her sixty year old upper back, I wonder if she’s ever been in love? She looked over and winked at him and so he changed the tack of his thoughts quickly. The bus pneumatized to a halt and sagged down to the ground like an old human-stained mattress and let out first all the old folks and next the workmen coming back from night shifts. Harry nodded at each of them as they walked past, then took his place on the bus with his sign next to him in its own seat.
A woman, sitting across the aisle from him, leaned over as the bus lurched into mechanical motion.
“What’s the sign for?”
Harry became uncomfortable. The sign was explicit. It said what it wanted to say. No doubt could come from the meaning of the sign and thus what the sign was for. He did not want to explain all this to the lady on the bus, and so he said that his waffles were burning. The woman didn’t talk to him after that anymore. Harry was proud. He rarely lied, but when he did it was almost kind of a release.
Harry got off the bus with his sign and began his daily rounds, starting on 41st and Park and going in a concentric circle until he reached 9th and Main. The sign bobbed merrily in his hands up and down and people looked at it. ‘The End is Nigh’, said the sign, and Harry knew it was. The End of what he couldn’t say, but the end nevertheless. Perhaps, he thought, it was the End of Robert the burger stand guy giving him a free burger every day. Harry shuddered at the thought. He resolved to test this theory later at lunchtime.
At exactly 5 o’clock, Harry clocked out, shouldered his sign, and made his way over to 5th and Davenport in time to catch the six thirty bus home. On the way back, a strange man kept looking at him. Harry was uncomfortable. Finally the man said, “The End.”