It was the fourth night in a row without sleep and his hands were unsteady.
He had entered the realm of insomnia unwillingly, yet knowing there was a reason for his uneasiness. The calm of night felt pressurized; as if the air was too thick and doughy to breathe.
His last cigarette had died, forgotten, on the rim of the overcrowded ashtray on his coffee table. Ash had scattered in a wide circle, surrounding it, as if it felt the need to abandon ship. He smiled, lazily, and reached for another.
Time to contribute once more to his trashy piece of art.
The TV provided necessary background noise. Meaningless faces telling meaningless stories – live and in color. Just about the perfect amount of mediocrity to convince night’s eerie silence to be less haunting.
The last sip of his beer tasted stale and more like spit than alcohol. He wouldn’t have minded the taste, had it not been his last bottle, running empty.
With a sigh, he fished his sneakers out from underneath the couch, slipped into them and stood.
The dizziness wafting through his head was moderate and his legs were still steady. With slightly trembling fingers, he reached for his keys, checked his wallet briefly and grabbed his jacket on the way out, puffing on his cigarette.
The door swung shut behind him, leaving Late Night TV to entertain the still life of his apartment.
They found his body early the next morning, empty eyes staring at a shattered beer bottle on the sidewalk, in the alley behind the local gas station.
The TV was still running when his landlord opened the door for the police.
After two days, his name had faded into the background noise of the busy city.
The remnants of his life were waiting to be packed away.