He spends his nights dreaming of ways to escape this house that has trapped him, that he bought when he was too young to know the American dream is a crock of shit they spoon-feed you until you no longer notice the taste.

Whatever that means.

He can’t escape it now, the four walls he owes the bank his first-born child for. They’ll take nothing less, and since he’s proven to be infertile—hence, the absent wife (soon to be ex)—he’s stuck here until he can come up with something. He wonders if the bank will take a cat instead. Or a dog. People who own pets talk about their animals as if they were kids, so…

He punches the wall and makes a dent—another repair he’ll have to make, should the bank ever choose to take his goldfish as payment—and he closes his eyes to drive away the pain of his own stupidity. What he sees is an orange car—a Volkswagen Beetle!—with a surf board on top. He can’t surf, but he doesn’t let that stop his delusion.

He sees himself and the wife, free of the house, free of expectations, free of everything except the small amount of clothing they need to keep from being arrested. He sees them park the orange bug across the street from the beach, and he sees them dash across the two lanes of traffic with the surfboard stretched between them. He sees them taking turns on the waves, taking hits off of a jay, and wasting days and days and days.

He keeps his eyes closed, and he escapes. It’s the only way. The moment he opens them, he’ll be stuck again.

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