Don’t be like Jim Robinson




I: A day in the life of Jim Robinson


Jim Robinson hated his life. Drinking himself to ruin each day following the same routine… Jim Robinson wanted to die.


Evading any genuine interaction with the cashier at the local Phillips 66, Jim Robinson expertly made only fleeting eye contact, and minimal conversation, with the cute brown haired girl. He had been avoiding conversation all day, and he didn’t want it to be for naught. It was 2am. Entering the house turning the key quietly he went inside. Jim Robinson was hoping not to wake his mother. The handle turned, and door swung slowly open. Choosing careful steps avoiding the creaks in the hardwood floor he made his way down the hall. His mother topped the list of people he didn’t want to talk to. Stale cigarettes and whiskey always disappointed her. Jim Robinson couldn’t handle any more disappointment.  The light came on. Illuminating the most horrifying drunk mess of a man in the mirror.  Jim Robinson knew he looked like shit, but he hardly recognized the slob staring back at him. How long had it been since he’d changed clothes? Probably about as long as it had been since he’d shaved or he’d showered. Saying a silent prayer for death he spat on the reflection’s face. Then off he went stumbling to bed.

II: JIm Robinson’s Birthday


Wondering why it was so bright Jim Robinson was rolling out of bed. Clumsily searching dirty jean pockets for his cell phone. It was dead. What fucking day was it, and where were his god damned smokes? Finding a crushed pack of Newports in his back pocket he pulled out a crooked menthol. He slipped out the back door. It was still too bright, but the nicotine lessoned his headache. Last nights mistake returned for vengeance. Bending over the landscaping retching he caught a glance of his neighbor Cindy. She was passing on her way to work, aghast at the sight of him. Walking around the house and flicking his cig into the bushes, Jim Robinson found his 04 Malibu parked crookedly on the curb. The window was open; giving him easy access to the fifth on his floor board. Holding the bottle by the neck, and tipping it vertically, he drained what was left.


“Jim…Jim…JIM!!” His mother was shaking him awake. She was smiling, but sadness with in her eyes. “Why are you asleep, it’s the middle of the afternoon?” Holding back tears was all Jim Robinson could manage. Lying still, quietly staring at his mother’s forehead, his shame was reaching a boil.  A hundred eyes gazed upon him from their ornate frames on his mother’s living room walls.  The room was spinning.  Posed photographs always made him feel sick.  A younger him, with bright eyes and a brighter smile, passed judgment from a wedding portrait. His sibling’s happy families mockingly smiled. Feeling overwhelmed, he closed his eyes and rolled over. “JIM, wake UP!! it’s your birthday!”


Waiving the waitress down, Jim Robinson sat in a cheesy restaurant, silently draining the remains of his whiskey glass. Chattering family members swirled around him. He was going to need more than a few drinks to make it through dinner. From across the table his sister was asking how his job search was going. Jumping in, his mother spoke for him. “Oh it’s great! He had an interview last week! Our sweet Jim we are so proud of him!!” That wasn’t the truth. He did have an interview, but it didn’t go well. Why wouldn’t anyone ever say it? Pretending he wasn’t the failure of the family only made him feel worse. Engaging with his food more than his family he sat. Ignoring talk of their successful careers and their caring families. Their happiness  shamed him. He drained another glass. Nobody ever said how they really felt, thought Jim Robinson. The only thing he needed more than a cigarette was for this dinner to be over.


III: Jim Robinson Wouldn’t wake up


People came and went, and Jim Robinson slept. The only quiet constant was the drumming beat of the heart monitor. It had been three days now since the accident, and still he hadn’t stirred.


Silently laying in a hospital bed he could hear his mother’s voice. She sounded scared, but polite as ever greeting somebody. A stranger’s voice answered. The drum beat returned louder and faster than before. It sounded like they were underwater.  He could only grasp bits and pieces of the conversation. He couldn’t speak up. So he helplessly heard. “… four times legal limit…smashed into a tree… outcome grim… wait and see…….” Overpowering the conversation completely, the heart monitor climbed in crescendo. Then suddenly everything stopped, and all was quiet. Jim Robinson’s world fell into darkness.


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