The Plural Man

The man’s feet relaxed on thetile, his knees curled up in slumber, his rear lavished on the leather seat ofthe stool, his back hunched in thought, and his head hung low. Through the barwindow, the nearby streetlight glowed in the night, highlighting his youthfulface and casting shadows beneath his downcast eyes. In his prim hands, a halfempty and a half full beer.

A rustling to his left. Aneclipse to the glaring streetlight. The man’s relieved eyes met the sight of

himself. He sat to his left,in the same brand jeans, in the same witty t-shirt, with the same glower. Theman stared at himself, haloed by the smudged night sun. He watched as heordered a beer, a tally mark on a list he didn’t bother keeping anymore. Heknew him so well, yet not at all. He saw into the shallow depths of his mind, afogged pool of self-deception. He saw the drinking games he played everyweekend, he saw the friends he barely knew, he saw the frightening moments ofsolitude, he saw it all. For the first time, he began to see

himself. Gripping his beertighter, he began to look further. But lo, an interruption: the bartenderbeckoned. He changed focus from himself to

himself. Behind the counterhe mouthed words, but he heard nothing. He just looked at his face, at hisinsecurities. He knew he wasn’t comfortable alone. He had no pride in himself,nor could he think for himself. The man turned on his stool in panic, beerstill in his hand, to see

himself, sitting at a booth acrossthe bar. He saw himself, scraping by in life, living off his parents’hard-earned money. He saw himself slacking. He saw himself as one of the crowd.He then looked in another direction. He saw

himself. Again,

himself. He raised from hisseat, his feet at attention, his knees awoken, his rear alert, his backstraightened out, yet his head still low. He walked through the crowd of hims,through the smoky room towards the glow of the streetlight. He bumped intohimself again and again. A scared man-child here, a womanizer there, a followerup ahead. They all nodded their heads to the same mindless song on the radio,talked of their unconditional love for generic cinema and lazy hatred ofliterature, agreed mechanically on their baseless politics, and shunnedsimultaneously all that didn’t gratify instantly. The man picked his pace up toa trot, began to run from

himself. But he couldn’t, hewas everywhere. He was everyone.

His body screamed as he rantowards the man-made sun. He watched himself run, run, run, land head firstinto the broad bar window.

He turned around and slid toa crouch, his nose a sticky red. He looked up from his bloody hands, to a hordeof his eyes.

His feet relaxed, his kneesstretched out, his rear sunk against the tile floor, his back faced the light,and his head rose towards the crowd of hims. He knew then that his identitywould never be his, he would never be the owner of his own life. He was dividedand shared amongst the population, only one of many owners of himself. His lifewasn’t life at all, but a slice, a carbon copy. Looking at the hims circlinghim, the man was struck with realization, and he knew it was too late.

To be one of the many is notto be at all.


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Synopsis
A man comes face to face with himself. Again, and again, and again.
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