The tunneler stood upon the rough-worn and carpeted floor of his ramshackle home, gazing about in contemplative dismay. How ugly was the construct that he called, “Home.” It a ugly thing with floors of warped wood and fluffy shag carpeting, dotted with chip crumbs and dirt specks and wine stains and dog hair – how he hated dogs. All across the ostentatiously papered walls were abstract paintings he had bought to impress his artistically minded friends – the tunneler knew not their meanings nor even if they possessed any at all. The ceiling was soft cream plaster, cracked and water bogged, little, smelly droplets plip-plopping down the far left corner of the living room.
And the furniture! It was everywhere, three couches upon each of which sat four or more pillows, then a arm chair, then a bean bag, then a stool he had planned to sell and forgotten, remembered and given up upon. Adjacent the couches, in the far right corner of the room, opposite the water leak, stood a large bright yellow wooden entertainment stand connected to his work desk upon which lay his computer surrounded by a whirring, messy conglomerate of wires and soda bottles and paper clips and pencils and their subsequent alcahest. Beside the computer, upon the floor, was a hideous fern, which his former girlfriend had insisted he maintain to bring some, “Color and character,” to his tumble down abode.
Clutter. Filth. Disorder.
The Tunneler hated it all.
He checked his ornate, gear-borne wrist watch and quickly put on his coat and exited his apartment. Late for work. He caught the bus and paid his way, the familiar clinking of coin on copper and the churning hiss-whirl of machinery putting his frenzied, fevered mind momentarily at ease. He sat in the back, he always sat in the back, the morning paper half-unfurled in his calloused and rough worn hands and his keen neon-blue eyes scanning the contents languorously.
New Shopping mall to be constructed. Historic Brutalist town hall to be torn down and replaced with environmentally friendly windmill generators. Immigrant rape scandal continues. Mayor calls for more international trade deregulation. Chrysanthemum killer still on the loose.
He dropped the paper in his lap with a heavy sigh and looked around, the faces on the bus were faraway, absorbed in their digital devices, machine as master of man when it should be the other way around. Their drone-like stupor disturbed him profoundly. It was something to be smashed, to be obliterated, like the evil magic of some shamanic blood cult.
He extended his hand towards a pretty middle aged blonde with too much make-up.
“You read the paper?”
She rolled her eyes in disgusted and turned around, burying her face in her digital device, some lap-top-turned-phone. He averted his gaze to the high, frail, winding spires mixed with fast blurring spatterings of smaller, neoclassical structures – they were the worst. Neither of the past nor present, a abortion of syncretism. Characterless facades. Ostentatious manses and hotels and tenements and strip malls without identity. They were of the world but of no particular part of it, like the foreign faces that hunkered about the bus, eyes glinting in the dull, blue light of LCD screens.
He’d see it all razed to the ground.