(Short) Short story

Friday, July 15, 2005

Petronio de la Huerta Madero was an avid television viewer. In fact, his habits could easily be deemed obsessive. Every day he'd sit on his bed and watch TV in his room. When he opened his eyes in the morning, the first thing he looked for was the remote control.

He'd have breakfast watching the morning cartoons, he'd eat lunch watching the midday news break, he'd talk on the phone seeing the first afternoon soap opera, he'd have a snack seeing the evening news; he'd have dinner with a variety show, he'd do homework seeing a crime drama at night. On school days, when he got home he'd go straight to his room. When his mother arrived from work, she'd know he was OK by the sound of the television from upstairs.

He always ate his meals on a tray sitting on his bed, so his mother always had to make trips to the second floor to tend to her son, and then come back to the kitchen and eat alone. His only verbal feedback was an occasional "thanks" said in a monotone and lazy voice whilst keeping his eyes glued to the screen. "You'll dry your eyes out" she would sometimes mumble, but the wall probably took in the words with more precaution.

They never went out or even really talked anymore. Petronio's full attention was devoted to the artificially funny game show hosts, the dangerous low-lifes in the news, the artificially beautiful soap opera actresses, the tough cops with big hearts on the police dramas, the rebellious teenagers in the afternoon shows, the goofy fathers who always screwed up but made good in the end. It's not that he didn't love his mother, it's just that there wasn't enough time for everybody. So something had to give. And it finally did.

One dark and fateful day his television deteriorated so much from excessive use that the cathode ray tube began to leak deadly ionizing radiation. Unfortunately, that day they were showing an all night marathon of every single movie trilogy ever made (the uncensored Director's cut and in extended version ); so poor Petronio spent all night in front of his TV set, unbeknownst that it was slowly ripping the life out of him.

The next morning, when his mother came in to give him his breakfast, she found him dead, with his eyes wide open and his pupils burned right through from the leaked radiation. Unfortunately, accustomed to his inattentiveness to her, she placed his breakfast on his bed and left the room. It wasn't until lunch, when he left his food untouched (and his body actually began to smell), that she noticed he had perished.

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