She stares at the television in front of her. A blonde woman in a fitted tank-top croons, "Tired of unsightly belly flab?" Reaching down, she runs her fingers down the grooves of her own stomach, relieved to find it just as flat as it was ten minutes ago.
It is the middle of an Alabama August and her space heater has been running tirelessly since 4PM, fighting a silent battle with the thermostat her mother keeps right at sixty-eight degrees.
"Have you had it with struggling to button up those too-tight jeans?" the woman challenges. Her breasts are perky, her legs are sculpted, and her ass is the bodily equivalent of two perfectly overlapped soccer balls . Where the fuck do they find these people? she thinks to herself.
She pulls the blankets up to her chin. The remote is on the floor across the room.
"Is the highlight of your day a secret stash of junk food or the calorie-laden dessert at the end of the day?" taunts her pair of full, perfect full lips.
No, the highlight of my day was watching Bert eat, she thinks, remembering how her brother's kingsnake executed its body into perfect coils around the squirming rat in a mere seconds flat. It was tragic and beautiful how the rodent didn't stand a chance. The fact that she was intrigued by snakes was something she had kept between her and her brother since childhood. Little girls who liked reptiles were, well, weird. And grown women who liked them were fucking creepy.
"Well, I've got the answer you've been looking for! My workout program is specifically designed to -"
The television screen dissolves to blackness. She rolls over to glance at the clock and sees that, sure enough, it's already 1:15 A.M. The sleep timer on the T.V. was just one more thing she used to measure the minutes of her life, ticking away, tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock. Sometimes she wished she had a timer over her head that revealed to the second how much time she had left on this lovely earth. She often found herself wondering how she would die, playing backwards the moments from when a truck carelessly swerved in her direction or lightning lunged at her from the sky or her heart tired of its own lub-dub monotony, to this instant now, lying in bed and wishing for any of the above to happen sooner rather than later.
She feels listless and dead, devoid of any and all human emotion. She does not remember a time when this was not the case.
Closing her eyes, she tries, as she does every night, to convince her body to stay asleep indefinitely.
Maybe one day.