microfiction, Instant Karma

“Turn it down,” she yelled. “Or better yet, turn it off. Why do we need this on?”

He flailed for an answer. “I’m used to it, that’s all.” In truth, he needed noise. On the train, the bus, walking the streets he always had music in his ears.

When he got home the first thing he did was turn on the television and blast it loud. He loved the bedlam of news or talk shows, a quiz, a movie, it didn’t matter what. The background distraction filling the house helped to keep him sane — to avoid thinking or facing too much truth. Or chewing over all the tasks he had to do, all the things he hadn’t done.

“It’s driving me mad,” she said. “I can’t live with it. Are you listening? Do you hear a word I say?”

He had tuned her out, waiting for her to stop so he could talk.

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