A Story by A R Lowe

A short tale about a man and his TV set...






   Brendan couldn't pay his television licence, let alone the fine he had received for not paying his television licence, so he shot his set.

   Only with an air rifle, it must be said, but it cracked the screen in three strategic places; where the ball might enter the net, where the quiz show answers were often displayed, and where coital penetration was most likely to take place. He chucked it out and waited to see what would happen.

   Brendan was thirty-six and, like most people, had been watching television every day for all but one of those years. In his new found leisure time he made a rough calculation of the amount of time he had spent in front of it and his conservative estimate of forty thousand hours seemed rather a lot.

   But what to do instead? Brendan's life at that time was a work and women-free zone, a temporal loathing existing with respect to each of those phenomena, and spare time was plentiful. The pub had been his haven for a while after his last prolonged spell of employment, but after drinking his bank balance into a redness only matched by his nose and cheeks, he returned to the more healthy pursuit of all day television viewing. Now that that too was proscribed, he really did sit down and wait to see what would happen.

   Nothing at all happened for the first week, by the end of which he knew every crease, stain and ripple on the living room wallpaper and every cigarette burn on the armchair, settee and carpet. He needed this time to adjust, he decided, and adjust he did.  

   He enjoyed the silence, came indeed to crave its completeness after the rush hour rumble had ceased, and all noise began to irritate him. The very faint murmur of the television next door drove him to the chemist's to purchase earplugs and he soon spent most of the day with a silicone wall between his brain and the rest of the world.

   The sound of his own breathing inside his ear-plugged domain finally stirred him out of doors and, once beyond the traffic of the town, he took his plugs out and sat down by a brook. Now this was a noise that soothed him and he wondered why.

  “It's because it's natural,” he eventually concluded.

   He took to the country more and more often and spent longer and longer in it. As the nights grew longer he went home only to sleep and when he had bought his little tent he only returned to buy food and to sign on. Before the cold, long nights drew in he had roamed further afield and found a small cave in which to winter, trekking to the town fortnightly for money and the provisions it provided. His television vanquishing air-rifle now enabled him to hunt rabbits, which he skinned and cooked over his camp fire. He stitched the skins together into a winter suit and the sight of this fur-clad, bearded figure walking into town with his rifle slung over his shoulder...


   I could go on, but I won't. I see we are going from one extreme to the other here and extremes, we are told, are bad. Brendan did continue walking out to the country to sit by the brook, though, even after he had secured another job. His new girlfriend insisted on them having a television set too, but didn't oblige Brendan to watch it all evening long. He made the spare room into a study, learnt to read again, and was happy.



© 2013 A R Lowe

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this is a funny story, I find. there's humour and I like that.
I don't think I can survive without my television, I'm ashamed to admit.

Posted 9 Years Ago

We'd all be so much better off to make such a drastic life-change as Brendan. Many couldn't do it, I'll bet. This reminds me of an old John Prine song, in which he sings, "Blow up your tv, move to the country and start a new life..."

Posted 10 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on September 8, 2013
Last Updated on October 12, 2013
Tags: Flash fiction, humour, television, lifestyle


A R Lowe
A R Lowe

Lancashire, United Kingdom

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