• Light poured out of the CRT monitor in front of him. A slight hum emanating from the spinning disk in the computer tower. It was well past midnight and he was still in the office, typing up a report to be fed to the bureaucratic machine. He preferred working at night when the fluorescent tubes were off. He didn't like the noise they made. He looks to the digital clock on his computer. It reads 3:23. Time to turn off the computer, slowly. He'd be back in the office in a little over 3 hours, but he heard that if a computer is left on for too long it can explode. He didn't want to take the chance. The computer is off, the entire building is silent. He relishes this for a moment before getting up to head home/

    The door opens casting light into the grimy abode that passed for his apartment. Lights flicker with audible clicking before deciding it's too early in the morning to work, leaving the room mostly in shade. He feels around the room like a blind beggar, trying to find his bedroom. Every step he takes is an exercise in paranoia, god forbid he slip and break his neck. He finds the bedroom and lies down on the bed, stiff as a board. He heard that you can die if you sleep on your stomach, he wasn't sure if it was true or not, but it's better to be safe than sorry. Always better to be safe than sorry.

    The next day it's back to work. He gets in the car and puts his seatbelt on, wincing at the click as the clasp engages. During the carpool he sits in the back, quietly staring straight ahead. His coworkers talk among themselves about nothing in particular, they're just talking for the sake of talking. He hates that. He gets to his office without incident or interaction. He prefers it this way. People are noisy and crude, loneliness is silent and subtle.

    The man in charge of HR said that he was the most efficient worker they had. He smiled when he heard this, though he felt no joy. As a matter of fact, he hates this job. He says the pay is decent and the benefits large. Overall, the job is safe and he would gladly trade happiness for safety.

    Lunch time.

    The cafeteria is filled with noise, so he brings his own lunch. He'll never forget the one day he forgot. He managed to stay in the cafeteria for five seconds before running out again. Clasping his ears he tried to stop the cacophony from echoing in his skull. He lifts the sandwich out his bag and takes a bite. Ham and swiss, just as he always makes himself. Each chew resounds in his inner ear, but he ignores it. He has to eat, after all. About half-way through, he gently places the sandwich in the trash bin.

    As the bleating workers returned to their offices, he had already finished two days of work. Ingrates, he calls them. They would work better if they could live with silence, but instead they surround themselves with noise, with an unbearable array of distractions and humming vexations. Why? Because they're afraid, afraid of silence, afraid of emptiness, afraid of truth. He hears the ticking of a clock as seconds pass into minutes into hours. Suddenly, the buzz of the fluorescent tubes turn off and he's alone, staring at his monitor. He gets up and pulls the battery out of the clock. He shuts down his computer. He takes off his glasses. He relaxes. Everything is quiet, nirvana is reached at long last. He closes his eyes and rests his aching mind.

    He always admired the pursuit of nirvana. The pursuit of nothingness. He would think that if more people could accept silence into their life, if the miserable little creatures around him could just learn to live with nothingness, the world would be much more efficient. These thoughts don't hound him at the moment, though. He has achieved perfect equilibrium. All is gone, he is the only person in the world. He is cloaked in the ethereal womb that is silence. Seconds turn into minutes into hours, as he sits there. Completely alone, completely at peace.

    Suddenly, there is a breach. He hears something. He's not sure what, but something is taking away his nirvana, his womb. He cries out in his mind, he begs and pleads and curses as his peace is taken away. He claws at the walls of his soul, looking for some respite, but before he can stop it, it's gone. His sadness quickly turns to rage. His mind is now a writhing mass of spiked tentacles, lashing out and grabbing everything and anything.

    He opens his bloodshot eyes and sees a blur. He grabs a paperweight off his desk and runs. He crashes into the object and begins beating it, trying to stop the noise, trying to regain his peace, trying to resurrect his lost nirvana.

    Silence returns. Nirvana returns. Peace returns. He looks down at his handiwork. A mangled janitor lies below him, blood slowly pooling on the floor. He goes back into his office and sits down slowly, as to make little noise. He closes his eyes and waits. “Tomorrow will be very noisy,” he thinks to himself. “I best enjoy the quiet now.”