in which he begins to refuse to be Beaten Down By His Own Oppressions

Kenneth felt angry about the idea that he was now supposed to be frightened of what the bosses and the various cops were doing, that he was supposed to be working faster, that he was wasting his time thinking about any of this nonsensical swarm of bogus news and fake reportage.  He knew that he would have to be caught doing something really quite seriously illegal before the authorities would trouble themselves about him; they had too many other people to watch.  Nevertheless, here was this continuous threat of being fired for breaking some minor regulation.  It would take a great deal of time and effort and worry if he had at this point in his life, to go out looking for another job.  He had scarcely any savings, he had absolutely committed himself to paying his legal bill.  It disgusted him to think that he was, after all, afraid of being caught misbehaving, afraid of losing his temper if any of the bosses were to question or reprove him.  All these fantasies and interior rages tired him. He felt trapped.  He wanted to quit the office, never again to have anything to do with this world they claimed was real and serious, a world which (to his way of thinking) barely existed, which, if he tried to examine it calmly or seriously, faded away.  The swarms of authorities, the childish rules, the tensions created by the strict time scheduling, hurry and noise and music, the fakes of terror and discipline and guilt and punishment were a continuous bad movie written by a third-rate disciple of Franz Kafka.  But the moment Ken’s attention was diverted by a trip to the toilet or a break for lunch, it would lose its hold over his imagination.

from

YOU DIDN’T EVEN TRY

by PHILIP WHALEN

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