Solace In Colors, by Glen Binger

The sleeping pills he swallows before bed every night are purple. They remind him of the velvet sofa in his grandmother’s house before she was put in a nursing home. He found it amusing how they both provided him with comfort and a place to hide from his enormous ego. The pinnacle of his human nature is to provide humanity with the ridiculous portrayal of itself. Therefore, he wakes up every lonesome morning wondering if and hoping that anyone has committed social Darwinism or performed an act of news-worthy idiocy. Today was really no different. Except, today, he missed that couch.

Stephen Colbert woke up this Saturday morning with one single bead of sweat at the tip of his brow. He looked down at his clammy hands, then to his wrists. He thought about putting a razor to the thin flesh; he could cover the scars with tattoos of the American Flag and add viewers to the success of his television program. But, immediately, he became disgusted by the thought and got out of bed. The pills were really starting to fuck his thought processes.

“I am awesome,” he spoke to his mirror. “You are awesome.”

He wanted to scream in all of his manly glory until his vocal chords dried and sound no longer came out. He wanted to grow a beard comparable to that of Lincoln’s. He wanted to drink straight whiskey and fight UFC heavyweight champions. He wanted to punch lions.

The pills had a testosterone increasing side-effect that he was slowly becoming conscious of.

“America wants you,” he pointed to himself, only a towel wrapped around his waist. “American depends on your witty nonsense, Stephen.”

Stephen Colbert has a tattoo of himself on his left buttocks. When he was eighteen, he soberly walked into the tattoo parlor and permanently marked himself with… himself. It was motivation to him. His ambitions were to eternally improve his reputation. That’s it. He is a narcissist and well aware of it. It made him famous. To this day, he has only seen increase and improvement.

“Think, Colbert! You’re an entrepreneur,” he paused, “I need a manly publicity stunt.”

His mirror was unresponsive. He sighed. Writing material for his show was difficult. Being Stephen Colbert was not. He could easily evolve with society and point out its flaws. But making them funny; that was another story. He crooked over at a gentle 45 degree angle, pulled the towel off, and looked at the ink on his pale, rarely-seen flesh.

“Good morning, you handsome devil,” he said to the tattoo.

He stood up and straightened his posture.

“I’ve got it,” he yelled.

Stephen stepped into his shower cubical, complete with five different shower heads, and thought about killing and eating a bald eagle on national television. He turned on the water. It felt like pebbles pelting his skin.

“No,” he shook his head, “that wouldn’t work. PETA would sue me for everything I’m worth.”

He rubbed his chin and then lathered his scalp with Selsun Blue. Inside his head he debated whether or not he could defecate on something and get away with it. Maybe fart. Before he knew it he had finished cleaning himself. He turned off the liquid pebbles and stepped out of the cubical. Then he weighed himself to make sure he was still satisfactory to his own standards. The pills also caused him to lose four pounds.

“You are the man,” he said. “America’s man.”

After getting dressed, he checked his email. Then his Facebook; 2000 more fans. It upset him.

“Yesterday, I had 5000 new fans. This is a let down. At this rate, Jon will definitely beat me.”

Jon Stewart and Stephen had made a friendly bet on who would get the most Facebook Fans by the end of the year. He was losing and it was already September. For any other normal human being, this would be the kind of thing they shake off; the kind of loss where the loser respectfully bows their head to the greater victor. But not Stephen Colbert. This pains him. At this rate, he figured, he will have to bow down to his successor. For the first time in his life, unless otherwise acted upon, he will become the lesser man.

He reached over for his mug of coffee and accidentally knocked it off of his desk. It shattered and spilt on the hardwood floor of his office.

“Great. Great start to a great fuckin’ day,” he said. “Great.”

He thought about the couch. It felt warm and hospitable to his vivid memory.

“I could look into funding a marathon where every participant has to dress like Uncle Sam!”

It was just as soft as he had remembered.

“No, who would participate in that red, white, and crap?”

At least the pills were starting to wear off. Stephen felt weak so he put on his comforting violet bath robe, with complimentary American Flag patch stitched over the left breast, and walked into the kitchen to make some breakfast. On his way, he checked the time on the microwave, picked some dry flakes of skin from his scalp, and released some flatulence across the foyer. It was only 11am. His egotistic hierarchy was beginning to melt in the heated fumes of defeat and it smelled like fart.

After a balanced diet of yogurt and fruit, he decided that playing some video games would inspire him. So he walked over to his living room, sat down at the Xbox, and started playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.  He had previously beaten the single player mode, so he recently started playing online against people across the United States and around the globe. He proudly supports his country with his screen name: The_AmericanMan1776.

“That’s right, you cock-sucking, French bastard. Eat my trip-mine,” Stephen yelled into the headset microphone.

He realized it was a mistake the second he split his lips. The more-or-less sixteen year old boy he was playing with recognized the voice immediately.

“Is this Stephen Colbert,” asked KrustyTickler.

There was little sense hiding it now. Besides, Stephen’s egocentric driven needs had already gotten the best of him.

“You damn well better believe it, son.”

Stephen’s Portuguese maid looked over at him from the mess he had left in the kitchen, quickly thinking he was talking to her, and then realized he was playing video games and went back to cleaning up after him.

KrustyTickler continued, “Whoa, no shit! I watch your show every night before bed!”

“Thank you, fellow patriot. We need as much support as possible.”

He wasn’t even trying to be funny. Stephen Colbert actually believed his Comedy Central show was doing America a solid.

The online match had ended and they were currently in the intermission waiting room. Krusty Tickler suddenly announced to everyone in the match that they were playing with the Stephen Colbert. It did not surprise Stephen. Everyone started talking and immediately thanking him for producing a great television show.

“Fellow Americans,” he replied, “you are the greater cause. Thank you, thank you.”

He subconsciously bowed his head and waved his hand as if people were watching him.

But then someone by the name of WeedBro420 said something that shattered Stephen’s entire existence; the volume of the insult somehow louder than the other appreciative voices.

The Colbert Report sucks,” said WeedBro420. “Jon Stewart is waaayyy better, maaann.”

On a normal day, Stephen would have bitch-slapped this self-proclaimed narcotic user. But after witnessing the commencing of his Facebook downfall to Jon Stewart, the comment struck deep into his insecure, egoless core. Right down inside where the light of the sun and the moon and the stars will never reach; down into the basement of the secret fallout hiding area where his heart and soul linger in the absence of everything. It made his testicles feel cold and shrivel into his body.

Without saying a word, Stephen Colbert exited the online game-chat room and turned off his Xbox. He fell back into his beanbag chair, staring at the ceiling. It didn’t feel anything like the sofa in his grandmother’s living room. It wasn’t even purple.

His brain staggered with emptiness. There were spots on the ceiling. Tiny, little, lavender dots. They were glowing and made Stephen’s eyes ache, so he closed them.

“I know what I’ll do,” he whispered. “I will hang myself with the American flag.”

Stephen Colbert did not have the guts to commit suicide. His therapist told him he was stronger than that; which, he was. He reached into the pocket of his violet robe and took out the small box of purple sleeping pills. It was a Saturday. He deserved a day of rest and relaxation. There were no appointments on his schedule for that night, so an extensive snooze seemed appropriate. A nice, long nap would revive him and comfort him the way only grandma Colbert’s purple couch knew how. And, on the plus side, he would wake up ready to wrestle bears in the dense forests of America.

GLEN BINGER hails from a small beach town in New Jersey. He edits 50 to 1, writes serial fiction for eFiction Magazine, and is a member of The Broad Set Writing Collective. Learn more at his blog: http://glenbinger.blogspot.com. He is the Lil’ Wayne of literature.

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