Was I asleep? Had I slept?
I quickly sit up. I'm on a mattress on the floor in Tyler's mildew-infested guest room. I guess I can't really call the place Tyler's since he was probably squatting. It's been months since I first moved in with Tyler and by now I've really gotten used to this condemned shithole of a place.
Materialism is just a distraction. The soft wood swelled up from water damage is soothing to me now. I don't miss my apartment. I don't miss my IKEA furniture. I don't even miss my clever yin and yang themed coffee table. I don't miss any part of my old life. I like what Tyler and I have going on now.
I brush the plaster off my head that must've fallen from the ceiling last night during one of Tyler and Marla's deranged hump sessions and brush my teeth in the bathroom.
Another one of my molars is loose. I think I remember when this one happened actually- probably from when I fought Bob last night. I pull it out and drop it down the sink. It wasn't the first tooth I've lost and it won't be the last. But like Tyler once told me, even the Mona Lisa's falling apart.
I shuffle down the stairs in my boxers and slippers. My knees ache from being slammed onto the cement floor of the basement of Lou's Tavern so many times.
I don't see Tyler anywhere. I call out for him. He says he is outside. Outside I see him and Angel Face, or at least that's what they used to call him before I pulverized his face into soup for trying to replace me at Tyler's side.
I am Jack's inflamed sense of rejection.
He and Tyler are sizing up some of the new applicants outside on the doorstep. Tyler calls them space monkeys. One of these men's head is already shaved. He other's will be buzzed off when and if he passes the test and is allowed to begin his training for Project Mayhem.
You may wonder what Project Mayhem is exactly, but the first rule of Project Mayhem is you do not ask questions.
Tyler looks the recruit with the buzz cut over- sizing him up. The recruit's eyes are red and glazed over, as are Tyler's. Neither of them has slept in three days. I know this, because Tyler knows this.
Tyler finally breaks the silence and says, "You have two pairs black shirts?"
The applicant automatically responds, "Yes, sir."
"Two pairs black pants?"
"One pair black boots?"
"Two pairs black socks?"
"One black jacket?"
"500 dollars personal burial money?"
Tyler motions with his head for the man with the buzz cut to enter the house. The other man does not move a muscle.
The man goes inside proceeds down to the basement. There are three more rows of bunk beds down there than yesterday. I want to ask Tyler how many more space monkeys are coming to live with us but I can't.
The second rule is you do not ask questions.
When the recruits first began arriving, Tyler told me that the applicant must stand at attention on the porch for three consecutive days without food, water, or encouragement. If he succeeds, he may then enter and begin his training.
That must be why the other man was still waiting on the porch- his three days aren't up yet.
I walk over to the kitchen where Angel Face has now beginning harvesting lye with Bob to create soap for the Paper Street Soap Company that Tyler Founded. The lips shaped scars on their right hands matched the one on my own. And Tyler's.
The scar is a symbol. Tyler taught it to all of us- without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing. And in Tyler we trusted.
Bob looks up at me and nods in greeting. That big moose of a man has known me even longer than Tyler. We used to go to support meetings together. And one night, I saw him on the street and we found out we were both members of Fight Club. He used to go Tuesdays and Thursdays. But I went on Saturdays so we didn't know for months that we both went. But now we match up about every other weekend.
He almost always wins. But how couldn't he? He's got at least 80 pounds on me.
My gaze shifts over to Angel Face. He looks like a wreck. His face is gnarled, swollen and pink like a rotten peach. But I don't feel bad about it. I hardly feel anything anymore.
This is your life. And it's ending one minute at a time.