Tick. Tick. Tick. They think I’m mad.

I would too looking at me from the outside. Unkempt. Smelly. Homeless. All of it by choice. Of course by choice – what sane person could ever bear such things except by choice? No, see I am a man freed from all burdens and obligations. Free to roam as I please. Free to do and think what I want. See, I am rich in the only way that’s ever mattered: in time. Twenty-four hours a day, and every precious second of each belongs to me. No family duties or work hours to slice up my pie. How many can say the same?

I sleep freewheel, unbound from the strictures of clocks and shadows. I grovel for scraps, yes, but I do so with head held high. For I am a great thinker, and what better purpose is there than to think? And what greater thinker than he who has made every second of his life one of leisure?

And what do I think on, you ask, with all this time at my disposal? Tick. Tick. Tick. Why, the end of the world of course.

And now you think I’m mad too. I see it in your eyes. But look. Look at this underbridge carefully.

Not your blind loser skater friends. Not these purposeless destitutes too coward to kill themselves. No. Look at the underbridge itself. You see the spray-painted markings, like tally marks. Lines and gates wrap around it, dark grey on light like a muddied zebra coat.

I wonder what made you approach me today. I’ve watched you grow from afar, you and your loser friends. Watched you graze the skin of your knees. Break arms and teeth. I ate your scraps like a rat. Did you also watch me in turn?

Well I slept and thought great thoughts and watched you all. And on some days I would scrub out the line of a tally. How many black tallies remain? How many are turned grey now due to my hand? Scrub. Scrub. Scrub.

Yes. Yes. You see it now. How the end of the world nears and this underbridge is its abacus. And I, the great thinker I am, decide when to scrub out another tally and count down to its demise.