Missed Design Opportunities

by Mackenzie McCain

“Give me some of that royal jelly... God, that’s a terrible slogan.” He ran his hands through his hair and stared at the blinding computer screen. 8 AM deadline, and in six hours all he’d managed to do was sketch a slightly psychotic looking bumblebee with a blank speech bubble looming over its head. He didn’t care about royal jelly, or bees, or whoever the hell Aunt Sally was. He cared about getting a full eight hours of sleep and getting his boss off his back about his declining work ethic. “Who the hell uses this shit anyway?” His tablet was limp in his hands and defeat was almost imminent. “Coffee. I need coffee.”

Dragging his feet toward what he would have called a kitchen if his apartment wouldn’t have been so depressingly small, he wondered what the hell had made him choose graphic design as a career anyway. It was the colors, at first, he decided. He liked how he could move them around on a page to create a mood or a feeling. If he had to analyze his kitchen, he thought, the aesthetic created would be artistic-soul-crushed-by-capitalism, or beige cabinets on beige walls with a set of poetry magnets on his rusted, beige fridge. When he opened his cabinets, he realized that designing psychotic bees not only couldn’t pay the bills, but it couldn’t even pay for coffee grounds. He pushed the empty bag of what used to be delicious, blonde roast Starbucks beans his mom had sent him in a care package to the side when he noticed cobweb-covered bottle tucked snugly into the very corner. “That wasn’t there before.”

It was a dark green liquor bottle with no more than a swig or two of whatever the hell was in it. A large, blue man wearing a turban and a single bangle earring stared directly into his soul. Periwinkle skin was offset by a dark black background embellished with gold designs. In a san serif font he couldn’t recognize, the words “As you wish.” We sprawled across the very top of the label in a light orange. The bottle in his hands was truly something special, something other worldly.

“Well, at least my design isn’t this bad.” He chuckled to himself as he dropped the bottle into the trash bin.