The 616 Diaries: Entry 6 by Kevin Kauffmann
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September 9th, 2019, 10:32 PM

I apparently fixed it.

Renee and I aren’t great right now—she didn’t come over for the last couple days—but we’ve talked since then. She accepted my apology and she said that we would get together pretty soon, probably tomorrow. Hopefully get it back to how it used to be.

A big reason she forgave me was the last post, so apparently this blog is worth something.

Once she saw how I reacted on here—poured out my feelings like it was some glorified Livejournal—she knew that I was sorry. She knows I don’t have the writing chops to fake it, to act like I’m sorry when I’m not. God love her, she just understands that I’m going through a rough patch right now. Hell, she recognized it before I did. That’s what this blog was, apparently. Her way to get me to start thinking and feeling and do something that doesn’t make me numb like the games or the job. She saw me just draining away, and this was how she was going to help me.

It backfired, obviously, but she says I should keep going. That it probably just had to get worse before it got better. She’s definitely not happy with me, but she made the argument that it was partially her fault, since it was her idea. I told her that was fucking nonsense, but that’s just the way that she is. She’ll look for a way to blame herself and make it work, try to figure out a solution even though it’s not her fault and it doesn’t have anything to do with her.

I really don’t know how I found her, but I’m so glad I did. I don’t deserve her.

But even though I’m stuck gawking at her, in pure awe of her, it doesn’t stop me from thinking way too much about 616. As I was writing this post, I had a stale YouTube page on my browser and the next suggested video was 6 minutes and 16 seconds long. Tried to ignore it and then I saw that the url for one of my browser tabs had 616 buried within the nine-digit code. I love my girlfriend, but my eyes are still devouring every number they can. It just… it’s starting to get frustrating. It’s consistent that I’ll find three or four every day, now, and those aren’t even the ones I’m looking for.

At least, I think it’s not the ones I’m looking for. I’m starting to think that more and more my brain is making connections it shouldn’t. That little quirks in my behavior, little glances, they’re all just subconscious efforts to find the next iteration of the Devil’s number. Instead of looking for God, instead of trying to “find Jesus,” my brain is telling me to abandon the good, to look for the evil. And instead of just taking it at face value, just saying that they are numbers, that it’s just coincidence, my thoughts are taking the numbers and making stories out of them. Just like that morning with the game and the static electricity, I’m creating devilish twists to my every day that don’t need to be there.

But they are—whether they’re real or not—and it’s hurting my ability to live with the people I genuinely enjoy. Andrew’s still cool with me, but he’s a friend, he’s a guy, and so he’s fine with spending time on bullshit just as long as it’s interesting. And if it isn’t obvious by now, it’s certainly not helping with the girlfriend. I’m on the other team when it comes to Renee forgiving me. Flowers and chocolates should have been involved, televised confessions would have been preferred—hell, I should have had to pull a Say Anything and blast out some Peter Gabriel outside her window.

Though it probably would have been Avett Brothers. We were both obsessed with them when we met.

But girlfriend and best friend aside, it’s still not great. Jim, my boss, he’s starting to get impatient with me when I get snippy, when I make random, excited noises in the middle of meetings. He’s starting to get suspicious of something, even though what I’m doing is mostly harmless and he’s the one who started it in the first place, but still, I shouldn’t be acting like that at work. I’m supposed to be professional, though I’m just counting the minutes until I see another 616, praying until I see another 666. How screwed up is that? That I pray to see a number associated with the Devil? It’s just weird.

And I haven’t even started with how my parents see it. I don’t hang out with them too much, but I do get to see them every two weeks for Sunday brunch. I hate brunch since I hate breakfast food, but it was just a weird tradition that started after college and I got settled in my own place. Since they never saw me anymore but we still lived in the same area, it just became too awkward not to get together at least a couple times a month. Usually, I just answer their questions, comment on some current events with them, hear my dad talking about how people are getting screwed over by the government on both sides of the aisle.

It’s mostly just noise and thunder, though. “Big Ray” hasn’t had to worry about money for a long time, even if he complains about how much he’s losing on a day-to-day basis. I think he just has this drive to always do better than he is, so he’s never satisfied with either his own work ethic or those of the people who decide how much he pays in taxes.

And while my mom, Victoria, is a sweet woman, she doesn’t ever fight him unless she doesn’t know anything about the topic. But if she’s completely ignorant, my mom will get in his face trying to prove any point she can, ignoring any evidence. It’s a weird little structure they have, but it seems to work for them. Eventually he gives up, his ego takes the hit it needed in the first place, then they both calm down and watch another show on Netflix.

You’re married for more than thirty years, you figure out your processes.

Unfortunately, this week I messed up the process. I couldn’t think normally, I was still upset about Renee, I was still kicking myself for my multiple and countless failures, and my parents asked how I was doing as I was eating a syrup-drenched pancake.

I told them “not great,” which is possibly the worst fucking thing I could have said.

Because once there’s a mystery, my mom and dad will not. fucking. stop. First it was “why?” then after I told them it was because of Renee, they asked me why I forgot my anniversary, then it turned into a whole discussion of why I had been so distracted and what I was concerned with instead of her and eventually it just climaxed into me telling them about 616.

The worst part about it was that I started to get excited about it about halfway through. If I had just stayed upset when I talked about it, or even made my tone more apathetic as if it was just a hobby instead of something that keeps me up at night… I don’t know, it would have been different. As it stands, I ended up telling my parents, who are of course Catholic and devout, about how I spend my days looking for clues of the Devil’s hidden existence.

It didn’t go over well.

They have… “known” that I’m not religious for a while, now. I’m not exactly atheist, but I definitely don’t have any faith. Absolutely none in my parents’ god, at least. My mom dragged me to Sunday School for years, where I just twiddled my thumbs and hated the world, and the only reason it stopped was that when it was time for me to go to Confirmation, I told them flat-out: “No.”

The priest may have been standing right next to us.

So yeah, they know, but that doesn’t stop them from thinking that it’s a phase, holding out hope that I will come back as their prodigal son and resurrect the family line at some point. They have their hopes and dreams that Renee and I will stop living in sin, our debauchery and depravity obvious for the whole world to see, for God to judge. Eventually, my parents assume, I will give up my life of folly and ask for forgiveness.

You can see why the whole 616 thing may not have gone over well. They weren’t mad, not even a little bit, but they were definitely concerned. Told me to give it up, to just recognize it as one of the mysteries of the world. My mom even tried to make the point that if there was a Devil and I was finding his existence scattered around all those three digit numbers that I would not want to keep going.

That one was a little silly, but my dad did try to come at me with reason. Made the point that it’s affecting both my work and my relationship with Renee, and I nodded and shrugged, made myself seem contrite, which I was. I don’t want to lose Renee or my job, especially for a set of numbers, I’m just kinda… addicted. So while I prostrated myself before my parents, agreed with them outwardly, I knew I wouldn’t stop the blog. I’m very glad that I didn’t tell them how to find it, because that would have been incredibly embarrassing. How sad that I have to hide this from them, knowing I can’t give it up even though I agree with them.

Oddly enough, my mom’s point about the Devil being real… well, it had more of an effect. It won’t stop me, of course—I’ve lived thirty-four years without fearing invisible, otherworldly demons—but… it did make me nervous. I’m just starting to believe in all the shadows and the ghost stories these days. The numbers… numbers aren’t supposed to lie. They’re supposed to be absolute truth. Infallible. It just seems that with 616, they’ve dropped the ball. It shows up way more than it should. I encountered it twice while I was writing the last few paragraphs and…

I’m gonna get a hold on this. I’m going to. I have to. They’re just numbers, after all. It’s just chance and probability that I see them like this, I’m subconsciously sabotaging my supposedly unbiased observations. I’m making the numbers lie to me.

Or at least… at least I hope I am.




Well, it only gets more uncomfortable... Next entry is "up" on the 10th, but you can check it out right now! Once Ray starts dreaming, things really take a turn for the worse...