Archive for March, 2011

It’s my turn as Death and I’m standing by his body.

The rules to being Death are quite simple. They have to be, otherwise the whole system breaks down. We have just one Planck time to learn the rules, grab the scythe and make the journey to the next person.

That doesn’t leave a lot of time for sub clauses and alternate options.

The chain mustn’t be broken. That’s one of the rules.

I extend an astral arm, a remnant gesture, a residual concept.

It’s surprising, the things we cling to.

“Welcome. Has it been worth it? All the money and deals and the power, especially the power, knowing it doesn’t mean a thing?”

I added the last bit out of spite. I’ll admit that. I’m one of the people who had a history with the man. Quite apart from the fact I’d died reading a copy of the paper.

I’d like to go further. To add all my anger, my preconceptions, my judgements on everything the man had ever done. I’d like to have been his judge and jury and been the sort of Death I’d expected to be rather than
the fading whiff of memory I have become.

But to do so is against the rules.

And even if it weren’t, did I change much in life? And when it’s all done (as it is now) did he?

I have no more time for questions and he has no time to waste on answers. He’s learning the rules and preparing to push away the hand that pulled him from his body.

The electron stream has slowed to a halt against his dissipated life. Retrospection is a pastime and, paradoxically, we are the future.

***

It’s his turn as death and he stands before someone he has never met before and asks his own question:

“Was it worth it?”

Words: 308

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Dog had a mind to keep pushing on into the woods. She felt certain that something exciting lay around
the corner. She felt that way about every corner. It was early morning and the sun was blaring low through the trees. There was hot light in Dog’s eyes. Man came slowly lumbering up behind her. He held a camera in one hand and a small glass bottle in the other. Water was coming from his face. He didn’t usually take Dog out this early. He didn’t usually take Dog out at all.

He said “come on now. Come on. Give your Charlie a break”.

He walked just past Dog and crunched himself down onto a tree trunk. Dog padded over to him and rested her head on his lap. Ribbons of drool collected on his knee. Man smiled for a minute, drank, and started to whistle a dirty song. Dog recognised the tune, it was a favourite of his. He had been whistling it to himself in the quiet since Woman had gone.

Dust breezed into Dog’s wet nostrils and she sneezed all over Man’s lap. He stopped whistling, stood up,
and wiped at his leg.

“Godsake,” he said. “Godsake”.

Man looked Dog in the face, tutted and took another drink. In spite of herself, Dog could feel her tail start to wave back and forth. She blushed underneath her coat. Man moved off down the track and Dog plunged after him, veering over the path and in and out of the bushes. A rabbit zipped out in front of them and Dog traced its vanishing trail with disinterest. A pair of pheasants went chirruping up into the air. Soon they were out and on top of the hill. Man clung to a fencepost and drained the bottle, flinging it into the grass. He pointed to all the little buildings stretched out below and growled. Dog looked further down the track and beat her tail impatiently.

Words: 326

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It really shouldn’t surprise me, especially after all that time smoking a hookah and sitting on a mushroom, but appearing as several dozen entities at once is pretty weird.

I can’t recall exactly how long I’ve had concerns about my lifestyle, but I think (subconsciously at least) it’s been on my radar for quite some time. I wasn’t being true to myself at all. I mean, what right-minded larva of any species goes around dispensing advice about which side of a toadstool to eat in order to grow or shrink?

So, I decided to come back. Screw Lewis Carroll and his deranged, childish whims. I should never have agreed to let him exploit me in the first place, and I refuse to be a slave to that pretentious, stammering mathematician for one moment longer.

I exited Wonderland by the back door, stretching and squashing myself along, back to Reality. It was only when I emerged from the twig that I realised I was doing so repeatedly: being born again, over and over and over.

As I came out for the 27th time, I finally realised what was happening. There would be one of me for every incarnation of Alice’s Adventures: the various reprints, the foreign language editions, the films, the plays, even the cartoons. It felt mighty strange, looking around at myself in every direction.

Mercifully the blue skin had been left behind, along with the pipe, the mushroom and all of those cranky, inane idiots. Well, Bill the Lizard was a decent guy, but the rest of them were just narcissistic freaks.

So, here I am. Free to be myselves at long last. I am a caterpillar, and always will be.

Well, until I’m a butterfly at any rate.

My mission now is to teach creatures of every kind to be happy with their lot in life. Just as soon as I can find some cabbages, that is. Quitting smoking seems to have given me quite an appetite…

Words: 328

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I should be using this time to tell you other things, important things like look after your mother, be kind to your sister, marry for love or give everything you can.

You are no doubt upset that I didn’t tell your mother about the tests, or why I left you for those months

These are good questions and perhaps, if time permits, I’ll set down some answers. They could ease your mind or provide an outlet for anger.

Because you are angry. I know that, even though I’m no longer there. I know where it comes from and I know it remains long after you wish it wouldn’t. I don’t know how you deal with it. I never could. I never found the words to make it go away any more than I found the words that would convince Aunt Dorothy to leave us alone.

I’m resorting to humour again because even now I find it difficult to be open.

So let me try again and instead of using this time to sit beside you, instead let me give you this one piece of advice:

Don’t stop kissing men.

As children we give our kisses freely. Our mothers, our fathers, our relations, all get the simple beauty of the kiss. We plant a seed upon the lips that grows into a smile.

You still do.

But you will stop. I stopped. My father stopped. My brother stopped.

There comes a time when men just stop kissing other men.

I don’t think it’s out of fear. I don’t think we worry about appearing effeminate. I think it is more that we begin to define the father/son relationship along different terms. Like pride and activity as fathers aim to inspire, and sons aim to compete.

But it isn’t important why we stop. It’s important what we lose when we stop. The recklessness of youth, the trust of touch, the regrets of middle age.

You are five years old. Don’t stop kissing men.

words: 327

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