Ronald Pinkly, These Are Your Lives., страница 1
Ronald Pinkly, These are Your Lives
Copyright © Amos T. Fairchild 2011
Ronald Pinkly, These are Your Lives
The creature paused.
There was something to remember, it thought, if only it could remember what memory was. It was a real hassle being totally stupid – and blind. It was a bigger hassle being blind.
Blind meant that you had as much idea of your surroundings as... as... Such comparisons were for the intelligent; the creature was not one of those. It had instinct, good old trustworthy instinct, and that would get it through the day. You didn't need intelligence if you had instinct, you just ate when you were hungry and slept when you weren't.
Food was everywhere. The creature didn't have to look for it. You just ate – food in one end and the other stuff out the other – and to the outside observer, of which there were very few, there seemed little difference between food and faeces.
The moist stuff all around it was everything. It was the cool dark place that the creature called home, a place of safety to burrow amongst, a place that tasted like food. It was. Home was food and food was home; that made perfect sense. The creature was happy with that. It wiggled further on and began feeding.
Who needed eyes, whatever they were. There was nothing to see anyway, it was too dark for that. Cool was dark and dark was cool. Warmth, however, was bad, and warmth was light and light was...
The earthquake distracted the creature. Earthquakes were also very bad, as was warmth, and earthquakes often brought warmth – and that funny tickling called... called... Pain, that was it, good old pain. The creature was feeling a touch of that now, that tickling called pain. Earthquakes brought pain, that was something to remember, thought the creature. If only I had a memory.
Then there was warmth. Earthquakes, pain, and then warmth. It was a bad day. The cool moist stuff called home was gone, it was replaced by some cold hard stuff and some moist moving stuff. The creature tasted the thing that moved nearby, another creature. It would have shrugged if such a thing were remotely possible. It never got on that well with the neighbours.
It was quite glad to eventually leave the cold hard place, even though the tickling called pain came yet again. Then it was very cool and very moist.
That was bad.
Ronnie hated fish, but he loved fishing.
That was quite fortunate, as the biggest fish in the creek would not have been a meal for the most badly fed cat.
Ronnie was eight and trying to use a shovel that was made for someone really old, like dad. Digging worms was hard, even in the really soft dirt under the water tank – the worst part of fishing. Marty tried to help by picking the worms out of the dirt and putting them in the can, but he was only six. He was about as useless as... as... Such comparisons are difficult to come by when you're only eight.
But it was a really great day for it. The summer sky was blue and the breeze was gentle, just enough to bend the long green stalks and rustle the leaves of the evergreens. A day that was made for fishing. With a stick... a rod each that had once been garden rakes, and some line cut from the middle of the roll dad always used, and two hooks that came from the piles of fishing gear that had somehow become scattered upon the floor of dad's shed, the two boys were ready.
Ronnie set off in the lead, he was always the leader, with brother Marty behind. Marty always had to come, even though dad said he was never supposed to go near the waterhole, but dad was seldom home. Ronnie could go, of course, he was nearly a grown-up – nearly. And the dog. The dog always followed.
Then there was the creek. The water was miles below, the banks like cliffs all around it, and the dark shimmering surface concealed huge fish and a multitude of the worst monsters... Ronnie sat on the grassy bank and dangled his feet over the edge, his toes almost reaching the clear and slowly shifting waters. Marty did the same, his feet further from the moisture.
“Now you'll see real fishing,” Ronnie said, “fish as big as whales.”
“Sharks even,” Marty agreed.
Ronnie picked up the slimiest of the worms and pushed it onto the hook, piercing himself in the process. Marty did much the same. It was days before the first bite, the two untiring fishermen upon the point of despair. Then Ronnie caught one. It was huge – enormous – nearly as big as Ronnie's hand. The elder brother smiled; Marty laughed.
“That's how the real fishermen do it,” Ronnie said with obvious pride as he struggled to free the family meal from the hook.
Then he tossed the fish aside and baited the hook again. The fish flapped helplessly for several minutes to no avail; then it was still. The dog approached and sniffed it.
Marty's line twitched in turn. A little one for the little brother, Ronnie thought, and he smiled. He could not be accused of catching all the fish now, not like last time. Of course Marty's fish wasn't small, or even just big – it wasn't even enormous as Ronnie's had been. It was a whale.
Ronnie's heart sank. Why should Marty catch the whale, that wasn't fair – nothing was fair. And Marty laughed and laughed as he hauled the monster up the bank. That was until Ronnie pushed him in. That would teach him to laugh, to catch the biggest – the one that should have been for the biggest brother.
And Marty drowned.
It was wet and that was good.
Dry was bad, if you were a fish, and wet was good, very good. Wet, in fact, was heaven. There was plenty of water here – and food. Plenty of both.
A world without water was as much fun as... as... Well, those sorts of comparisons weren't a hell of a lot of use to a fish. It had a lot of other things to think about and very little brain to spare on such irrelevant matters.
The biggest problem for the moment – moment meaning everything, a fish doesn't really have a past or future – was how to get the next fly that landed on the surface above before the other twenty fish that thought exactly the same way. Waiting seemed to be life, and life seemed to be waiting. The fish glanced to its watch, suddenly realizing that it didn't have one.
There was something odd about that, the fish thought, but what. In the ensuing moments of confusion the fished missed its chance. Someone else got the fly.
It wandered off in disgust. It could have had that fly, it was the fastest – and the hungriest. It would eat anything, even... even... And it smelt something remotely appetizing, one of those slimy things that sometimes fell into the waters of the pond. The fish searched.
There it was. The fish dared a taste of the slimy morsel that hung in the dim corner of the pond. It wasn't quite as good as nice crunchy fly, but it was food. The fish took a larger bite.
And the slimy thing bit back.
Nasty. It was quite unpleasant to be stung in the roof of your mouth, even the bony mouth of a fish, but that was the least if the fishes present problems.
The pond was dragged away and dry closed about the fish. Then there was more pain, pain that was somehow familiar. Then it was tossed through some cool insubstantial dry onto some hard dry. The world was blurred, breath extremely difficult. The fish flicked its spine – that was instinct – but it did no good. The fish resigned, death somehow more familiar than the pain had been.
It hardly even flinched as the huge brown thing came near.
The dog woke up.
It yawned briefly and looked about. It was still daylight; the big two legs rarely returned before dark, and so there was very little of interest to be seen.
The small two legs was nearby, but he was about as trustworthy as... as... What the hell. The dog didn't trust him and that was that. He didn't trust the other little two legs either, but he hadn't see
In dreams he recalled padding his way to the creek in pursuit of the two small two legs and watching them pull the spiny silver things out of the water. It seemed a waste of time – something a pup might enjoy – certainly not a pastime of a dog of substance. The big two legs knew better.
He knew real prey, and could fell anything with the big stick that stung the ears. The dog would wait, watch for the prey to fall, then he was in for the blood. There were always tasty scraps from the kills of the big two legs, but not the small one. He gave only spiny silver things that were difficult to eat.
Time passed, quite a lot of time. The dog wondered how much, momentarily thinking to glance to his watch before realizing he didn't have one. Days went by, and nights, and more days, and...
Little two legs was bigger, a lot bigger, and the dog was feeling his age as he lay beneath the shade of the evergreen. Little – well, new big two legs was now carrying the stick, the loud stick. That seemed promising. Old big two legs had been gone for... for... quite some time, it seemed. Perhaps the new one would take his place.
The dog began to think not. He looked to the gun, that's what it was, a gun, then to the eyes of the man. He knew what was going to happen and thought to run, but what the hell, it would happen anyway.
He didn't hear the bang; by then his brain was moving simultaneously in several different directions.
Ronald tossed the gun to the bed.
It had been a good day; it was a bloody change to have money again. And it beat the hell out of working. He'd get caught, one day, but who cared. Live for now, there wasn't really a future.
Ronald's mother appeared at the door if his tiny room and stood between the posters of Alice Cooper and Mickey Mouse. God, Ronald thought, I've gotta get rid of Mickey Bloody Mouse. The rest of his room was about as tidy as the Russian front at the height of the Second World War.
“You've been drinking.” His mother stated the obvious as she scraped the snakes from her eyes. “You'll be like your father if you keep this up.”
Ronald chuckled. “Oh, mother dearest, you say the kindest things. I would so love to be like dear old dad.” He wandered to the door and brushed past his mother; then walked several paces up the hall toward the kitchen before stopping; turning to face her. “But I blew the old bastard away for a reason – I wanted to make it to twenty. And now I have, so that's it – story finished.”
His mother shook slightly. “Don't talk like that, not of the dead. Your father loved you...”
“He was a drunk, stupid, and bashed me once too often.” Ronald reached into the pocket of his well soiled jeans, noticing the blood. He shrugged, it was nice to shrug, and pulled out the cash. “And here's a couple of hundred for groceries.” He tossed the money to the floor. “I borrowed it from the 24 hour place down the road – splattered this guy's brains all over the wall. Really great. I should have been an artist.”
Ronald smiled toward the look of horror upon his mother's face, the colour draining from it, then he staggered toward the kitchen. “You'll burn in Hell,” she shouted after him. “Burn in Hell.”
I think not, he thought, as there is no god, heaven or bloody hell.
He was starving, he never seemed to get the time to eat properly. There was some fish in the fridge, and some white stuff that sported a crop of healthy looking mould. Ronald hated fish – couldn't bare the shit – and decided on the mould. It didn't matter, of course, he knew he would never eat it.
Mother was behind, the shotgun in hand. Ronald didn't look, he didn't have to. He just waited for the inevitable. It made sense. He was a threat to himself and the rest of society. What else could she do.
Hurry up, was all he could think.
There was a roar, the refrigerator slamming against the remains of Ronald's chest. And the floor was hard as it came up to greet him, the pain difficult to describe to those who have not had portions of their chest removed by shotgun. It didn't matter. Pain was pain.
Ronnie smiled toward his mother for as long as he was able.
As the cells of Ronald's brain began to flicker out of existence once again, he felt suddenly quite bad – very very bad. It was all quite clear.
He swore. It was too late now – far too late.
He knew for sure that he wouldn't burn in mythical hell.
The creature paused.
There was something to remember, it thought...
About the Author:
Amos T. Fairchild is a farmer, writer, dog collector and destroyer of worlds too numerous to mention who is currently based in blissful and often cyclone ravaged northern Queensland, Australia. Born in April 1962 and author of several novels and short stories, he is currently documenting significant events in a number of parallel dimensions over a period of some seventy-three million standard years and releasing the details in an ebook format of your choice.
For the latest news and releases please read the author's blog at: https://amostfairchild.blogspot.com/