Friday, March 30, 2012
And you can also find all the latest on Facebook. Which should help me update more often and allow people to get the latest updates easier and provide comments easier.
Monday, March 19, 2012
By Tim Harvey
Henry Buchanan ate a goldfish on his thirteenth birthday. That's just the kind of guy Henry was. We were best friends for a while, then we weren't, and then we were again. I didn't know him very well near the end of high school, but I knew he got the nickname Hennessey Hen. The Hennessey didn't stick though and we all just ended up calling him Hen. Even me, who always called him Henry, at his mum's insistence.
I can remember plenty of stories of Hen doing crazy stuff, but the one with the goldfish still stays with me. It wasn't anything special really. We were gathered in his living room and when his mum went to get the cake he dipped his hand into the tank, pulled out the fish, and slipped it into his mouth. Not many people were paying attention to him, except me. I remember just staring at him, wondering what had just gone through his mind.
I asked him about it years later, after high school, when we were much closer. He just shrugged and said he didn't remember doing it. I found myself wondering if it had really happened. Hen had a way of making me believe anything he said to the point that I found it hard to trust my own memory. I know it happened though, I can remember the tail sticking out of his fist.
We did some crazy thing together too, back when we were dating. Hen was my second boyfriend, but it didn't last too long between us. It was right after our first year of uni when we met up again. He bumped into me in the line at an ice-cream place down near the beach. We laughed and then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
I shrugged and said why not. That's just the kind of girl I am.
We never did get married by the way. That's something I'm very thankful for. How do you tell your kids that one of your first memories of their father was him swallowing a goldfish? If we did have kids I doubt I would have told them that story anyway. They'd be likely to follow after their dad and end up eating their own fish.
But we did end up hanging out after that, and eventually got together. We went on a holiday to New Zealand only a month after we met again. It was pretty expensive because everything was organised on such short notice, but we didn't mind. Hen dragged me out to a heap of different extreme adventure type things. I went bungee jumping, white-water rafting, mountain climbing. I'd never done any of that before.
Neither had Hen. He just said he wanted to go do something different.
That's how we ended anyway. Hen wanted to do something different. I can't really blame him. Or maybe I should. We'd grown apart and that was the bottom line. We both should have been there more. He occasionally got upset and I didn't know what to do. I told him to sort himself out. I guess he did. It's not that bad, thinking about it now. If I couldn't help him, there's no reason why he didn't deserve to find someone else who could.
I'm always drawn back to that goldfish. I wonder what it felt like, to be eaten. I wonder what it felt like to eat it. I wish he'd told me about that. I wish I knew what he was thinking.
Hen sprained his ankle when we went rock climbing. I told him not to jump off. He pretended to shout down that it wasn't as far as it looked. About a metre off the ground and he still sprained his ankle. It was actually a pretty bad sprain. His skin went purple and I had to help him back to our car. He taught me to drive a manual that day. Every time I missed a gear and the car lurched forward or back, Hen let out an incredible hiss of pain. I couldn't help laughing. I don't know why.
We shared a lot back then. Little things, anyway. Why buy two bottles of water when you could both drink from one? We even bought one pint when we went to the pub and didn't want to get drunk. It still surprises me how we could take turns on one pint of beer without ever knocking hands, worrying about who will drink more, or even saying a word.
It just started one night. I wasn't drinking, and he bought a pint. I just took it and nothing was said. The next time we went to the pub I bought a pint and it happened again. I never asked him about it though. Not like the goldfish. But we only shared little things like that. The big important things we didn't talk about. I felt comfortable not talking and I guess I assumed he did too. He could have, we never really talked about it.
I've met a lot of different people so far in my life. But I can't say I've ever met anybody else who struck me quite like Henry Buchanan did. You'll meet a lot of people too. Most will come and go, most won't really know if they want to stick around. It's not your fault. It's nobody's fault. Hen drifted out of my life, it just wasn't going to happen. But those people who you never really knew are going through the same stuff. You're drifting out of their lives as well.
The thing is, everyone who comes into your life will leave one solid image. One solid thing about them that will be burnt into your mind forever. I don't remember much about Hen, and you probably don't remember much about those people you've lost contact with over the years. But I'll bet there is something that is floating around the back of your mind that reminds you of them. One word, one phrase, one image, one memory that unlocks the rest of their existence in your mind.
But I'll also bet that no matter what impossible, fantastic, or crazy image you have in your head, you never had a friend who ate a goldfish on his thirteenth birthday.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
This story is an edited version of something I wrote last year. It has some personal elements to it and during my long-weekend hangover I spent some time polishing it up a bit because I couldn't get it out of my mind.
As always I'd be more than open to any feedback or criticisms of work posted here and hopefully I'll have something a bit lighter for next week.
By Tim Harvey
Alarm clocks sound harsher, sharper, and more painful on certain days. Some find them at their worst on Monday. Some, like me, find the pressure of the alarm at its most powerful on Friday. It pushes you out of bed, cuts through the lazy fog of sleep, and bites so hard that you wonder if you'll ever sleep again.
I have to go to work. I need a smoke.
A strange rattle follows me to my desk. I search for its source as my computer loads. My hands cradle my head as I read emails and the rattle stops. The cool steel and glass of my watch resting against my temple seems to calm my mind. When I put my hands back down I notice the watch rattling around my shaking wrist.
I take off the watch and step outside for some fresh air.
“I haven't seen you for ages. How are you?” She sits across from me, a glass of white in front of her, a cigarette in her hand.
“Plugging along.” It comes out drier than I expected.
A frown crosses her face, her forehead wrinkles and she rests the cigarette in the ashtray. “What's up?”
“Nothing. I'm good, how are you?”
Her big brown eyes narrow and she focusses on me, on my face and my sagging shoulders. “You look so tired. I hope work isn't killing you.”
I smile weakly. “Killing me,” I repeat quietly.
“Come on John. I haven't seen you since you got that new job. I've barely heard from you for two months now. Tell me everything.” She picks up the cigarette and takes a long drag, leaning back in the chair. Her arms fold over her chest and she waits for everything.
Where to start? “It's good.” I take a drag from my cigarette.
“I care about you, that's why. What's wrong?”
I think about what is wrong? “Do you ever feel like things are moving too fast?”
“No, not really. But things are moving fast for you John,” she sucks on her cigarette. “That's a good thing!” Her smile is bright and wide. “I'm proud of you getting that job, you know?”
“Can I ask you a question?”
“Of course!” She puts the cigarette back in the ashtray and takes her glass of wine, sipping slowly.
“What happened to us?”
She pauses, placing the glass carefully back on the table. Her eyes drift across the sky behind me and she takes in a deep breath. “John, we've been over this.”
Her chest rises. When it deflates she is looking into my eyes. “And, I don't love you the way that you still love me.”
“I know. Can I ask you another question?”
She sighs and picks up her cigarette, sucking in the last of the tobacco. “What?”
“Why don't you love me the way that I love you?”
“God! How many times are we going to go over it? I thought you were over this John!”
“I'm not over you,” I look down. My cigarette is mostly ash.
“I have to go.” She collects her bag and stands up.
I stand up and move around the table. My arms wrap around her, my hands on her warm back. Music fills my head and I sing gently into her ear, “It's never over. My kingdom for a kiss -”
“- Upon her shoulder,” she finishes the line and we sway together. “You have to get over me John,” she whispers into my chest. “We've been apart for four months now. Get some help.”
“Help me then.”
She pushes away, but her fingers linger on my chest. “I mean professional help, like a doctor or something. If you don't,” She sighs and looks away. “You're going to hurt yourself. I have to go.”
And she leaves.
This is how Friday night begins. Surrounded by people, but somehow lonely. The drink kicks in.
I open my eyes.
“D'you see that chick?”
My eyelids flutter.
“Oi, seriously! D'you see her?”
A hard slap to my shoulder snaps me out of it. I look around. The booth surrounding us is made of hard old wood, varnished countless times over the years yet still scratched and worn. Red leather under our bodies.
“Come on man!”
Another hard slap connects. I look towards where my friend is pointing. She is attractive, but not to me. Too tall. “Too tall.”
I feel awake.
“She's too tall for a short-arse like me. Next round?”
I swing past the girl as I make my way to the bar. The dance-floor is bare, but it's still early. She looks down at me and I make eye-contact. She smiles. I smile and walk on. Her hair is black and her dress is red. She is thin. I watch her eyes look towards her feet as I smile. Tilting her head down, she appears to shrink. To accommodate my stature. Her movement, subtle yet inviting. To everyone else she shied away from me.
Only we know what took place.
“Two pints of Pale, and two vodka, soda and limes.”
I turn, rest my elbows on the bar and look back at her. She is gone.
I bring the boys their drinks.
I am starting slow, but I can feel the music, loud over the edges of the booth. My head dips and sways. I'm not drunk, but it's coming. Like a speeding train, I can feel it coming. The conversation, contained within our booth is tame and repetitive. Music is what I want. My feet jump and I know life in the booth is going nowhere. “Bored!”
“We boring you John?”
“Let's get out there.” My head moves towards the floor. The light of day is gone. Night is here. The only light is artificial and bright, like my smile.
One of them shuffles out of the booth, “okay.”
Vodka. Sugar. Caffeine. So much caffeine.
I swim through the crowd. My head is held high and I scour the floor. My mate follows, sipping slowly. Eye-contact, left, right. Few return it. No spark. We shuffle through the people, bobbing and dipping.
I position myself near her spot, where she watches the people dancing. Her body is lean and covered in a shimmering green dress. I watch red hair dance across her shoulders. I am not drunk enough for this. Sliding next to her I nod, and pretend I just wanted a better view of the DJ. Her glowing green eyes do nothing to hide her boredom. She moves off of the wall, pushing against it like a swimmer making a lap. The splash of people parting as she enters the fray catches me and I spill my drink.
I find her. Red hair shining through the depths of the club. Through all the tight-white t-shirts and sweat. Eye-contact. I nod. She drifts towards me.
“Hey,” her mouth at my ear.
“Hey,” over the music. “Drink?”
She nods and I take her hand.
Shots. Shots. Shots.
I watch her fingers wrap around the hem of my t-shirt. She turns away and drags me into the ocean. It's dim and loud. She stops and I run into her. Dipping her knees, she presses up against me and we move together.
She moves around and tries to tell me something, “.”
“What?” I say into her ear.
A bored look crosses her face and she begins to float away. She won't look at me but I press up against her, holding her tight. I rest a hand against her cheek. She raises her eyes and I try to see what she is thinking.
I kiss her.
“Wanna take this some place else?”
I wake up in a cab. Things are moving too fast. There are details I forget to mention. What club were we at? What happened to my friends? I know these things, I think. What is the name of the girl sitting next to me? What is my name.
Her bedroom is dark and big. White walls. White sheets. She flicks the light on and busies herself tidying up piles of clothes on the bed. She yawns and climbs in, flicking the light off. I climb in next to her, rolling onto my side. Gently moving the hair from her face I kiss her.
My knuckles run across her cheek, “Flick the light on.”
The light goes on. I am sitting on the bed, shirt over my head. “I'm getting undressed.”
She watches and starts pulling her clothes off.
Dopamine. Pheromones. Serotonin.
This is how Saturday morning begins. She looks at me with vacant eyes. I don't try to kiss her. My smile, so fake it hurts. “Maybe we should exchange numbers, or something.”
“I don't think so.”
Diazepam. Too much.
I sleep, at home. In my bed I am safe. I should stay here forever. The world rocks. My windows shake. Sunday morning.
Oxazepam. Temazepam. Diazepam. Codeine. Paracetamol.
If I can sleep forever, then I can forget about everything. The week will begin again. I watch the ceiling and fight it. I can stay here forever.
Scotch. Scotch. Scotch.
Sunday night begins but I am lost. Finally. A haze of chemical-induced sleep clouds the world.
Quarter to ten.
The mask over my face is sweaty and cold. Lights flash bright and loud through the windows that line my coffin.
“What did you take?”
How did I wake up? “Where am I?” I pull the mask off my face. The paramedic gently rests it on my chin.
“What did you take tonight?” Her hands are delicate and she stares at me, her face full of concern.
“Alcohol. Sleeping pills. Something...” I can only think in bursts.
“And what was your intention with taking all this?”
Intention? “To sleep, I guess. To sleep forever.”
“You intended to not wake up?”
She turns in her seat and speaks over a phone attached to the wall. “We have an overdose coming in... Yes,” she looks back at me. “He's conscious, and speaking... Yes,” her eyes are so big and such a vibrant blue. The flashing lights reflect each beautiful speckle in her ocean-like irises.
She hangs the phone up and leans over me, resting her gloved hand against my cheek. “What happened to make you take the pills?” This isn't a medical question. “You seem like a nice guy. If this is about some chick, she's not worth it.”
I smile and rest my head on the pillow of the stretcher. She puts the oxygen mask over my mouth.
I can breathe again.
I see her at the gym, for the first time in two weeks.
“Hi John! I haven't seen you here lately, how are you?”
“I'm good. Really good.”
“That's good John. I was so worried when we had lunch a few weeks back. You looked terrible.”
I scratch the back of my head, itchy with sweat. “Yeah. Look, I'm sorry about how I acted that day.”
“It's okay,” she mumbles.
I step closer and place my hands on her arms, red and warm, and slippery with sweat. “No it's not. It's unfair of me to keep dragging up the past. I promise you, I'm over it Jess.”
Her eyes widen and she looks up at me, “really?”
She wraps her arms around my waist. My chest becomes a pillow and she gently sways in my arms. “It's never over,” she sings quietly to me. “My kingdom for a kiss -”
“- Upon her shoulder,” we finish together.
“I'm not over you,” she whispers.
“I know Jess.” I hold her tight.
Hope you found something in that story. I would just like to point out that if you know anyone who seems a bit offish, or not their usual self, have a talk with them. They may be fine, but they may not be. Let them know you care.
Also as I'm now posting this on Facebook (a scary prospect in itself) I won't be using the mailing list setup on the blog. For the readers that don't have Facebook accounts, I'll just send you an email when a new post is up. For the rest of you, you can find links on my timeline.
Sunday, March 4, 2012
I'm trying something new today and going to write something from my phone.
The internet is not your friend
By Tim Harvey
Becoming more and less social in three easy steps. 1) Discover internet. 2) Obtain a device to make internet part of your body. 3) Surrender loneliness.
Follow these steps and you will never be alone. Sounds good, right? But take a moment to consider the implications of that concept. You don't want to be alone, who does, I hear you ask.
You'll never be uninformed either. All good, right? How can this be a bad thing, how can it make you less social?
Take this example and just run with it for a bit.
'What's up?' This.
This appears on your phone. On your Facebook, in your email. Somebody is asking you a question. A question that you don't want to answer. Why? I don't know. Maybe they're annoying. Maybe you're doing something else. But they asked what you're doing, tell them. Go on, be polite.
There's one sitting on your phone right now, isn't there?
Who's it from? No, don't tell me.
You don't want them to know what you're up to for whatever reason. It's as simple as that. Don't feel bad we've all been there. But what do you do about it?
Well here's the problem that our parents never had. Or maybe they do now. You could ignore the message and run the risk that you're dealing with a very paranoid person who will end up stalking your online movements and confront you about your deceit. Hopefully it isn't a drawn out bloody confrontation.
The best option is to be honest. It's a level of honesty that most of us are uncomfortable with but we have to accept it. Nobody wants to be "that" guy (or girl) who says that they're going to see the movie you suggested without inviting you.
Nobody wants to say they're seeing friends just to hide their crippling Chatroulette addiction.
But that paranoid stalker will find out. And the confrontation will be awkward for both of you. They'll have to admit they read every single tweet and status update just to catch you in a lie, and you'll have to admit online poker is more interesting than them. And they smell weird, not bad, just weird.
So you'll eventually avoid telling people what you're up to just to bypass that awkwardness. Everyone wants to share a photo, or check-in at the local erotica emporium. But somewhere along the line that person who you considered to be very cool and laid back will ask you why you didn't invite them out too.
And you'll just have sack up and tell them that you were shopping for their birthday present.
Surprise ruined, thanks internet. Sometimes it's better not to share.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Here's something I wrote a while ago to kick things off and hopefully I'll have new content up next week. Happy reading.
By Tim Harvey
“Girls want Ken dolls.”
I sipped my drink and shook my head, “It's not about looks.”
“No not looks or anything like that,” Rob said. “They want pre-packaged men.”
“Well, they want a pre-packaged man. A guy that they can pull out of the box totally complete.”
“What? With like a full wardrobe?”
Rob shook his head. “Don't be stupid.” He sipped his drink. “What do all Ken dolls have?”
“A full wardrobe.”
“Okay, but what do all Ken dolls represent?”
“I don't know.” I looked towards the bar.
“A complete lifestyle. Or, more importantly, a complete pre-packaged life.”
I thought about this. Rob looked at me knowingly and continued, “Ken has it all. He has a job, different depending on what Ken you get. He has a car, usually some red convertible. He has a fucking house for God's sake. The bloke has it all.”
“So? So that's what women want.” Rob sipped his beer. The virtuous sage had struck again.
“Red convertible eh? So he's probably a professional.” It made sense.
“Now you're getting it,” Rob nodded. “Doctor Ken, astronaut Ken, fucking... I don't know, lawyer Ken.”
“I see.” And I did.
“A pre-packaged man.” I sipped my beer thoughtfully. “His house is like some two-storey villa right?”
“I don't know, probably.”
“That son-of-a-bitch is loaded,” I slammed my fist against the table.
“No,” Rob sighed. “It's not about money.”
“How do you think Ken got to be a fucking doctor with a red convertible and a two-storey town house?”
“Fine, villa. Well?”
“Well,” I mused. “How does anyone become a doctor, with a red convertible and a two-storey villa? Hard work I suppose.” I sipped again, glancing at the bar. There was a pretty blonde there sipping a cocktail. She looked like a Barbie.
“Yeah sure. But why does one work so hard to get those things?”
“Goddamn it! Be serious.”
“You're comparing women's wants and desires to a line of girl's toys.” I raised an eyebrow at Rob.
He sighed, “Yes. Okay, but it's what the toys represent. Girls have been clamouring to get their hands on a Ken doll since the middle of the century. Why is that?”
“Who else is Barbie supposed to fuck?” I raised my eyebrows at the blonde. She looked away dissaprovingly.
“Sure, but look at it like this. Barbie is the girl. Barbie wants Ken. Therefore the girl wants Ken. I'm asking – No, I'm telling you why!”
“Why then?” I returned my gaze to Rob. He had a mad glint in his eye, as if he had discovered something amazing.
“Because, he is pre-packaged. He comes out of the box with a degree and a fucking Ferari.”
“I don't think they could get the rights to a Ferari.” I liked pushing him.
“Whatever. But do you get what I mean?”
“Sure, girls want a guy that comes complete. They want to wander aimlessly around until one day some bloke rocks up who has all his shit sorted.” Rob raised his eyebrows is surprise, I continued. “A guy who has drive, ambition and motivation, but not only that, he's already put it to good use. He's a fucking doctor.” I sipped bitterly and eyed up Barbie at the bar.
“Exactly,” I sipped. “So, where does that put us?”
Rob thought about this. “Well, I certainly don't have a car. And you still live with your parents. We're both struggling with degrees that we don't care about. Where's your ambition lately?”
“I don't know. Fair point though.” I finished off my pint. “So, you're saying that I have to have my life complete before a girl will want me?”
Rob laughed. “Here's the kicker. You ready for this?”
“Some girls don't like lawyers. Some girls don't like doctors. You complete your life and you're cutting out all the girls that could love you!”
“So we're doomed.” I nodded and smiled.
“Not necessarily. Do you know what I want in a girl? In a relationship?” Rob finished his pint.
“Fuck! Goddamn it!” Rob slammed his empty glass on the table. “I have no drive, I have no ambition. I could be a fucking doctor! I want a girl that wants me to be a doctor!”
“You don't want to be a doctor.”
“That's my point. I could be a doctor if a girl wanted me to. If she came up to me and said; 'Rob I want you to b a doctor,' I'd join a fucking medical school. And do you know why?”
“Because, I want a girl to give me ambition. I want a girl to give me motivation, guidance, love. I have no fucking clue what I want to do with my life. But if a girl came to me and said she loved me! Well, I'd be anything she wanted.”
I looked back at Barbie. Did she want a Ken doll? Or a lump of clay, like Rob here? “But do girls want to make a man?”
“No, they want a fucking pre-packaged man.”
I thought about this. “Drinks?”
Friday, December 30, 2011
'Morning,' Gerald's mother said as Gerald entered the kitchen.
'Morning,' he repeated, sitting at the table next to her.
Gerald's father laid plates of fresh toast in front of them, and then set a plate for himself down on the table. 'Sorry,' he said, noticing Gerald's lack of excitement at his sense of culinary adventure.
'It's okay,' Gerald murmured, his neck still slightly stiff.
'That'll go away,' Gerald's father said, putting a piece of toast in his mouth and flicking through the morning paper.
'What will?' Gerald asked.
His father looked up at him, 'The neck thing,' he said waving his toast in the air.
'Oh,' Gerald said, picking up a piece of toast.
Gerald's mother put her hand on Gerald's shoulder and smiled. He turned to look at her and found himself returning the smile. She stroked the back of his head and let her arm fall after Gerald shook his head slightly.
'Eat up,' she said, 'It'll go cold.'
'Well, sorry again,' Gerald's father started. 'I haven't had to cook breakfast for a while,' he smiled at Gerald who returned the smile.
The three sat at the round breakfast table, Gerald's father flicking through the paper, his mother focussing on her breakfast, and Gerald, staring absent-mindedly through the window. A knock sounded at the door and Gerald's parents gave each other puzzled expressions. On the second knock Gerald sighed and went to get the door.
Sally stood in the open door clutching a pile of books under her arm. 'Hi Ger,' she said.
'Hey Sal,' he smiled and let her in. 'We're just in the kitchen.'
Gerald closed the door, while Sally made her way through the house.
'Morning Sally,' Gerald's father looked over at the toaster. 'Hungry?'
'Hey Greg,' Sally waved, 'Lola.'
'Sally,' Gerald's mother said with a smile. 'Much on today?'
'Not really,' Sally began, taking a seat at the table. 'I just have to return some books at the library.'
A stern look crossed Gerald's father's face and he gave Gerald's mother a cautious glance. 'Taking Gerald with you?' His question came out as a statement.
'Sure,' Sally smiled, not catching Gerald's father's concern. 'Cool?' She look at Gerald.
'Yeah,' he replied, 'No problem.'
'I know what they say,' Gerald's father held his hands up, 'But that campus gives me the creeps.'
'Oh honey,' Gerald's mother smiled at her husband. 'These kids can take care of themselves.'
Gerald's father nodded, then shook his head slightly as if trying to dismiss his concern. 'I know,' he finally said.
'Wanna go now?' Gerald asked Sally, stuffing the last piece of toast into his mouth.
'Sure,' she grinned, placing her hand on his back.
'Cool,' Gerald picked up the books, pretending not to notice her hand on his back. They went to the front door and Sally opened it for him. As Gerald walked through, he leant over and kissed Sally on the cheek. She laughed and closed the door.
'Oh Gerald!' His father's call came too late, the two were already gone.
'What was it?' Lola asked.
'Oh just this article,' Greg said, sliding the paper across the table.
Lola read the headline; “Man stops speeding train!” She looked up at her husband, confused. He pointed to the first lines; “A local man has died after jumping in between a moving train and a stalled bus full of children. Witnesses say the man was able to stop the train hitting the bus before dying of injuries sustained in the incident.”
Lola shook her head and focussed her attention on the kitchen window. Greg sighed and picked up another piece of toast, chewing lazily as he too stared through the window.
Saturday, December 24, 2011
Later Lola slept, her baby son being rocked gently by Greg, who sat next to her in the ward. Her eyes fluttered open and she tilted her head looking up at Greg. 'What happened?'
'You passed out,' Greg said, cradling his son. 'I'll get the nurse.'
'No,' Lola said, a rush of energy filling her voice. 'Wait.'
'Honey, you've been out for two days.'
Lola took this in, thinking. Her eyes drifted to the window and she gently placed her hand on Greg's arm. 'Let me hold him.'
Greg bent down and let Lola's arms wrap around her son before saying, 'It's not safe for me here.'
Lola nodded and looked up at her young husband. He wore a grey hooded jumper from the university he had enrolled in during the summer. 'Is he like us?' Lola motioned towards the sleeping infant in her arms.
'What have you been doing? You said you wouldn't even be here for this,' Lola said, tears welling up in her eyes.
Greg pulled a folded newspaper from his backpack on the floor. He studied it and sighed. 'I did leave,' he finally said.
'What brought you back?' Lola asked, kissing her son on the head.
Greg turned the paper to Lola, she read the small headline at the bottom of the front page; “Man stops speeding train!” It looked like a tabloid article, but Lola saw that it was a decent paper.
'You?' She asked without looking up at Greg.
'No,' he said, but faltered. 'Kind of.'
Lola shook her head, her son finally waking. 'Shh,' she whispered, kissing his head again.
'There was this guy,' Greg began, 'Just a boy really.'
Lola looked up expectantly.
'I,' Greg put his hand behind his head, scratching at nothing in particular. 'I helped him.'
'What was his name?' Lola asked.
'Jerry something,' Greg scratched again. 'He said his name was Jerry Wilkins.'
'Jerry,' Lola repeated quietly, looking at her son. 'How old was he?' she asked.
'Eighteen,' Greg said with a sigh.
Tears began to form in Lola's eyes again and she pulled her son close, kissing him on the head repeatedly.
'I'm sorry,' Greg looked down at his young wife.
'No,' Lola said finally, wiping the tears away with her free hand. 'Don't be.'
'I have to go now,' Greg said and moved to leave. 'I'll get the nurse,' he said over his shoulder.
'Wait,' Lola called.
'What is it?'
'Will you help him too?' Lola looked down at her son. 'When the time comes, will you help him too?'
Greg shook his head and left.
Lola cried openly, knowing she would never see the man she loved again. A nurse stepped into the room looking slightly bewildered. 'Mrs. Smith?' She questioned.
'Ms. Smith,' Lola corrected, wiping a tear from her cheek.
'Good to see you and baby...' The nurse faltered.
'Jerry,' Lola said. 'Baby Jerry.'
The nurse stepped over to the bed, still looking slightly confused. She leant down and placed her hand on the tiny boy's head, her confused expression breaking into a smile as the infant opened his eyes. 'He looks like a Jerry to me,' she said. 'Little baby Gerald.'
The force of the train caused Gerald's arms to buckle. He saw the speeding mass of iron and death falter. His palms burning and bleeding, Gerald held on. The impact forced his spine into the steel side of the bus, compacting the bones and severing the nerves. He felt the flesh on his back tear and that was the last physical sensation Gerald felt. His body went numb, but his mind raced. His thoughts centred on one concept, one focus. This train will not touch this bus. Gerald repeated the thought in his mind, it took on a life of it's own circling around his head. A strange energy came from the thought and although his body was broken and numb, Gerald maintained his position. The thought evolved, twisting and growing, gaining mass and power with each loop of his disturbed mind. Eventually, this train will not touch this bus became, this train will not touch me.
Gerald felt a sudden release of pressure on his hands and spine. He looked forward and saw the train slide backwards on the track. The sound of the engine screaming and dying deafened Gerald. He looked down and saw specks of blood on his shirt. He watched and realised they were coming from his nose. Turning his head slightly Gerald saw more droplets of blood on his shoulders. These could be coming from his ears, but he couldn't be sure.
A booming roar and a final crash that almost knocked the rigid Gerald over sounded, and he knew the train was dead. Gerald collapsed onto the ground, unable to move or blink. He felt unable to breathe and through his ruptured eardrums he heard a faint hissing noise coming from his chest. Gerald's limp torso flopped over on the ground and the shattered mass of bones and mangled organs caved in on itself.
His eyes were drawn to the bus stop across the street and Gerald watched as the man in the grey jumper stood and walked over to him.
'How you doing kid?' The man asked, kneeling beside him. Blood oozed from Gerald's mouth, although he couldn't speak anyway.
'Don't worry, son,' the man rested a hand on Gerald's head. 'Close your eyes now.'
Gerald refused to let his eyelids drop, knowing how damaged and beaten he was.
'Close your eyes Gerald,' the man repeated. He leant in closer and whispered into Gerald's ear, barely audible through the blood, 'Close your eyes, and you'll wake up.'
Gerald's eyelids fluttered but he held on.
'Time to wake up Gerald,' the man stroked his hair, 'You did it son.' Gerald saw the man's wide smile, his eyes full of tears. 'You did it.'
Gerald closed his eyes.