Monday, February 11, 2008

Nostradamus. [Revisit]

Archie sat at the end of the bar rolling a cigarette with one hand, the other wrapped softly around his glass, a gentle reminder of a slightly possessive lover. Everyone knew Archie at the bar.

"Hey Archie, tell us our future!" they would cry out, laughing and slapping him slightly too hard on the back.

He joined in.
He always did.
It was a life of sorts, or more to the point, a slow, easy death.
A gentle break up.

Well...

you're all going to buy me a beer!

Stock standard.

"Hahahaha, amazing! The man who can see the future!"

Superior drunks, dressed in suits, laughing at Archie.

Their joke. Their loser.

"What about me Arch?" the Bull-Man asked, his club fists gripped tight on another round of Tequila shots.

Well mate, keep drinking like that and you'll be asleep in the gutter in a puddle of piss and a pillow of vomit.

"Haha, you're alright Arch, you're alright..."

Doesn't take a fucking soothsayer to see that, Archie thought.

The pub would close, Archie would walk home, passing the Bull-Man who lay rotting, rank and prone.

He thinks:

When I was thirty I was given the gift of hindsight. I don't know who gave it to me, it just arrived. Unwrapping it I began to see the paths behind, criss crossed and dusty, paths followed and routes lost and choices - the pain - I should or could have made. I thought it may well have been the worst gift I had ever received.

I was wrong.

When I was thirty four I was given the "The Gift".


The future, my future.

Spread out in front of me like a map.

A chart, a terrifying goddamn fucking chart.


I read it and wept.


At first Archie had laughed it off as an over active imagination. Until it was too right, all the time. Too real. Too horribly fucking despairingly real. Every single fucking step, every word, every meal, every drink, every fuck. He'd seen it coming. He'd seen it all, and he knew, he fucking knew what was still to come. He fought, oh fuck how he fought it. He went back to college, mature age, studied for a degree, goddamn accounting. Wore a suit, got a job, fought fought fought fuck no please no but soon enough the job was gone and the path was there and he'd known because that had been a part of it. He started a band, opened a shop, learned how to paint anything everything please god is this for real? He married no please no please no and when she announced her pregnancy - in the kitchen over wine smell of lavender he knew he knew of course he knew every fucking detail - he had to run had to build that wall as fast as he could because oh god he could see what was coming and the pain was too much. But no wall could defend against the armies of despair that followed the announcement three years later.

Driver escapes with minor bruising, mother and daughter killed.

His flowers, his angels, who stung with a kiss and had floated away and left him be.

Gone and he had known and he had nothing - could do NOTHING - to stop it.

So eventually, he gave in.

*****

There it is, there's the typewriter. By the window with its dirty venetians looking out the dirty window to the dirty street below. And trams and cars and trucks and dogs all form a symphony beyond, the soundtrack to what I must accomplish.

So I drink milk from the carton and settle to my destiny.

At least the gods gave me my milk.

Tap tap tap, I write it all down - like they damn well asked.

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