May 22, 2006

Truth is Ghost (4 of 7)

Thread: Alpha and Omega

“Old man,” Mr. Omega said to the old man. When the pipe and the cap did not respond, Mr. Omega repeated without change in intonation or volume, “Old man.”

The old man extricated himself from a private world. He had not been reading the paper at all, he had been daydreaming. Without removing the pipe from his mouth he said, in a garbled Scottish accent, “What can I do you for?”

Mr. Omega swelled up his body like a balloon, a seemingly difficult task for a man who knew someone else had called him a mop, and asked, “What are you doing, mate? What’s so interesting in this paper here, eh?”

The old man’s eyes became wistful and moist. He took in a deep breath and sighed with theatrical gravitas; he had obviously been taking a lot of deep breaths and doing a great deal of sighing for someone’s benefit. He shifted his position to reveal the pages he had been engrossed in and his bone dry mac squeaked with every movement.

There was a big-fucking-deal news story about a local death; some woman in her forties had slipped on a toy truck which had the ability to change into a robot and fallen from a second story window to her death. The old man said something that Mr. Omega could not make out because his emotional theatrics had wrestled the words into inaudibility.

“What? What did you say? Speak up,” Mr. Omega demanded.

“She was my little niece,” the old Scot explained. “She understood when no-one else-”

Mr. Omega turned around without a second’s hesitation and strode back to the bar with an impressive aura of disinterest. Although slipping on a child’s toy to your death from only the second story window was embarrassing, and toys which changed into robots were not even fucking cool anymore, it was probably not as bad as dying in two inches of water, the absolute minimum requirement for death by drowning. Mr. Omega had a Viking-like fear of dying an ignoble death. Mr. Alpha, ever the cheeky git, had enlightened Mr. Omega that Klingons also shared this belief. “A Clothman with Klingon philosophy, that’s got to look good on the CV, man.”

Plus, he thought some more, at least your niece is dead. Be grateful for the small mercies that The-God-To-Be graces you with. Tragedy is final and comprehensible.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 2048

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