March 30, 2008

The Weeping Maw (7 of 11)

Thread: Mission

A corner was missing.

He hated jigsaws but there was nothing else to do. He couldn’t bear TV, having not watched it for so long, with all its noise and flashy graphics. It needled into his brain like poisonous acupuncture. The TV stayed off and he refused to let Tom watch it whenever he dropped by.

Beside the jigsaw lay the latest rejection letter, a suitable candidate for being torn up and turned into the missing corner piece.

He didn’t know what picture was hiding within the jigsaw, having found the jigsaw in a shabby shoebox beneath a pile of magazines dating back to 1987. The pieces were too small to reveal any form of shape, but they covered the white table top like the escaped contents of some vivid kaleidoscope.

There was a knock at the door.

Colin lurched off the seat, shaking the table. A few of the jigsaw pieces spilled onto the floor. Wonderful. More pieces missing in action.

He opened the door to reveal Tom, not entirely a surprise as he was the only person who ever came knocking. Colin greeted his benefactor with a soft grunt.

Tom was out of his religious get-up, showing off a brown cardigan that would have been at home in the 1970s and pair of tatty old trousers. It just didn’t look right, a young man wearing an old man’s garb. Even the black dress looked better than this.

‘Well, hello there, my good friend. What keeps you up this late at night?’

‘Uhnmmm,’ Colin said. ‘Rrrrejection.’

Tom grabbed Colin’s elbow. ‘Now look here, Colin, everyone else who has stayed in my small room has found work. It wasn’t easy and it certainly took longer than a few weeks. Give it some time. You can stay here as long as you need. I won’t chuck you back on the street, you hear?’

Colin nodded and responded with a submissive grunt.

‘Now come on, why don’t you come into the church this evening?’

‘Oh uhnmmm, d-dunno if…’ Colin stuttered. He was sounding like an idiot again.

Tom laughed. ‘Such the shy boy.’ He slapped his hands together. ‘Come along, there’s no service, it’s too late for that. I’m not going to ‘ – he lunged with his hands, pretending to grab and roar at Colin – ‘try to convert you! Ooh spooky!’

Colin tried to smile, but felt bad. Tom deserved, at the very least, a modicum of courtesy. But courtesy… it was so difficult to get the hang of after the wilderness years. People ignored him, pitied him or hated him. Or even all three at once. His approach had always been to avoid other people. Practice was needed on his social skills. But it so frightening; people expected answers to their questions and responses to their comments.

‘Alrrright, yeah. Sure. Uhnmmm… sure.’

Colin left the room a letting agent would describe as cosy. He locked the door, leaving behind its rickety table, its badly-sprung bed and its makeshift kitchen. It was far better than the pavement under a broken neon sign, but he still had mixed feelings about this situation: he’d chosen a harsh existence for a reason. He had asked Tom to let him be, but oh no, not Tom…

He turned around to face the church interior. Rows of empty pews leered at him. Tom beckoned him towards the stairs.

Posted by: The Harbour Master @ 1909

2 Responses to “The Weeping Maw (7 of 11)”

  1. Jennifer wrote on 1-Apr-2008 @ 1233:

    Colin??!! Who is Colin and where did he come from??! He did it!!!



  2. Jennifer wrote on 1-Apr-2008 @ 1233:

    Colin??!! Who is Colin and where did he come from??! He did it!!!



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