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Author Topic: Five Years and a Day in the Life of a Hero  (Read 1711 times)

Tribeless

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Five Years and a Day in the Life of a Hero
« on: July 18, 2005, 10:42:36 pm »

Second to last installment ... sorry for spinning them out, but I'm have to reformat story to work properly in here, so am just doing as I get the chance. George, when's your next installment on the way. John, hell man, you've posted a lot, trying to get back to the start of it.

Back to Present Day: Living in an Anarchists's Head

Made it. Safe. Safe in the Park. Must walk, exercise. Be wary: terrorists or the State. Smell of muffin waffling up from a bakery wrapper on the dash. So yummy. Terrorists or the State. Sugar, blueberries and cinnamon. Looking at himself in the rear view; fat face, 'I'm an ugly cuss, god damned ugly cuss'. Memory of the sugar crystals melting in his mouth, transfusing into his blood. Mouth watering. Glorious muffin aroma. Ugly cuss. Lovely jubbly muffin.  'I mustn't ... mustn't. Seventy, seventy seven, eighty four. Nothing else to look forward to, wanting to starve, look like a real lover boy. Love food. Comfort. 'I hate this, I hate this,

I hate ....'


One of life's detours (developing a theme, fool): a walk in the park symbolising the relentless pressure to conform in our modern society, and how this can over time break a man down. (This section shouldn't really be included in a 'good', tight short story, but this is a life being exploited, sorry,  explained)

Actually, regarding that dictum: 'a short story should contain nothing superfluous '- well, no, actually. Perhaps life IS in the detours.



Ranter turned his head to make sure the bus hadn't followed him. Clear. Surreptitiously glanced skyward to ensure no pigcopters had clocked on his facial features. Clear.

That Snot could be such a little snitch, implying he wasn't an anarchist. Jesus that little shit got under his skin sometimes. Walking would relax him. Make him forget. Sometimes he was a little envious of Snot who could use drugs to blot it all out ... no, he wasn't going down that loser's path.

The temperature in the park must be approaching thirty Celsius, damned hot for Spring. The WKYP Weather Channel had got it wrong again. Bloody useless. He would flame them good when he got home, once he had closely analysed the video. He taped the weather reports nightly so his complaints could be dead on accurate about the station's errors; it gave him a great degree of satisfaction. Proof the world was wrong, right down to the goddamned details. Goddamned state run TV.

He wiped his glistening forehead with the back of his soiled sleeve, looking for Ruger ahead somewhere. Yes, there, cocking his leg against the lamppost. Now sniffing the shoe of an old geyser approaching along the path on a walking stick. Goddamned, he had to find some shade, this heat was going to kill him. He was beginning to think seriously about killing his doctor on their next appointment tomorrow afternoon.

"Um, excuse me sir, but no dogs in the park."

"Wha ..." it took Ranter, lost in thoughts of revenge and sweaty discomfort, completely by surprise. But it was, he was sure, the old geyser was talking to him! "Wjat did you say?"

"Ah, don't take umbrage or anything, but I just thought I should tell you there's supposed to be no dogs in this park," the old man was stick thin, and looking more and more nervous as he took in the size of the brute trudging doggedly toward him. He didn't like the look on the big man's face at all. Perhaps he should not have said anything, but he thought it was important to do your civic duty, and hell, he tried to remind himself, he had fought in the first Gulf War, and in the second, he would not let himself be bullied. He was in the right.

"Do you know who I am?" Ranter's already sunburnt and sweat pudged face was turning a violent shade of red. A blue vein was sticking out and throbbing alarmingly on his right temple.

"Na, I mean no," try as he might, the old man pretty quickly had to admit to himself he was finding it hard not to feel intimated afterall, this man mountain may well be deranged by the looks of it. One day, if he had another day, he would perhaps listen to the old girl and learn to keep his mouth shut. "Why, should ..." trying to ameliorate his voice as much as possible, "should I know you?"

"I'm The Voice of ferkakin freedom you little chickenshit! Jesus! What the ... nah, wait a minute," Ranter was suddenly remembering the picture on the park gate. He calmed, became smug, which even further worried the old man, believing this to probably be the manner of all psychopathic murderers just before delivering their final justice  "well, old man, you're wrong actually," Ranter pushed a big blunt finger at him, "dogs are allowed in this park."

"... um, yes, yes, you're probably right ... I shouldn't have troubled you," the man was backing away, trying to look normal, as if no altercation had happened at all.

"An where in the hell do you think you're going then?"  Ranter moved surprising quickly given his bulk, and grabbed the old man by the scruff of his neck, "... You think the 'sunshite beams out your bleeding bum, don't you? Jesus, where do people get off telling me how to live my goddamned life! I'm sick to death of it. It's not bad enough I've got big nosed government manhandling me about, now I've got runts telling me what to do. Well I'll tell you what, old man, if you're going to tell people how to live their lives then you'd better make sure you've got your goddamned facts right, cause you ain't, an I'll prove it to you." Ranter humped one foot after the other toward the park gate, still holding the old man who was doing the best he could to stay on his feet, wondering whether to try and hit this monster with his walking stick, or just continue using it as a prod to try and stabilise himself.

They got to the gate and Ranter let him go, pointing at a sign glued to the HomSec turnstyle.  The sign, contrasting black borders against the aluminum white of the bomb scanner protecting the park from 'ciders, consisted of two metallic pictograms; one of a bike with a red diagonal line through it, the second a human stick figure walking a dog.

"See. See." Ranter turned to look the old man in the eye, "Do you understand what those little pictures mean old man? No bikes, but dogs on leashes are allowed!"

"But, um ... with the greatest respect, your ... your dog's not on a leash ..."

Ranter's voice was rasping with the strain, "ninety one, ninety eight, one hundred and five."

The old man stared wide eyed, still fixed to where he was standing, unable to move, "p  --  pardon?"

"It's a Chihuahua you moron! A ferkakin Chihuahua for Christ's sake," Ranter stumbled over a huge breath, "Jesus you're pissing me off, one hundred and twelve, runt, what's, one hundred and nineteen, it going to, one hundred and twenty six, do? Maul a blowfly!" Ranter was by now an unhealthy beet red colour, as was the old man, " where do you get off telling me how to live my life, my life. Mine, not yours, runt. I'm doing you no harm, so why don't you mind your own frigging business? Hey. Hey!"

Ranter stopped for breath, pulling air into his lungs in desperate gulps, then pushing it out again in order to take another, looking down to the ground around them,  "Ah look, you've scared the little fella now, he doesn't like conflict and noise," he scooped up the quivering Ruger, who disappeared into his mitt completely, only a nose out snorkeling for air, "it's alright matey, it's all right, I won't let this mean brute hurt you."

While Ranter's attention was turned to the dog, petting him and smoothing the small creatures hair, the old man, veteran of two wars, but now in a dangerous state of confusion, at last saw his chance; he took to his feet and hobbled on his stick as fast as he could down the roadside toward Meaning again.


The Natural Human Response to Chaos Theory is to Seek Control and Order. Unfortunately, Governments have learnt this.


He had grown tired and hagged: like the weight of his whole life was leaning on this day, bowing him down. He wondered how much longer he'd be able to survive such a heroic existence. Constantly having to be the only man alive standing up for freedom. Constantly having to evade the Police. Worse, the god damned old fart in the park had put Ruger, the innocent wee soul, into a right state. He didn't mind digs at him, he could rationalise it. Not a wee pooch though. 'Should be capital punishment for animal cruelty' he muttered, feeling the shakes reverberating from the quivering small body in his camouflaged cargo pants pocket as he slipped in the remains of his muffin for comfort.

Matrixing three more cop cars on the way back to Snot's from the Park, plus a suspicious looking black van, he just wanted a moments refuge before heading off into the sunset again. Refuge he was supposed to have gotten on his walk for Christ's sake.  Nothing seemed to work out as it should and he was sick of it.  Wrenching the canvas back into Snot's Sit, he fell through the window to the floor, only being careful to ensure his leg carrying Ruger didn't hit the concrete slab.    

"I wish you'd get this place fixed Snot. Feels like coming through a god damned birthing cannel getting in here."

"Ugly cuss ov a baby."

"Hey! None of that." Ranter swept a lock of hair back from his forehead.

"Must've been a good work out in the park Rant, you're look done in mate." On Rant's entrance Snot was watching a pretty actress on the telly, an idiot expression on his face, a bead of saliva just about to roll off his bottom lip and moisture under his eyes. He slothfully dabbed at both with his hand, girding himself to deal with the real again. "How's about something to eat t'pick yah up?"

Ranter's eyes moved slowly over the three canned mountains. Spaghetti?"

"Not likely, can't eat th'retirement plan."

"Huh? Retirement plan? Is that what this's all about? How do you plan to make money out of spaghetti? " Ranter had recovered enough to lift his torso from the ground, his tree trunk wrists hinging him up, sweat streaming down his face, dripping and puddling on the floor. The outline of the top of Ruger's head could be seen moving around in his pants pocket chasing the muffin crumbs .

"Nah. Me riches ain't gonna be made in spaghetti, per se, as they say. Id's gonna be in the 'not money' I've got cause I didn't spend id on Spaghetti."

"Come again?" Ranter unbuttoned his pocket to give Ruger some air.

Snot fought against the hashish lethargy, becoming animated. "All this spaghetti yer see here, every can wus purchased at sale price. On every one I've saved ten cents over recommended retail price. Once I've purchased five more pallets of cans I will've saved ten thousand dollars. That's ten thousand big'uns I've got cause I haven't spent id on spaghetti Rant. Damned easy ta make money if yah ask me; don't know wot everyone complains about with this money lark."

"Mmmm," Ranter was looking at his little friend in a perplexed manner. "You know I just thought it was because you're shit faced all the time, but I'm starting to wonder if you're not all there mate?" He lovingly patted the top of Ruger's nose which had periscoped up for air. "Where'd you get the money to buy the cans in the first place?"

"Ma dole cheque ov course. Though I supplement it wid th'odd burg, truth ta tell."

Ranter's face was shocked.  "You thieving snipe. You're suckling off the State tit?"

Snot recoiled slightly at the anger in his big friends manner. "Wot do yer think! Hav yah ever seen me working?"

Ranter became apoplectic. The pressure inside his head enormous. He'd often reflected on a group of people he'd read of once who drill holes in their head to release such pressure: perhaps he could try that.

"One hundred and thirty three, one hundred an forty, one hundred an forty seven."

Bringing him down, flattening him out. Pressure smoothing.

"How can you Snot? After all the lecturing I've done you?" Tone calm and menacing. "You're a ferkakin commie."

"No Rant," tears were puddling in Snot's eyes again. "We're not commies. Honest. We're jus desparate. At's all."

"We? Whose we?" Ranter looked suspiciously round the small room.

The tableau was broken by a knock on the door, muffled by the junk and spaghetti tower in front of it. Snot turned to it, thankful for the reprise. "Who is it?"

"This is the Police. I wish to talk to the owner of the Volvo parked on the curb please sir."

"Ferkakin hell, I'm done in Snot." Ranter bullied his way up from the floor, pushing Ruger down into his pocket and buttoning it again. Snot made his way to the window, opened the canvas and yelled, "Oi, over ear mate."

"What're you doing you crazy bastard." Ranter's voice was a hoarse whisper; desperate. He couldn't believe Snot was this stupid; well no, he could, but he'd always hoped when the chips were down with the State on the door he'd finally gain some backbone.

The policeman's steps stopped outside the canvas. "Are you in here?"

Snot pulled the canvas completely off the nails securing it, freeing it to fall to the ground in a pile of dust. With no impediment, the policeman, somewhat surprised, looked in directly to Ranter, who tensed, contemplating running, but realising there was no escape, deciding to instead stand his ground, an heroic glint growing in his eyes. "Yes officer, can I help you?"

"Are you the owner of the Volvo?"

"Yeah," Ranter shifted weight from one foot to the other like a gunslinger, "what of it?"

"It's parked over a fire hydrant Sir, I wonder if you could shift it please?"

Ranter was confused, wondering just how stupid the State really was. "Next to a fire hydrant!" He turned to see Snot watching him and the policeman, a smile beginning to grow on the wee man's face. "You're not looking for me for any other reason then. Haven't checked your APB's?" Reaching down to pet Rugar calm as the little dog was growing agitated in his pocket.

"No. No other reason. Just could you move your car please sir. I won't fine you this time, but please be more careful in future."

Snot fell to the floor, holding his stomach and hooting. "Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Rant the big Hero. Rant the Freedum Fighter. Rant on th'run." He rolled onto his stomach looking Ranter in the eye while the officer watched the big man for a response. " Bullshite, Ranter. They're not even lookin for us. All this shits in our mind, we're a ferkakin fraud."

Ranter's shoulders slumped. "I warn you Snot. You'd better shut it old son or I'll take it out of you. I will. I mean it."

"Excuse me sir?" The Officer's manner started to become perturbed. "Who're you talking to?"

A large sigh left Ranter, slowly turning back to the eviscerated window. "Nobody. I'm not talking to nobody," looking at the man's uniformed chest, "just give me a minute and I'll get my keys. Got to go uptown anyways."
 
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Joel

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Five Years and a Day in the Life of a Hero
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2005, 11:29:40 pm »

It's very weird.  But I'm starting to like it.

 :huh: I have days like this.
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George Potter

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Five Years and a Day in the Life of a Hero
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2005, 11:47:19 pm »


I quite like it myself. But I have to say this flat out, man. The Jose-Farmerian 'screen directions in block quote' thing is annoying.  Unless you have some super-special never before seen coming twist on why they have to be there I say whack 'em the fuck out.  
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cowardly lion

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Five Years and a Day in the Life of a Hero
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2005, 06:19:10 am »

Quote
The Jose-Farmerian 'screen directions in block quote' thing is annoying.

no no no - i like it all!  i think the tone is incredibly entertaining.  ranter is so obviously playing to an audience in his head, the narrator *naturally* has to be doing the same.  i think it's great.

i wish *i* could create alternate universes (or future histories :-) as well as some here.

cl
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Tribeless

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Five Years and a Day in the Life of a Hero
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2005, 06:44:57 pm »

Thanks Cowardly Lion.

Partly agree George ... as I said somewhere, the story has got some weak points, and bits that just don't work, but haven't got the energy or desire to re-work; better pastures at the moment.
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