Indie Author Ring

Friday, 30 October 2015

Eventide: George

   "Snap out of it, lad," George said.  "If they see you looking like that in here then you'll never leave.  Where's your Christmas spirit?"
   "I drank it and pissed it away," Phil said as he shook George lightly by the hand.  "How have you been, you mischievous old bastard?  Still alive, then?" 
   "As far as I can tell," George replied.  "Won't be long now, though.  I have my eye on a plot of land over there by the water fountain."
   "You plan to be buried at Longchester House?"
   "Well of course I do.  Do you expect me to lie in some cold dark cemetery with the rest of the stinkpots? I'll be right here haunting the place."
   "As a zombie?"
   "As a ghost.  Zombies don't haunt people," George corrected him.  "You know, you youngsters are not quite the ticket."
   "Ok, well there's no graveyard in the grounds anyway.  But even if you were buried in the cemetery you could still return and haunt the place as a ghost."
   "Too far to walk," George returned.
   "You can float... and I'm forty years old.  I'm hardly a youngster," Phil added.
   "You're always young to someone."
   "Well who the hell calls you a youngster?"
   "Trees and tortoises," George nodded.  "I had a particularly informed conversation with an Oak Tree only last Tuesday.  Did you know...?"
   "I know enough to know that you've pulled my leg too many times for your own good," Phil stopped him.  "You have more wits about you than a fox.  You've gone beyond the boy who cried wolf too many times.  You're the old codger who lost his voice."
   "Heresy," George said.  "The day I lose this wonderful voice is the day these wits of mine lose their home.  How are you, Phil?" he chuckled.  "You wait until Christmas time to visit us? Just special occasions now, is it?"
   "Calling Christmas a special occasion is questionable at best."
   "Now that's going to have to stop, young sir?" George began.  "When one loses his mirth then one begins to wilt.  You should be out there meeting women, making merry and having children."
   "And look where it's got you."
   "It's not about where it gets you, it's about the journey you undertake to get there.  Very few people out there understand what life is really all about and even less know how to live it.  We all make mistakes.  We all have regrets and leave our woes dangling from our breast pockets like snotty handkerchiefs for all to see, but by God one has to look back, study the path he's chosen and be happy about it."
   "And are you happy about yours?"
   "Unfortunately my path forked. It's littered with mistakes, tears, sons that hated me and wives and daughters that continue to do so.  I suppose I should be looking back at that path and wishing that Nature would take its course and cover the damn thing in dead branches and fallen leaves, but for every fallen leaf there's always just one tiny flower amidst all the debris.  It's that one tiny flower that makes it all worthwhile.  However if you can't find that flower, well, just drink lots of brandy and to hell with it... in a hundred years no one will care anyway," he smiled. "She asked after you yesterday."
   "My mother?" Phil replied as he looked over George's thin shoulders.
   "Your mother," he confirmed.  "Strange that she should ask me.  Mind you there's a lot of strange goings on at the moment.  The planet has gone mad."
   "It doesn't seem as though anyone is particularly bothered by it in here," Phil observed as he cast his eyes over tables cluttered with playing cards and board games.
   "That's because they took away the television," George whispered as he gestured towards the empty bracket on the wall.  "A 50" plasma television constantly referring to the end of days was apparently upsetting some of the residents."
   "They can't take away the television."
   "Well they bloody well did," George raised his voice a little.  "There's no line drawn in here between being old and being dim-witted.  The aged are the ones to be protected now from all the nasty things in the world; these, of course, being the very same aged and apparently fragile people who fought in a world war and paved the way for future generations.  Everyone here knows about Eventide and most of us couldn't give a hoot about it.  We get on with our lives, play games, talk about old times and old memories while all the youngsters are out there murdering each other.  When we killed we were merely carrying out orders.  They do it because they feel as though there's bugger all left to do.  Hopelessness is a lazy, worthless and unproductive hobby, Phil.  I do hope people don't become too good at it."
   "For some it's a habit rather than a hobby," Phil replied, "although this Augustus Saccardi business seems to be keeping hope alive for quite a few people out there."
   "Piss and onions!" George declared brazenly.  "What do you think about this Augustus Saccardi business?"
   "Piss and onions, George, whatever the hell that means," Phil agreed.  "I can't see how trawling through this Mortuus place is going to help anyone feel any better about dying."
   "Now I never said anything about dying, young fellow," George said.  "We'll be fine.  The young can be so grim.  Look around you; it's Christmas.  We don't talk about dying at Christmas.  Actually this is a celebration of birth.  Of course some of us do die at Christmas.  Henry doesn't have long," he said with a nod towards a frail looking emaciated man in need of amusement and something more engaging to study other than his hands.  "Always tired he is.  Too much good living is my guess.  He was a gigolo, you know?"
   "Was he now?" Phil grinned.
   "Dirty fellow if you ask me.  Spent most of his life slapping his manhood around.  Still it takes all types, doesn't it? Have you ever thought about becoming a gigolo?  There's good money in it and it gets you out of the house."
   "I live on a boat... or in it... one of the two. Anyway it's not my style," Phil replied.  "You have to pretend to be somebody you're not."
   "You have to be charming at the very least."
   "Charm is something you have to work at.  I don't see the profit in it."
   "Profit? Oh to be young again," George started with a finger raised and wagging.  "Profit will always let you down.  It entices you and goads you into doing things you never thought you'd do.  It's a harlot, Phil, and you should keep away from it.  Profit and purity are like chalk and cheese.  Mind you there's some cheese that looks like chalk.  Have you ever tasted it? Vile stuff!  Give me mature cheddar any day of the week."
   "It makes my nose ache," Phil said.  "It's too strong."
   "I find it very appealing," George said, "much like Edna over there," he added as he nodded towards the doorway where Edna was standing and observing.  "Do you think she likes me?" he asked.
   "Edna likes everyone."
   "I don't mean like that," George returned.  "I mean do you think she likes me?"
   "In what way?"
   "In that way."
   "I think this conversation is drawing to a close."
   "Could you find out if she likes me in that way?" George continued nonetheless.
   "What are you, twelve years old? You'll have me passing love letters around the room next."
   "I could write her a poem," George said as he sunk into reverie.  "Nature, love, attraction... it's all connected."
   "I'm sure it is," Phil replied nonchalantly as his attention went once more to his mother, who had since turned to face him with a wide and incredulous gaze.  She was so happy to see him.
   "And it's all still working downstairs," George added.
   "In the basement?" Phil enquired after showing his mother a brief smile.
   "Behind the cloth," George whispered as his eyes rolled downwards.  "It never ages, you know?"
   "What the hell are you talking about you silly old bastard?" Phil enquired.
   "The penis, dear boy, the male penis," George answered candidly.
   "Is there any other kind?" Phil returned.  "Anyway, how is it we've gone from poetry and Nature to the subject of your dick? George, you never change.  More power to you," he added as he brushed past him and patted him on the shoulder.
   "Elephant's knees," George mumbled to himself as Phil stopped and turned back.
   "What's that?"
   "The foreskin is like an elephant's knees at birth and remains so until death finally whisks the genitals away.  It still looks pretty much the same as it did," he said as once more he gestured downwards, "but it just takes a little longer to speak its mind."
   "Well I'm more than certain Edna would be happy enough with your penis, George, and whatever said penis has on its mind."
   "I've never had any complaints I've taken notice of," George returned, "unless we count my second wife.  I couldn't help but take notice of her.  Incredibly loud vocal chords," he said tapping his throat.  "Always an echo," he added with a quizzical look.  "It didn't matter where she was standing, outside or inside... there was always an echo."
   "Well," Phil began awkwardly after a few seconds passed, "I'm sure Edna wouldn't be like that."
   "Yes," he agreed, "she'd be happy with my penis, as you say."
   "She'd be the envy of all women.  Perhaps you could wrap it up for her and give it to her for Christmas."
   "I could slip it into a sock, throw a blanket over myself, kneel down and push it through the gap in the dirty linen basket.  She'd think it was..."
   "Merry Christmas, George," Phil grinned and nodded.
   "And to you, young Philip," George replied with an accompanying schoolboy chuckle before casting his eye towards Edna, who continued watching him suspiciously from the doorway.  "And now to business," he added as he walked away with an air of confidence accompanying a leisurely gait...

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