Friday, April 13, 2012

Love, After the Fall - short story

The text came, cutting through a whirl of music cushioning him with headphones from the noise of the street as he walked through it.

It was a permanent fixture of his world, this street. Through the hustle and bustle he could make it his own, give it his own sound track, tweak it to his liking. Adjust the volume, up or down, change the band, change the album. Rock, indie, electro, dance, a flood of memories enveloping him with various concerts he had been to, festivals he had camped at, or moments he had shared with girlfriends, friends, and everything in between.

This was his world, his street. He owned a little piece of it.

If only he could adjust the screen, the visuals, and make that grey cloudy sky a sunny one. A dreary Dublin day impinged upon his little controlled space, his home away from home.

They say that the gods make their homes in the wind, the sea, a tsunami, or a blade of grass, and many other things besides. He made a home of sorts of this street, and he planned to make a home of the park when he got there, of the roads that he crossed, or the shops that he stopped at to buy food and drink or cigarettes.

Was he then Heracles, that halfcast mixture of god and human?

He turned up the volume, as he walked past a particularly horrible homeless person. In this disengaged, controlled state, he could view the situation from afar; those emaciated cheeks, the dirty clothes, those dark eyes too full with desire.

He regarded the wretched creature like a writer would. Or, better still, like a cinema goer, watching the big screen, watching the projected image playing out in front of him as he sat silently in the large dark space with darkened curtains along the walls falling to the floor.

And then the text, a girl he knew:
Hey John, what's the story, wanna go to my art expo thingy-magiger on Friday? There'll be free wine!
Deadly. Good buzz. Should be a bit of a laugh, he thought to Stevie Nicks' crooning vocals: "Thunder only happens when it's raining ..."

Hmm, though, he paused, will Jen be there? What did it matter? Gods needn't concern themselves with such petty things. He loved her, he knew, now he ... she could do what she wanted, in this post-apocalyptic age, the free agent that he knew her to be.

Who knew that the walking dead, the ones who rose up after the end of history, would be gods instead of zombies?

Dreams, by Fleetwood Mac. God, he missed her ... Change the song. Forget about it. No worries for the gods at the end of history.

Shuffle. Forward; again; again. Click, cleeeck, cleeck. Ah, Mr. Morrison, I presume.

He made his way to the entrance of the park. "I am the lizard king. I can do anything." The gates were black and shiny with a fairly new licl of paint. He noticed this as his music stopped.

The grass was wet, and the wind was blowing. Everywhere there was music - and it was not his own. Birds, dogs, cars, beeps, people, talking. It was not his own.

Was this the fall of a god, an infringement upon eternity by the world?

Shit, should've charged the ipod before I left home.

His phone moved independently in his pocket, and when he took it out he realised it was dead.

Shit, should've charged that too.

He stood just inside the entrance to the park, stood there beneath some infinite sky, as a grassy stretch of land lay out before him, undone by a lake as the land sloped downward, punctuated by a tarmac path that went down towards the water. Ducks swam, quacked, and went about their business.

He realised he was naked, and alone. No phone, no music, no text messages, no calls, no e-mails. No quick-fix like only gods can conjure and which only they deserve.

The trees swayed slightly as he walked by, certainly not because of him. Not at all, not at all. He found a bench along a path where he sat for no particular reason at all.

An attractive girl came round the corner, walking her dog, a little terrier at the end of her leash. Her hair was dark, and she wore a little denim hat; a polka dot skirt; ironic suspenders; even more ironic massive "Jackie O" style sunglasses.

A knot formed in his stomach. Jen. Shit. She walked on by, ear plugs in. A god, then, too. Lost to the world? He said her name, in spite of himself. But she just walked on by. He could not tell if she was oblivious to him or purposely ignoring him with the music in her ear and those bug-eyed glasses hiding her vivid green eyes.

He sat there for a moment, his thoughts his own. Fuck this shit. He rose up off the bench, and ran to catch up with her, that girl he loved, once, now, maybe, sometime soon.

He ran, a god no more.

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