He’s not a hobo with a shotgun, he’s just an ordinary old bloke with a few problems …
Harry Heiner had his back to the door of his shop, hunched over a bundle of that mornings newspapers when Old Wetbrain Jim staggered inside, opened his pants and began to masturbate over by the cooler where the deli meats were kept, next to the cheeses.
Harry didn’t even realise Old Wetbrain Jim was there until Jim had already worked himself up to a climax, shooting his load over a packet of mortadella and then screaming “EEEEEEEE-POCH!!” at the very top of his voice.
So Harry grabbed a broom from behind the counter and ran over to beat Wetbrain Jim about the head and shoulders with it a few times and shoo him out of the store, not the first time he’d had to do so, but he’d be damned if this old derelict was going to come into his shop now and start emptying his fucking tubes all over the fucking smallgoods.
Wetbrain Jim stumbled out of the shop, stood and swayed back and forth on the footpath for a bit, then opened his mouth in mock indignation, raised his hand in a mock salute, and blew a long, wet raspberry back at Harry. All this time his cock’s hanging out of his pants, lolling back and forth like a long-preserved and now reanimated shrunken mole rat looking about blindly for its specimen jar.
“Nooooooooooo-booooooooooooo…..!”, yelled Jim at Harry, “Noooooooooooooo-boooooooooooo……!” just as Harry was about to walk back inside and get down to the business of cleaning Jim’s jism off the stock before a customer came in. That’s when Harry realised that Jim had probably left his notebooks, the bundle of fourteen A4 sized, ring bound notebooks he carried with him everywhere over by the cooler. Sure enough, Jim had, so Harry picked up the bundle, which was tied together with old plastic bags, and threw them out the door at Jim, half-hoping he might knock the old wanking bastard off his balance in the process.
But Old Wetbrain Jim artfully (albeit a little unsteadily) dodged Harry’s throw, picked up his bundle, and bowed deeply at Harry in a sarcastic gesture of thanks. Then he tucked his cock back in his pants and began to wobble off in the general direction of nowhere in particular, something he couldn’t quite figure out burning with some intent he didn’t quite recognise about something he couldn’t quite remember picking at what was left of his damp old mind.
Something about the notebooks.
He had started out, he couldn’t remember when, with one, and now he had fourteen. He was sure of that much. Fourteen notebooks. Fourteen.
Yesterday morning, he had twelve.
That was it.
The other two notebooks.
Someone had taken them. He had no idea who this could be, or why they would want them, but they were his, and he was going to get them back, goddammit.
With that sorted out and patted down in some (hopefully) not-so-foggy recess of his addled and oft-drowned brain, Jim walked over to a bench at a bus stop, sat down, pissed himself, and began to think. And think deeply. Or as deeply as someone like Jim could manage given his shaky predicaments.
Now, aside from getting thrown out of shops on the odd occasion for wanting to have his way with chilled packets of cured hams, Old Wetbrain Jim was not the type of man who normally attracted much in the way of trouble. But what Old Wetbrain Jim didn’t realise at that point in time was that a whole shitload of motherfucking trouble was about to find its way to him and find its way to him with a stone cold killer vengeance.
That night Harry was locking up the shop and getting ready to go home when he began to feel bad about giving Old Wetbrain Jim that broom-thumping earlier.
Harry knew Jim was harmless enough, he’d been a regular about these parts since Harry had first set up shop over a decade back. Mostly, all he’d do is wander up and down the strip all day, occasionally planting himself in a doorway to yabber a whole bunch of nonsense at no one in particular, wave his arms about and cackle a lot. Sometimes, if he was on a roll in the cackling department, he’d get so caught up in his own amusement that he’d forget himself and piss himself, after which he’d look terribly surprised and then very embarrassed and he’d just slink away somewhere private to dry off.
So what in blazes got him in the mind all of a sudden to just wander in out of the blue for a wank by the deli cooler today? Where’d that urge come from? wondered Harry.
Maybe it was that Old Jim had just touched another milestone in his enthusiastic journey toward vegetablehood. Maybe he’d had a thought about something and seeing as how the blood couldn’t get much done by heading for his brain to help clarify things, it all just shot to his dick instead because it had nowhere else to go and this had become Old Jim’s way of working through his troubles.
Hell, I don’t know what the fuck’s going on, thought Harry, but I sure as hell don’t want it going on in my shop, some old biddy waves her bacon at me asks me what this crust on the packet is? I don’t care it’s in a packet, it’s not, you shouldn’t have to buy food people have spoofed over and then just shut up and pretend not to care if you’re a paying customer. It’s a fucking hygiene thing, isn’t it? Fuck, thought Harry, someone did that to me, I’d be on ‘em quick smart, bring the health down on them and sort the dirty fuckers out.
Regardless, Harry wasn’t much inclined right now to hold a grudge against Old Wetbrain Jim over this one little offence this one time. He felt quite sorry for Old Jim. Who knew what he’d been through in his life and what had gone wrong with it. There but for the grace, thought Harry, although he left off the “of God” bit as he didn’t believe in any of that bullshit anymore. He’d stopped believing it the day, back when he was twelve years old, Sister Apophanius got her six clit rings tangled up with the gas tap handles in the science room and he was the one had to untangle her as he was the only one around and he had small fingers. At least, that’s what she’d said. What the Sister was doing up on the desk waving her fanny over the gas taps in the science room in the first damn place was anyone’s wild guess, but for the next couple years Harry packed a pair of rubber gloves and a bottle of Dettol in his schoolbag just in case it ever happened again. Which, thankfully, it didn’t.
Jesus Christ, Harry shuddered, I haven’t thought about that for years, and he shuddered again and involuntarily began wiping his hands up and down his trouser leg. Merciful God, my arse, he thought, if the bugger exists, it’s surely a nasty old buzzard to do such a thing to a sweet and innocent child simply because he was doing a little overtime boning up on his element tables for the mid-year tests.
Harry began to think some gesture on Jim’s behalf might be nice. Something that said “no hard feelings” and sorry about the business with the broom.
Take it down and leave it by Old Jim’s place, the old discarded stormwater pipe under the overpass by the creek.
He could thaw out a number 7 chicken overnight.
Old Jim might enjoy that, his current state of mind considered.
Harry got to the door of his building, turned the key in the lock and hauled his self up the two flights of stairs to his flat, a one-time “bedsit with a two burner cook top in a nook next to the bathroom” which, over the many years Harry had lived there, had magically transformed itself into a “cosy studio apartment with an ensuite kitchenette in a desirable location and handy to everything” despite a thing having never been done to it.
Every time the agents changed or added something to the description, they’d put the rent up.
Harry was waiting for them to add “polished floorboards” to the list, despite the fact the only polish on the floorboards was the wear from where he walked, and six of the boards, you trod on them, you’d fall two storeys and straight into the fucking basement.
He went to the refrigerator, took a chicken out from the freezer, put it in the sink.
“I’m a nice guy”, said Harry to the chicken.
And he was, too.
Chunk Smalls, his favourite phrase, “I don’t give a fuck”, was true in all senses.
Chunk wasn’t one to give much thought to the whys and wherefores of a thing, meanings and motivations and the like. If you’d said the word “subtext” to Chunk Smalls, he’d probably think you’d gone and hidden his sandwich under a newspaper. All Chunk needed to know about a thing was “who, where, what, how much?”. He’d get a mite confused if someone started in on the detail of a thing, his brain seemed to swell up and pound at his skull and everyone began to sound like they were talking from under a blanket.
So Chunk never had paid much attention to his mental development, only reason he learnt how to read was so he could follow the assembly instructions to his gym equipment and understand the labels on his “supplements”. At four years old, the other kids, they were watching cartoons and kids stuff, Chunk, he’d be glued to the Shopping Channel and bugging his mother to buy him an Abfabulator, only $69.95 in six easy instalments plus postage and handling and they’ll throw in this thing you use to scrape the dead skin off your elbows and a herb rack.
With herbs in it.
Over the course of his life, Chunk had built himself into such a tight ball of bulging, rock hard muscle that if you’d strapped him into a glider with a wing span the length of two Sydney Harbour Bridges and took it up twenty thousand feet and let it go, it’d simply plummet to the earth like a bloody great big boulder and leave a bloody great big hole when it hit.
But Chunk wasn’t about to go up in any glider any time soon. If man were meant to fly and all that, and man weren’t meant to fly, Chunk thought, a man were meant to be a man and do man stuff, not bird stuff. And Chunk was a man, he had the body of a man, and he’d made it all a man’s body could be so it could do all the things a man’s body should do and flying wasn’t one of those things.
It’s different, that’s what they do, what they’re supposed to be doing, and it always scratched Chunk’s mind up something awful he saw a bird in a cage not going about its natural business like Chunk had always had the freedom to do.
So today, Chunk bought himself another canary to set free. Chunk would buy a canary once a month, then take it back to his place and throw it off the balcony. Sometimes, Chunk not being the gentlest of people, he’d reach into the cage, grab the bird and throw it out so hard that the bird went into shock and before it could peep whatever the canary equivalent of “what the fuck?” was, it had dropped to the ground twelve flights down and become a little puddle of feathered mash.
And once, years ago, Chunk’s mother had called him by his actual birth name ‘cause she was the only one who was still allowed to do that, but Chunk forgot himself momentarily and momentarily forgot that she was his mother, and he smashed her across the face so hard, the neck of the whiskey bottle she was sucking broke off and came out the other side of her cheek and her head slammed into an open kitchen cupboard and split open and stuff came out.
She’d needed 87 stitches and was in a coma for four months. When she finally woke up, she spoke with a Spanish accent and had a lisp. And she wasn’t Spanish.
That was a strange day.
Although Chunk didn’t think about it much. Weren’t his way to.
He put his bird on the kitchen table and it peeped at him. It made him feel good, doing this thing with the birds. There weren’t that many options open to you for feeling good if you were Chunk Smalls. He had all the flexibility of a telegraph pole so any form of sport was out, for a start. And sex was definitely out. He literally couldn’t give a fuck. Chunk had taken so many steroids in his life, his dick was now the size of a sucked out cashew nut and his testicles were no bigger than barley grains. Chunk’s thing wouldn’t fill a doll’s thimble, and no woman in her right mind would want to be poked at by something looked like an angry pimple. Chunk didn’t mind. He couldn’t even tell he had a hard-on anymore, couldn’t tell the difference one way or the other and couldn’t feel anything either, so it didn’t bother him.
Chunk just did what Chunk did, work out, eat six times a day, do Mr. Spivot’s weird errands and buy himself a canary once a month.
Next time Mr. Spivot had an errand, Chunk hoped it’d be a bit more than just rooting around some old bum’s bundle of scummy papers. That weren’t proper work for a man, and Chunk were a man and he wanted a real man’s work to do, damn it. Next time Mr. Spivot had an errand, he’d tell him that, Chunk would. He’d tell him straight.
With that, Chunk grabbed the birdcage, walked to the balcony, reached in and took hold of the canary and flung it out and over the balcony rail as if it were a shot-put and he were an Olympian.
The bird never had a chance.
4. TO BE DECIDED
(Insert any additional text when obscene inspiration in extreme bad taste hits).