Growing Up

It’s Wednesday, the 5th of October, 2016, 1:02pm. I stand in the verandah of Uncle Trevor’s house with my eyes absentmindedly resting on a sparrow pecking at the ground. The sunlight seems to avoid me as I’m shivering but it cuts down the shadows of trees to stumps. I am heartbroken and brooding. My body is here but my mind isn’t. Imagine my surprise when I suddenly find myself doubled over, struggling to catch my breath, with Uncle Trevor rubbing the knuckles of his right hand with his left.

“Get a hold of yourself, boy.” That is his advice to me whenever he thinks I look troubled. The punches are saved for those special occasions when I look absolutely forlorn. I look up at his face, so empty of all emotion. Ever the stoic, I get that from him. Only, I hesitate to express what I feel. I doubt he feels anything at all. “Quit being a pussy. Jesus! Look at yourself. You’re sobbing and slobbering like a little girl.” Uncle Trevor almost never swears at me. He doesn’t have a flair for dramatics though. I was not slobbering. The only reason I have tears in my eyes was because I had been punched in the gut only seconds ago.

I tune him out and get back to absentmindedly looking out. Uncle Trevor’s yelling scared the sparrow away. I catch phrases like “grow up” and “mature” every now and then, but I’m not really listening. He grabs my shoulder. I turn to face him, thinking he’s about to punch me again. He isn’t. He’s talking more animatedly than ever. “…feel unappreciated…need to appreciate yourself first…know your worth…”

Something behind him catches my eye and I start walking towards it. Uncle Trevor sighs and follows me. Some twenty feet from the house a dead squirrel no bigger than my fist lies limp, its tail curled. There is no blood, no visible wounds, no signs of struggle. I stand there silently with my hands in my pockets, looking down at it. Uncle Trevor kneels beside me and inspects it. “The stench is killing me. Wait here.” he says and he runs back inside. A moment or two later, he returns with an empty shoe box and a shovel. “You dig. I’ll speak?” I nod and reach out for the shovel.

“Do you want to name it, boy?”
“What’s the point?”
“Sentiment, I suppose.”
“No, I don’t want to.”

Uncle Trevor lowers the shoe box with the squirrel into the hole and I begin filling it with earth. “Don’t worry. It’s something that just happens.” he says. “I know, Uncle Trevor.” It seems as if he’s comforting himself more than me. I sit down facing the mound of dirt. “I think I’ll stay here for a while, Uncle Trevor.” I look up at him and for the briefest moment catch a frown play at the corners of his mouth. “Alright, but don’t stay out too long.”

I sit there, absolutely still, for hours. The shadows grow longer and eventually the light of the day turns redder and fades away. Uncle Trevor comes out to call me back in.
“Let’s go, buddy.”
Sunsets are always prettier than sunrises.

Hubris

It’s Sunday, the 14th of July, 3:20pm. It’s raining somewhere far away. X and I are sitting peacefully on a fallen tree trunk by the lake. He has a joint in his hand. I have a 40. “Do you know what hubris is?” he asks. “Your most defining trait.” I say. “Nah, that’s chutzpah.”

“Ah, fuck! Pig.” he says as he chucks the joint. The cop walks over to us, the two solitary figures sitting by themselves where no respectable men are found. The cop looks at the still smoking joint, puts two and two together, and strikes X on his upper arm with his baton. X stands up, towering over the cop by at least four inches. Unflinching, the cop says, “Tell me what you were up to, or I hit you again. And don’t give me the medicinal usage crap. I know the penal code, bitch.”

“Well, I know the Constitution, and my rights, bitch. Can’t compel me to be a witness against myself under duress. You just fucking assaulted me.”
“I have solid proo-”
“Shut the fuck up and listen to me, you little shit. Do you know the DA? Here’s what you’re going to do next. Call a lawyer. Show up in court. Bend over. Spread your ass cheeks and wait. I’m gonna fuck you over so hard your fucking father won’t be able to help you shit for the next four days. Wanna make that call or wanna walk the fuck away?”
“Dude, just piss off.” I mumbled, disgruntled.
The guy took a step back when…
“Wait!” X yelled, “Who’s gonna fucking apologise?”
The guy just looked down and muttered something unintelligibly.

“See? That’s chutzpah.”
“Still seemed a bit like hubris to me, man”
“Whatever, it worked.”
“Could have been a little less harsh.”
“Why?”
“How do you know the DA anyway?”
“I don’t know who the fuck the DA is.”

The Other Jim

The sun is setting. I just got my hair cut. It had become a bit of a necessity to do so. I now look like the love child of Audrey Hepburn and David Bowie. That’s alright. I walk down the road when it happens. She gets off the cab and crosses the road. A motorbike speeds towards her. He is about to drive right into her. At the moment of impact, something absurd happens. Instead of freezing, like in the movies, she jumps two steps back. The motorbike wobbles in the other direction. For a brief moment, it almost looked like somehow a few extra feet of space appeared between them. The rider looks back to make sure she is alive and doesn’t take a moment longer to take off. “LADY!” I call out. I jog up to her. She is slender, like a snake, and almost pretty. Her pink t-shirt features a group of Asian girls in brightly coloured wigs. “Are you alright?” I ask her. She’s still in shock, and there’s a stranger asking her about her condition. It takes her a few moments to process what just happened. She looks in the direction in which the rider left with just a hint of mild disgust on her face. “I’m fine,” she says, “but he won’t be if he keeps on driving like that.” “Are you not even slightly injured?” I ask insistently. Too many questions might raise suspicion, but that’s alright. Whenever there is an accident, there are concerned onlookers. “No, I got lucky.” Yes, you did. I made you lucky. It’s only happened once before in my presence that someone has escaped almost certain death with absolutely nothing to remind them of it. At the very least they get a nasty scar. “That’s interesting.” I remark absentmindedly. Foolish. It’s not something she expected to hear, and with no appropriate response, she says “Aren’t you the thoughtful type?” with a smirk on her face. That’s it. Nothing more to learn here. I leave her there with her smirk and cross over to the other side of the road from where I enter a nearby alleyway. The ones left with no marks from our interference usually never see us a second time. I light my last fag. That’s a cigarette, to avoid transcontinental confusion. I’ve had nothing but tea all day and my body is running dangerously low on electrolytes. Performing miracles does tend to drain you. With my knees shaking, I somehow make it to the nearest convenience store. The girl behind the counter greets me but her voice is just static at this point. I get what I need and she prepares the bill.The haircut from earlier has left me just a little short. I have no choice. I put my arms on the counter and all my body weight on my arms. Focus. I feel like I just sprinted for a few seconds. Something shiny on the ground catches my eye. It’s a coin. I pay and leave. Two bags of salted potato chips and a bottle of mango juice. Sustenance is a blessed thing. I always seem to have just as much money as I need. Not a penny more, not a penny less. Or maybe I am just poor and not fussy. Or maybe I am just a spendthrift. I walk into sunset. Except the sun sets in the West, behind me. It’s not the sun in front of me. Some fucker has his headlights set on high beam. I am momentarily blinded and drop one bag of chips. I look up with spots in my vision. Was that me? No, he stopped on his own. “…second time today…shit…” It’s the same motorbike from earlier today. “I am so sorry. I don’t know what’s happening today. I almost hit someone else. That’s how this happened.” He holds his arm up. There’s a bruise just under his wrist. So he was the one who got marked today. “Interesting.” I say impulsively. Second time today. It makes me chuckle. As I walk away, I look at my scarred palms. There’s fresh blood on them. I pull out my handkerchief and wipe them clean. The handkerchief has my name embroidered in neat cursive in one corner.

Jim Cain

Jim

It’s Friday, the 15th of July, 8:08pm.

Uncle Trevor finally got his own place to stay, not very far, about four blocks down the street. He’s been staying there for a week now.

Uncle Trevor’s house is on the way to the guy’s house. I do not remember what possessed me to go visit him today. The guy is droning on about the Kashmir situation while I only half process his words. Something on his table catches my eye. It’s one of those old boxes of watercolour cakes that they’ve long stopped manufacturing. I turn it over and check the date of packaging. The thing is 12 years old. He says I can keep it.

On my way back home, it begins to rain. Big, heavy drops fall at first, a little tentatively. Then all at once, it pours. Uncle Trevor’s house is ten steps from me and that is where I take refuge. I ring the doorbell and wait for a few moments, as hurried footsteps make their way to the door. Uncle Trevor squints at my face. It is dark outside with all the cloud cover. It’s measured in oktas, Uncle Trevor once told me. For some reason, this piece of information has always stayed with me. I sit still under the ceiling fan, while he makes me some tea. It’s too strong.

“Uncle Trevor, what do you make of the Kashmir situation?”
“Pretty awful.”
I nod.

Uncle Trevor lends me his umbrella so I can walk home. Our street is flooded with water up to my ankles. I’m drenched up to my waist by the time I cross one block. The rest of me is soaked in sweat. It’s humid and I perspire a lot. My phone’s in my pocket. It’s probably alright. It’s been through worse. The headlight of some vehicle behind me casts my shadow on the street before me.

I get home and take my glasses and wristwatch off. I remove my wallet and leave Uncle Trevor’s umbrella to dry. I find dry clothes to change into. Dry, but not fresh. The t-shirt reeks of sweat. I discard it and pick another. This one is dusty. I put it on anyway. Laundry is a bitch to do in the rainy months. I place a bucket under the leak in the roof and put the leftovers from last night into the microwave oven. My parents still aren’t back home. The telephone rings as I cast a look at our washing machine with the Donal Duck sticker on its side.

Laundry really is a bitch to do in the rainy months.

Confession

I write with the earnestness of a man whose heart has never been broken but who is perpetually paranoid that any moment now it will be. I just have it invested in so many places, who knows when a small crack might appear somewhere remote.

Humble Beginnings

newspaper

Tuesday, 28 June 2016


Kern Outed As Baron Of Lies

Two time recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, renowned Men’s Rights Activist, and prominent member of the LGBT community, Dr. Baron Kern, revealed late last night on social media that the crusade he led for nearly one and a half decades was initially meant to be nothing more than a joke. “I was just taking the p**s, you know? I just wanted to see how far I could go with this. Never imagined it would snowball into something this big.” He posted.

Uncle Trevor has been on fire all morning. This was the first man he ever interviewed. Parts of the interview were, well, see for yourself.

Monday, 29 October 2001


Hot-Dog Trevor: So, you’ve stirred up quite a reaction. Did you ever imagine your movement would shape up like this?

Baron Kern: To be completely honest, Trev, I did anticipate something of this nature. What I did not expect was for it to be on this scale. I expected maybe citywide notoriety at most. I couldn’t have possibly foreseen half a nation rising against a simple former college lecturer just for calling Feminism cancer.

It doesn’t end there.

Hot-Dog Trevor: What’s next for Baron Kern professionally, and what’s next for your movement? You stated, “At this point, it’s pretty safe to call it an ideological revolution.” Correct?

Baron Kern: I did. I did. See, what I’m trying to achieve here is what Jesus and Lenin could have done together. I want to establish a power cult for men with the largest following in the world. Professionally, I might have to look for a new career. I’m more or less unemployable in the field of education now, but looking at the public outrage I’ve caused, I could probably be an effective media personality. What do you think, Trev?

Hot-Dog Trevor: Aren’t you already a bit of a media personality?

Baron Kern: I suppose I am.

Hot-Dog Trevor: Some have accused you of being chauvinistic, regressive, and even homophobic because of your views on masculinity.

Baron Kern: Homophobic? I am bisexual.

Hot-Dog Trevor: I did not know that.

Baron Kern: I’ve never spoken about it before. You see that pretty little lady standing there? I’ve had c**ks in more orifices than her, which should really impress you for two reasons. She is prettier than me. She has more orifices than me.

Hot-Dog Trevor: That’s alright, doctor. This isn’t the kind of news outlet that you have to convince of your sexuality. However, you have used homophobic slurs in public statements previously.

Baron Kern: F*g? Yeah, I’ve called a couple of people f*gs. They were f*gs. What about it?

Hot-Dog Trevor: A former lover accused you of being overly aggressive and verbally abusive. She said that you called her, and I quote here, “pathetic and friendless.”

Baron Kern: I did.

Hot-Dog Trevor: I suppose it was one of those situations where there were other factors involved? In what context did you say that to her?

Baron Kern: In the context of her being pathetic and having no friends.

And in case you’re wondering what this guy is all about…

Hot-Dog Trevor: Do you have any parting words for our readers?

Baron Kern: I believe we’re going to win this war, Trev. You know why? Because we’re men. This is what men do on a daily basis. We conquer. Authority might favour women. I can see that firsthand. I can’t get employed for my statements, despite being one of the best in my field. Society, however, worships men. In the eyes of society, we are the alpha, and we are the omega. And authority derives itself from society. It is much easier to convert authority than to convert society. This is a man’s threat to all of womankind.

Hot-Dog Trevor: Thank you, doctor.

 

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