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Twins in Death: Chapter One – Part Four

Twins in Death

A Tale of The Weirdo

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Chapter One: The Ballad of Captain Scourge

 

  

 

 March 27th, 2000

12:03 p.m.

 

            The worst part was how shriveled Tommy looked in the blue plaid flannel pajamas. He couldn’t have weighed more than a hundred pounds in his current state. At least he still had most his hair though, that was something. The Weirdo could see the scalp through the white strands, but you had to look for it. It was the shriveled state that the old man had that The Weirdo found so disturbing. The once broad shoulders had slumped and shrunk away, looking like a snowman left out in the warm sun. The wheel chair didn’t help matters, if there had been some real damage caused by violence then even the small metal tube he had in his pocket might not help.

 

            The Weirdo looked down the hall and stepped into the room, closing the door nearly silently behind him. This wasn’t exactly a hospital ward, but assisted living did occasionally mean people would be walking up and down the halls. Besides, lunchtime was coming soon. He took another step into the room and looked down on the aged visage of his best friend.

 

            “Hi Tommy.” The Weirdo said.

 

            Tommy’s eyes, still bright and clear, looked up at him. He seemed to remember that the face was connected to a name, but he seemed slightly confused as to what he was supposed to do with it. His white eyebrows went up, which crinkled his brow, and he smiled a bit. It seemed that all his teeth still remained in his head, which was a helpful sign as well. The old man didn’t seem to fully comprehend what was going on though.

 

            “Did you come to talk about something The Weirdo?” Tommy’s voice was the rasp of an old man, and it sounded unhealthy. “I didn’t know you were coming today.”

 

            “I’m not here for an interview.” The Weirdo said, wondering if this was even going to work.

 

            “Aren’t you?” The old man’s voice rasped again.

 

            “Why would you think that was what I was here for?”

 

            “Only reason someone would come visit me before lunch.” The old man said.

 

            The Weirdo closed his eyes and slipped his hand into his pocket to touch the tube of metal. Could this even work like they’d told him it would? What had transpired since he’d left? How long had it been since he’d left them here?

 

            “Sixty-Four years.” Tommy said, nodding slowly. “A lot happened in that time.”

 

            “Nice to see you’ve got some tricks left.” The Weirdo said smiling.

 

            “Yes.” Tommy said nodding in a knowing manner. “Thank heavens I’ve still got all my marbles. They might rattle around a bit more now than they used to, but I’ve still got them.”

 

            “You got old.” The Weirdo noted.

 

            “Yes.” Tommy nodded. “That happens to us mortals, when the Pan leaves us behind to go play in Neverland.”

 

            “I wouldn’t exactly call what I was doing playing.” The Weirdo protested.

 

            “Oh no?” Tommy asked turning his chair towards The Weirdo. “How many women?”

 

            “That’s hardly a fit subject.” The Weirdo admonished.

 

            “Uh huh.” Tommy said nodding his head. “Playing.”

 

            “There was a lot more than that going on.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “So tell me about it.”

 

            “I’ll tell you later.” The Weirdo said walking to Tommy’s closet and sliding open the door. “We’ve got to get you out of here first.”

 

            “And go where exactly?” Tommy asked. “I’m not as light on my feet as I used to be you know. I can hardly stand up without help.”

 

            “That what the chair is for?”

 

            “I’ve got a walker, but the chair was easier.”

 

            “So you’re not so much decrepit, as you are lazy.” The Weirdo said pawing through Tommy’s suits that had been hung up for him. “When the hell did you start wearing tweed?”

 

            “That’s what they young people are wearing now.” Tommy said lifting a hand palm up and then turning it over to rest on the arm of his chair again.

 

            “No it isn’t.” The Weirdo’s face looked like he had smelled something bad, rather than just seeing an unfashionable suit. “Where the hell is your blue suit?”

 

            “I stopped wearing those a long time ago.” Tommy said. “I gave them all away years ago.”

 

            “Gave them away?”

 

            “Well yes,” Tommy said leaning forward. “How long did you think I was going to keep the blue suit in my closet waiting for you to come back from the dead?”

 

            “I wasn’t dead.” The Weirdo protested. “I was off doing important things.”

 

            “Banging hot ladies.”

 

            “Traveling through time to learn how to do things.”

 

            “Banging historically hot ladies.” Tommy retorted.

 

            “Where do you pick up this language?” The Weirdo asked turning around. “I thought all you old fogies watched classic movies on cable all the time.”

 

            “The other old fogies watch old movies.” Tommy said. “I watch a bit of everything, no sense trying to melt too far into nostalgia. You could end up not having any hip talk for when the cats come to jaw with you.”

 

            “You might want to work on some of your lingo daddio.” The Weirdo said with a smile. “Don’t want to be left mouthing at the gate when the skivers come to palaver with us.”

 

            “Do you know what any of that means?”

 

            “Some of it.” The Weirdo said, and then pulled a black suit from the closet. “How is this for leaving in?”

 

            “My funeral suit?” Tommy asked.

 

            “No, probably not then.” The Weirdo hung the suit back on the hook and began pawing through them again. “When was the last time you shopped for clothes?”

            “About three months ago.” Tommy said. “I bought these very pajamas online. You know about online? Computers that fit in your lap and all that?”

 

            “I know about it.” The Weirdo nodded. “I’ve been brought up to date on most things that went on in my absence.”

 

            “During which you were traveling through time?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said drawing a brown suit from the closet. “I think you could wear this without embarrassing me.”

 

            “I haven’t been able to fit into that in thirty years or more.” Tommy said.

 

            “Good.” The Weirdo said. “Then it’s just out of date enough to be retro. Where do you keep your socks?”

 

            “Why do I need my socks?”

 

            “Because you’ve got to get dressed.” The Weirdo said, slowly as if speaking to an idiot or an old friend. “We’ve got to go.”

 

            “Go where?” Tommy asked, looking around the room. “Look, while you spent a few years gallivanting through time, I was stuck here for six and a half decades. I got old in that time you know. Don’t know if you noticed at all but I’m going to be ninety one on my next birthday.”

 

            “I know when you were born.” The Weirdo said opening and closing drawers. “And it was more than a few years let me tell you.”

 

            “How long?”

 

            “No sure, but longer than a few years. I spent nearly sixteen years in the Roman Army alone, and that was only a small fraction of my time.”

 

            “You don’t look much older. What? Did they let me have all your aging too?” Tommy said, tapping his fingers against the plastic arm of the wheel chair. “I mean I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I need a metal framework just to get around. I can’t help with whatever you think it is you’re going to do.”

 

            “I can’t do it without you.” The Weirdo said and his hand slipped into his pocket.

 

            “I’m old and tired.” Tommy said. “Unless you’ve got a magic rejuvenating fluid in your pocket.”

 

            “Funny you should say that.” The Weirdo smiled, drawing the metal tube form his pocket.

 

            He opened the tube and withdrew an old glass syringe with a screw cap over the needle. The substance in the glass tube glowed a sickly color of green and seemed to move like oil in the cylinder. The Weirdo held the needle in his hand, showed it to Tommy and set it on a small table between them.

 

            “What is that?”

 

            “Magic rejuvenating fluid.” The Weirdo informed him.

 

            “Yeah.” Tommy nodded looking at it. “But what is it?”

 

            “Magic fluid, that rejuvenates and stuff.” The Weirdo answered.

 

            “But, what, actually, is it?” Tommy asked, as if talking to an idiot or someone from the government.

 

            “I have no idea.” The Weirdo said. “But I am told that if I inject it into you, you will regain your vitality and age won’t touch you anymore.”

 

            “Is that a fact?”

 

            “So I’m told.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “By who?”

 

            “Longish story.” The Weirdo said. “And one that can wait until we get out of here.”

 

            “Where are we going then?”

 

            “Home.” The Weirdo said, looking slightly confused. “Where else would we go?”

 

            “Where is home?”

 

            “The house.” The Weirdo answered. “I’ve hired a house keeper, built a new computer, tricked out a few things.”

 

            “And I’m supposed to just inject myself with liquid youth and run off after you?” Tommy asked. “I’m old, my children are old. My life is spent. I’ve outlived Amy, and one of my children as well. I’m down to that point where the only person who even knows I exist is my granddaughter.”

 

            “Then she’ll be the only one we need to send a change of address form to.” The Weirdo said with a bright smile and Tommy could feel his misgivings melt away.

 

            The Weirdo could do that to you, make the truly foolish sound like a good idea. It was more than that though, he made you think that the impossible was merely difficult. Somehow, things always sounded like a good idea when he said them and he always had a good and reasonable answer for things. Why not take the glowing fluid and become young again?

 

            Tommy reached for the syringe and held it up, noticing the age spots on his now frail hand more than the glowing liquid. It would work, he could tell that somehow. It would work exactly like The Weirdo had said it would. Of course he could then get shot and killed like Johnny Death had, he could be dead before the sun went down. He knew somehow that if he was injected with that serum, that liquid youth, he’d die by violence.

 

            The doctors had told him there wasn’t any reason that he shouldn’t live another twenty years, but would they be like this? If he tracked the steady decline, he knew what another twenty years would bring. There was a fellow who was a hundred in the home and he could just about feed himself without dropping the fork. Paul actually seemed to be doing pretty well, but every once in a while Tommy noticed a look in his eyes, it was one he saw every morning. It was the look of a man who knew that he had done everything life had asked of him, and he was ready to be done now. They were crawling towards the finish line, and at this point another day of life was just another day.

 

            “Should I go out in a blaze of glory, or fade like the dying ember?” Tommy asked.

 

            “When was the last time you felt you made a difference?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I helped catch that Zodiac Killer in sixty-six.”

 

            “Was your granddaughter even alive then?”

 

            “No.” Tommy shook his head. “She’s in her late twenties.”

 

            “Is she cute?”

 

            “We will not discuss my granddaughter in these terms.” Tommy said and then looked around the room conspiratorially. “But yes, she’s a knock out. I don’t know why she’s not got a nice man.”

 

            “She doesn’t like nice men?” The Weirdo asked. “Doesn’t know how to tell you?”

 

            “No.” He said shaking his head. “I asked. You should know the futility of trying to lie to me. She’s waiting for someone really special.”

 

            “Well that’s great.” The Weirdo said picking up the syringe. “So, do you stay or do you go?”

 

            “Oh what the hell.” Tommy said pushing his sleeve up. “Give me a shot and let’s go.”

 

            “Right you are.” The Weirdo said unscrewing the cap from the syringe.

 

 

© 2012 Autumn Knight Productions

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April 1, 2012 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

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