Revenge was first and foremost on Akatar’s mind after awakening from a thousand years imprisonment. However, he had not considered the ineffable progress humanity would make in such a time frame. For, in his plans for revenge he had not considered the advent of late capitalism, the automobile, or language shift that would result in a plethora of verbiage to assail the crazy looking man shouting gibberish at a hunk of metal that could have easily rendered Akatar’s plans for revenge mute. There was also the slight problem that the people whom he swore to avenge himself upon were quite dead and cops now carried tasers. Those same cops also didn’t speak a variant of Latin and he was by far in the wrong part of the Ozarks for that language.
Some years would pass before an astute graduate student doing work on her thesis passed by his cell in the psych ward and recognized a few words from the time she spent in Latin class during her undergrad. Had Akatar the knowledge, he would have said a quiet prayer to his god that the cute boy who sat next to her turned out to be gay, thus meaning she could spend the next three semester’s worth of classes actually paying attention.
Her discovery led to experts and more experts. They were an excitable lot ad mumbled a lot of foreign words like tenure and make my career. For all their mumbling and verbosity, he ascertained only a trifle but important conclusion. He was by right the one true king of what they had come to call meth country.
The mug shattered around Alaister’s feet sending jagged ceramic shards skittering across the linoleum. He barely heard, but at a hundred and fourteen he didn’t hear, see, or feel a lot of things he once could. With small steps, he made his way from the crash site towards the far wall of the kitchen where Daphne, his granddaughter, had installed an electric calendar to remind him of when her next visit would be. He grumbled upon seeing the date surrounded in blue with a reminder flashing that she should arrive in the afternoon. While he still had an ever-pressing dread of bad weather, he found himself wishing for a squall to sweep in over the ocean and force the ferry boats back into their docks.
He looked down the hallway from where he was. What once would have been a simple trip now promised aching muscles and a morning of recovery, but he needed the broom, least his granddaughter see the shattered mug and conclude he could no longer manage. She’d already taken coffee away from him after he’d complained of heart palpitations, and managed to turn her regular boatman against him. No amount of bribes, promises, or cajoling could convince the man, with bulging muscles that he felt his granddaughter took too much advantage of, to deliver the precious beans to him. If he couldn’t manage a cup of tea without incident, she’d probably leave him with nothing more than those overly processed drinks in their indestructible packets. Then, he asked himself, what would be the point of living.
With little left to lose and snow starting to fall as the temperature dropped with the setting sun, I had to wonder, would this be my Stalingrad? Sure, I wasn’t in danger of starving to death while being surrounded by Russian soldiers in a misguided attempt to gain lebensraum. Ruining an evening and a friendship by admitting to loving her probably doesn’t compare to the destruction of the sixth army, but perhaps you might forgive the hyperbole.
I fished into my pocket for the remainder of the blacks we got from the liquor store. Neither of us smoked, except on the rare occasion we found ourselves slightly drunk enough and close enough to a store. I stuck a clove between my lips and, turning against the wind, lit the small stick. With small puffs, I watched as the tip flared and faded. There was little else to distract me other than accumulating snow.
The small specks of frozen water flashed as they passed through the beams of streetlights. I used to enjoy the sight, but now, with my mind lacking enough dopamine, I didn’t want to confuse the memories.
I heard a voice behind me, a trick of the wind or my own fragile state. My name, called out.