Saturday, 6 June 2009

“WETBRAIN JIM” Chapter 2


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 around 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 pee his pants, 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 trials.

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.

For now.

To be continued …

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