Saturday, 6 June 2009

“WETBRAIN JIM” Chapter 3


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.

But birds?

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.

To be continued …

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