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Short Fiction About the Author |
 

OUR BOY 

 
  by Victor Saunders  

Needle stick in arm. Brow sweats.
       Our boy he crackle. He lick la pipe and he freeze. Outside tha street throbs and lights whirl. Revolve in he eyes does tha dark, red sky. He see tha street live thru pinned out eyes and he a kiss la juice. He suckle tha bottle good and guzzle long. Our boy he a walk strong but he eye be staggered. A Punter with a million owe him some small notes but he say he can't afford ta pay. Say he baby need new gold slippers and he mama need a new platinum ring. Our boy he a laugh and tell tha Punter he don't need he notes. Life be more than money to he man.
       He walk tha area til dawn and watch tha juice and rocks float away. He feel tha cold in he bones. Wrap he jacket in and shiver. Beast cruise by and snarl. He think, fuck you Beast. You be nothin to me. In my Cracker skin I be alive. You be nothin but dirtyskinBeastboy.

Jungliss bring tha real urban sound. Make tha city come alive in Our boy's soul. He hear the JazzStep move and he mind swirl round to the smooth urban drape. He fly to soaring towers and scan the city lights as they burn. He walk a back onto the street. Check tha rocks in he gum. Our boy see he girl and wonder what she see in a blatant Cracker like he. There be lightnin in Our boy's smile and he disarm ya with it quick sparkle. Beyond the glass and steel towers tha moon come crisp. Our boy feel tha night descend and he heartbeat soften.
       He watch Beast disappear in a distant blue flash and dull orbs soften he livin eye. Can't free he mind. Our boy he a ride low from crystal ta juice. Yet when he fall he do so hard. He cradle tha sound in he head and he tremble. He watch time tick by and he feel immobilized. Strapped. Our boy he always be strapped.

Back in the ghetto the tide don't turn. A flame burn outta shiny badges and venom paralyses. Our boy he immune to the venom and stroll by quietly assured.
       So he's in this club. Our boy sittin at the table watchin the world go by. He never planned it that way, never wanted it to drift so far outta he reach. When the day is cold and grey Our boy's mind sink. He feel confined and ill-defined. Outside the vista revolves in his sparkling green eyes. He be frozen by the cold and the dull thud dominatin his thought. He feel as if he's lost all and gained nothin. He is cold from the neck up. Frost-bitten frozen. Everyone is allowed to have one bad day in their life - nothin wrong with that - nothin at all.

Life drift by and Our boy he float outta tha seat and into tha streets down where he head throb, where tha sun don't linger too long. He love tha sun high in tha sky. Lie back and soak up drum and bass. When tha wind drift our boy's mind drain out tha bad seed. No one or nothin can ever catch Our boy for he run like a demon, across tha roof tops, along tha streets, see him fly and leave tha rest trailin in he wake.
       Kind and considerate Our boy be, but tha Beast make him hostile. He turn into tha city and tha glass and steel revolve in he eye. He watch tha sun go down, watch tha nervous Punters scamper for tha subterranean tunnel outta downtown. Our boy see tha panic, red raw eyes dart as darkness descends.

Our boy he feel tha need for juice, make he heart beat slow. He see tha confused, disorientated Punter stumble between closed subway after closed subway. Our boy saunter by didgy style, eyin la Punter quick. He see tha chubby arm wave more frantically with tha passin of every cab. Our boy know tha dejection well, know that tha Punter miss he kids and he wife, know he can't wait ta feel tha damp air wash he lungs of tha city smog he fear so much.
      Our boy see right through he eye inta Punter's mind and know he be no urban nocturnal creature. Our boy look again and see clearly tha drunken fear of a suburban prowler outta he territory.
       Jungliss swing in he head and he approach with speed and power. Punter crumple under blows and hand over notes with a terrified whimper. Our boy sprint down tha street as Beast begin ta bristle. He see tha flashing blue orb and he hear tha sour scream. Our boy quicken step as he hear brakes screech and he vault a wall. Graveyard by moonlight filter onto he eye.        
      He see tha Gravedigger's dark silhouette shovellin earth. He stop, look Our boy straight in tha face and smile. Our boy smile too and hide in a grave quickly covered by a soft layer of damp earth. He see flash lights detail tha darkness and he hear Beast question.
       He went that way tha gravedigger say. Ran right thru into tha flats. Beast depart and Our boy wipe dirt from he eye. He hand tha Gravedigger fat notes and level.

Our boy hit tha juice big style. Splash out notes on a plenty dose. Drink from dusk til dawn and back. Golden plateau is where he at. He chase gold down silver and he give a warm sigh.
       Our boy he head out of tha city quick step. Runna south to loosen he flex. Chill fa a while under tha baking sur sol. He listen ta tha rural Punter's patter. When he speak o Master, he speak o WE or OUR. See, la Punter and la Master are intertwined dramatically. If tha Master be upset tha Punter be upset twice as bad. If tha master's child need milk tha Punter rip he own kin from he wife's breast and suckle tha little master until he be content. When tha master's house be on fire tha Punter rush ta put it out even though he own burn to a cinder. We not gonna let a little flame lick OUR house cry tha Punter.
      When Our boy ask tha Punter what tha fuck he think he do, he snarl and tell Our boy if he don't button he lip he magic Beast down ta seize him. Our boy bristle with rage and smash he fist deep inta la face of Punter. Punter stumble and crawl under table, cowerin.
      Our boy he a million miles away from tha city. He came ta cool he head in la sur sol, but he head throb and he miss tha towerin grey and tha constant bass boom. He soon feel like he at home when a dirtyskinBeastboy give him tha eye. Our boy shrug he shoulders, shake he head and walk coolly by. Sol sur lick he back.
       Wherever you go, whatever you do, you can never wash Beast from ya skin. Once infected always infected. Beast try ta crush Our boy's soul but fail every time. He stronger than they and they fear he. What othar reason can there be fa tha time they manage? Our boy he stretch he limbs and yawn wide and alive.

Our boy bask in la sol sur and wash he skin deep in tha sparkling silver gush. It can take ya ta heaven or hell. Whichever ya choose be sure ta be ready. Our boy he vision be blurred. Can't focus anything too close. He overdo tha crystal and he eye fade in and out in and out.
       Our boy steer clear of all. Unable ta read or write. To lose he sight remind him how vulnerable he be. A small piece of nothin in a sea of churning elements. He try ta rise up except he lose some o he power. Tha city where he should be. He miss he girl and pure Jungle sounds; glass and steel. Outside it be silent and black. Tha sky is vast and stars creep in and out of Our boy's focus. Fuck he miss tha city so much.
       Punters say forgive all and forget - chill. Our boy he say never forgive and never forget - kill. He listen ta cosmic prattle and shake he head unconvinced. Everything around Our boy is average. What he perceive on tha long cold horizon only a few othars see. Our boy he a million miles away from tha fryin head and all.

        Outside tha sky is low and grey.

A scab of alcohol and drugs close tha misguided rage in Our boy's mind. No cognitive spark without dull tones. Thrown into cell, soft and corrosive. Syringes are produced and plunged into numerous veins. Tha sedator erodes all emotion, makes Our boy into a shell. He eyes are open but he can't see. He speak but tha words are jumbled. He hear yet tha sound is unfamiliar. He feel, but he touch is empty. Eyes sparkle, but they are blind. Life flows through tha veins but on a slow pulse. Every spark of originality erased and replaced by intoxicating inaction. Mind closed down, only motor functions available. There is no stimulation, just silence and no desire. Everything is sluggish, sedated, meaningless.
       Alone, Our boy stand on tha quayside and dream, a loose bag of insanity screwing down he mind. Exotic ports, foreign climes . . . Cracking up under tha strain, fingers out of control, everything dripping into oblivion. Our boy scream and tha sedator be administered more vigorously. Tha candlelight smooth on he eye, not harsh like tha naked tungsten bulb. It be easier to think in tha gentle light.

       Falling through tha cell door.

Outside Our boy watch tha mist roll, hot golden disk sinking into tha west. Beyond, clouds dazzle with bright silver rays. Across tha road stand a man shaking. Like an electrified spark Our boy dash into tha shop and kill tha guy behind counter. He pull forty in cash from tha till, grab some fags, rizla and six pack. Out in tha street, he feel scared. He want to get home and forget about what he just done.
       Everything subdued, body numbed, eyes blinkered, face expressionless. Our boy aware but can't function. All feelings turned down. He did not come this far to turn back now, to let it all end here in tha squalid place. Stop and think for a moment. If only he could wrestle heself from the chemical grip.

       Across tha harbour gulls dive for fish along tha shore line.

Back on tha street Our boy fall upon a shop specialising in chemicals. He buy a mixed bag and stretch he legs into a green shrubland in tha centre o tha city. It be a warm day and he carry he jacket under arm. Our boy find a clearing by a small lake and settle down. Tha smell of flowers in full bloom chase away tha stinking city grime.
       Our boy pull open tha bag of chemicals and spread them on tha grass. Six in all. Six chances to escape tha usually inescapable. Our boy take em all at once. He pull a soft drink from bag, lay back in tha sun and wait.
       A car pull up and Our boy jump in all a beamin and relieved. He smile and tha car burst into thrust. He slip back inta tha seat and he begin ta dream. He dream of fields of sunflowers and he dream of he girl and happiness.

In prison he wanted to see no one, especially he girl. He knew if he saw her break down he would not be able to control tha rage uncoiling inside him. He preferred to be in tha isolation cell, locked away for 24 hours a day, seven days week. Whenever tha guards came to he cell he did not look at them. He refused to acknowledge their existence. Sometimes they'd try and be friendly but he had no time for their compassion. They'd ask him if he was alright - would he like some books to read or some paper to write letters to he family and friends? Tha inaneness of tha question almost got he to react. Somehow Our boy maintain he composure. No he was not alright, how could he be when he was locked in a cage? Once he stepped through tha prison gates he switched off he mind to tha outside world.

       Our boy's low on power. He energy be sucked out. He lungs take in a long drink of nicotine.

Our boy sit down by tha river and wonder how he can win at the game. Our boy satisfied by nothin else othar than total commitment. He describe tha need to be strong in all areas. He not worried about tha consequences. Turn out tha light it's far too bright in here. When he reach out to tha world he feel empty and fake. Eyes so stiff, fingers slow and clumsy, rhythm broken and dull. Our boy waste no time in laughin at he position.
       It seem impossible to ever win. Yet Our boy know even though tha odds are heavy stacked against he that he'll come through undefeated. Got to try a little harder, then it could be so sweet.

       Out of my way or I'll kill you.

Our boy look at tha Punter and shake he head. Do ya still think ya be alive if it weren't for tha dirtyskinBeast and he cages? Punter sneer arrogantly. Our boy grip lapels and pull la Punter's face up ta he. I said out of my way or I kill you muthafucka. Punter crumple into apologetic heap and Our boy shake he head and coolly move on down tha street.
       Our boy open he eyes and gaze about. Tha sun is high and bloodshot green eyes are scorched by metallic silver rays. He walk and he run. Slowly tha road unfold before Our boy and he feel better.

       Time fades and earth crumbles.

Our boy hear a bomb explode, feel tha air sucked right outta he lungs. Our boy sit stunned, blood pumping fiercely from he face and neck. Outside tha roads and streets are covered by a swirling white sheet.
       La Punter tell everyone every detail of he private life: tell how he finger he girlfriend's motha as she wash tha breakfast dishes. He fucked her once, but her cunt was dry and baggy and after a few grating thrusts he pulled out and told her to jerk him off. When she refused he called her a slut and went to tha fridge and got a beer.
       Like a thunderbolt it hit he. Smack between tha eyes.
       Our boy force La Punter into a gas oven no bigger than a coffin and roast him alive. No ceremony, no hysterical sentiments. Before he die Our boy hear la Punter's muffled pleas, every word sucking out tha clean air and filling he lungs with toxic medicine.
       Our boy leave tha boiler room and stand upstairs in tha lobby. Tha usual Punters swan around. He flex and walk in amongst them. Our boy jump up and pull a gun outta Punter's hand before he shoot. There is a brief scuffle.
       Our boy watch as tha two Punters who'd been fighting moments ago slap each othar on tha back, sayin what a coupla swell guys they are.
       When Our boy walk he do so silently, dreaming as tha world rush past.

       In death there is no ceremony for the poor.
       Only tha scorch of tha flame and tha resulting ash.

It scare Our boy when he sit in he room incapable of action. Tension run through he arms and legs in sporadic bursts, he back ache and feel knotted. Tha top of he spine is tender and Our boy wonder what is wrong with he. Such easily damaged bodies.
       He mind is alive with colours. Tha light reflects off all surfaces and he fingers are slightly illuminated at tha edges. Our boy feel powerful rushes of energy pumping thru he body. He frantic but push bad thoughts out of he head. It's a fact of life in the city that nothing is clear - everybody insular. God is not on your side. He be nothin but tha work of a money-maker's mind. He be tha ultimate product.

There seems no sense in taking chemicals to enhance Our boy's spirit. Most feel corny and Our boy don't like feeling corny. He wish he could run over sands forever. Our boy will destroy heself if he take anymore of tha Punter's chemicals. When Our boy try and entertain heself with tha compounds he be vulnerable, disorientated, confused and hallucinating. Tha perceptual levels he travel to be fake. He mind be full o nothing when it should be blade-like.
       But in the place it's hard to stay undercover without chilling out he mind. It fry so bad sometime that Our boy need to escape.

       Sometimes tha city sometime drag you down.

Inside tha room be cold. There be no light and tha water be frozen in cracked pipes. Our boy count he takings and fill he spoon with bronze and yellow. He knot tha arm and pump fat vein. He hold needle, suck in juice and push it inta he vein. He release slowly and drop down, needle protruding from vein. He watch tha world drift.

A mother of a child who has been detained by the youth curfew squad comes on tha screen and is interviewed by a reporter.
       "Can you explain why your son was found on the streets after ten-thirty mam?"
       " Tha reason he was out on tha street was cause I sent him ta get medicine for ma baby. She is very sick you see. Plus I have another girl, a toddler whose inta everything."
       "Why didn't you let your son look after the children and you go get the medicine?"
       "Because she need me to comfort her when the pain become unbearable."
       "But you must have been aware of the curfew - it was announced in every school assembly and on every news bulletin and newspaper front page."
       "I can't afford a tv and I don't have time ta read newspapers. As for tha school, well that was closed down a year back, and I just don't have tha money for tha fare to send ma boy to another district for his education."
       "What about your friends and family? Didn't any of them tell you about the curfew?"
       "My family live outta town. I don't see them too much. As fa friends, well I don't have much time for friends cause I'm too busy looking after my kids. Plus tha lifts in my high-rise don't work and it's hard for me ta get three children down tha stairs. Even if I do manage ta take them out there's nowhere to play, since tha local park was turned into a superstore."
       "So what you're saying is, you had no choice but to send your son to the chemist's?"
       "Yes that's right."
       "Now that you know about the curfew, will you be sending your son out after ten-thirty to go for medicine in future?"

Our boy'd like to access every mind and show em what a bunch of fuckin wasters they really are. But why would he ruin he life doing something as pointless as that. Let em have their petty little existence and all tha dull times that go with it.
       Our boy walk out into tha street and immediately want to run back inside. Tha noise and tha Punters walking around infect he. Our boy feel sick cause he breathe their air. He skin bristle and he feel tha grime from their discarded skin clinging to he as he weave a path between tha cracked pavement and garbage. By tha time he walk one block, he about had a bellyful of La Punter's bullshit.
       When they brush against Our boy's skin, he feel like throwing he guts all over tha pavement.
       When he breath their air he want to tear out he lungs and scrub them clean with bleach.
       He eat from sweatin cellophane wraps, unable to identify tha greasy morsel within. He pull off tha plastic lid and look down at tha steaming brown liquid contained within tha cheap polystyrene cup. He take a sip and replace tha lid.
      He find a bench away from tha crowds and tha traffic. No matter how far away Our boy go he can never seem to get Punters outta he mind. Wherever he go, whatever he do tha world is always there with he.
       He hear Punters' empty words in he ears and see their cars and houses revolving in he eyes. The sights and the sounds make he wish he had no eyes to see and no ears to listen. He don't want to know about their opinions or their facts. Nothin and no one in tha world outside he front door is of any interest to he. Punters' world is sleazy and cheap. A disposable universe fit for a disposable population.
       Down by tha river Our boy sit and watch tha rusting cargo ships loading and unloading. Tha useless
 products are taken to tha useless store and consumed by hordes of Punters wielding electronic cash.
       He watch their waxy fingers: black, white, yellow, short, long, fat, thin, crawlin under tha seductive electric light that make tha pears, apples, bananas, oranges look oh so succulent.

       Our boy scrub he mind but can never get it clean.

 1998 Victor Saunders About the Author

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