Rat Boy

A night stand with an empty cup and full ashtray – a book of placebo poetry – pretty words strung together for abstract effect. He garners images like the crumbs of toast itchily deposited on his mattress. He necks his medication after carefully chewing each pill with care.

(ONE to be taken at night. If sleepy do not drive or operate machinery. Avoid alcohol. Swallow this medicine whole. Do not chew or crush.)

He goes for the heavy stone – the obliterative rush. He reaches out for a taste of oblivion and oblivion reaches out to him. He has no fear of falling, gravity is his best friend. That heavy hand on his shoulder – that warm envelope of darkness, it’s the closest thing to the womb – outside of death.

He likes to write. He likes the exercise of assembling the words – negotiating meaning – no obfuscation – there can be no doubt, no room for mistakes. His is a struggle for meaning, it’s more than a mere obsession – it’s a life or death contest.  The notebook on the night stand is full of scribbled impressions – most are undecipherable to all but him.

The bedroom window is open just enough to let the night seep in. He feels the hum of the city streets, hears the howls of monkey bands making their way home in the wee small hours. Just before he succumbs to sleep he thinks he hears a scratching sound somewhere in the room.

He dreams of a long corridor with locked doors on either side. He is running from something, or looking for someone. He dreams about a girl, someone strange yet familiar. She is his woman and he has to protect her from something unseen.

He dreams that the girl is pregnant. She gives birth to a rat. However he tries to care for the child he feels revulsion and he cannot help thinking that his is his replacement. It makes perfect sense; Rat Boy is the ultimate survivor. It’s only when the infant calls him ‘Dad’ that he wakes up with a jolt.

The sky is grey, the light is thin. It could be anytime, but his body tells him that it’s six am. He always awakens at six am. He tells himself that it’s a lifetime of routine, but it’s junk and he knows it. His body awakens him every morning screaming for junk. He is less well equipped for survival than Rat Boy, he shudders as he remembers the dream, Rat Boy has no such weakness as junk.

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