Saturday, May 8, 2010

Short Story

HEY! I wrote a short story yesterday. It's a bit silly, but that's that!


Today, Jacob woke up naked and already smiling. He hopped out of bed, slapped his round belly, and walked down his narrow hallway whistling a high pitched, jolly tune. In the living room, which was barren besides a couch and an unplugged lamp, he did jumping jacks. Only fifteen to be exact, for despite his energetic mood he was still a very out of shape, malnourished, middle aged man. And then he waltzed. Jacob put his hands up, now holding an imaginary partner, and he danced from side to side while puckering his lips and kissing the air.

"See," Jacob said. "You're the best dancer in the world!"

"Oh, stop," Jacob replied, in a much higher voice.

"It's true," Jacob said. And then he spun, a much more graceful spin than you'd imagine a man his size could do, and he landed by his front entrance, boarded up with six pieces of lumber. Jacob then turned. He stared at a calendar drawn on his wall with a thick, red marker. It was of numbers, counting down from 631 to 0 and stretching across the wall like an array of family photos. Each number had a red X through it, all except for one that is, the last number - the number 0. Jacob smiled and puckered his lips. He kissed the air and crossed the 0 out, just like he had done to every other number, every other day before this.

In the bathroom, Jacob had five buckets of water. He had not taken a bath in four months, since all water had to be rationed for drinking purposes, but he still purposefully set aside the following five buckets, only to be used for today. He then poured the buckets over his fifthly, spotty flesh, causing him to flinch due to the water's cool temperature, but mainly because the sensation of showering had become so unfamiliar.

And he bathed and kissed the air.

In front of the mirror, Jacob stared at his naked body, shaking and spraying water in all directions like a rabid animal. He smiled wide and slapped his round belly.

“Keep dancing with me. Please.”

Outside, Jacob was as naked as the day he was born, except for a pair of tennis shoes he now wore. He took small, careful steps, cautiously turning from side to side with each random sound. Cars were turned over, store windows were broken, and the occasional body could be seen lying on the ground, none of which fazed Jacob, however, at least not today.

"Hello," a voice said, and Jacob turned, spotting a man lying next to a burning food cart. He was dressed, unlike Jacob, and if wasn’t for a bone protruding from his left leg it would have appeared he was simply taking a nap.

“You don't have any clothes on,” the man said.

“Well, it's a very warm day,” Jacob said.

“It's always warm,” the man said, and Jacob finally walked to him, realizing he was of no harm.

“You’re fat,” the man said. “How are you fat?”

“Canned food. Lots of it.”

“Hope you shared some.”

“I did once.”

“I used to share things, too.”

"What happened?"

"The same thing that happened to everyone else."

Jacob squatted. He stared at the man’s broken leg and the heavy amount of blood still seeping from his body.

"Hey,” the man said. “Want to go to the tunnels?"

And they both laughed. Jacob’s naked body jiggled and the man clapped his hands, until he could laugh no longer and he began coughing uncontrollably. Then they were silent.

“Will you stay with me?” the man said.

“No,” Jacob said.

“You want to be alone for this?”

“I'm not alone.”

“Yes, you are. We all are.”

“Look up. She's coming. And if she's coming then we're not alone.”

"So, now it's a girl?"

And they were silent again. A loud thunder was heard and a cloud covered the sun. Jacob stood. He looked down at the man and then slowly walked away.

“I’m sorry,” the man said. “Please stay.” And Jacob never looked back.

The temperature rose, and sweat dripped from Jacobs thighs to the ground, leaving little water droplets to the sides of his tennis shoes. He had been walking for two miles now, past burning buildings, the occasional erratic civilian, and ruble, seeming to grow by the seconds. They meant nothing to Jacob, however, and he kept walking steadily, step by step to the red, brick school building.

Inside, photographs of high school students covered the lobby, and trophies rested on the sides of ledges. Jacob scanned the walls, searching through class photos until spotting the graduating class of 1987. Jacob removed the frame and puckered his lips. He kissed the glass and then dropped it, causing glass to shatter in all directions. One piece cut his left shin, though Jacob took no notice of it and he continued on his way.

He walked from room to room. The classrooms were still full of desks, though they were scattered, set up with no apparent order. In one room there was a note written on a chalk board with large, bold letters. It read: “I’m sorry I was wrong. Nothing will be okay.” Jacob stared at the note, sighed, and slowly erasing it with the palm of his hand.

More thunder was heard, and outside it was getting darker. But Jacob still walked, taking his leisurely time, still in the nude. In one room, he found the dead body of teenage girl, or at least he assumed she was of that age due to her clothes. She had long, thin hair, and her eye sockets had sunk in, causing her skin to be tight around her soft skull.

Jacob lifted her bony body and prompted her up straight, examining her from head to toe, comparing their heights. A worm stuck to her cheek, which he slowly peeled off, careful not to take any skin with it, and he flung it to the side.

And then they kissed.

In the cafeteria, Jacob now held the girl’s body against his own. He let her heavy head flap into his neck, and from a window above he saw it was beginning to hail. The hail bounced from the roof tops, setting a beat that Jacob happily tapped his foot to.

“Will you dance with me?” Jacob said.

“I don’t dance,” Jacob replied, in a much higher voice.

“Sure you do,” Jacob said. And they danced, swaying between tables and under large posters advertising sporting events and school dances.

Jacob found another worm attached to her ear, and he lovingly peeled it off and smelled her hair.

"See," Jacob said. "You're the best dancer in the world!"

"Oh, stop," Jacob replied.

"It's true," Jacob said. And then he spun. With the body in his arms he was far less graceful at spinning, and he soon stumbled over his tennis shoes and fell to the ground. He laughed. He pulled the girl's body on top of his own, forcing her face into his chest, protecting her and covering her eyes. Through the window he saw it was getting darker. More hail and more thunder. The walls now shook, the temperature rose, and Jacob kept laughing and laughing, until it was a cry. Then he slapped his round belly and smiled.

“Keep dancing with me. Please.”

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