Tuesday, February 3

The Beginnings of A Tale

His yellowed fingers take hold of the pen, shaking slightly. His hands hurt, but the task was non-negotiable. He had to tell his story. The other hand hit the "Record" button. Cassette wheels began spinning.

"Listen folks-" Cough. Hack.

He stopped it. Rewind.

"It is very late for me, folks. I'm very short on time and my days are numbered." Checking his watch.

"I'm afraid many aren't proud of me any more. I've lost my way, now. The one other man I do know who would care about who I am is MIA. I don't know where he is, only that he is not dead. Or maybe he is? If he can die, I didn't know it. Regardless, at no other time in my life did I feel so compelled to do something. I must do something. The time is now."

One can hear the pen bearing down on the pad, being manhandled by the nicotine-stained hand. Another violent cough. Blood. A droplet fell on the page and he contemplated throwing the thing away, but finally decided to keep it, the crimson stain serving as its own macabre punctuation mark.

His pen hand rubbed his face, thumb and index massaging the sinuses. Eventually, it ran up to his hair which was overgrown and wiry, Nick Nolte mugshot-like.

"Before I start, I'd like to say that I am not proud of what I have done, but I did it all according to what seemed like the best decisions at the time. I minimized loss. At least I hope I did. Or maybe I just didn't give a shit about other people. I regret nothing, except for the things I never had the guts to do. I've not done much good in my life, but maybe this story will prove a little of me is still human."

He stopped the tape and pulled a small sepia photograph from the right-hand drawer of the desk, the second one from the top. It showed a young man and woman locked arm-in-arm walking and a wild-looking man staring off into the void behind the camera. He looked at it a bit, sighing.

The button clicks once more.

"This is the mostly true story slash will & testament of Max Wainwright, aged 254."

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