The Walker

He’s been doing it for some time now, crunching snow under bootprint, socks drenched, weak with hunger, praying for a bench or a rest stop.

It’s a horizon he’s heading to, and it’s curving in front of him. Like looking through an hourglass, the sands of time dropping all around. And he’s looking up at where the sky meets the land, wondering when it all ends. His laces are loose but he doesn’t mind, and despite his skin being on fire, he’s shivering. The cold is shutting him down and he trudges on.

Because what’s interesting is not where the prints began, and it’s not his path; it’s his struggle up each step, building up sweat, ready to pop out of each gland, the way an urgent message is delivered; bursting through a door, screaming “DON’T PULL THE TRIGGER, HE’S INNOCENT!”

He’s thinking about a regret he has left behind – like a girl he dumped via sms, or perhaps it’s something more metaphorical, like his own dignity, from when he lost that game of pool, not sinking any of the balls, and was forced to walk around the entire pub with his pants off. It’s strange how those memories aren’t painful anymore, they’re just things that happened, and they remind him that he’s been there, done that, and each one is a new wrinkle being added to his hands. Not literally, of course, because that’s not how wrinkles work. Obviously. But I can narrate what I want.

His shoes are rubbing, and his heel hurts, blood seeps through his socks, I’ll bet. Just a few more minutes and we’ll see it spurting out onto the snow, smudges rubbed on passing tree branches… but he doesn’t care, he’s on a mission. There is an endpoint but it’s not in sight.

He comes to a broken down tree – once large and proud, but now lying down like a broken and wrecked whore, and he looks at it and winces at the pain of such a majestic being, snapped before- no, no. He doesn’t wince. He just walks on. Who the hell is this guy?

He’s a loner, he cares not for meaning. He’s a workman. His hands are calloused; his palms are wrecked from axe welding. He’s a monster. He’s cold. He’s loveless and lifeless. He moves entirely on instinct, doing what must be done. His motives aren’t dark; he’s just misunderstood. He offers nothing, just each strong step.

Hours pass, and it’s pretty obvious that I’ve been wasting my time, chosen the wrong subject to follow. This guy is just walking. What the fuck. Do something you piece of shit, I’m trying to tell a story here.

Is he a moron? Does he have no emotions whatsoever? Can’t he see I’m trying to help him here? I’m making his quest worthwhile, I’m giving him background and in-ground, but he just continues on.

Maybe he’s just walking, trying to reach a future he doesn’t yet understand, looking for any possibility, or looking to build a house. Something made of wood, because it burns easily, hiding from the world, abandoning capitalism and advertising. Here he can be free and he’s no longer affected by money hungry- oh, great, he takes out a Mars bar. And just shoves the whole thing in his mouth, so each end presses on a different cheek. And he munches, like a machine, ripping through scrap metal, compressing and… washing it down with a can of coke?

Screw you, man, you had so much potential! You could have been Kevin Costner in the Postman if you wanted. Or… or… Balto, or Jesus. You could have been anything and you choose to be a Mars bar eating, coke drinking, snivelling wretch of a man who… wait, what’s that? It looks like a rock, but it’s moving and…

That thing, right there! Be careful, dude, it’s obviously alive it’s… it’s unfolding right in front of you and you’re too busy picking your nose, and it’s on its hind legs and it’s twice your size, and it roars, and you don’t even hear it because of the earphones blasting house music, and you finally see it and you stop, and it swipes at your face, and it tears it right off and oh the horror! I can’t look away, and the snow absorbs your fluids, like a snow cone or slushie, and your feet are twitching, that’s all the nerves have left, and noone is coming to help you and you are ripped to pieces and that’s what you get you son of a bitch. That’s the kind of power I wield. That’s my secret, I control this shit. You think you can beat me? You’re nothing, and you deserve it, you pack of lies. You garden of thorns. You guzzling butt troglodyte.

You are dead, and if that’s on my hands, so be it. I take it and lather it on my face.

– Scott Sandwich


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