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Monday, May 16, 2011


At night, the desert can become so quiet that one can esily hear footsteps on the sand. But I relaxed as soon as I heard Jacinto's whistling. He walked up to the top of the dune and sat down beside me.

"Again you're sulking in a corner. Tell me, Lurch, why do you always run off to some lonely dune on an almost nightly basis?"

Because there is a very good chance that your campsite could turn into one giant nasty bloodstain on the sand because of 'me'.

"I like silence."

"Silence. Of course. Anyways, I thought you'd appreciate a, ah, stimulus for your thought process in this jolly silence of yours." He said, drawing out a bottle of whiskey and two glasses from a bag slung on his shoulder.

I grinned. "Why not?"

The liquor was cheap, but getting a bottle of booze in the middle of the desert is pretty much a freakin' miracle to itself, so I'm not complaining. What did suck is that the British have a habit of becoming complete bastards when they're drunk.

"I know you said that you'll never answer this, but I have to ask,"

See? Bastard.

"How in blazes did you end up in the middle of the desert? And alone? Unlikely. Who were you with, Lurch? What happened to them?"

I looked at him gravely. "I come from an alternative future, one where what's left of humanity has been enslaved by radioactive, mutated cattle, who can also fly. I have been sent back in time by the last free state of Man to this time-line, so that I can ensure that the forces of evil cattle may be reduced to juicy beef, once and for all!"

"By God!" Jacinto exclaimed. "I knew you were the savior! I knew I wasn't the only one to think that time was the only way to escape the rule of Empress Bessie!"

My face went blank. "What?"

The Old Dog grinned slyly. "Drunk, Lurch. Not stupid."

"Look, I've told you that its not something I want to talk about. I'm grateful for your help, and I"ll do anything I can to repay you. But don't ask me questions I can't answer."

I took another swig and leaned back, staring up at the stars. They're ridiculously clear at night, and they cover the desert sky like strings of diamonds.

"They never change."

I turned to see Jacinto looking up as well.

"The Earth will always change. It may be too slow for us to notice, but the ground is always in motion, always shifting its shape, its form. But the stars never change. They will always be silent, always be bright. Unless, of course, one of them falls on us and kills us all. But I don't think that will happen anytime soon."

"Whiskey getting to you, Jacinto?"

He took his monocle off and began polishing it with the end of his shirt, talking only once he had put it back on.

"We had a good day today. Found a six foot statue of Anubis, almost nearly intact. By tomorrow, we'll know when it was from. The team from Brazil found some new inscriptions on a wall. The problem is, half the wall is missing, and what is left is also terribly damaged. The value of the wall won't be much if they can't figure out whats written on it."

He turned around to look at me. "The point is, Lurch, that all of us know what we're doing here, we all have a goal, a purpose. What is yours, my friend? Why don't you find something for yourself to do?"

"Not much variety in a desert." I mumbled.

"Don't joke. You know what I mean. All you do now is just sit silently. Even if someone tries to strike conversation with you, they might as well be talking to the air of to their toes for all the good it will do. You don't help anyone or offer to work around the sites, not that I'm saying you should. But it would be healthy, it would be nice, if you could even talk to someone!"

"I don't need sympathy."

"Well, you walk around like you're screaming for it."

I rose to my feet, finally fed up. "The rest of the world doesn't seem to give a damn, Jacinto, so why the hell do you care so much?"

The old man stared at me simply. "Because, Lurch, I am your friend."

I... I couldn't tell him that a friendship with me would end in his death. Not that I knew it at the time, but it was obvious to me even then that it was the only was it could turn out. Because sooner or later, everything around me just lead to that. Sometimes I can't help but wonder if I only killed my birth-parents, I just didn't know it at the time. I can't be with people, can't take help from them and definitely can't given to them. And here was a man, who just wanted to that, justed wanted to help, but there was just no way I could explain it to him.

So I picked up the bottle and poured us another round. With me, its obvious by now that I haven't got much to live for. So I have to take these moments as I get them, and then just hope for the best. I know that's a bit naive, but its all that I have.

The bottle ended, and as always I had to dunk a snoring Brit into a bucket of water before dumping his ass on his cot. But sleep didn't come to me yet. Drunk out my wits, all I could do was lie on the dunes, feeling the slight warmth of the sand seep through my back as I stared up at the stars.

See? Thanks to me your capacity for booze went up. And then you say I've done nothing good for you, that really hurts my feelings you know.

You made me an alcoholic.

Nah, I think you pretty much did that to yourself before I came into the picture. The difference is that know you're a good alcoholic.

... What the hell is a good alcoholic?

You should know, you are one.

I don't even know why I'm telling you this. Jacinto's dead, and me telling you about him isn't going to change that.

That's where you're wrong, buddy. It will. The magical wish-fairies will hear your stories and make all the bad things go away. Then you and Jacinto will be happy again as you dance through the dunes, eh?

Don't go there. I know its my fault that he's dead, you don't need to rub it in.


... and more than half of it is because you went and got Jacinto killed.

You bastard. You go and out me through hell, and then you think you can pin this on me and get away with it?   I can't even believe you would-

I'm not trying to get away with anything. You killed the one person I saw as a friend, and I hate you for that. Nothing more, nothing less. I hate you otherwise as well. But I really hate you for that.

I... where did we leave off?

... Toronto.

Canada? We're still in freakin' Canada? Oh god, no one spends so much time there. I got into Toronto, and stayed there long enough to get money for a ticket out. But where to? I think I just wanted to go and get some R&R, I really needed it.

Surprisingly, I agreed at the time.

No, you fucking lied to me.

No, seriously, I actually agreed with you at the time. How was I supposed to know my mind would change by the time we reach Thailand?

Really? And is that why half of Bangkok is now DEAD?!

... possibly.