A Dead Man’s Tale

It was the pit of winter. Darkness was only broken by seven  hours of short weak light. It was harsh on everyone. Some people made it harsher on themselves. Slanty was one of those people. Slanty was an irregular man living at the edge of the world in his family garage, who was prone to bouts of computer game blackouts and illegal downloading; broken with binges of conspiracy videos, while all the time digressing into trolling and other nefarious online activities, and all of it all the time laced with tins of cider and bottles of vodka. That combination of  detachment from the world, and all its nonsense of say; what day is it; I need to here at so and so; what time is it now and when do I need to go to bed. It all made it hard on himself.

Slanty, A man who had fallen into irregular ways awoke again, not knowing it would soon be his last time. Slanty, the name he earned after he died, did not work. He did not go to the library. He did not watch TV by schedule. He did not take walks around the town; instead opting for long lonely walks up the coast that led up to a big park on a hill, but he soon even gave up doing that. The only time Slanty kept to was his collection of the dole on Tuesday at the post office. The tides of the sea beside which Slanty lived meant nothing to him. He did not notice the cycles of the Moon. The evening and morning stars meant nothing to either. He did not go to any cafés. He did not go to the bookies. He had not been to a GP for many years; or a dentist, or an optician. The local cinema which he would’ve enjoyed he had never entered. He did not take any train journeys to places like Bray. He had not been on a holiday in years. The world for him was a tiny boundary that ended at Lidl a mile from his house. He did frequent Gamestop located in a mall on the hill for a time, but didn’t keep that trend going on for long. And he maybe even popped into McDonalds on occasion but gave up on that quickly too; most likely on some preposterous pretense; probably a staff member made some attempt of banter with him and he just

Slanty made a big deal over everything. Like that time he was in the post office and an African woman broke the queue and he had a panic attack during the argument that followed. He bored people for many months about that story. Slanty never made small talk, not with anyone, not even a bit of banter in Lidl with the hot Polish girl he fancied.

One day after a marathon session of cider, vodka, online multiplayer shootouts and rampaging around New York, killing people as a Russian Gangsta; followed by a short YouTube video about Targeted Individuals presented by PHD Dr Kate Horton, who, surrounded by a tinfoil ceiling to block government attempts at mind control, explained how governments gang stalk people; the content of which all went easily into the bored and suggestable mind of Slanty. Slanty liked these conspiracy videos, it gave him secret knowledge  and confirmed his withdrawal from the world.

Slanty went to sleep in the black and woke in the black. And that was perfectly normal. He believed he was living and sleeping normal hours. Often he was, but the routine always slacked because he did not need time. After his supposed breakfast slurp of cider he partook upon his morning or evening walk with the dogs. There was little light and the poor weather made it seem to darken early and sure dogs don’t care when they are walked; they’ll make 3am or whatever time of day seem normal with those wagging tails. He returned to his dark den compelled by his addiction. He cracked open his last few tins of cider over the next few hours whilst chatting with Americans; this was interspersed with nihilistic YouTube videos and heavy metal music.

It should be bright out now he thought, he didn’t care to look though.  Alcohol, dopamine and exhaustion combined together to drive him back to sleep. He woke refreshed, ready for his now daily evening trip to the shop to replenish his cider and vodka supply. But he wasn’t boring, sometimes he experimented with wine, but it lacked longevity; the cider was caffeinated and vodka gave him energy!

Dressed and decent he descended the slight incline of his driveway down towards the green that more steeply dropped to a cliff; that fell directly onto the beach, that then relented to the sea. His dog once jumped off that cliff chasing a tennis ball. After reaching the end of his driveway he swung a left. Now he was curving upwards through the middle class semi detached estate of Fancourt not Ferncourt. A grotty grey cement walled lane marked the boundary between his estate and the downwardly mobile one next by. Both estates were respectably middle class though. Back In the 1960’s the whole place was a huge potato field. A small strip of the  potato field remained just east of The Bower at old Fancourt near the cliff. He glided up the slope of the grey 1970’s estate of Fancourt not Ferncourt, that  gave a small overlook of the darkened town, before  hitting the Skerries road. The local Costcutters shop was less than 5 minutes away. Now at  the lollipops ladies spot  he eyed left scheming. The road was completely void. So were all the streets. He attributed this rightly to good luck and good timing. Maybe a football match is on crossed his mind, crossing the road. With dimming eyes he entered the shop. He squinted; shook off the dark and adjusted to the light, before heading straight towards the drink. Nothing seemed out of place as he went to the checkout counter. He plonked the cans and a litre of vodka on the counter. But he felt alarmed at the female’s lipstick stained teeth’s puzzled look who was working the cashier.

“IT’s ONLY 7AM!! I can’t sell you drink at this time!!” she blurted out bewildered. This had never happened before, not with a local anyway.

‘OH’ was all Slanty grunted in return, before darting out of the shop, blushing red. Later he succeeded in buying drink and washed away the ruminate cringe of embarrassment. Drink was still his saviour but would soon be his killer.

Author: Kevin Foy

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If you’d like to guest blog, share a short story, or submit an opinion piece then feel free to email me at editor@thegalwaycow.com. Submissions are not paid at this time, but, in the event I share it, I can add one link to a page/social media account of your choosing.

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