The drinking was as good thing for him, a really good thing. He neither had to worry about his feels, nor those of others. It was as though the world really was just a dream. And without having to wake up into hell, he could just open his gullet and pour it down until numb enough to face the thing snarling up at him…a child; indistinguishable sex, black hair and long, thin teeth and no lips; lidless eyes filled with fear and hatred. But, with a drink in its hands, the thing became distracted; chomping at the bitter wine with phantom lips. He steadied his hand and forced more of the strong liquor down. He feels the questions come with the tears. That smile, Nanny; why do we grow up to forget it only to look back at what we’ve lost, and that which we’ll never regain? Why is one of my arms colder than the other? Why do my feet itch? Why is evil everywhere?
The answer is indigestible and yet, here is comes; served steaming upon chipped plates to be eaten with soiled cutlery.
The creature sits alert in the lap of the old woman and claps its hands, suddenly indifferent to the now sobbing man.
The old woman looks at the man, and with a free hand wipes away his tears. With a free mind she answers all his questions at once.
“Because, my love, the World is dying.”
We watched UFO’s together, the indigenous ones and I. They were triangular and buzzed with red and blue neon. I felt my face. I was one of their kind and I was not. The reservation was quiet. The uniformed men were gone. They had cut a deal, these white skinned men in suits, with the other men in the red and blue neon. The white men took one of our women at a certain stage of pregnancy and stole the baby inside her and gave it to the people in the UFO to do with as they liked.
And, over the years, our numbers have dwindled.
I think about my brothers and sisters that have died. I think about my wife and child.
I think about the bomb and wish I’d never learnt of its exsistence.
It’s a ‘special’ kind of bomb. Like a cosmic firework of brilliant blood light. It kills everything that moves and leaves no trace of its detonation save for a collection of amber clouds above the point of impact.
I don’t know why, but I tell my wife and child that they will be okay. I insist on them accompanying me to watch it go off.
So we drive to the site in my Ute.
‘It’ll be like bonfire night,’ I tell them.
I feel the bond between us and sense that my wife knows that, if it’s going to happen, we should be together.
We watch the rocket fizzing its way towards its target, a modest residential area on the outskirts of the base, its tail burning like hell.
Behind the wire fence we watch in the dusk; the eucalyptus, delicious on the breeze.
The trees are flashed into silouhette as the bomb detonates into the inevitable mushroom cloud.
The child is is jumping up and down and clapping and shouting for joy.
My wife looks at me with tears in her eyes.
‘Another, another,’ cries the child.