Friday’s Short Story

Good question. I’d have to think. I don’t want to die alone, for example. The thought of dying in a bedroom somewhere and nobody finding my corpse until it’s all manky and melted into the duvet, and nobody caring apart from whoever has to spatula me up from my bed. God, that’s – I think about that a lot. that keeps me awake, yeah. And I sometimes worry that I’ve been a huge disappointment to everybody I’ve ever met. Everybody. From my ex-wife to the feller who sold me cigarettes this morning. Was I a bit brusque with him?

– Ah. It’s interesting that you

Does he think I’m an arsehole because I was too preoccupied to give him a truly genuine smile? And of course I worry that my Mum secretly wishes she’d hadn’t had me and had spent the money she’s spent on me over the years on buying a yacht. She buys a lot of yachting magazines and sighs a lot when she reads them. Makes you think, you know? She sighs very loudly. She could be off the coast of Barbados right now if she hadn’t had to pay for all the shoes she’s had to buy me over the years, and my University tuition. Shit. And my smoking

– Perhaps it would be better if we focussed on one particular

I know I should quit obviously, but I get the thought that cancer has already taken hold, just in a couple of cells, maybe it happened this morning, the cancer seed being planted, and even if I quit tomorrow it wouldn’t matter because I’ll be dead in 10 years, all thin and grey with lots of tubes sticking out of me. Alone, all grey, with tubes, I hate thinking about that, that’s really scary.

– OK, the smoking, maybe we could concentrate on

But I mean if you’re asking about my greatest fear, was that the question?

– Well, yes, but it’s more of an exercise to get you to

Yeah, my greatest fear, Christ. The big one. OK. My greatest fear would be that the monster inside me will escape and kill everybody that’s ever pissed me off. I’ve had some sleepless nights about that, I can tell you.

– You have anger problems?

What? No, I don’t think so.

– But you get very angry?

I get frustrated sometimes. Pissed off.

– And you think of your anger as a monster?

No. I think of my anger as my anger, and I think of the monster as a monster.

– Just to clarify, we’re not talking about an actual monster.

Aren’t we? I am. I’m talking about the monster that lives inside me. In my tummy.

– You think you have a monster inside you? A real actual monster? Like Godzilla?

Yes, well no. Smaller and not radioactive. Oh fuck, what if it is radioactive? That’s going to increase my cancer risk, isn’t it? I mean, what would be the point of quitting smoking

– How do you know you have a monster inside you?

I can hear its voice sometimes, telling me what it will do if it gets out.

– You hear voices.

A voice. The voice of the monster. And I can feel it moving round inside me.

– You know, these symptoms, although alarming, can be quite simply explained by

And it sometimes sticks a tentacle out of my bellybutton.

– It what? It has tentacles?

It’s doing it right now. It’s not an unpleasant feeling. Do you… would you like to see?

– Do I want to. Yes, sure, show me the monster’s tentacle, why not?

OK, well, here.

You see?

– Fuck me. Shitting fuck. Shit. It was there. A tentacle. Where. Where did it go?

I think you scared it. I’ve never showed it to anybody before.

– So it’s scared. I scared the monster. Fuck. You say it talks to you?

Yes.

– Is it, is it talking to you now?

Yes it is.

– What is it saying?

Oh, you know, Stuff.

– Stuff? Stuff about me? It’s not angry now is it?

Not angry, no. But it. It wants to come out.

– Um. Now?

It wants to come out now and show you something. It’s never done that before. This is new.

– Um. Maybe next session?

It wants to come out now.

– Well it’s five to, I think perhaps we could maybe resume next week? I really must

It’s coming out, it’s pushing out!

DINGALINGALINGALING.

The alarm rings and he wakes, gratefully. He hates that dream. It is disconcerting to say the least. He lies motionless for a minute, thinking about what it might mean. His partner sleeps on beside him. Should he wake her? Would she tell him not to be silly, that it was just a stupid dream? He thinks, then decides it’s worth the risk. He needs to talk to her. He tentatively reaches out a tentacle and lightly shakes his partner’s nearest gelatinous egg sac. I had that weird dream again he says.

******
My Greatest Fear
by Harris
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