The Old Man

A short story of a an old man who never amounted to anything, setting out to do something with his flie but finding himself slipping back into old ways.

The Old Man

He rolled out of bed. His back hurting. The soggy mattress barely taking his weight. It soiled with sweat and other bodily fluids from who knows how many girls. All paid for. Never alone. Always alone.

The bottle was where it always was, next to the dresser. He did like he always did first thing in the morning, he opened the drawer and reached for the bottle. Next to it lay and old, heavily battered bible.

As he lay back on his bed he opened the book, the old crusty thing was scented heavily with old ciggies and meat pies. He opened to a random page and started to read. He read as he unscrewed the bottle, its contents slowly sloshing in the bottom. Roman 14:8.

" For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's."

What a strange and complete circle he thought.

Without thinking he picked up the book with utter anger and malice, throwing it as hard as he could against the couch. Never against anything that would actually break, or heaven forbid wake anyone.

His life never amounted to anything. So he drank. He decided one day bent over in a stupor on his stool down the local pub that he was going to do something. Being blind drunk at the time a drinking tour sounded like a good idea. He would drink at every pub in Australia. Proper pub. None of this new age modern bullshit.

So he set off on this grand adventure. But quickly he discovered a world he knew too well.

A world well trodden. Trodden by him, in the thousands. But not him. People like him. People living out their pathetic lives with discontent. Discontent, anger, apathy and a lack of understanding.

He would have seen wonders, marvelled at sights and gazed at nature's finest. Nothing but god could have created all this he thought to himself as he sipped from a beer bottle with a mountain on it.

But he had made a deal in that lonely pub on that lonely Wednesday. He thought that maybe the other locals were starting to wonder where he was by be now. Where is the old fella they would ask.

They didn't. They didn't even notice he was gone.

He saw the underside of pubs across the red land. He saw how familiar they were. How comfortable they were. To walk into a foreign pub, pull up a pew and tip a few in. Nothing felt more natural in his life.

He would gaze at the tele for hours as the world went by. Thinking to himself how shitty the world was and if only they listened to him it would be better.

But he never did anything.

By the time he reached the Gulf country he had come to grips with who he was. The travelling in his old ute had taken its toll. He knew he couldn't change who he was or where he was going in life. He put down the $20 bucks for the 6 pack and walked out of the bottleo. It was going to be a cool night, the lick of the final sun setting to a orange and red sky. He was merely a passenger on his wild ride that is life.

Next to an ad for a cheap caravan and a used carbi. Phil Ferguson died on Wednesday night outside of the Burketown pub. He was found by locals facedown in a ditch a few hundred metres from the roadstop caravan park. He has gone to the lord. He had no relations.