He poked at the fire, trying to make it brighter to push back the overwhelming darkness. Sparks danced into the air, but his feeble attempts failed to make that part of the world any more luminous. Pissed off he unzipped and proceeded to urinate on the flames, drowning them and allowing the darkness to flood into the space.
He laughed as it so epitomized how his life treated him.
He decided to wander back to his cabin. Being fire blinded, he tripped on a branch, falling flat on his face. “Nope, that’s my life,” he mumbled in the fallen leaves.
I’m like a broken clock, right twice a day. Unfortunately, this was not one of them. How did I know? The man’s fist changing the direction my chin had been pointing mere moments earlier was my first hint. Luckily my body is that of a trained warrior. Well one that had way too much vodka to drink, hadn’t seen combat in the last twelve years and spent half of that time eating fancy buttery French pastries for a living.
At least gravity didn’t fail me. I collapsed to Mother Earth’s embrace. I must have offended her as well since her arms were so hard and cold. I wanted to mourn this decline in our relationship when the aforementioned man decided to kick me in the gut. That was his big mistake. I had him right where I wanted him. I folded myself around that foot and introduced the caught appendage to the regurgitated contents of my lunch, which included an egg sandwich encased in a wonderfully flaky croissant dosed with a lemony hollandaise. It was so good going down, but not so much coming back the other way.
Still, that was enough to make the man yank his foot out and leave me alone. As I laid there in my own stomach juices I wondered how this could get worse. Then I snuffled.
The darkness grabbed onto his words and crumpled them into tight rejected wads of failure. He typed with such a frenzy to keep ahead of the monster, but it was faster than his imagination, consuming all his ideas and dreams. It then had the nerve to regurgitate its partially digested remains onto the page.
He tried to rearrange the mess into something that hinted at his intentions, but he was not a forensic investigator. The work seemed dead. And to think he thought he was a writer.
He consoled himself. “Well, it’s a start.” He saved his work and shut down.
The sun beat down from on high as Melvin selected a very crooked stick from the pile. It fit how he felt that morning. He turned it this way and that before nodding and sitting on the old stump. The remains of the old oak tree fit his backside perfectly after a little wiggling to get comfortable.
He pulled out his eight-inch bowie knife and began to whittle. He prided himself that he could slowly peel away the bark from tip to stern with one long stroke, turning the piece of wood a little at a time. Soon the twig was naked. He threw it on top of the shavings in front of him and picked up the next stick, sizing it up before doing the ritual once again. The motions came quicker and more assured, the shakes that plagued him that morning seemingly evaporating under his meticulous gaze.
The sun waved goodbye as it lowered itself below the tree line. Mabel would be home soon, wondering what Melvin had been doing all day. He chuckled as he pulled out his Zippo and flicked it to life. Where he applied the fire the flame doubled, then tripled. Soon his labor from that day was ablaze in glory, a burnt offering to his troubled soul.
As for Mabel, he would just make up the usual story about fishing or some such this way she wouldn’t worry herself none. He put away his lighter, cleaned and sheathed his knife, and began to tunelessly whistle as he ambled home, the smoke swirling around him with its pleasing aroma.