poet. writer. imposter.
Same deal. Spiggy asleep on the sofa. Mook asleep in his room. I top the drugs up, go back to bed and five minutes later Spiggy knocks on the door and slips under the covers and spoons me.
He didn’t mention it yesterday. I wondered if i should bring it up in the morning or whether I should carry on being unbearably British about it? I think I’ll stick with the Britishness at the moment. He’s still pretty delicate and I don’t want to upset him.
Mook was a lot happier this morning. The infection seemed to have all but vanished and although the area around the stitches still looks a little livid, I reckon it’s doing okay. I’ll look into Erik’s notes and see how to sort out the cast. I’ve enough modroc to plaster most of the education block. Devon went a bit overboard when we raided the hospitals. We kept a stock back for medical use, but he wanted it for sculpting. I had forgotten that some of his sculptures and paintings are still in the library. I still can’t justify opening it up though. Not yet.
Anyway, after breakfast, I found the notes, read them and passed them on to Mook. Between us we worked out a plan of action and decided that we’d put a cast on this evening, as long as the wound holds up. I leave him some books to read. He also asks if I might play piano for him later. He loves the sound drifting into his room; finds it comforting. He also asked if I knew any Chopin. I do. This is weird. I’m taking requests!
While I was dealing with Mook, Spiggy said he’d let the animals out and then have a look at the greenhouse. I joined him there and he seemed genuinely happy to be up to his elbows in earth, planting. Actually, I forgot to ask what he was planting, but it didn’t matter. I knew what seeds I had and they all need planting, so have at it! It hadn’t taking him long to plant several rows and I was torn between being thrilled that I didn’t have to do it and upset . . . because I didn’t have to do it. Adjusting to having other people around is going to be strange. And possibly wonderful.
I’m beginning to feel a bit redundant. When we finished in the garden, Spiggy packed me off to wash my hands and when I’d finished, he was already making lunch for us all. So I sat at the piano and played some Chopin. When I finished, I heard “Bravo” and clapping coming from Mooks room and I laughed. After five years without, I rather like laughing.
After we had eaten, we talked. I’ve been here around 10 years, so I assumed it was around 2005. Spiggy and Mook tell me it’s 2015 which fact none of us quite understood. There’s a ten year drift. In the general scheme of things, it didn’t really matter. It’s not like the colony members all came from the same times. There was a good thirty years spread between us. Although I seemed to be the most ‘modern’, not that that made any difference. Anyway, I was here and making the best of it, but it now appeared to be twenty years plus since I left. I will have been forgotten, people will have moved on, family and friends will have died not knowing what happened to me. If they cared at all.
I wonder if they ever tried looking for me. I wondered, in my traditional macabre fashion, whether rivers, ponds and reservoirs had been dredged looking for me. I don’t really know where that thought came from but it reminded me that as we ate all the fish last night, we need to get some more at some point soon.
Mook asked where we were again and I told him we were in Kent,
“Just outside of Tunbridge Wells.”
“It’s not far to the coast then?” he said.
“No, not far, but it’s a hell of a journey.”
I sighed deeply, “There are few usable roads; no robust off-road vehicles; with the journey taking so long, by the time we get there, it’s time to go back. It’s something we tried when there was still about thirty of us. We even tried clearing the roads but doing it all by hand . . .”
“I like fishing,” said Spiggy.
“He does,” said Mook, “Never understood the appeal.”
“Well, eating is the appeal here,” I said, “I can’t stand it, myself. But I do like fish. There’s a river not too far from here. You can sometimes find trout in it but better, you can leave traps out and find eels or crayfish. I live for those days. You have to plan and leave them out overnight, but it’s worth it.”
Spiggy had no real clue as to what crayfish were. Despite being joined at the hip, they had very different likes and dislikes; very different attitudes and frames of reference. The only real similarity was the fraternal bond they shared. I explained that crayfish were like tiny freshwater lobsters. He didn’t seem all that impressed.
I told them that sometimes if I got a good haul of fish in the morning, I’d go looking for rabbits in the afternoon and they both winced. I’d long got over the squeamishness of killing rabbits and fish, even goats and chickens. It’s only when something else kills them and I have to clean up that I get a bit nauseated.
They will have to get over that.
The conversation lulled and I broke the silence suggesting that we look at Mook’s leg. This was a big moment.
The bandage came off cleanly; the scabbing seemed to be doing well and they were dry. It occurred to me that Erik’s notes didn’t say how and where to put casts and so on. I know there are different positions that limbs need to be to fix correctly and I had a moment of panic; what if I cripple him? What if I set the bone wrong and cripple him for life? Would he ever forgive me?
Mook was pretty sanguine.
“I would probably be dead if you hadn’t done what you have done,” he said, “Both of you. I know that you will do your best. I have no doubt of that at all. I know what’s going on out there, I know the pressures you are under. Just do it. We’ll figure everything else out later.”
I shifted my gaze between Mook and Spiggy. Both had the same grim expression. They were looking to me to perform a miracle. I grabbed my metaphorical loaves and fishes and did the best I could.
It started, as it always does, with morphine. When that was working, I ordered Spiggy to get some hot water. I gave the wound a final daubing with antiseptic, lined up some fresh splints and gently wrapped a bandage around to hold the splints in place. With extreme delicacy, we lifted his leg and put supports under his foot and under his thigh. The break was just below the knee. I don’t know if common sense applies here, but I thought it best to put the cast from the ankle up to the thigh. To the knee might mean it worked loose or worse. I figured going a little overboard would be better than risking another break.
The mod-roc went on swiftly and easily. I’d helped Devon with some of his sculptures, so I knew how this stuff worked and how quick you had to be. Mook groaned a couple of times, but I think we managed to set it without too much pain. I might have made it a bit thick, but as I said, rather too much than too little.
We cleaned up, supported the leg and Mook whispered thank you. It occurred to me that in all this time, I hadn’t once thought about Mook’s toilet needs. I spoke to Spiggy who said he’d been taking care of that. I can’t believe I hadn’t thought about it until now, though. Such discretion. Such admirable devotion.