The Science of Rock Picking
I lay half on the grass and half on the stones and reflected that this week would’ve had to really strain itself to be any worse.
And today? Today was a virtual fruit basket of bad luck. A big wicker basket of awful, tied off with a big “screw you, puny mortal” bow from whatever higher power I’d apparently pissed in the coffee of.
Bad week, worse day, is the point I’m trying to make.
The sky was made of used cotton and dirty laundry water. It’d been muttering to itself about pissing down torrentially all day, muttering and occasionally growling.
It’d been blue last Saturday. Blue and bright and clear, like the eyes of that girl I’d seen on the train last week. Beautiful girl, but the rest of her features were the comely little sisters of her eyes. If you’ll forgive my half-assed attempt at a poetic description.
Anyway. The sky last Saturday had looked like her. Today? Today the sky was looking and acting like that weird guy at the train station with the beard and the pee-smell and the suspiciously bare legs under his overcoat. It was muttery and mean and about to do something kind of exasperating and uncalled for.
The rocks I was half-lying on (or really, had half-fallen on) were digging into me. I’d hit my cut on the rocks when I fell. That kind of day, really. Nearly blacked out; as it was, the wound felt warm and wet and wider in a way that spelled out “lengthy hospital stay” or a least “lots and lots of stitches” in big red letters.
And not for nothing, but the grass was kinda bristly and itchy too.
The ground got a little darker, and at first I thought it the rain was finally about to stomp down on our heads.
Then I realized he was standing over me. I didn’t look at him, or the knife that was probably covered in liquid me. I didn’t even really pay attention to what he was saying. Screw him, y’know?
I was fingering the rocks and thinking about the girl. Absently, almost delicately. And in an unrelated way, thank you. Get your mind out of the gutter.
I was thinking that she looked like she was from around here. I was thinking if I saw her again on the train, I was thinking I’d like to ask her out to dinner. Who knows? Maybe I could be her Mr. Right.
And right then, I was thinking the rock under my middle finger was my Mr. Right.
There’s a science to this, y’know, and it’s nothing to do with geology. You have to think where you want the rock to end up and how it’s getting there. Taking that into account, you have to find a rock with the right heft and right weight. There’s probably some physics involved, or some geometry, but frankly, that’s just instinct after a while.
Never you mind how I know all this. But you’ll have to admit, it does come in handy.
Whatever he was saying, he was done with it. Fair enough. I’d been waiting for a lull in the conversation to add my part to it.
Call it manners.
I rolled on my back and winged the rock up in the direction of his face. There was that special kind of crunch that noses and rocks make when they bump into each other in the street. Or the countryside, such as it was.
Either way, the damp crunch and the gasp/bellow of hurt that came with it sounded surprisingly good for once. Wholesome, even.
I picked up the mates to my Mr. Right, and was smiling when I stood. I had liked that sound.
It had sounded like a bad day turning right around.