Longshanks Bill Hits The Ground In The Sky.
“Bill!” I hear call, and then it’s tits to the wind, bastard and biting cold as it is, and I’m all down in tangles and the alarums shriek in the headphone and it’s all talk talk from then on. I pitch out so, I’ll wake me up when the buggers go for silence, God bless.
Never the hang could I of the loaders. Great bastard device, as they are, but for a man to sit in and ride, like a forklifting robot. Look as cool as, when you have the hang, but Old Longshanks, too long on the outside wall hanging there arse to the winds, and too doped on get-me-bys for the 18-shift, he I never got the hang, not even near. Now the outside suits, that was the life, no servos and readouts and things to distract, just the protections offered and off you go, swinging on the line, magnetised on the hand and feet as you like, clambering abouts above the earth so far below. If not heaven, you could see it from here, sure enough. Them’s the days, short they were.
But then older and uninsured and inside for Bill where can do no harm to him and others. Into a great robot, be like its brain, fucked as mine be, though I tell it meself. Never the hang, and here I am, fall low like old time.
“Bill!” they do say and I see faces two or more beyond the visor, cracked in the fall, better that than me, but no can do, old me. My screen buzzes at me, crackles and glaze and falls dark. No good machinery, scant wonder we do at all up here, budget runneth out like old man’s piss-water, trickles and squirts and I know of what, I say to you.
Fuckanory, he come boss-man, it’s trouble now. Some other loader heave-hoes me over and I think, by God, they gonna see where is done the stencil Old Time Motherfucker on the back of my own loader and I’ll hear an earful for it, sure as eggs. Outside now and the air door had slid and the clouds lay out, tumble tumble, but I see mostly the assembles of detritus and rusted as scattered all about the lip there. No fucker does tidy, I say, what when that falls off and over the edge and brains some ambling dirt tread soul and does him death and mischief? What then? And I remind myself of the fairground, the machine whereby you drop the pennies and wait waterfall to get your moneys back and more. No prize when these pennies drop, twenty Ks an each and mind your head. Carny dogfuckers do cheat, though, mind that, so all’s fair, I suppose it.
A hiss there is, air seal’s gone and opened up I be. I’m a-laid out for examining and the doctor she says the leg’s done broke again and again; I swear that there goddamned leg been broke more often than ten buck whores, surprised I walk amongst, I say. Striding days are over, fear, when I me hobbles about like fucked-up, see.
The centre of the attention I am become, ass-landed and foolish, flailing about in here like tweety bird in a cage. Up walks the main man, Old Man What’s His Name, and stares like it’s all money headed shitterways far as it concerns, but that old toothless fuckbum can go hang for all of me. Hard day’s work, I say. Ice-bit fingertips and pained eyes and you in a suit, go fuck ‘til Christmas, I won’t hear it.
Ah me, I got time accrued. Maybe time for time off, down to earth and in the sun where it don’t burn like buggery slightest touch. Hadn’t touch of ground in months of time, perhaps the best to reacquaint. But the voice of Old Bill do say that will be the end of all, hit the ground and never to rise.
Musing thus, that twice-damned doc tries to move my leg, twice broke though she say it herself and I do yell, “Fucking Nora, woman, cut the fuckers off, why don’t?” She looks at me like daggers and I hold forth, “You say it’s broke, you did too, so pack in foam and leave be, but stop your prodding about or feel my good leg in your arse, I say.”
Damn they loaders, for to Hell. Time was a man did job the work with bare hand and fortitude, grit teeth and rise to it, don’t you know. This ridicule machine is beyond old me, truth to tell. Cart me off now, I done my years best as can. I had ideas of reaching for the stars one time, but that there’s gone. I exceed my grasp, so I do. I can’t keep the hold on any old thing, much less intangibles like dreams. I tried, I see, tried for years and more and more besides. Time enough to let go, I say. Let go and fall.
A pinch in the arm and I’m away, riding up all with morphine angels all the glory. Musta broke more than the leg, I fear, more than that for sure. Done broken me and all and sundry, bastard sods.
I’m lit out for pastures now, old gone, poor Bill, they’ll pin me and fix me and I’ll be retired for sure this time around the mulberry, ring-a-roses, all fall down.
Last I see is out, past rusty junk and metal shields and out there into the yonder where I thought to live my last, out there the next frontier. Time for bed, old time. Night night, Longshanks, mind your head.
Fucksake, them clouds do pretty alright, so they do.