“I have many things to tell you, some of them are lies, others, are truths hidden in riddles, but, they are all entertaining,” the old man says to the group of children who sit before him, around the campfire.
“Why don’t you start them, because right now you’re boring my pants off,” a voice calls out from the group.
He smiles, and allows himself to laugh, “Well, I had better start then, we wouldn’t want your pants falling all thew way down, in front of the girls now, would we?” The boy blushes bight red, and mumbles something to himself as he hangs his head, all the other children laugh. “Now, as I said before, I have many stories I could tell you, but, tonight, I feel a bit nostalgic, a bit, home sick, and wanted to share with you a story about my home, and the night, I realised that everything wasn’t as it was in the stories, life wasn’t, going to be the way it should be just because I wanted it to be,” he says, as he clears his throat, and coughs violently into a handkerchief he pulls from his pocket, he pulls it away, and stares at the mucus that’s now entangled in the cloth, one of his eyebrows raises and his bottom lip trembles ever so slightly, as he notices the blood that is weaved through the bile and saliva, he dabs the handkerchief onto his lips and quickly stuffs it back into his pocket, and looks back up at the children.
“It was nineteen sixty-three, and the rock group Pearl Jam had just released their third studio album on CD, I don’t remember the name of the album, but, it was good, a step back, reminded me of when they played at Woodstock, I, back then, was a free thinker, and happily smoked the weed, something, you kids would know nothing of anymore, not with all the regulations and rules the government have adopted to bring down accidental deaths, and depression. Anyway, I was sitting around listening to the album, when my brother and his girlfriend crashed in through the door to my bedroom, waving the local newspaper in my face, I was disorientated for a few moments the weed had that effect, and I couldn’t understand what he was saying, but, after I realised he wanted me to read the headline, I did so,” he says, as he stops and coughs once more into the handkerchief, looking at it’s contents again, then looks back to the children.
“What did the headline say?” One of the children call out, and he smiles.
“It said the world was coming to an end in three days,” the room feel silent when he spoke those words, and then a small murmur runs through the children, until, finally, one spoke out aloud, so he could hear.
“B-B-But, it didn’t, did it?” The Girl asks.
He laughs, “Well, if it did, then, we wouldn’t be sitting here, would we?” He says, the children laugh along with him, and then fall silent once more, as his demeanor changes, his face, becomes brooding, his brow furrows, and his eyes, sparkle in the flames of the campfire. “But it almost did,” he says softly, locking eyes with each child, until eventually, he comes to a stop at the girl who asked the question. “Do you want me to tell you how we saved it?” He asks.
The girl nods, and he smiles, “Then, let’s get comfortable, because, this is going to take a while.”
To Be Continued…