Challenge: Midnight

/ This is for a picture prompt given by Jasper over at The Critical Psychopath. I thought I’d try some first-person… Inconsistencies in the ‘accent’ are a combination of myself trying not to overdo it and the character trying to alter the way he normally speaks. /

The picture:

Midnight by Delano-Laramie

* * *

So yous probably thinking my name’s Jonah. Even if you didn’t at first, it must’a crossed your mind, ‘f only for a second’a so. It’s alright. I don’t blame you. It’s this tendency we humans have, see, to parse new information by cross-referencing it with the existing stuff. Ain’t too much stored up in this old noggin here, day by day it leaks away. But it’s my heart they hired me for. Locked in me ribs, sealed up, drum-tight. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve got my fingers curled up in a fist, thumping it against this old chest. Emphasis, see. Yous probably wondering what I’m doing in this city of yours, why I’ve chosen to dock at this mouldering harbour of yours where you people don’t even have proper mooring facilities no more. Oh, that rhymes, don’t it? More. Moor. Mooring lines of the highest quality, these are. Able to withstand ’bout 30,000 leviathans of force each, not that I’ll ever be putting them to the test, mind. But they ain’t worth a piss if you’ve got them tied to an unsound structure on the ground end. What’s that? Yeh, only place that ‘good man’ of yours would let me secure my fair lady to was thee creaky-deaky rafters of thee Eastern Nebula Trading Co. warehouse. Place’s a shambles. I’d be worried about me ship drifting off into that wicked hell-smog you’ve got hovering ‘bove your lovely homes, but my soul resides in ‘er blubbery hull and we’d find our way back to each other. She’s a beaut, ain’t she?

Not everything I’ve lost’s come back, though. Yous fooling yourself if you try to pretend some things will be with you, till they pluck the life s’pport cartridge from between your teeth, or something. Those things—those people go a-dashing on ahead of you. Thems and you were running on two different sets o’ rails all this while. They’s checking into the final station while you trudge along at the same old steady pace. One day they’s flesh and the next, they’s stardust and yous waving a black hanky at them as a pair o’ android arms pour ’em out into space. Lost a child, lost a coupl’a pets. Bet you think it’s the other way round, but I lost the pets to accidents and the child to old age. Same way I lost the wife. Cross-species dating, and marriage I may add, were, in my day, mightily frowned ‘pon by most parts of the empire. Even when the powers that be smile ‘pon you, folks still point and stare like yous the one with the extra arms. Look all you like! Drink up, drink in! I’d holler at them. She’s got twice the arms and I’ve got twice the love! And I was a cheeky one back then. If ya catch my meaning, I used to add, sly. She’d shy away from the off colour jokes and cajoling, my missus. Pure and demure, and never left the house with so much as a speck o’ sauce on her blouse. And yet she’d toss me a smile, looking back at me, hiding that dainty chin of hers behind her shoulder. Ain’t the smile itself I remember. ‘S the dimples that were in the habit o’ perching themselves at the corners o’ her lips. She was a woman of hints, she was.

We left Antares B. What else could we have done? Me gramps had had his foot ‘pon my then-youthful posterior since the day I turned eight hundred and eighty-nine. Then came eight hundred and ninety, which I remember like yesterday. Was like liquid nitrogen ‘pon my heart. After the coming of age ceremony, he shoved with his boot, an’ I clung to the door frame, howling like ten pairs o’ randy felines in heat. Didn’t want to leave. But after the caterwauling and the shame, ’twas the only thing I could’ve done to preserve me gramp’s dignity. And me own, of course. The missus-to-be and meself sprinted for Registration and we put our marks ‘pon the tablet, becaming me and the missus. Then we saddled up—not lit’rally o’ course—and took old Vanya here for a trip across the galaxy.


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