The Company – 16

“There aren’t many stars,” Turd said. “When I was a kid,” he added, but then he fell silent.

“Yes, only the odd one, I’m afraid,” I said, and then I threw in some words intended to be like kindling for the fire that I knew was already racking up within Turd. “Merely a sad collection of feeble hearts dying in the dirty grey of the night.”

“A sappy way to say smoke and shit coming out from the cars of the fucking rich, isn’t that what you mean? Fucking dirty grey!” he yelled. Regulating his anger was one of the few stratagems I had to enhance his health. A well placed valve stuck here or there to let some rancid steam escape from his already putrescent body. The least I could do for him.

“But, oh, the stars…” Turd went back to his rapt contemplation. He could transition from anger to lameness to the rhythm of his breathing, as if two neurons in that gruyere-like brain of his were frequently shortcircuiting and with each sparkle his mind were thrown in an alternate direction. “They are so pretty, the stars.” Turd’s face was a blotch of stupidly placed admiration.

“I don’t know. I guess,” I said, just enough words to kick his volcano into another short-lived eruption.

“Don’t fuck me over, CrazyEye!” Turd spat, shrouded in indignation. “How are you going not to know? Everyone knows that stars are pretty.” He deflated a little. “They just are. That’s just something that everyone knows. Don’t be stupid. You are just embarrassing everyone.”

“I must have forgotten,” I said, all of a sudden tired of stars and wanting to kill that line of conversation.

“Do you know what I would do if I were made out of chewing gum?” Turd asked, assuming I cared.

“How could I know? Eat yourself?” I guessed, only adding a small tinge of malevolence to my tone of voice.

“No, I wouldn’t eat myself. If I were made out of gum, I know it’s difficult to imagine such a thing, but I would stretch my arm towards the sky and I would snatch one of those stars over there, pull it from the sky, and I would bring it to my mouth, and I would devour it. I wouldn’t care how hot or hard it could be. That’s what I would do. If I were made out of gum, of course, which is a little complicated, you know.”

After throwing such stupidity into the open, Turd returned to his silence studded with stars. OldThrown, totally unaware about Turd and I, looked onto the ground instead, as if he were pretending to count the blades of grass, or using some alternative sense to locate insects crawling around. He hadn’t said anything for days. Not even a word. It seemed he had decided to definitely close his mind behind a door of his own invention. His way to say goodbye to the world the rest of us still decided to try for a little longer, day after day.

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