ed. note–“The Mad Man” is a Hemingway-esque melodramedy with a twist of TB. The story incorporates 15 random words and phrases chosen by The Daily Wit and appearing in the post previous to this one as well as on TDW’s page. The story with 15 randoms is a post modernistic writing technique now coming into vogue heavily influenced by the uncertainty in today’s world, the search for meaning, the shedding of cynicism and the frenetic pace of a new lost generation of rapidly aging gen-x’ers. The Daily Wit is the patriarch of this new, frightening roller coaster school of writing and the best known master of the genre. And now, without further ado, I give you,
The Mad Man
The old man was almost out of toothpicks. For a week now he’d been sitting on this mountain thinking of nothing but revenge. The anger radiated and even the local bears must’ve been intimidated because they kept their distance. He looked in his knapsack–some called it a manpurse–the one he thought of as his ticket to success if he ever tried to get on Let’s Make a Deal. Glue. He stared blankly into the fading sun. After a few moments he shrugged his shoulders as if the decision had been made for him, picked up his Elmer’s and sniffed. He tried again, inhaling deeply. Nothing. “Dang,”, he muttered aloud. “I sure wish I had one more fifth of Jack Daniels“, but the campfire was surrounded by nothing but empty bottles, gum wrappers, chewed toothpicks and spent sunflower seeds.
“Neptune! Get over here boy.” The dog sauntered lazily, but obedient toward his master. The old man watched his friend walk over and laughed about the day he found him long ago, barking fiercely in the African desert at a tarantula that was innocently moving about its business. The dog was scared out of its mind, but not enough to leap into the certain safety of the oasis at his back. The old man understood, so he saved the dog and he never could teach the dog to swim and they became friends but the dog had still not forgiven him for the ironic name now on his collar.
The anger subsided a little bit more as the old man continued to rummage around in his pack. A lot of memories were in that pack. Beneath the double bubble he felt a tin can and grinned. “It’ll do.” He thought back to that African summer when he’d heard about micro-lending for the first time. He’d lent a hundred U.S. dollars to a local who was starting a mail order Ugandan coffee selling business. He never did get the money back and he never would, and he knew it. But he received each year on May 29 a tin can full of the shittiest coffee he’d ever known, and the thought of that made the grin spread a little wider, though in his eyes the fire still burned. He looked at the label. Torquemada. It seems another lender had sent the Ugandan 150 bucks and wanted the coffee named after the Grand Inquisitor under Ferdinand and Isabella. “Damn anti-Semites”, he spat, and the anger welled up again. He was out of the sugar packets hoarded weeks ago from Cracker Barrel, so he opened a piece of gum and began to chew. You couldn’t drink this Ugandan crap without sweetener of some sort. As the minutes passed and the stars began to rise, he found himself ignoring the coffee and thinking about the immediate problem of where to find booze this night and putting off for a few minutes his plans for revenge, blowing bubbles, one after the other, popping them loudly and enjoying the echo hurtling across the canyon below.
His mind wandered. “Damn dubious 12 step programs. All they do is let some college sport preach at people while they sit around staring blankly at one another; a vacant lot, the whole bunch of ’em.” The old man loved a bad pun. He shivered as he thought about those 6 hours last year when they tried to make him give up the whiskey. “Much like radioactive isotopes,” he considered, “the programs can do as much harm as good if not handled properly.” He wished someone had been there to see that he was not all about anger and booze and chewing gum, but so much more on the inside. “Bastards can’t pigeonhole me,” he sneered.
“Neptune, I’m too easily distracted”, he said. “I’ve got a revenge to get on with.” The dog barked once, and they both listened for the echo.
He opened up his laptop and clicked the link to the Mad Dawg/Rebel Yell political page and started to type.