Men, Wanting

Every man was given a task to write a story, their story, defining
their place in the world.

Gary wrote a soft tale about a bald man, misunderstood, who joked and
joked, but beneath the jokes hid a crying boy who just wanted love.
Peter wrote about a tall man with long arms able to reach into
people's souls to twang their emotions at will. Mark and Tim and a
billion others wrote the same story, about a man, forgotten, who
dreamt of things he could never achieve, but who learned to accept his
place in the world as a nearly-man, a crushed and swept man, a man who
wanted but would never have.

Then something magical happened, and everyone was able to read the
story of everyone else.

The next day, when Gary stumbled into work and made some joke about
rain, umbrellas, his bald, wet head, the receptionist came from behind
the counter and wrapped her old-lady arms around him. He rested his
head on her chest and cried.

People started to watch Peter’s hands as he spoke, how his fingers
became beckoning claws. They knew he lied with every word. Nothing he
said came without a price, some emotional payoff, which he craved as a
vampire does blood.

For Mark and Tim and all the rest of the forgotten men, those once
strong-fingered hunters, who were able to know land by touching the
dirt, who years ago would lead their families onto boats and sail away
without timetables and fixed destinations, knowing they would never
return, for them there was nothing to do, nothing to change. Everyone
merely turned away and shrugged.

© Rupan Malakin


After leaving Kenya a lifetime ago, Rupan has now settled in rainy
Manchester where he writes obtuse literature he hopes no one will
read. He has had some previous publications and a criminal record. God
has been kind to him though as he still has hair.