water-lighter-o

So there was this crazy dude, I mean as crazy as a sack of cats. He’s singing some song by the Beatles and dancing, but not to the tune that’s coming out his mouth – no, to something else only he can hear.

After about thirty minutes of this and he stops, takes a real deep breath, then falls over – so I go and pick him up, really without thinking. He thanks me and says he wants to tell me story as a way of paying me back. I’m thinking to myself, this guy is like, on something and I ain’t sure if I want to hear any of his stories but he holds my arm real tight and insists. So we sit and he pants some, and spits some, and wheezes some, then looks at me right in the eyes and boy has he got a stare.

I want to tell you a story boy and I want you to listen real good.

So, I’m thinking what the h, another fifteen minutes ain’t gonna kill me, now is it?

And he tells me about this land where there were people, who lived and breathed and loved and hated and all the other things we humans do. Then one day out of the sky comes this weird light and it brings to earth the machines. I ask him what machines, and he just tells me to shut up and the crazy guy just continues with his story.

These machines started to take the form of humans, he says, and soon it was impossible to tell between the real bloods and the cold fires (as they called the newcomers). Except for one thing –their metal hearts – the cold fires couldn’t breathe – they didn’t need to see? I nodded in agreement with the guy, like I say he was crazy.  And because they didn’t breathe they didn’t catch diseases or get ill, and soon the metals, the cold fires were the majority and because they were jealous of the real bloods, ‘cause they couldn’t feel and cry and laugh and mean it – they wanted to get rid of them. So began the purge of the real bloods – sometimes the real bloods would be found hanging from trees. Sometimes they took their own lives. But they didn’t wipe them all out and sometimes real bloods were born and they went to school and mixed with the cold fires – except they couldn’t breathe or that would give the game away. Sometimes the kids would bully another kid and taunt him with the name of ‘real blood’ and the kid would cry and tell them he ain’t a breather, ‘cause everyone knows that breathing is wrong.
And these kids had to hold their breath most of their lives, except when they were with their own kind, or by themselves – which was a lot of the time.

Then the day came when the cold fires let the reins loose a little and real bloods were allowed to live together – and have children – although the cold fires thought is wasn’t right and prayed for the real bloods to their cold fire god. And although they might all live near each other, everyone knew that only cold fires were going to heaven and that real bloods would go to hell.
But the real bloods just smiled and laughed and cried just like they’d always done and they knew what set them apart was their warm hearts.

And that made them happy.

And that’s when I ask the crazy guy what happens next and he just turns to me and he says:

You got a heart – use it.

bobby stevenson 2016

cold fire

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