He ate his tin of beans and gently thought about things. Was life an exciting adventure, or was it, in all truth, just a lot of crap? He certainly wouldn’t be doing it again, that was for sure – assuming that you could do it again.
He had been on his own for the longest of times. He had been pot-holing in a very deep hole in the ground when it had happened. The war, followed by the floods due to all the dams and waterworks that had no one to look after them. He believed at first, that there could have been more pot-holers who had survived that fateful day and that he would eventually run into them.
The nearest thing he’d seen to a living person was a shark which had swum past the building he was now in – but that had been a long time ago. Since then, nothing and no one.
He would go down to the ground when he needed more cans – he would try to drink out of bottles found in stores, rather than use the rain water. Yet what was he being precious about? The water could only kill him, and he was going to go eventually.
He’d organised a soccer world cup in the last few weeks – where he, naturally, played in every team. So far, the first semi-final was between Kazakhstan and Barbados – that’s just the way it had worked out. He originally had three footballs and two of them had been kicked over the edge in his excitement. The footballs had disappeared by the time he had gotten to the jungle floor below. He imagined they had been stolen by a group of pygmies who had survived the war. He always imagined others to talk to, or even just to see now and again.
The loneliness was killing him – probably, literally.
He had long since realised that as he was possibly the only living thing in the world, then what he liked, and what he disliked, would represent the rest of humanity. All those millennia of genius – Shakespeare, Einstein, Plato, Newton…. well you get the picture – and yet it was only the tastes and knowledge of one, Johnny Cribs that would be remembered if any aliens arrived.
He had decided that the Monty Python theme tune – The Liberty Bell – would be the World’s Anthem. He decreed, that no one was to ever read a Dan Brown book as long as Johnny Cribs was President of the entire planet.
On Wednesday mornings, Black Sabbath was to be played in every home and at the stroke of midday, Rammstein, the band, was the order of the day, afterwards.
Just like in the book, 1984, James Blunt (not that he was in the book, just the principle of the thing) was to be struck from all records – James Blunt never had, nor ever would exist.
In the early days, he had walked as far as the national stadium – much of it had fallen down or had been washed away – but as far as Cribs was concerned his team had won the League and the Cup for the last five years – and dared anyone to argue with him.
He had saved some books from a large bookstore which had once stood on a corner nearby. He hadn’t got around to reading anything – in fact, he was using some of the books to sit on. He had (and he didn’t want to appear like a Nazi) but had burned some of them to keep warm. The rest he’d keep for the later years.
There was no electricity – not since the war. He had stayed alive by eaten from tin cans – or aluminium – or whatever the hell it was. Mostly beans. Always gave him indigestion.
He had plans that once the soccer world cup was finished, he would start a ‘This Roof Has Talent’ competition – where he would play all the talent and the judges. He decided he would play Simon Cowell as a decent and reasonable human being – because Johnny thought that would have annoyed him.
Before the world cup, he had the whole roof (him) involved in Big Brother – he had voted himself out on every occasion.
And that is when it struck, Johnny – in the good old days, he hadn’t actually noticed the world – he had been too busy on his phone, his pad, his computer and his television to see it.
Now it was too late.
Still he had the other soccer semi-final to look forward to: Ireland versus Hawaii (he was sure he had heard that Hawaii was a country on a tv quiz programme).
One day, someone would come. Until then…..
bobby stevenson 2017.
Painting by Ivo VanDeGrift