Godless Monkey will be away on a photo expedition of Mexico, Central America and Columbia from March 19th to April 20th. I’m running some of my old stories in my absence for your enjoyment.
Leaving the pub Blake focused his attention on the sights and sounds of his familiar environment in a bid to shake off the cloistered feel of his earlier ruminations. Stopping in at the supermarket on the way home he immersed himself in mental menu planning and was completely in the moment when he caught a glimpse of furtive movement out of the corner of his eye. For a moment he could swear it was the old woman again, then he was clutching his lower abdomen as a short, sharp slice of fiery pain shot through him. He nearly lost his balance and leaned heavily on his shopping cart as the pain subsided.
He looked all around quickly but saw only the usual assortment of shoppers. No one seemed to have noticed his momentary distress, much to his relief, and he moved quickly down the aisle and on to the next one, wondering what could have caused such a horrible pain. He decided it must be a warning sign of an imminent nature call and curtailed the rest of his grocery accumulation and headed for the checkout.
Arriving home without further incident he put away the groceries and set about making himself some dinner. He turned on the news and settled in with a plate of food, paying only half-hearted attention to the talking heads. Something was making him restless and he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. His internal dialog was more erratic than usual, thoughts that seemed somehow foreign kept intruding on the usual internal observations that were routine to him.
He washed up and decided to do some light reading for the remainder of the evening. Getting ready for bed later on the pain that had visited him at the supermarket returned all at once with a vengeance. He doubled over, clutching his lower abdomen again and shuffled his way to the bed, throwing himself onto it and rolling onto his side. The pain was worse this time, like a hot dull knife was twisting itself around and upward toward his stomach.
Just as it became nearly unbearable it began to subside. This time he was left feeling drained; sweat beading on his forehead and upper lip. His vision was somewhat blurred and he squeezed his eyes shut and lay quietly, his mind a blank. After awhile he opened his eyes and rolled onto his back. When his strength returned his got up and brushed his teeth, resolving to call his doctor the next day.
The morning passed without incident and Blake reverted to form, procrastinating and rationalizing away the need to make the call he had resolved to make the night before. He hated going to the doctor, nearly as much as he hated going to the dentist, and he decided he must have simply eaten something dodgy in the last couple of days, a street vendor’s hot dog he had made lunch of not long ago coming to mind.
When the workday was over he made a couple of calls and arranged to meet up with some friends at one of their usual haunts. He was walking down the street with a spring in his step, looking forward to the evening when he realized he was approaching the alley where he had the unfortunate encounter with that disagreeable old woman. He told himself he was being silly and walked past it, resisting the urge to look inside.
He was congratulating himself on not giving in to irrationality when the world suddenly went sideways.