Saturday, May 21, 2005

Short Story: Plastic And Rust

Billy is an artist. Billy is also disturbed. He is a disturbed artist on a mission, but plastic and rust are interfering more and more with his work. A snapshot in time in a junkyard somewhere on this tiny world we call Earth. And it’s short too.


Plastic and Rust
by Paul Darcy

Plastic and rust and nobody gave a goddam. Billy shoved his locks of brown hair away from his dark eyes and surveyed his latest re-creation. It was better than the rest, but he shouldn’t have had to fix it at all except for the goddam plastic and rust. The modern, crappy Japanese metal rusted faster than ever. And with so much goddam plastic now, how the hell could he hope to build more than thirty feet high anymore. Still, he was pleased with his accomplishment. It needed a few more refinements, but they could wait until he ate, until it settled. The huge magnet coils were starting to overheat anyway. Maybe one day they would see what he had seen and those without wouldn’t suffer as much.

He jumped from the seat of the great metal beast as it rumbled to stillness. He always felt a little intimidated by its size, or maybe the cabin was meant for larger people. It was probably his best friend, at least on days like today when the visions were the clearest and new stock had arrived not so rusted yet. One day the new stock would cease to arrive. Goddam Plastic and rust. Goddam the plastic mostly, it would ruin him for sure.

He ate quickly, not wanting to leave his creation for too long even if he was only going to be scrutinizing it and not reforming it immediately. After a moment of anxiety, he found his check amongst the flyers and advertising brochures. He would need to stop if that didn’t come. He would need to stop anyhow once the plastic took over. Goddam plastic and the people responsible for its proliferation. Bloody hell and damnation.

Bill finished circling the pile pulled a cloth from his coveralls and started to polish the great metal beast. He topped up the hydraulic fluid as well, red tinted like the very blood which made all creatures what they are. He felt an affinity with it, like their purposes were one in the same. Stationary, isolated, creating perfection in a chaos of imbalance. He knew about imbalance, could see its work in all directions, sticking out in sickening colors. Unnatural colors. The colors of molded plastic. Molded plastic trays filled with pennies, eyes seeing through tears, touch muted by layers of grime, blood thin as water, hope all but gone. Goddam plastic. Plastic and rust and only him to set it right.

He left his great metal beast after caressing it with love, took one last look at his creation and went to clean up and cash his check. What little he would take would keep him going until the next one, the rest was up to others to make good. His wasn’t a perfect life, but he did what he could where he was and wouldn’t stop until he had too.

Plastic and rust.

Goddam plastic and rust.

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