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Mop Head
Rabbit Jack: Motherboard #1. A
© 2023 James LaFond
‘What a headache,’ he inwardly groaned as something less vital, but once more so, drearily moaned, “Bitchmade muvafucka, yee done fo me, do a’leas’ I ain’ owned.”
He could not clearly see. There was no sight on the right and something clacked opaquely before his left eye. His hands were not free to fix this… because he leaned on them. He let go of the thing in his left hand, brought it to the thing that he supposed was his over-sized eye lid, fussed with it, and it did dull-like hurt, found the buckle on the left side of his head— and thought, ‘Really, I’m wearing a belt for ahead band’—and was stricken with a doubt-filled pause, ‘Am I dead? Is this a bad dream?’
The groan below turned into a hissing gurgle, “A course you not dead—I ‘bout to be dead, what dis affray were all ‘bout you stubborn Mamma’s boy!”
A memory of a sweet, angelic voice came to his mind, ‘Lefty loosy, righty tighty,’ and he screwed the shutter on over his eye and could see again clearly.
There, beneath him, in the center aisle of the bus, a stone dead bus, out of gas and empty of people, snarled Mop Head, a man he recalled, but how he knew him he could guess not. Mop Head was on his back holding a hatchet what had some blood and pale, blotched skin on it and was snarling up at him, spitting bright blood from his terrible imposition, for Mop Head, the half-Jamaican parts dealer was impaled, literally stuck to the floor.
“Datz right, motherfucker! Comin’ back to yer bitchmade ass yet! Heh, the injustice o’ dis shit here! I went up side yo head not near good ‘nough!”
“We’re alone, there’s no one else on the bus,” he mumbled bemusedly.
Mop Head cackled in a vomiting way, “Dumbshit, been ten damned years since da gas run out!”
“I used to take this bus home, to the Brickmouse House?” He mumbled and half believed as he turned and looked out of the bus windows. The two four lane streets where this bus was stopped was jammed with cars, trucks and two other busses, some on their sides, some stacked making walls, blocking the northerly way. The corner gas station was an actual heap of scrap, from gutted buildings and vehicles. There was even a backhoe in the intersection, decked out in traffic lights fallen from the poles that mostly leaned over it from where they were broken off. The backhoe looked like a yellow Christmas tree.
“What?” he turned droolingly to see down the way this bus had come and his left hand jerked upon what it was holding as the man he had half-forgotten beneath him moaned, “Motherfucker, ged it ove wit, twistin’ dis shid in my gutz ain’t right!”
He looked down numbly and saw the man trying to pull out a piece of re-bar that had impaled him and noticed that the rusty and bloody iron was attached to the steel pipe in his hand, that was the crossbar of a blued steel pipe crutch, the kind he had never used before, that shackled to the forearms, that polio kids used back in the day.
“I’m sorry,” he, said, and meant it, down into the eyes of the suffering creature beneath him, a man that he, or some part of him, had known well enough to recall his name.
The coppery brown man, his pallor somewhat ashen, looked up at him in horrific dismay, eyes wide and bloodshot, “Finish it man!”
“Finish what?” he asked.
The man whose name he somehow knew looked up to him, “Bitchmade man, you a rancid motherfucker to be sure. But dis no time ta mend yo crooked ways...finish it!” he cried.
He looked around, not feeling whole or even whole awake and said, as if some distant bell tolled within, “I can’t fix it...God knows I was never a mechanic. But, I knew people, people around here, who fix things. I’ll be right back with help, get you fixed right back up.”
“No, motherfucker, God no!” Cried the man as he gently pulled out the crutch from his own lean body, gored between the open curtains of his black flannel shirt.
Blood gushed from the wound, and instead of applying pressure with his ashy hands, the Jamaican, aptly named Mop Head for his dreadlocks, cried, “Retarded motherfucker, you snapped ma spine.”
“Sorry, I’ll be right back,” echoed he in the bell-like precincts of his aching head. The words were received by a creaking of lesser metals and plastics as he pulled open the once automatic doors, barely able to stand between them on his numb legs, his crutches dangling and playing a steel on aluminum song as he did so, and stepped down into the gutter. The gutter by the storm drain and the old bus stop received him with a popping of his knee and the voice above and behind him in the bus gurgled, “No, ho, ho, o!”
His crutches clanged on the crumbling concrete, their bottoms not being cushened with rubber but oddly capped, one on the right with a meathook and the one on the left with a large gauge drill bit, both mounted to the rusty re-bar with hard rubber gaskets, intern mounted in blued steel pipe.
‘What cool crutches,’ he wondered, ‘But I’d like the old kind that I could lean on with my arm pits. This must be tiring.’
As he thought this he heard a trundling, squealing, scurrying of uncountable feet. Down from the dilapidated bus stop eves, up from the choked gutters, out of the various heaped, wrecked, parked, flipped and chopped vehicles choking the street, surged a gathering torrent of rats, at first creeks, then, streams and finally into two mighty rivers, one flooding up into the open front door of the bus and the other around his crookedly booted feet, to fill the bus with squeals of hungry glee and usher off poor Mop Head to wherever those slain according to the unfathomable laws of happenstance by wheezing gimps so went.
A sadness suffused him. His shoulders so sank. His head also hung, dripping somewhat onto his shoulder, hand and crutch.
The rats soon passed him as the bus rocked under their hungry wake. He stood back in numbed awe and sad reverence, braced himself. A reverie of offloading from this bus between a pretty girl and a gnarly drunk while a great big fat man held the doors for them all, upon a sunny day, conjured a sadness in his heart.
As the bus rocked under the dead gray skies, he stood and saluted, and spoke aloud, “Apologies, Mop Head, I meant to get the EMTs.”
As he withdrew his hand he saw there something like a phone, no, like grandpap’s watch, with real hour, minute and second hands, but with a screen.
‘Well, I’ll be,’ mused he, and then woodenly limped on, one boot riding upon another as he crutched up a hill he could have sworn looked mighty different yesterday, a hill he had known, whose sun-kissed asphalt was now heaped with junk, whose clean concrete was half-rendered to a crumblestone by weeds and baby maple.
He limped along like a newlywed who had woken next to his dead bride, too numb and too goddamned dumb to wonder why his dear had departed.
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