Friday, November 18, 2005

Charlie Grace

There I stood, bushed and whacked, all flattened out like Charlie Grace. That is, Charlie Grace the hedgehog. Not Charlie Grace the surgeon who lived across the street.

The comparison was, of course, apt. Although I stood, I was sorely flattened. Pressed flat like a sheet of paper and made to stand in the wind. I stood, yes, but not firm. The shortest, gentlest gust was enough to topple me. Or send me floating on my way.

Charlie Grace was the hedgehog I owned from the age of five to the age of sixteen. Do hedgehogs live that long? Mine did. Charlie Grace was my constant companion through thick and thin, through the good times and the bad. The moment I was laughed at by girls, he was there. The time I was bullied to within an inch of my life, he was there. When my mother died, choking on that bee, he was there. When my father died, by his own hand and the gas oven, Charlie Grace was there. But also for the good times, as few as they were. He was my prickly companion through all that my young life had to throw at me. My best friend, dear old Charlie Grace.

But one day. As I was out picking wild berries and forcing my hand up my girlfriend’s dress, Charlie Grace crawled out of his cage and made his way to the main road not ten yards from our garden gate. The cars that whizzed past, so ferocious in their desire to get somewhere. They were an embarrassment and a mortal, deadly sin. As Charlie Grace agreed. Which is why he stepped out, without a seeming care in the world, into that road in order to teach those cars a lesson. Ah, foolish, naïve, dear Charlie Grace. How was he to know that those cars had drivers? How was he to know that he wasn’t the only hedgehog on this scorched earth? How was he to know that his flattened, self-sacrificed death would have no effect whatsoever? Flat, that’s all he became. And flatter and harder as the weeks passed and the sun shone and those tyres pressed him down. Poor old Charlie Grace.

But as to me and my similarity contest to my former prickly pet. My name is The Firefly. I have genuine powers too. Bitten by a radioactive firefly. Right on the nose. I thought he was shining a bit too brightly as he buzzed his way towards me. Do fireflies buzz? This one did. It bit me or stung me and almost instantaneously I was transformed into something much more than merely human.

Guess at my powers. Go on, guess. And no, I haven’t got a big luminous arse. But my powers do involve light. And the manipulation of light. Okay, I control light. All light. Including sunlight. The power it gives me, you wouldn’t believe. The world we are in today is a different world entirely from the one you previously knew. I control all light. Imagine what that means. In brief, the world and everything in it is mine.

Or was mine. It seems that I have met my match. A do-gooder type called The Flat Iron who, you guessed it, flattens his enemies. And that’s exactly what he did to me. And somehow, by flattening me, he squeezed out all my powers and has claimed them for his own. The difference between him and me, of course, is that he is not a super-villain. He is a super-hero. A very noble super-hero at that. So I think it’s a fairly safe bet that he will return the world to the way it once was. Mind you, power corrupts. So there’s absolutely no telling what will happen next. It could go this way, or it could go that way. The field is wide open. The stakes have yet to be nailed. It’s a fair wind that blows against the possibilities of permutation. Your guess is as good as mine.

So anyway, here I am, rippling in the breeze and, you know, I can honestly say that I’m not at all bothered that it’s over. I had my fun. I had my fair share of ruling the world. Riches? I had them all. Women? I had them all. Not a bad life really, now that I think about it. I should wish The Flat Iron luck.

Good luck then Flat Iron! Good luck my friend! Goodbye dear old Charlie Grace, goodbye my sweet flat boy!


Blogger Molly Bloom said...

A poignant reminder of the transience of all things. Wherever we go, we rely on someone or something to guide us. If Charlie had lived, would he comment on the choices we have made and the opportunities missed? - perhaps he was better off dead, so we didn't have to listen. Much better to be a powerful luminous fly - soaring above everything and everyone who ever judges us. A song of innocence to experience that touches us all.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonderful stories, elegiac, fabulous. You are obviously very unpretentious and talented. i feel that you have a great future ahead of you as a writer. you're not a fanny.

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