The Accident: Part Four. Borodino.

by | Jul 12, 2023 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

That little irk Bonaparte throwing his weight around again.

“Like the unfortunate dog-mimic, your life is in the balance. You suffered terrible injuries in the collision and they’re doing their best to keep you alive.” The old man’s expression took on another depth of seriousness.

“So, is this a kind of Limbo between life and death? There and here, as it were?” I enquired, my curiosity pricked by his somber tone.

“Exactly. I knew you were a bright one.” A tiny smile graced his baby face. “You have led a decent life. You’ve always had empathy and had your fair share of suffering. As a result of this, and because of your unfortunate accident, you have a chance to change something. An event in your life.”

“I see. Like knowing the lottery numbers or bringing my late wife back to life?” I quizzed the old man, going along with this weird fantasy.

“Unfortunately, you’ve pick two examples of what I can’t do. No gambling and no interference in the inevitable. Cancer, such as that from which your wife suffered, is a card dealt that we can’t withdraw.” He straightened up in his chair and gripped the arms. “It has to be an event in your life over which you had a choice, like a fork in the road. Something you want to eliminate for example. However, a word of advice. Don’t go too far back, it may influence other things I your life in a negative way.”

“I don’t understand. So I can change an event, preferably recently but I can’t fix someone, like my friend Brenda or get the winner of the 2.30 at Kempton Park?” Something was developing in my mind, or whatever it was in this state, a seed of an idea.

“Spot on young fella. I once had a woman who had fallen from a balcony on holiday. She asked to change her choice of university fifteen years earlier. Unfortunately when she returned, she lost all three of her children. They didn’t exist because of her decision.” I could swear that tears appeared in his eyes as those black pools took on another dimension. I decided to take another route, just to satisfy my curiosity.

“So, erm Your Worship. What’s it like to be, well, You?” I closed my eyes in anticipation but wasn’t prepared for the rant.

“I’ll tell you what it’s like. Bloody awful, that’s what.” His countenance took on that of anger and his eyes opened wider, almost pulling me in. “You lot, the human race, never cease to amaze me with your crass stupidity. You’ve been on this planet five minutes and already you’ve fucked it up. Greed and suffering go hand in hand like lovers in a field. I gave up on you long ago, that’s why I do this. You’re an experiment that failed.”

His answer shocked me but opened the floodgates of my curiosity. “That’s interesting. Would you like to elaborate?”

“Elaborate? How long have you got? Do you know when I called it a day with you’re ridiculous species? ” He raged.

“No, but I’d like to. I can think of examples both personally and historically. You know, those ‘Is there really a God? moments.” Again, I closed my eyes and waited for him to continue.

“Seventh of September, eighteen-twelve. Borodino, Russia. That little irk Bonaparte throwing his weight around again. I’d had his card marked since he was a lad. Knew he was trouble. Eighty thousand men died in a day. This place was chaos. Queueing for miles they were. From that moment, never again, I swore.

I did as much as I could, but human stupidity prevailed. They eventually stuck him on an island and he escaped to create havoc in Belgium. That’s when I gave up on the human race.” He sat back but was prepared for the chair’s response, clinging onto the arms.

“Yes, I studied Napoleon at school and I saw Waterloo with Rod Steiger,” I replied weakly. This was becoming all too much.

“Don’t get me wrong son. I tried my best. There was Genghis Khan before that, boiling folks in vats of water? What the actual? Even earlier, just as you were doing so well, came Rome. To me, short-arse was the last straw. I know you’ve had Hitler, Pol Pot and the Kim family since, the Koreans not the Kardashians; and don’t even start about the Chinese, a lost cause centuries ago.” The man was becoming agitated and the chair threatened to send him into the wall opposite, so I changed the subject.

“Can we go back to why I’m here? I’m sorry you gave up on us, as a race, I mean.” I said calmly.

“Yes. Yes. Where was I? Have a think and let me know. I have an Egyptian Judge with a coronary waiting. That’s all I need at this point, a dose of Islam!” He slapped a hand on his forehead, rocked a few times and catapulted himself out of the chair. He stumbled, then gained his composure before disappearing through the door.

“Who’s responsible for those damned chairs in 402?” His voice faded as he slammed the door shut behind him.

I shook my head, trying to put the events in order like a manuscript that had fallen to the floor. The seed in my head began to germinate as I recalled the pain. Not of the accident but of losing her. That’s when the idea came to me.

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