the oldman

by underswansea


I’m a dead man finally. That’s what the Doc says. She says, nothing they can do. I’ve got a couple days maybe. She said it matter of fact like I might argue. She is a young pretty girl; woman I should say, may as well be correct on my deathbed. Final hour reprieve? Not fucking likely. She said it sitting in the chair beside my bed, got up rubbed my shoulder and said good-bye. Good-bye like she meant it, not ‘see you later.’ I found the strength to turn my head, tubes and all and watch her leave. Christ she had a nice ass walking away. Last I’ll see I reckon, the nurse doesn’t have an ass like that, plus she hates me. And I don’t blame her, I’m a moaning mass of piss, blood and shit. My pecker doesn’t work, hasn’t for a long time and will never again, but that girl, woman, doctor has a nice ass. I’m takin’ it to my grave. People begging her for life, for drugs whatever. She wears it well.

I’ve had lots of dogs in my life. Most have died before they got old, poisoned, coyotes, whatever. But I’ve had a couple that lived to an old age and when it was time, I took them to the creek, the coolie with a shovel and 22. Had a bear Airedale once, great dog, saved my life. She had knobs of cancer on her. The boys said take her to the vet, you can get more years out of her. I didn’t. She got up ready to chase mice everyday, some days she’d catch them. She smiled right up till’ the end. Getting her knocked out and sliced up might have given her more time. I wasn’t going to do it. You live the best you can and then you die.

My wife Jesse, is long dead. And that’s my regret. She deserved better, to be happy. The boys too, they saw the worst of me, when I was drinking hard. They saw me hit their mother to the floor, kick her even. I did it to them, especially Rags. They took it without a whimper. I think it made them closer to their mother. Cash you never worry about. Rags is another story. He will lose Jodi if he hasn’t already, the way he keeps fucking up. The boys haven’t been by and I don’t blame them. Jodi gets to see me die day by day, by herself. I wish I could send her away but I can’t. Selfishness I guess. I can tell by looking at the roof that it’s a grey day outside. I wish I was heading up the creek with a smile and a box of 22 shells, looking for rabbits and chicken, having a swallow of whiskey here and there, all my old dogs yipping ahead. Stopping at a deadfall. But, I’m as tired as I’ve ever been and like she said I’ve a couple days maybe.