Six ounces of involuntary memory

Posted by Rich Magahiz Fri, 30 Aug 2013 01:03:00 GMT

Istvan, that crazy drunken abuser, proved he possessed no survival instinct once again by running towards the beamspitter. Anyone else would have taken the nearest flitter in the other direction and prayed that the thing would not get a radar lock on it, but maybe it was some romantic streak or just an urge to suicide that came out at moments like this. For my part, I was sprawled in a slimy puddle with a dislocated knee, no aid at hand, so all I could do was spectate and hope that I blended into the background.

The beamspitter was running wild, causing immense destruction to abandoned industrial equipment and innocent blacktop, but making no move to shoot at the tiny human figures in its field of fire. Maybe Istvan noticed this also, or maybe he just didn’t give a shit. Given the amount of shrapnel being thrown up where the bolts were landing, it wouldn’t take an aimed hit to take a man out. He didn’t have a helmet or a flak vest, just a grimy leather slicker. I was hoping he had a pocket rocket holstered or a clutch of grenades which might conceivably catch it at a weak point. Maybe he could distract it while one of the armored vehicles came in to knock one of its knees out. Ouch.

But then I saw something spool out from his flailing hand at a wild angle, coiling like a silk ribbon but weighted at the end like a bolo. It clanked against the broken concrete and I thought for a wild moment that Istvan was going to be yanked off his feet, but it bounced back up into the air. In all it was just a few meters long although it looked as long as the shattered boulevard itself to me. It was probably the shock, the mangled leg winning out over my overtaxed brain, halfway into a swoon, yet the sheer audacity of what this man was doing also had something to do with what I perceived by stretching the limits of what could happen and what could not. This man was nothing short of every action figure I’d ever imagined.

I cannot say for sure what happened after that, because, as I say, I was pinned down too far away amidst all the smoke and confusion. My ears heard something that made my guts clench even though I did not then and do not now have the words to say what it was. I surely think Istvan got to the marauding form, though I have no proof of it, and something makes me believe with all my being that it was a heroic moment. It wasn’t long before another set of heroes gathered me up at their own risk and amid my own considerable agony to a place where I could receive treatment, so I did not witness what they say happened to that beamspitter. Nobody has a tale of what happened to Istvan, whose description has led only to a blank stare whenever I question those who claim to have been there. All that is left is a battered steel hook one of those bystanders pressed into my hand, without explanation, which I keep on the corner of my desk now to try to remember that day with something approaching objectivity.

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