Storytime: The Modern Crusoe.

October 2nd, 2013

Day 0
The boat had gone down.
Well, that was that. Nobody’d ever told Tommy what to do when the boat went down. “And believe me,” he’d have said, if there’d been anyone to say it to, “I’ve checked.”
He was a great reader, Tommy was. He’d read his Robinson Crusoe, and his Swiss Family Robinson. And both of those books had been very clear about what to do in case of shipwreck: you zipped yourself as fast as possible over to the boat and plucked out all the choice goods that would help you reshape the wild and untamed landscape around you into some sort of metaphorical message of exactly how much god liked you.
Tommy was annoyed that the boat had gone done. Now he had no tools and would never have any clue as to how much god liked him. Also he would probably starve to death unless he found food without gluten in it. He was gluten-intolerant or something.
“Shit,” he said. There was still nobody there to say it to, but swearwords were special like that. “Fuck,” he added for good measure, and “balls.”
Then he sat down in the cool sand under the starry sky and watched the ripples carry away the oil slick. Life was good.

Day 1
Tommy slept in. He’d had a busy night. He was going to have a busy day too, which the newly established and enormous sunburn on his face wasn’t going to help one bit.
“Fuck,” said Tommy again. He worried for a moment that in a few short weeks swearwords would be the only words he could remember, and that when his rescuers arrived he would do nothing but yell “fuck” and “shit” and “balls” at them until they left him alone. That would be a problem. He’d have to practise talking to himself like his uncle did.
“Guess I’ll make a start,” said Tommy.
So he did.

When Tommy was done making a start the sun was dipping itself into the big tasty salsa of the Pacific. He felt pretty good about his day. He’d climbed three big hills, gotten a lot of exercise even though he wasn’t at a gym, learned important information about plants and animals
(the red ones taste good, the pink ones taste bad and make your lips pucker up and your tongue go all rigid; also, the little soft white-furred things are faster than you are)
and he’d made a nice tent out of some leaves and sticks.
Life was pretty good.

Day 2
Tommy woke up with half his tent collapsed and the other half eaten. The consumer was no longer at the scene of the crime but enormous, damp footprints and a sizable amount of stray spit made him reluctant to find out.
“Fuck!” said Tommy. He was too annoyed to even care about vocabulary degradation now. “Fuck!” he added. Now he’d need to make a fire or something to scare away the thing, and he had no lighter. “Fuck!” Maybe matches would even work. Safety matches for sure.
“Fuck!” decided Tommy. He’d sort it all out later. For now he needed breakfast. There were more red ones nearby anyways.

Day 4
Tommy woke up at sundown as the red sky reflected from the sandgrains lodged in his eyelids and felt like that was a best-case scenario. That had all gone all right. He’d gotten some refreshing wind-down time because you can’t let yourself get all wound up and stressed out and he’d learned more important information about plants and animals
(the red ones are not quite the same as the other red ones and the difference is REALLY IMPORTANT; also whatever you accidentally stomped to death that last night was really filling and its fur looks pretty, what’s left of it)
so all in all this had already been one of the most informative trips he’d been on and he was sure he’d feel good about it as soon as his head stopped screaming at the universe to put it out of his misery.
He’d feel good. Real good
After a bit more sleep.

Day 7
Tommy had been happy at first, finding that so much of the fur from that thing he’d stomped to death was still intact. He’d made himself new underpants which was surprisingly important at the time although Robinson Crusoe had never mentioned it much and he guessed he’d sort of forgotten that you couldn’t just peel off animal fur and just slap it on hey presto. You needed needles and threads and yarn or something. And like…oak trees. To tan them. Tanning was important with furs, right? You had to tan them. That made them turn from furry skin to clothing.
Tommy had tried laying out his new furry underpants on the surface of a warm stone in the sun. It had not tanned them. It had done something, but it hadn’t been helpful. He was starting to really regret throwing away his old underpants, even if they’d been pretty gone and he’d never wanted to see that shade of red again in his life.
Oh well.
He spent the afternoon building a tiny sandcastle. It wasn’t that great and he felt a lot better when he kicked it over. That’d show that goddamned sandcastle. Life was good then.

Day 15
Half a month was a pretty good time for Tommy. His phone might have gotten totally lost while he was on the boat, but hey, he still had a tree and a sharp rock and that was good enough to make a calendar with, right? Right. As long as he remembered where the tree was, which was kind of hard sometimes and he’d had to start over twice and there’d been that mix-up for a few days after he ate the red ones. But he was pretty sure he knew how long that had been. Pretty sure.
“Half a month,” Tommy said, and didn’t swear at all. “That’s fucking badass.” And not in the way that he had felt for the week after he ate the red ones. Which he was going to stop thinking about forever now.
He was going to have to find out things to eat, though. So that he didn’t end up having to eat more red ones.
Which he wasn’t thinking about.

Day 17
Tommy found food.
It didn’t look good.
It didn’t smell good.
It didn’t feel nice.
But by “fucking shit jesus on toast” (there he went again, woops) Tommy had found food, food, food at last. And it wasn’t the red ones which was great because he couldn’t think about the red ones at all.
It was perfect. Unfortunately, it was also a rock, and a rock that didn’t take kindly to three of Tommy’s starvation-loosened molars.
“Fffuugh!” said Tommy. “Fffiiiiittt! Fffitt! Ffit! FfitfitifitififfitfitfitFFIT!” And many other things like that. He ran around, he shrieked, he waved his arms, and he punched three trees which really hurt his hand a whole lot. Luckily, while moaning and rubbing his sore arm, Tommy laid eyes upon the solution to all of his problems.

Day 28
Two handfuls of the red ones had been a really bad idea.

Day 31
Although to be fair, mixing it with that green stuff probably hadn’t been great either even if it had been pretty crazy-tasting.

Day 39
Tommy discovered the meaning of life. Unfortunately, it was someone else’s.
“Shit,” he said, and nearly jumped at the first intelligible sound he’d heard in three weeks. He consoled himself with nervous humming, coughing, scratching, and drinking water out of a tiny stream he’d found.

Five minutes and a hundred feet upstreaem later he found something large and hairy lying dead in it. It was mostly missing but possessed strikingly familiar feet, although the spit was long-gone.
“Waste not want not,” said Tommy. “Fuck it.” It was organic anyways, right? Air-dried. All-natural. Super-natural goodness fortified with essential vitamins. That’s what all those little bugs are, right? Essential vitamins. They eat the plants or the fruits or whatever the fuck
(but not the red ones, okay?)
and they get all the vitamins in them presto blammo bullshit, time to eat. Better for you than broccoli.

Day 40
Well. It all had to come out sooner or later, right? That was just sooner. A lot sooner than Tommy would’ve liked. And faster.
“Shit,” Tommy said. It was not a swearword this time, it was descriptive, it was totally appropriate to use. “Fuck,” he said, and that was just not permitted. He would’ve slapped himself if he’d had the strength left to do more than what he’d been doing for eighteen hours.
“Shit” he clarified. And continued to do so.

Day 59
Tommy liked the crocodile. He liked to think that the crocodile liked him to. It was all in the way it’d wink at him it’s just that crocodiles were sort of bad winkers and it was mostly just Tommy moving his head at the right angle to make the light go ~TinG~ off its eye. Just like that. That was like a wink for an animal too lazy to close its eyes although you’d never hear that from him about the crocodile no sir Tommy was good buds with him or possibly her. Tommy was fuzzy on checking that sort of thing in a species that didn’t have tits. They didn’t have tits, did they? Maybe they did and they just looked weird, like really small. “Fuck.”
The crocodile’s eye wavered at him. Bad language. Tommy should really watch that.
But yeah, the crocodile was his bro. Or sis. Or whatever. Once every week it would eat something and get super lazy and then Tommy could run in and drag off its leftovers and it had only managed to almost eat him one two three times so far so hey that’s a pretty good track record. Life was good.

Day 68
Tommy had had it up to here with the mother-fucking ass-shitting face-bitching bastard-jerkoff-ing doucheasshole…ing…ed…croc. Odile. That one.
It didn’t eat enough. Why the hell did it not eat enough? Tommy needed food more often. God this roommate sucked. He should move out. He was going to move out soon anyways. Like, next month. He had plans. He’d just wanted to take some time off first; kick back on the boat.
Stupid boat. Well who needed it. He had the crocodile. Who was an ASSHOLE, but he was going to move out soon anyways. As soon as he figured out how to walk again.
Baby steps, right?

Day 83
Walking was super-hard. Tommy’d last learned to do it like, a billion years ago, and man he hadn’t known anything back then, he was just some stupid kid. But he guessed you couldn’t teach an old dog new bones or whatever and man his knees fucking hurt now.
Swearing, clearly, was stuck in. Although his throat hurt too much to try it aloud, so welp.
Right. He was moved out. Tommy was in charge of Tommy again, no more reptilian sugardaddy or maybe sugarlady. But Tommy could handle that. Tommy was an independent adult. Tommy just needed to get some transportation going here because the commute sucked.
Like, a car.
Wait, water.
Okay, not a car. A boat.
Fuck fuck fuck FUCK that.
Okay, not a boat. A. A. Floaty thing a raft. Right, that’s what it is. Not a boat at all.
And what’re they made of?
“TREES!” yelled Tommy. Then, “ow.” But hey, all art from suffering. From ow, trees! From trees, raft! From raft, a low-maintenance fuel-efficient personalized custom transportation to allow him easy access between home work and that big rock that was nice to fry all the parasites from your skin off on! He’d learned that trick from lizards. Heh. Man, he wondered what those lizards were doing nowadays. It’d been like, days since he’d seen them. He didn’t think he’d eaten them. At least, eaten them a lot. Maybe like, a nibble. Shit, he hadn’t pissed them off, had he? Man he could be an asshole when he was on the red ones.

Day 89
Raft crafted. Woop a doodle ding dong. That was poetry, Tommy was a poet and when he saw poems he did know it. He recognized it.
Maybe he’d write some of this stuff down when he got out of here. He could make a lot of money and buy his own rock to burn skin parasites on and a bush full of red ones and maybe even a bucket to throw up all the red ones into. And he’d hire a crocodile to kill things for him but he wouldn’t have to room with it. Because fuck that.
Maybe he’d hire a therapist too. To get rid of all his swearing problems. He couldn’t get through one day without screaming “SHIT” at the top of his lungs nowadays. But hey, it was better than coffee. Nearly as good as Red Bull. Not as good as the red ones at all, though.
He did like the red ones.

Day 101
Tommy liked one hundred and one. It was about time to start it. He’d been waiting all week for it and the day wouldn’t change, so he said fuck it
(he didn’t say it, he just thought it, but shhh)
and he just sort of faked up the calendar. No big deal. He’d lied about his grades to his parents, he’d lied about his income to the government, he’d lied about his phone number to his girlfriend, he’d lied to the crocodile about splitting rent, and now he was lying to his calendar. He deserved credit for a consistent streak.
“Yeah,” said Tommy. He patted himself carefully on the back. Some of it fell off, and wriggled.
Yeah. He’d definitely need to buy a rock.
The raft was waiting. Tommy pushed it carefully out into the water until it was too deep for him, whereupon he gently slipped in alongside it and sank like a stone, as people without any remaining fat do.
“Fuck,” said Tommy. A passing shark veered away in disgust, but he was in no mood for social niceties. “Fuck,” he repeated, and weirdly relished the sight of all those air bubbles streaming away as they splatted up against the surface of the water.
“Fuck,” he finalized, and frowned. The surface of the water was a lot darker now, and strangely smooth. It was also getting closer and louder and in his personal space.
Tommy dealt with this in the socially standard manner and headbutted it, whereupon it turned into a boat. He dealt with this in the socially standard manner and passed out.

Day 225
“Woo,” said Tommy.
He poked the bed.
“Woo,” he said. Yep, so far, so good.
He poked it again.
“Fuckshit,” he said, and grimaced. Aww hell so close. Oh well. His speech therapist said he was doing great anyways. He just needed a bit more time.
Tommy had time. He also had three working limbs and eighty percent of a functioning digestive system and one kidney and seventeen teeth and a bill for fracturing the hull of a boat. He didn’t see why that last one was his fault, but hell who was he to poke at it. He had everything. Everything he could’ve named, he had. Except for the red ones. Instead he had this stuff in tubes that got piped into his arms every half-hour when he started to throw up. That was pretty nice.
Life was good.

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