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En velskrevet novelle om en elv og en tragedie sett gjennom to ulike personers øyne.
Karakter: 5+ (VK1)
“I saw you coming
But I heard not a thing
A mistake not to listen
But I knew where you’d been”
(Soundtrack: Queens Of The Stone Age – A Song For The Deaf)
They’ll eat you alive, the mosquitoes. We’re all just food that hasn’t died yet. The mosquitoes live by “the floating bear”. That’s what I call it, the river I live by. It is a floating bear.
I live under the bridge, were everybody can look down on me. That’s kind of symbolic; they do that anyway wherever I go.
I’ll talk to anyone who wants to. I like to talk. Under the bridge I have a little radio. It’s important to keep up to date with the world, you know, that’s if you want to talk to decent people. There’s not a thing that passes me by. Armed robbery in New York, murder in Washington, terror, war, death, everything! Sometimes I wonder why I bother, it’s not really worth paying attention to, but what else should I spend my time on.
There’s this journalist that passes by on the bridge sometimes, every once in a while he tosses down a couple of batteries to me, so I can listen a few more hours on the radio. He feels sorry for me, the old crazy bastard under the bridge. I like talking to him, he as well need to pay attention to what’s going on in the world. But he doesn’t use the radio for such things; he uses this great new invention, the internet. He’s boasting about on this internet every time I meet him. I’m still not completely sure of what it is, but it is, supposedly, great. I, myself prefer the good old radio. It’s safe. And everything that is safe, is good.
Above my head the cars scorch along. Little robots, doing the same thing over and over again. Shadows of could have been good and meaning filled lives, what should have been good lives. But now they have been lost. They are no longer people, what made them human is gone. The human species is extinct. Now it’s just a robot controlled by greed and evil. And all day, they sit in front on their TV screens and rot away. I’ve even heard that some watch TV in their cars! Jesus! How sick is that?! No, I’m better off here, under the bridge.
I’ve lived here for about 20 years. Soon I’ll be gone. The floating bear will take me this year. I know it’s my time. This will be the last winter I’ll ever experience.
I like the winter. I like the darkness. I prefer to stay in the shadows, because when I do, ”the bright side” look so much better, it looks so much more beautiful for me who dwell in the darkness. I don’t desire the dark side, unlike everyone else, I desire the bright side. “The grass is always greener on the other side”.
I want something good to die for, to make my life beautiful. A persons life is always much more beautiful when it has a purpose.
It’s hard to figure out a reason for your life in this world. All lives seem pointless here in this world. Nobody cares about an honourable death anymore. I’ll be the last hero. The last human to die a hero’s death.
They don’t like me, the people who walk on the bridge. When they see me, they see the monster under their beds. Not a hero, but a monster they would prefer to see get swallowed by the water and drift away. Swallowed by the real monster. No one sees it but me. I’ve been telling them all the time; ”stay away from the river. It’s a bear! It sleeps in the winter, but in the summer it can be a dangerous man-eating animal! And it will kill everyone who gets too close to it. I’ve been telling it all the time! I’m making a song, a song for the deaf. Stay away from the river! I told him! Fucking brat! It was his fault! Not mine! You can’t blame me!
A damned brat he was! He never listened to what I said! Stay away from the river! But you love, you’re a good kid!
I found myself gazing at the old man under the bridge. He was talking to a red-painted rock. Earlier this week I had seen him talking to an old ripped and torn umbrella. I guess one mans trash is the next mans treasure, huh? He seemed thin, not skinnier, but like there were almost nothing left of him. “What the fuck are you looking at?” he yelled and threw a stone in the river. “Fucking brat”
It was a sad story, people would say, the old man’s story. About twenty years ago, he had been walking by the riverside with his son; not for any particular reason, they had just felt like a walk. It was a bright mid September day, the sun weren’t shining, the clouds were overcast, but they weren’t complaining. They were about to cross over the water, jumping the rocks, when the boy fell in the water and never got up again. After that his father also went down and under; until he ended up here, under the bridge.
“Are you going to take me tonight? Come and get me! Come and get me! I’m right here! I’m waiting! Always waiting. I’ve got all the time in the world!” he stood jumping up and down, shouting to something in the water. He always seemed worse when there were other people around. Some claim that it’s all just an act, a big bluff to get some attention from the world. “He’s coming tonight! Oh, yes, I’m telling you. He’s coming tonight.” Poor old bastard, as long as I can remember he’s been saying that.
“Hey, I bet you damned sure want that battery pack today also, eh?” I don’t know why, but I’m sort of fond of that poor twisted man. I gave him that radio he’s listening to, and once or twice a week I give him a few new batteries, to keep that thing playing just a couple more hours. I think it’s just too sad to think of him sitting there all alone in grief and solitude, with nothing to think of, but that tragic day.
“Oh, you know, you’ve got to keep up to date. You’ve got to keep up to date if you are going to talk to decent people.” I had heard these sentences so many times before, and I hated the following ones. “You wouldn’t by any chance have come across my son, now would you? I haven’t seen him in a while, and I’m not sure where he’s gone“. Always the same. “Not today”, I replied as always. It amazed met hat he still hadn’t realized that his son was dead.
“You must stay away from the river. It’s dangerous now as well. Everybody think it’s safe now in the autumn. The kids are jumping on the rocks, while their parents are stuck in from of this TV screen. Even in their cars I’ve heard!” He turned against the red painted rock and shouted: “It’s an outrage isn’t it? An outrage!” I told him I had to get to work and walked on by. In the far I could hear him shouting: “Stay away from the river! Beware of the Bear!”
The next day, when I was walking over the bridge, he was no longer there. No one knew where he had gone. Later that day I went under the bridge to look for him, but I found nothing. Nothing at all.
A few weeks later I was yet again walking across the bridge, and there I heard the most peculiar thing. Right beside me, a man with his son was standing holding the rail, and watching the river, when the father said to his son, “Son, you’ve got to stay away from the river. The river is dangerous. An old man drowned there not two weeks ago. The river is dangerous.”
The song for the deaf was audible at last!
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