They were twisted together round the splintering wooden stake so intricately that they could not be separated, not by human hands or secateurs, pushed together in a parasitic relationship of balance and strength stretching up for the sunlight and soaking rain. Using his hands aged older than he remembers forgotten when he was born the slightly hunch backed man picks with a small snapping sound the fat red fruit from the wet smelling fresh vines. With some care not too bruise or split the skin he drops them into the plastic bag on top of squash and next to some parsley drawn from snail pellet topped soil that has been effective so far. For fun he pulls up the drain cover next to the dripping hose, and watches all the slugs and slaters run and crawl around but doesn’t kill them. Not yet but if they get too bad he could tip a kettle of hot water under there to flush flood them out. He looks up to inspect the damage the birds have done to his apricot tree, next door a dog he calls the slobber mouth starts to scream for its mother. The sun is coming down, invisibly washing his face, blinding him in a good way he can feel it all through his body. Something is happening in there. He can feel his heart starting to stop. Been feeling it on and off for the last hour or so. He forms a prayer in his mind to say thanks to God if there is one up there, he can’t remember any official verses to anything. He contemplates thoughts that the bible seemed to be far fetched, it never helped him when he was alone, or when he sought answers to things that happened behind his comprehension, or when he saw ones he loved for the last time, but maybe now things would be revealed for what they were, are, and answers would not matter anymore. The sun does not stop coming down, birds pick at the fruit tree, but there is silence.
The Man, Downed