Our Immortal Night

by Neil Clark

A time ago, my wife and I befriended an immortal in the pub.

We all hit it off so well that we invited him back to ours after closing time. A line or six of the old Bolivian marching powder later, the guy was telling us everything. From what sword he used to slay the Auld Enemy on the battlefields of Bannockburn, to the way he enjoyed the stench of people’s infected limbs at the height of the bubonic plague.

He got all emotional after that. Said it gets lonely, being an immortal. Knowing everyone you meet is going to be rotting in the ground within the relative blink of an eye.

He explained how he’d come to look at time. How he approached the whole concept like a mortal would approach doing lengths of a swimming pool. Each generation is like a length, he said. It hurts at first, and the thought of taking a deep breath and starting another seems impossible. But you must push through that. Eventually, although the pain never eases, you put it to the back of your mind and just keep swimming. It’s the only way, he said. Or else you’ll drown. And drowning is quite the unpleasant prospect for an immortal.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. We had a big group hug and my wife told him that, even though we might not be exactly the same as him, we know how he feels. Life, she said, whatever that word means in the context of our conversation, is simply a bitch. It whimpers on and suffers and can never be put down even when there’s a vet saying it really should be.

I wanted to contribute something to the conversation, so I told him I’d seen the film Highlander when it was in cinemas and thought it was quite good.

Then at six in the morning, he went out for some fresh air, and my wife and I just thought, ‘Ah fuck it. When he comes back, let’s tie him up and never let him go for eternity. See what happens.’

By the time we got the duct tape to hold him in place up in the rafters of our living room, sunlight was starting to pour in, making everything all balmy and suffocating.

Our night was at a crossroads. We could turn left: go for a nice lie-down, put a lid on it and sleep through the day as usual. Or, we could turn right: get the party started again.

We shut the curtains and took a hard right. Got a delivery in off Abraham, our supplier from the hospital, and within seconds of resuscitation, our attentions were focused on how we could have some serious fun with our immortal friend.

The bleach was my wife’s idea. Boil it with some paracetamol and pump it down his throat, she suggested. See what it’s like to watch how he doesn’t die.

After that, we slit his wrists and sipped on Bloody Marys, watching him writhe around up there with his airways all taped up, draining and disinfecting and suffocating away for a week or more.

We noticed he’d gone all quiet at some point during all the shenanigans, so we started grilling him. First, with questions about being an immortal, and then literally, using this George Foreman thing that Amazon erroneously sent us back in 2002.

On the topic of what it takes to kill an immortal, he confirmed to us that the only way to achieve it is by beheading.

But what is the cut-off point for beheading, as opposed to just dissecting?

We set about putting this to the test, starting from the waist up, using a sword from the Middle Ages we’d acquired.

Off went his legs, then his stomach. He was still breathing, even when his ribcage and lungs got the chop.

Indeed, after his legs, his bleached stomach and intestines, his livers, kidneys, lungs, heart and lean, mean, fat-free skin were sat in a pile, rotting away on the floor, he was still very much alive on the rafters. Just a pair of arms, collar bones, a neck and a head with blinking, lucid eyes.

Concerned that if we cut a centimeter higher, it might count as a beheading, we decided to stop and have a moment of reflection.

We recalled the metaphorical crossroads we came to that night so many months before, pondering what might have been had we simply taken a gentler turn to the left.

Perhaps we had gotten ourselves a little carried away. Maybe we had been trying to suppress some kind of monster inside us. Yet alas, in attempting to do so, we had ended up feeding whatever monster had reared its head on the outside, my wife suggested.

With nothing to add to that, I simply said that I had seen the controversial Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster and remembered finding it quite interesting.

Let’s put a lid on it, we agreed. And when we wake, it’s a quiet night down the pub and no more. One Bloody Mary apiece, then home to Rafter Boy, who we were kind of stuck with now, given his recently acquired mobility issues.

But hey, we agreed. Let us have no regrets.

For life, in the context of this conversation, is endless and vapid. And these are the lengths we sometimes must go to cut through the grave times, to ensure we do not to drown in this interminable pool of turgid mundanity, said my wife.

I nodded and suggested we watch something on Netflix before turning in.

Neil Clark believed he was inside a simulated television show revolving around his life long before The Truman Show came out. He chose to become a writer just to piss his viewers off. Find him on Twitter @NeilRClark or at neilclarkwrites.wordpress.com
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