An Unspoken Language
Gerry Clifford sat on his bed at Candlelight Ridge Care
Center trying to make sense of his thoughts. He had attempted to write them
down in one of his increasingly rarer moments of clarity, but the results of
that were a puzzle.
“At the recent Grimster’s Convention, it was agreed that
lanmiters would no longer be allowed.”
Before his brother Paul, sister-in-law Sophia, son Daniel,
daughter Amber, and son-in-law Vance had gone home for the night, he’d asked
them to see what they could make of the odd sentence. The tall, cadaverous,
black-haired bloke and his big Sumo wrestler mate who worked at night came in
to take a crack at it as well.
There were pictures of Gerry’s loved ones and frequent
caregivers on a bulletin board near his bed with their names under their
photos. Sometimes he could read the names and sometimes he couldn’t. Sometimes
he butchered the pronunciation of the names only to have a loved one gently
correct him as they would a child just learning to read. This frustrated Gerry.
He had dropped out of school at fifteen, but he knew perfectly well how to read
and write and had always prided himself on his innovative nature.
“A-C-E,” Gerry spelled out the name under the skinny bloke’s
picture. “Ash. No, Ace. ‘Is name is Ace. Lad looks like a Frank, though, like from
that Rocky Picture movie. Frankie Furter. Sez ‘ere that Ace is a night nurse.
Well, that makes sense, don’t it, since he’s always around ‘ere at night.”
Gerry turned his attention to the picture of the big fellow.
“T-O-M,” he read. “Toom. Tomb. Well, that’s a dreadful name.
C’mon, Gerry, ‘is name ain’t Tomb, ya ninny, it’s Tom. I always call him
something else, though. It’s another bloke from the Rocky Picture Movie.
Freddie, innit? Nah, that ain’t quite right. It’s Eddie. ‘E looks like Meat
Loaf Man from the Rocky Picture Movie. The note says ‘e’s with security.”
Gerry turned his attention back to the sentence he’d
written. He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on being what Gerry really
was and not a symptom of his corrosive brain.
“Brain ain’t corrosive,” Gerry murmured. “The disease what’s
eating it is corrosive. Ain’t gonna sit ‘ere and quibble with meself about
syntax. That’s just a ruse ter throw me off the scent of danger. I’ve gotta use
all me questionable detection skills ter work out what’s goin’ on in this
place. I’ve gotta consider every possibility, no matter ‘ow crazy it might
Gerry smacked the heel of his hand against his temple as if
to shake the thoughts free. Frustrated, he began slamming both hands into his
“Blast this useless feckin’ rotting sponge in me dome!” he
A pair of hands firmly grasped Gerry’s forearms to stop him
from hitting himself. Gerry opened his eyes to see the black-haired nurse and
his big friend looking at him with concern. When Gerry ceased his aggressive
battle with his broken brain, the nurse released his arms, smiled at him, and
patted his shoulder. He sat on the bed beside Gerry while the big fellow pulled
up a chair.
“No sense in beatin’ yourself up, Mate,” Ace advised. “So,
what’s goin’ on here, Ger? What has you in such a whirl of ambidextrous
pugilism against yer forehead?”
“Well, you ain’t no use if yer gonna talk like that,” Gerry
Thomas smirked and Ace shot him a withering glare.
“Got ya dead ter rights there, Mate,” Thomas chuckled.
“Zip it, or I ain’t givin’ you none of me deviled ham,” Ace
“Oi, I like deviled ham,” Gerry declared.
“Well, then, we ought to have some. Tom, go grab the tin of
ham and loaf of bread from me bag. So, what’s goin’ on here, Gerry?”
“Well, I was just tryin’ ter make sense of this
higgledy-piggledy hodge-modge I wrote earlier,” Gerry explained. “I know I
wrote it, ‘cause that’s me writing. I remember you lads being in ‘ere when I
asked about it, or at least I think I do. It’s so ‘ard ter tell sometimes what
really ‘appened and what I just imagined. These bloody misshapen realities in
me head are quite enough to drive me stark raving barmy.”
“Yeah, I don’t blame you fer feelin’ that way. It would
starch my shorts too. If it helps, me and Tom were in here earlier and you did
show us that sentence.”
“So that bit was real realities.”
“Yeah, definitely real realities.”
Thomas entered the room carrying a tin of deviled ham, a
loaf of bread, and a spreading knife. He portioned out the deviled ham and
bread for Gerry, Ace, and himself.
“Tom, you remember the sentence that Gerry showed us
earlier?” Ace inquired. “Do you remember what you said to him?”
“Yeah. I said it looked like a couple of them words were
from an alien language.”
“Well, that’s what I was tryin’ ter think about,” Gerry stated.
“See, I suppose it don’t matter if I sound crazy, ‘cause I ain’t goin’ home for
me wife to cuckold me no more in this life. You lads don’t wanna hear about
that soap show, though. The thing is, ever since me brain decided ter fuck off
ter shite, I’ve started remembering things about this other place. It looks
like a city from the future, like on one of them space programs like Star
Tracks or such, but see, I know it’s from the feckin’ dark past. Them weird
words, Lads, they’re from that life.”
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The Rocky Horror Picture Show is a 1975 musical horror/comedy film written by Jim Sharman and Richard O’Brien, based on O’Brien’s 1973 stage production of the same name.
Sunday Writing Prompt
Lure Ruse Danger Detection Dry Corrosive Blast Crazy Cuckold Snarl Ambidextrous Basement
October Spooky Writing Challenge: Haunted
Feet in the Dirt
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