Tucker Cummings

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Chapter 355: The Last Meal

In Uncategorized on December 21, 2011 at 1:45 am

I’m not exactly condemned, but I still feel the need the contemplate my last meal.

Jesus bathed his lips with sour wine from the branches of a hyssop. Joan of Arc took communion. Gacy ate KFC and strawberries. Eichmann, they say, drank an Israeli wine at the end, which I always found ironic.

Philip Workman declined a meal, instead asking for a pizza to be donated to a homeless person.

In Indiana’s prisons, they serve the last meal 3 days before the end, because studies showed that most inmates lost their appetite near the end. Guess I’d better figure this out soon.

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Chapter 354: Improvement

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2011 at 4:20 pm

“I told you, Ripley. There was nothing to worry about.”

“I’m still not convinced.”

“I’m a doctor. I know her history. We’re friends. I know what she’s like when she’s in distress, and she’s doing better, now. She’s not going to hurt herself.”

“She’s too cheerful.”

“I’d be worried if her cheer seemed artificial, but she’s calm. It’s a quiet sort of happiness. I though that you of all people would have been happy to see her start to recover.”

“I’m worried, Doc.”

“No, Ripley, you’re not. You’re just feeling guilty, and it’s making you see things that just aren’t there.”

Chapter 353: Oxyrhynchus

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Ancient garbage mounds teach us so much about our ancestors: what they ate, how they transported things, what they read. Clothes, pieces of furniture, textiles, and even (sometimes) remains.

The things that we leave behind, no matter how mundane or ephemeral, have a way of defining our times for future scholars. So in the end, I don’t have to think about what I’m leaving behind. What I leave here unintentionally is what matters in the long run.

In a thousand years, will I end up at the Ashmolean, too?

And if so, which one? Should I return home, to my museum?

Chapter 352: The Shark Has Pretty Teeth, Dear

In Uncategorized on December 18, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I’m surfing channels in one of the hospital lounges, snuggled under a blanket with a hot mug of tea.

This is all so inane. But it’s four in the morning, so everything seems inane.

There’s a man selling some sort of pasta maker on one channel, the same guy shilling for a gasoline additive on another channel. A woman reading the news in a perky monotone, then a children’s show with talking insects, and an old cricket match from the 50s. I keep flipping.

I think I see a girl from my school, but I flip back, and she’s gone.

Chapter 351: Til Death Do Us Part

In Uncategorized on December 17, 2011 at 10:46 am

Sick as a dog today. Throat is flames, every turn of the neck triggers a battering ram to smash me in my left eye. Joints frail, eyes itching, bowels groaning, lips dry and unquenchable.

My everything hurts.

Never have I wanted to end it more. And yet. I’ve already picked a date.

It’s like a wedding. You and your beloved may love each other enough to get married on any other day leading up to your ceremony date, but you can’t deviate from the plan. There’s a reason you picked that date, after all.

Some things are worth waiting for.

Chapter 350: Endingu Noto

In Uncategorized on December 16, 2011 at 3:55 am

She leaves not long after that, off to do… well, whatever it is she does around here now. Saving worlds and lives, I guess.

Time to start on the next phase.

I know I shouldn’t do anything to confirm her suspicions. I know what I commit to paper can only be used to trap me. But there are things I should write down, instructions and explanations to bequeath to my betters.

I don’t know where to start. But I start somewhere, eventually.

My justifications are my own; they satisfy my needs. Those left behind won’t understand. I’m at peace with that.

Chapter 349: Nothing Left But the Wait

In Uncategorized on December 15, 2011 at 3:29 am

“Come on, MJ. You’ve gotta have something you want to try out, now that you’re up and about again.”

“I traveled a lot, Ripley. I’ve seen it all, or at least I’ve seen enough of it to be happy.”

“But there’s always more to see! You don’t know how lucky you are, to have been able to grow up free. There’s always more to see, Margery.” She catches herself getting pensive, adjusts her smile for my benefit. “And really, can you ever have enough donuts?”

She pops a miniature glazed into her mouth, makes an over-the-top “mmmm” sound, and smiles.

Chapter 348: Overly Chipper

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2011 at 2:22 am

Ripley wakes me the next morning, beating on my door and singing “Good Morning” at the top of her lungs until I open up.

She’s wearing a big grin and a bright yellow jumper. She’s holding a pastry box piled so high with donuts that the lid doesn’t close.

We get sugar high. She starts down a line I don’t like.

“What’s something you’ve always wanted to do?”

“My bucket list is all checks.”

“But you could jump, find a place where you could ice skate on the moon, or sell a painting, or meet the President.”

“No, Ripley. I’m good.”

Chapter 347: Lapsang Souchong

In Uncategorized on December 13, 2011 at 3:27 am

Better even than whisky.

This tiny bone cup filled with near-boiling tea is the best thing I’ve experienced in weeks.

It’s not enough, but it’s a small comfort in the interim.

I pull up my calendar and take a look at all the rows of numbers.

I stare.

Time passes.

With a single tentative finger, I reach out to mark the date. I pause, breathe out, and make a decisive sweep.

I’ve saved the date.

I grasp the cup, and find it’s stone cold.

Time to brew another pot.

Who knows? It might even turn out to be my last.

Chapter 346: Weighing My Options

In Uncategorized on December 12, 2011 at 2:59 am

The point of this is to end pain. I’d rather my exit wasn’t drawn out.

I could easily get into Doc’s storeroom, find a suitable array of pills or pre-packed syringes. But I worry she could undo them in a heartbeat.

With an ability to jump, I should be able to find a world with a nice high cliff. But what if someone should follow me, jump in, grab me in mid-flight, and save me? Ripley is awfully good at finding me.

A bomb couldn’t take me down, not for good. I need something serious. There’s no room for error now.