Tucker Cummings

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Chapter 358: Scheisse

In Uncategorized on December 24, 2011 at 2:43 am

Recklessly selfish, I’d forgotten one thing during my frenetic planning phase. To keep my intents a secret, I need to act normally. And to be in accordance with social mores, I have some serious Christmas shopping to do tonight.

What do you get for someone when you know it’s going to be the last holiday you spend with them? Do you go all out, or do you restrain your impulse to spend lavishly, as if to say “We’ll be together next year. I know it.”

What do you give you the woman who nearly killed you? To your miraculous doctor?

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Chapter 357: What’s Left?

In Uncategorized on December 23, 2011 at 2:05 am

I don’t have a bucket list, that’s true. But I’m still curious. There are a few things I haven’t done yet. I don’t have a lot of time left, and I’m not sure how I want to spend it. I might as well try a few new diversions on for size.

I’ve never tried opium or heroin. I’ve never gone skydiving. I’ve never held a snake. I’ve never volunteered at a soup kitchen. I’ve never baked bread from scratch, or brewed my own beer. I’ve never driven on the Autobahn, or seen the South Pole. I’ve never seen a birth.

Chapter 356: The Shopping Trip

In Uncategorized on December 22, 2011 at 2:32 am

I’ve eaten a lot of strange things. Some of them I loved. Some of them I sort of liked (coelacanth sashimi.) Others were a little too weird for me (like that edible soybean sweater.)

But I’ve enjoyed hunting down some of the items for my last meal. Obviously, there’s the obligatory pint of McIlhenny’s. Maybe a dandelion and burdock float for dessert. Still have to plan those courses in the middle, though. Still, it’s sort of a nice way to pass the time. Traveling hither and yon, visiting the most pleasant of my old haunts.

Gather ye acorns while ye may.

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.

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.