fragments, Non classé

The old college try

“Did you get anything?”
“Not much. He isn’t much of a talker.”
“What d’you get?”
“He failed the first time he tried the whole thing. Was convinced by other people to try again. It took a toll on him and he went mad. That’s how he puts it.”
“Mad? That’s the understatement of the year. He nearly blew the building up and killed everyone around.”
“The old college try.”
“That’s what he said : he convinced himself to give it the old college try.”
“Yeah well, we’re lucky he didn’t try harder.”
“Kind of ironic, don’t you think?”
“Let’s focus on him, and not on that, shall we?”

The place was an old classical school establishment, like the ones you see in movies with magic and wands and flying horses. It looked amazing, it really did, until you turned your head on the left. A whole chunk of what looked like an astronomy tower had been blown off, and the blast also took out the windows. Now it was just a hole, a dark hole, and surely, if there was any, you could hear the wind passing through that in a very ominous way. As you moved in the little patio, a tiny paved spaced reminding you of older times, the noises of each of your steps came right back at you like echoes trying to knock you down. There was something there, ominious, eerie. Gruesome even. The old college try.
The sergeant dropped his cup on the paved ground and the noise it made was almost unbearable; the cup, broke in a thousands of pieces. It seemed everything was designed to be broken here. Or maybe the hole in the wall gave that impression.

“Crap. My daughter got me that mug.”
“She’ll get you another one.”
“She’ll get pissed at me; that’s what she’ll get. She says I always break things.”
“She’s not wrong.”
“Come again?”
“I meant, we all do. We break and we break things. Like that wall over there.”
A bird flied by and swooped in the hole.
“What’s with you and that wall anyway? We’ve stayed here too long, we should go now, we got other fishes to fry.”
“There’s something about that place.”
“Oh yeah, what’s that?”
“Everything breaks here.”
“I’ve always thought you to be a weirdo, but this takes the cake.”
“The wall, your cup. The boy.”
“That guy isn’t broken. He’s a moron.”
“How d’you know? Maybe there’s no difference.”
“Right, let’s get out of here before you start theorizing the end of the world.”
“You …”
“Shut up. Let’s go.”

They made it to the car parked right in the middle of the tiny street. The sergeant nodded to an officer, told him something incomprehensible. The officer nodded back, smiled, and said something too. They shook hands, and the sergeant got into the car. He turned on the radio, and drove off. There was silence for a while, the hole and the wall and the cup and the boy had left a weird impression on both of them. Although one seemed more at peace than the other. That’s one rule the sergeant understood quite early on : never show something that could get to you. Never give anyone any more weapons than they already have. Call this paranoia, call this anticipation; he called it pragmatism. Reasonning, even. He’d been leading this life for a long time; it was how it had to be, secrecy is the key.
“One thing that bothers me though; how can a guy who keeps his head into books manage to do that?”
“What do you mean?”
“What do I mean? Hell; he blew up a freaking building; that’s what I mean. Where did he learn to do that?!”
“If you’re passionate about reading, you can read all sorts of things I guess.”
“You know my grandpa used to say that all the troubles came from reading; I may be starting to believe that.”
“You don’t.”
“You’re right, I don’t. But all of this still creeps me out. My daughter’ll never set a foot in college; not even a toe, you can quote me on that.”
“I thought you didn’t bite.”
“When I talked about broken things. I thought you didn’t bite.”
“I didn’t.”
“You’re afraid she might break like the boy.”
“I’m not. I don’t want to get in places where nutbars can make buildings explode anyday.”
“And yet you just described the world we live in now.”
“You’re a real pain in my butt, you know that?”


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