The continued adventures of Kenny.
I realized, of course, exactly what I had to do. Kenny had told me, months before the event, that my mother would fall out of a tree in our back garden, shattering the spine of my Uncle, who had run towards the point of impact, whether to break her fall or club her cranium on its way to ground zero was never entirely clear (although he was carrying a baseball bat).
While it was never difficult to predict some misadventure befalling my family at any point in time, his precise apprehension of every detail surrounding the event, including the splash from the small mound of puke into which they both landed, convinced me: UROK’s drugs were working, even if no one had foreseen the way they were working.
I closed and bolted the door of the shop, put two chairs for myself and Kenny, directly facing each other on the stone floor, and implored him to concentrate.
“Now Kenny, you have to clear your mind of everything, ok? Everything.”
“Yup, but I dunno if…”
“Forget that, ok? The future. Do you understand what I mean by the future? The real one, ok? Not the thing you see every now and again, the real thing, what you and I will actually have to live through, it all depends on this, ok?”
“I know whacha mean, I’m not fuckin’ stupih, but…”
“This is not the time for misgivings. Forget doubt, banish it. Doubt is your enemy.” I’d been reading Part 10 of the UROK Corporation’s Advanced Self-Motivation Manual. “Just focus on what I’m asking you, ok?”
“Now, on the night of Saturday the 23rd, ok? You see it? You see Saturday the 23rd? The Lotto jackpot will be over eight million, right? I need you to see the numbers. The numbers, Kenny. Nothing but the numbers.”
“Come on Kenny.”
“Ok, ok … Five.”
“God this is great Kenny. This is finally it. Yes. Five. Seventeen. Oh God yes. What else?”
His square face almost imploded in the effort of concentration, and then he shook his head violently. “It’s no good. It’s no fuckin’ good.”
“Oh God Kenny. We were so close.”
“Yuh don’t gehhit. Deh future’s not like dah, least not de future I see. De numbers … I see loads o’ numbers, buh it’s all jumbled up, doncha see? De numbers could be from any week like, or differ weeks all jumbled togedder like, d’yeh see? Der’s no way of knowin’ which is right. Der’s just no way.”
“Ok Kenny, I understand.” I prepared to unlock the shop.
“Der’s udder stuff I see dough.”
“Oh yeah?” I stopped halfway to the door.
“I tink I seen de … de whachacallit? De Second Comin.'”
“Yeah, I mean I tink … Dis guy right,” he began to gesticulate. I couldn’t get over how bright his eyes seemed.
“Dis guy pops outa de sky on a – whachacallit? – a flyin’ wagon wit’ fire all around it.”
“A flaming chariot?”
“Yeah, wha’ever. An’ der’s dese flyin’ horses, least I tink der flyin’ horses, or shit made outa fire, or wha’ever, an’ dis guy, he’s holdin’ on to dem by the – the …”
“Yeah. And he’s wearin’ dis cloak, an’ he’s got dis long blondie hair an’ dis big beard an’ dis friendly smile an’ he’s lookin’ down at everyone with de smile an’ I’m tinkin:’ dis is it. Dis is the de real ting. All dat shite dey tole us in Mass was true, only …”
“Wha’ if it ain’t yer man? Wha’ if it’s, y’know, Richard Branson or one o’ dem fuckers? Dah’s one ting I do know about de future. It gets awful hard t’tell wha’s real and wha’ isn’t. It gets so der’s almost no differ like.”
This was by far the longest speech Kenny had ever made to me. It may well have been the longest speech he ever made to anyone. I wasn’t sure what to do with it.
“An’ der’s udder stuff too, even weirder like.”
“I see dese cities, ‘cept der not cities, der like giant balloons, balloons de size o’ cities, an’ dey just float all day an’ night over d’earth, ‘cos no one can live on de ground anymore, d’yeh see? And de balloon cities are able to take food right outa de sky like, so nobody goes hungry, an’ everybody’s happy, buh … buh inside de balloon cities, inside dem, people are changin’ like, der turnin’ so der not like people anymore. Der arms and legs start disappearin’ like, an’ some o’ dem are startin’ to look like just big floatin’ heads like, an’… an’ a voice says to me, I tink it’s even a woman’s voice, says ‘dis is it. We’ll soon be free, free at last.’ An’ dah’s it. I don’t see anymore. Whacha’ tink o’ dat?”
There were tears in his eyes. I don’t think he was aware of them really. I’m not sure if he or I knew what they were for.
“I guess I think it’s kind of beautiful Kenny.”
“Yup. I tink dah’s wha’ I tink.” We looked at each other.
“Terrible fucking pity about the lotto numbers though,” I said after a moment.