by R.D. Harris
I hadn't seen a mod before that day. I haven't seen one since and hope that my good fortune continues.
As a young man, forty-ish, I frequented a rough watering hole known
as The Boulder. Bar fights were common, injuries even more so. Rough,
ex-soldiers from the war drifted in and out.
With everything I witnessed in the place, it was the Mod I remember
most. Mods had been forged mercenaries in the war--soldiers of fortune
if you will--but then simply wandered the Earth after conflict ceased.
It was a tranquil day for the bar. In he walked out of nowhere. The
Mod's footsteps fell heavy, yet he strode. Wooden boards moaned
woefully underfoot and a murmuring hush fell over the bar. He hung a
leather trench coat on the chair next to mine. Lucky me, I thought.
"Afternoon, friend," he said to me. His words sounded like garbled
radio transmissions. I could only guess at how much of him could be
constituted as organic. Flesh was missing from his forearm. An
intertwining collage of wires, veins, and arteries were clearly
visible. It gave me chills to see the inner workings of his body.
"Afternoon," I said back.
He ordered a drink and threw it back with purpose. "What does it mean to be human... fully?"
"Well," I uttered, "I suppose it's being born, living a full life, then dyin'."
"But why do normal humans live so zealously if they know they will one day die? All accomplishments are in vain it would seem."
I struggled to find an answer for his question.
He asked, "Do you not know?"
I said, "Maybe people think what they do can help others. Make the world better I guess."
The revolver that had been in his holster was now in his right hand.
He pointed it to the ceiling, showing the dulled shine of its metal.
"Do you know what this is?"
"Why it's a chrome revolver... six-shooter," I said to him.
He slowly aimed the gun at my forehead. I was trembling almost uncontrollably.
"One shot between the eyes and humanity, at least for you, means nothing."
I waited silently for the end, closing my eyes. Moments went by and
nothing happened. My eyes opened and the revolver was still trained on
my forehead. The mod was staring at me as though he was talking himself
out of it.
"You're not pleading for your life. Why?"
"There's nothing I can do," I said, trying not to urinate on myself.
"You have several options. Fight, run, anything but accept death."
He holstered the sidearm. The semi-human had hoped for some sport
but received none from me. "I struggle to understand Mankind. Perhaps I
wasn't meant to."
"You're a brave man," he said as he got up from the bar stool, floor
creaking under him. "Good luck to you, friend. I'm sure you'll need
it." He threw his trench coat back on and headed to the door. As
quickly as he'd come, he left with the sandy wind.
© 2017 R. D. Harris
Bio: Mr. Harris was born in Charlotte, NC but currently resides
in Tempe, AZ. He is a graduate of Stanly Community College and enjoys
time with his son. His last Aphelion appearance was Lady Luck in our October, 2016 issue.
E-mail: R.D. Harris
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