Week 5: Tick-tock

2 Jan

“Do you think she’ll like it?” Jackson asked and cast a worried glance at the torn front of his t-shirt.

“Mh-hm,” said Bertrand as he shut the box in his hands with a pop. He weighed it and seemed impressed. “I don’t see why she wouldn’t.”

“Even with the arteries on? Isn’t that a bit too much?”

“Dude, seriously. It’s not like there’s a how-to guide to giving your heart to a girl, right? Chill. Everything will be ok. It’s the gesture that matters.”

Jackson frowned and tried to pull on the stained fabric to hide the wound. The t-shirt got even redder with blood. He took it off and touched the edge of the hole in his chest with a fingertip. He winced. It was getting slightly ridiculous. To be perfectly honest, he couldn’t even remember how it had started. A snowstorm, confetti and some champagne were the only beacons in an otherwise pitch-black memory.  Then a dream he couldn’t entirely recall, something about a plane flight to a distant, exceedingly warm country, the kind where the sun always shines, and the sand always gets in your private parts. Five days later he was packing his heart in a box lined with frozen gel pads, and shipping it off to an obscure island. Bertrand didn’t think it was weird at all but then again, Bertrand wasn’t exactly what people called “normal”. Jackson looked at him covering the box in wrapping paper, a broad smile on his face.

“Did you get labels for this?” Bertrand asked, feeling himself watched.

“On the TV.”

“Go get them and write down the address. If we drop this off before 3:00PM, it might get there first thing in the morning.”

“I…I’m not so sure about this, Bert…”said Jackson.

Bertrand stared at him. “I don’t know how to tell you but it’s kind of too late. You already did it, Jacky. Might as well get it over with.”

Jackson turned toward the window and thought about it as he pulled on a clean shirt. What’s the worst that can happen? She won’t like my heart and the cat will have it for dinner or something. It’s not that bad, he mused. I like cats.

Bertrand elbowed him in the ribs and went to open the front door.

“Let’s go, dreamer boy. We’ve got a parcel to deli—Jacky? Jackson? Oh, fuck!”

A livid Jackson crumpled silently to the floor, the front of his white shirt thoroughly soaked in blood.

“Here we go again,” said Bertrand and went to the bookcase where three shelves were covered in old-fashioned alarm clocks. He grabbed one and returned to where Jackson was lying unconscious. Bertrand tore open the shirt and shoved the ticking clock into the cavity, then stuffed the hole with a kitchen towel. He gave Jackson a couple of slaps that echoed loudly in the empty hallway.

“Does that feel better?” he asked as soon as his friend opened his eyes.

Jackson nodded feebly and let himself be carried into the living room and deposited on the couch.

“You know how this works, Jacky. Crappy for a couple of months but then your body gets used to the ticker and turns it into the real thing, ok?”

Bertrand looked at Jackson one more time from the doorway and sighed. “I’m going to the Post Office now. Don’t do anything stupid.”


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