The Further Imaginary Adventures of Kirk Thrust
Kirk Thrust and the boy emerged from the dense vegetation into a small clearing.
“We’ll take five here. It can’t be too far to civilisation now. Somebody must have seen that plane come down. Anyway, they had us on radar.” Kirk pulled a scented handkerchief from his breast pocket and softly dabbed at his sweating brow.
“I’m exhausted.” The young boy heaved the heavy backpack from his shoulders and sat down on the grass.
“You know, little fella’, people live in this environment. They have done for thousands of years. Not the same people for that length of time, you understand, but their ancestors.”
“They’re welcome to it. There are a hundred places I wish that the plane had crashed than in this hell hole. Why did you have to let it crash here, for God’s sake?”
“I didn’t. I think you’ll find there isn’t a directory of places you’d like to crash. Crashing is, by definition, just that. The plane comes downwards very quickly without any particular consideration to where it might be hitting the earth. Anyway, the lion was grateful. That look he gave me as before he ran off. It was as if he was saying, ‘Hey thanks. This looks a really good place to live. To start over again with a new life. I’m so grateful’. It wasn’t all bad. And don’t forget we both survived. Look at the positives.”
“We’re gonna’ run out of supplies if we don’t get out of here pretty quickly.”
“That’s nonsense.” Kirk paced up and down the small clearing with a purpose. “The greatest loss to our race is the natural skills and abilities that we let go so easily in the name of so called ‘Progress’: More like ‘Degress’, if you ask me.”
“Is that a word, Kirk?”
“It’s got letters in it and you can pronounce it. That makes it a word to me. Hell, some of us have got to continue to take steps to expand our vocabulary. It if wasn’t for people like me we’d all still be grunting.”
“Exactly. Take the environment around us now. Tell me, what do you see?”
“Bushes and trees, and more bushes. Lots of it. In fact I can’t really see anything because of the trees and bushes. It’s in the way and blocking my view.”
Kirk walked over and smiled down at the boy. Turning away slowly, he strolled over to the nearest tree and reached out to touch the bark.
“We have different eyes, you and me. We see different things. Let me tell you what I see.”
He turned around sharply to face the boy, and walked slowly back towards him.
“I see food. Lots of it. A veritable cornucopia of tastes and textures. Ready to eat right now. Right off of Mother Natures’ very own kitchen shelves. Good wholesome healthy food. Makes you as fit as a wild beast, and keeps a whole stack of ailments and diseases at bay”.
“It’s really hot. Is there something you can get me to eat that’ll cool me down?”
“Sure. I’ve got just the thing.” Kirk walked over to his cool box hanging from a tree branch and pulled of the lid. He took a small package out and walked back over to the boy.
“There you go, son. Get that down you, that’ll do the trick.”
“Wow! A choc-ice. Thanks Kirk.”
The boy ripped at the package excitedly as Kirk leaned over him and tousled the boys’ hair affectionately.
“Do you want to know what else I see?”
The boy nodded his head from side to side as he took a huge bite from the choc-ice.
“I see homes,” Kirk continued. “Some natural and some built – built using instincts given by nature – so technically also natural. I see pain and suffering; joy and tenderness; fear and comfort; love and hate. I see life and I see death. Life and death and all that goes to making it happen. It’s all out there, son. All around us.”
“Is this a song?” The boy licked his lips and took another bite from the choc-ice.
“Not that I’m aware, but maybe it should be. A song that we can all sing. The whole of mankind together.”
“What other way could it be sung? Hell, when we get back I’m going to write that damn song. I’m going to write it, and then I’m going to climb the biggest mountain I can find and I’m going sing that song from the top of that Mountain. I’m going to make the environment my top priority.”
“But if you do that, who’s going to hear you? You’ll be too high up. Maybe a reasonably sized hill or a tall building. That’s probably the best; the building.”
“Eat up your choc-ice. We’re getting out of here. It can’t be too far now.”
The boy pushed the last piece into his mouth and wiped his hands on his shirt.
“I’m right with you, Kirk. Say, when we do get out of here, will you adopt me.”
“I’d love to kid, but the fact is, if I do, then there’s a whole pile of kids I’ve turned down who’ll be mighty disappointed. Besides, where I go in my life is no place for kids.”
They both walked along the path that offered the least resistance, pushing tree branches away that hindered their passage.
“Kirk, can I ask you question?”
“You mean, can you ask me yet another question?”
“I’m young. I’ve got a lot to ask. I’ve got a lot to learn.”
“Get on with it.” Kirk walked quickly in front of the boy and held a particularly large tree branch back as the boy walked past him and then carefully let it spring back before catching the boy up again.
“Why did you let that plane crash? I’m not saying it was your fault, but you are THE Kirk Thrust. It just doesn’t seem right.”
“Planes crash. It happens.”
“But not when you’re flying them.”
“May I refer you to the pile of smoking debris behind us. That was me.”
“You know what I mean. You’ve never crashed a plane before.”
“I’ve never done a lot of things before. Maybe I was curious.”
“A lot of people died to satisfy your curiosity. Including my folks.”
Kirk stopped walking.
“Hold up sonny.”
The boy stopped and turned to face Kirk.
“Listen to me. I’ve saved the lives of far more people than those that died on that plane. I think, if it comes down to quotas, the one’s I’ve saved substantially out weighs the one’s that are dead.”
“So that somehow makes it right?”
Kirk pointed in front to signal that they move on, and the boy turned about face and started to walk ahead.
“It’s maybe about time people stopped depending on me and took responsibility for their own lives.”
“You’re an inspiration, Kirk.. People look up to you and admire you. You should be grateful.”
“Grateful? Whatever I might be, grateful isn’t it. Inspiration? Why? If people looked a bit more closely at themselves they may well find the inspiration they so desperately seek is there inside themselves, and then they can go on to admire themselves as well. Then, finally, they won’t need me, and I can get on with my own life.”
“That’s very profound, Kirk.”
“Thank you. It was meant to be.”
“Say, when we get to a town, are you going to tell them that you crashed the plane on purpose?”
“I didn’t crash the plane on purpose. I just didn’t stop it from crashing.”
“But you could have, right?”
“Well, I guess we’ll never know that, will we? Who knows? Maybe even Kirk Thrust couldn’t have prevented it from crashing. That’s the version I’ll go with.”
“O.K. I’ll back you up.”
“I’m still not grateful. I’m not grateful to anybody for anything.”
“Really. How sad.”
“Oh, nothing. Hey, is that a car I can hear?”
“I think you’re right, boy. It’s coming from over that way.”
Kirk grabbed the boy’s hand as he ran past him and pulled him along, towards the sound of the car engine.
As I woke I felt slightly nauseous. I was beginning to understand how Kirk felt. Why had Kirk, of all people, allowed that plane to crash? On the other hand, he was right. Why would it be Kirk’s fault? Surely I am the one in control of this. Have I invented a new existence that acts independently? That’s just not possible. It’s just not. That couldn’t happen – could it?
To be continued…