The Oldest Man in the World

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story of a 107-year-old man who wants to make sure he becomes the oldest man alive.

Submitted: September 26, 2013

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Submitted: September 26, 2013

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This is a whole ‘nother world, buddy. It sure as hell ain’t the one I know.

I was born in America, back when that was a real place full of real people.

When I was a kid, the dirt was so rich that it melted like chocolate in your palm under the silky summer sky. In every direction there were kindly faces, catching or nudging as need be. Food tasted real.

As I got older, I spent drunken nights with pretty freckled girls in fields and alongside rivers.

The whole world stunk like cow shit and rancid skunk-spray… And that’s the way we liked it.

We read books and newspapers, but we actually cared about what was happening around us, not on some picture screen.

I miss that life.

One thing… One thing that I always thought about, even from the time of being a young man, was what it must have been like to have been the oldest man alive — I thought about this often when I saw the smoke rise out of chimneys or smelt autumn’s burning leaves.

Can you imagine?

There were men whose lives had spanned the time between Napoleon and the Kaiser. There were men who were born into a country still governed by the Founding Fathers and died during the time of the airplane and the automobile.

What had they seen, I wondered then. What stories could they tell?

And so, at the age of 14, I prayed in church to have bestowed upon me an extra century of life. I wanted to live to the ripe, old age of 114 years, God willing.

Being a man of the Lord, He carried me far through that.

I watched my brothers die in the Great War, had my first drink during Prohibition, and had to start my career going into the Depression. I listened to the radio with my wife and children as the Japs bombed Pearl Harbor and watched, alongside my grandchildren, the television when Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the Moon. I spent my early retirement living under the reign of that damned peanut-farmer before voting for Reagan twice – I always liked how he stood up to those kids in California.

My wife passed in 1997 and since then I’ve been living out my days alone. After all, why should my family pay me any regard?

In all honesty, I have been in good health through the entire ball of wax. That is, up until the past couple of years. It seems like, once the odometer runs over 105 years, the old jalopy starts coming unglued.

And that is why, alone and feeble at the age of 107 years, not knowing whether or not I would make it the extra 7 that I had asked for from the Lord, that I set out on my task.

You see, pal, I had never been the best at much of anything. Sure, I got the dame once or twice, bruised a coupla chins when I had to. But that was all for show. I never really came in first at the derby.

It was recently, as the can-opener that I’ve owned ever since I bought my house, broke in my hand like a wishbone, that the light bulb came on over my old dome:

How many men were there really that much older than me? There couldn’t be more than a half-dozen or so. Why should they stand in my way of having a shot at glory?

Why shouldn’t I go out with a bang, as the reigning and defending oldest man alive?

The thing to do in this case, I decided, was work my way up.

With a little help from the colored fella at the library, I found out a list on the screens there telling me exactly who was older than I was, even to the day.

There they were, all six of them — along with a bunch of dames. Six men, each just a little older than me, each one a cavity in my perfect smile.

The first was Johnny “Dapper” Scmidt of Dayton, Ohio.

As it turned out, Schmitty was a Kraut who had come to America during the War. He was a cobbler by trade and actually ended up making boots for the boys when they had to go back to take down the Fuhrer.

Schmitty lived alone. Like me, his wife had passed years ago — which, in case you are wondering, is the worst kind of Hell there is.

Since, also like me, he was none too good of hearing, it was easy to sneak into the Hun’s house. I had to get up nice and early, around 1am in case he was an early-riser.

I slit his throat with a rusty steak knife, just the same way I imagine my brother’s had been slit 85 years earlier.

The second was Dominic “Rocky” DiMaggio, a whop living out in the cornfields of Illinois. He actually lived with his family, but had a back staircase up to his bedroom. It took me 45 fucking minutes to climb them stairs, but I did it.

Him? I poured pure grain down his throat.

The third was a haul. I had to drive my Cadillac all the way to California and the radiator broke twice. Right there, on the north side of the bay was this Jap fella who lived in a nursing home — Hideo Kazuo.

This fella was senile, completely out of it. And I realized after a few days of strolling by that the nurses just used to sit his wheelchair out on the grass all day, unattended, letting him contemplate the ocean as much as he could in his stupor.

I doused the bastard in gasoline and lit a match.

The fourth was another long haul, all the way to Alabama. There there was this fella, Strom Wallace, a wily old bastard who lived in a big old plantation house. There was no way for me to get past the dogs, I figured, so I just paid a coupla colored kids a few grand to do the job for me — what the hell, I could feel the warmth leaving my hands, even down South.

Anyway, I had been mostly lucky, I figure. After all, each of these fellas was actually right in the US.

And even luckier yet, the fifth fella, someone out in Korea, died of natural causes before I had to fly clear around the world.

I did, however, for the last one have to go down to the southern tip of Mexico. It was nice, though. I actually ended up taking a cruise, got to see a ship full of top-talent dames.

Finding my way around Mexico took weeks. The guy I was looking for, whose name was something like Cuckoo Kahn, was actually a Mexican Indian who practically lived out in the jungle.

I did end up finding out where Cuckoo’s hut was, right outside the town of Taco.

I was a little late that morning to do the job. Maybe I was nervous. He was the last one. After him, I’d be the oldest man in the world.

I cut myself shaving.

By the time my taxi got to his hut, it was Noon. And even as hot as it was, my hands were freezing.

Getting a gun in the Yucatan was surprisingly easy. Apparently there had been some kind of minor revolution over shoes a few years back, and I guess even the teachers were fighting, so there were muchos pistolas.

Now I was armed. All I had to do was pop him once, then it’d be me — 107 and the oldest man alive.

I tried to be silent sneaking up his driveway. But, like I said, I was nervous… and cold.

I think he heard me on the pebbles; they crunched under my feet like cornflakes.

He met me at the door of his hut. He was wrinkled as the day is long, with eyes as black as space and hair as white as the stars.

“You have come a long way,” he said, even before I showed him the pistol.

I didn’t say anything. I just stared at the bastard, thinking that he already looked dead.

“You have suffered,” he nodded. “But even greater is the suffering you have caused.”

I was slow reaching for my gun. And he moved quickly, like a bat. His hand was scaly, but also covered in soft long hairs. I didn’t even see that goddamn well right behind me.

My fall was hard, but the muddy water served as a good enough cushion to save me any real harm. It was only waist-deep, and it was thick, so I managed to get upright pretty quick for an old-timer. The fucking thing stunk like a rotting carcass.

“You may have your wish,” he said. “You may live for not seven years, but 70 times seven. And not a bite shall you eat and not a wink shall you sleep.”

Then he walked away from me. That was years ago.


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