The Silver Years

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“Oh, Harry, you fucking asshole. You absolute, rancid twat.” Harry had been called worse and simply smiled up at the young woman currently fuming at him. She was a pretty thing, blonde hair, bright blue eyes and curves that just wouldn’t quit, even in her less than flattering faded black scrubs. Patty was his favorite nurse because no matter how many times he pulled the same stunts, he never failed to get a rise out of her. There wasn’t much fun in the world for a man in his eighties, body giving out and health failing so badly that he required care around the clock, but there was some. Especially if you were mean spirited enough. Harry had never had trouble in that department and he knew it. Since the first time he pulled the wings off of a butterfly as it frantically thrashed trying to get out from under his grubby 6 year old fingers, he knew he enjoyed being mean. There was something so forbidden, so exciting and so satisfying about doing all the things that everyone said not to do, and doing them with the entitlement and defiance of a petulant child. As Harry had aged, his capacity for straightforward bullying had first grown and then morphed into something both more terrible and more stealthy. Sure, he had still enjoyed punching the wimpy kids in the kidneys when no one was looking and taking their lunch money, stomping on caterpillars making their way through the grass and turning a magnifying glass into an incinerator for an unsuspecting ant hill. More than this though, he began to enjoy manipulating his way through life, lying, cheating, stealing, playing victim when he got caught at any of these. People, he discovered, were often quite stupid.

    Harry had spent his youth using every woman he conned into his bed until she had nothing left to interest him, then throwing her away and finding a new one. There was certainly no shortage of women who were willing to bend over backwards if he said and did the right things. No shortage of women whose self worth had never been quite established and who needed to be told they were something special only a few times in order to fall completely in love with him. Throughout his middle aged years, Harry married multiple times, draining each wife completely, along with their bank accounts and burying three wives before he hit what he liked to think of as his silver years. Each wife had died from some different illness, but all of them had been used up by the time he put them in their graves, nothing but gnats, buzzing in his ears until they croaked, dried up husks of the woman he had met. He was happy to be rid of them. 

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    Patty was now his pet project. She had stayed the longest, but he thought he would break her soon. He loved watching each time another nurse finally melted down and gave up. Harry could have made it easier on them of course. He was fully able to walk to the bathroom using his walker when he needed to relieve himself. Fully capable of getting himself into his chair so that the nurse could change his sheets. He was more than able to sponge himself off with the pre-soaped washcloths they gave him, and could certainly feed himself. But where would be the fun in that? Instead, he would simply vacate his bowels in his bed, piss whenever he felt the need, regardless if the bedding had just been changed, squirm around in his filth to make certain they had to bathe him and lay like a deadweight every time they tried to move him. He would not eat unless they fed him and would not lift a finger to help get himself clean. Today had been an especially repugnant bowel movement that had splattered onto the floor as well as all over the bed and himself. Patty had quite a mess to clean up, and Harry couldn’t have been more pleased. She was red in the face, trembling with anger as he sat smiling at her wickedly, his eyes glinting with humor as she shook. Patty spoke low then, and the steadiness in her voice made a sudden pit in Harry’s stomach. “You know, Mr. Farms, I thought all this time that you couldn’t help it. That you were so pitiful and so inadequate for so long that you had just given up. Oh, I know, just as all the other nurses know, that you are physically capable of doing more for yourself. But, I have forgiven that because of what I perceived to be your physical and emotional impotence as well as your mental ineptitude. You cannot blame someone for being stupid if they do not have the brain cells to achieve anything else.” Harry furrowed his brows at this. Patty had never spoken to him like this. She was taking all the fun out of it. This wasn’t her being angry or frustrated or on edge. In fact, she was composing herself right before his eyes. She began to smile just a bit at the corners of her mouth as she continued.

    “Now I see it, Mr. Farms. Though you are most certainly flaccid in every way a man can be, it’s more than that. You enjoy it. You revel in your cruelty just as you currently languish in a flood of your own shit. And who am I to stop you from doing it? You want to be covered in filth? Have at it. In fact, Mr. Farms, you can choke on it.” With that, Patty lunged forward with the speed of youth, grabbed a handful of his soiled sheets, ripped them out from under him so violently that he tumbled off his bed and hit the floor with a loud, wet smack. His ears rang and the smell of his excrement filled his senses, he tried to scream and his mouth was immediately filled with a taste so foul he tried to vomit. Tried, but was unable to succeed. He opened his eyes and they bulged in his head as he retched again, unable to expel the blockage in his airway. Patty had shoved as much of the sheet as she could fit into his mouth and as he struggled weakly, she looked down at him, eyes mild and yet somehow laughing at him, and she held that sheet in place. Harry knew then that he was going to die. His airways were blocked and no matter how he fought, he couldn’t get oxygen into his trembling body. The corners of his vision began to darken, his body starting to go cold and he ceased his struggles. He smelled and tasted nothing but his own shit and saw nothing but the eyes staring down at him, laughing silently. Patty said nothing else and Harry died thinking to himself that he felt an awful lot like that very first butterfly, and that he didn’t care for the feeling at all. 

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