Gone Away ~ The journal of Clive Allen in America

Accelerate - Part 2

To read the first part of this series, click here.

Three days later, Lucky lost patience with the world. The lethargic mood that seemed to have gripped everyone had continued and, if anything, was getting worse. When the landlord called that morning, he had taken an age to count Lucky's rent money. It was all Lucky could do to contain his frustration and not shout at the man. So he was pleased when the Rabbit dropped by for a chat.

Normally Lucky would have tried to avoid a visit from the Rabbit for, apart from his stained and broken buck teeth, he was an inveterate talker, never stopping from the moment he saw you until you pushed him out of the door at the earliest opportunity. But today Lucky felt that a constant, rapid-fire stream of words was just what he needed to counter the general depression around him. He welcomed the Rabbit more honestly than ever before and insisted he take a seat.

"So, what have you been up to lately, Rabbit? It's been a while since I last saw you." Lucky grinned and waited for the detailed account of the Rabbit's life over the last few days, to be delivered in the usual barrage of staccato, non-stop phrases.

The Rabbit sat and looked back at Lucky. He said nothing. Lucky waited impatiently and was about to renew his spur to the cascade of words when he saw that the Rabbit was drawing a deep breath. Then the mouth opened and the Rabbit began.

"I was over by the river yesterday." He paused. "You know, just round the corner from Hinckle's." Another pause. "Fat Albert and Jimmy were dragging something from the river." The Rabbit took a breath. "I went over to see what it was... and they yelled for me to give a hand..."

Lucky could hardly believe what he was hearing. The Rabbit was droning, slowly, ponderously, in drawn-out phrases littered with pauses. It was incredible, but even the Rabbit must have been infected with the endemic lethargy of the last few days. Lucky stopped listening and watched the Rabbit's mouth slowly opening and closing as it formed the sluggish words. Something very strange was happening.

It seemed that everyone was slowing down and only Lucky was still functioning at a normal pace. Yet that was ridiculous. Why would the entire world begin to slow down? And why should it be Lucky who was immune? Unless...

The thought of immunity brought Lucky's thoughts back to the clinic. Maybe the drug had given him some sort of protection against this infection that was spreading through the city. That could be another unexpected side effect to go with the rapid healing. But what was this infection? And why had he seen nothing about it in the news media? Surely something like that would be noticed? How likely was it that everyone but Lucky should be infected and so only he could see the change?

Lucky's eyes were still focused on the Rabbit's opening and closing mouth and now he became aware of the sound of the voice again. It was lower than he remembered. There was no doubt about it, now that he thought about it: the Rabbit's voice was deeper than Lucky had ever heard it before. Suddenly, everything made sense.

Like a coiled spring suddenly released, Lucky leapt from the chair and hauled the Rabbit to his feet. "Time to go. Can't explain right now. Come on, Rabbit." He dragged the Rabbit to the door and thrust him through it. "Sorry, no time. Seeya Rabbit." Then the door was slammed and Lucky was alone with his dreadful realization. Sheer habit drew him across the room and he slumped back into the chair, his mind racing.

It was not the world slowing down; it was Lucky who was speeding up. Only this could explain everything, the accelerated healing, the slowness of everything around him, the deepened voice of the Rabbit and his interminable droning. Somehow Lucky had broken through to a higher pace of life and his new speed made the world seem slow. It was the drug, it must be the drug.

Was this what the clinic had hoped for? But no, that was unlikely; surely Doc Hunford would have shown more interest in his tale of swift healing if that were the case. So it must be an unintended side effect. And what could it mean for Lucky himself? Would he get faster and faster or was this the limit already? Thinking back over the last few weeks, Lucky realized that the effect was getting stronger. For weeks he had been vaguely aware that something was different, but it was only in the last few days that he had been able to say that it was the sluggishness of others. And not until today had he noticed the change in tone of a known voice. He was getting faster, he knew that now.

Was there a limit? Would he reach a certain speed where any increase was impossible? And what would it do to him; could he survive at such a pace?

The questions raced through Lucky's mind, chasing each other at high speed as he dealt with one only to meet the next in rapid succession. It may have been only a few minutes but seemed to him like hours before he came to a question that stopped all the others. It struck him as forcibly as had his first understanding of what was happening.

Was there a way in which he could turn this to his advantage?

Even as the question occurred, he sensed that he was on to something. His whole being concentrated on the fleeting thought and a vision of what could be began to form in his mind. The idea germinated and started to grow.

A smile began to spread across Lucky's face, a smile that rapidly became a grin. And then he began to laugh, quietly at first, but louder as the idea developed and grew in his imagination. The possibilities multiplied and he laughed that he should have been given such a chance, laughed at the new world opening before him, laughed at those who had thought it funny to give him a nickname so cruel. And he laughed especially at himself, the one named Lucky, who so late in life had discovered how truly lucky he was.


To go directly to the third part of this series, click here.


I am familiar with this feeling and, by the way, talking of Rabbit, I really did once know a man called Freddie the Ferret ! I bumped into him in a pub called The Rat and Parrot! You couldn't make it up, could you? What I'd like to know is whether or not this preoccupation with speeding up has anything to do with your recent concerns about not being able to keep up with your blog.
Date Added: 11/07/2005

Gone Away
I first thought of the story about thrity years ago, Speedy, so I doubt it has anything to do with my present concerns re the blog! You may guess for yourself where inspiration came from... ;)

To meet Freddie the Ferret in a pub called The Rat and Parrot, now that is the kinda thing that's stranger than fiction! I once knew a feller named Spit, however. :D
Date Added: 11/07/2005

Spit? I wouldn't dare ask where you met him.
Date Added: 13/07/2005

Gone Away
I met Spit when I was running a painting and decorating scheme to help the unemployed gain skills. Spit was a punk with a shaved head and tattooed everywhere else. He had changed his name by deed poll so it was not just a nickname. Surprisingly, he was also a nice guy...
Date Added: 15/07/2005

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