By Steve Gillies
I hit you as hard as I can and you won’t go down so I have to do the thing that I’m good at. I have to run away.
I run out of town as fast as I can. Fast so fast I run up the side and over a moving train in a nanosecond so fast I hit the beach and kick up minor sandstorms so fast I hit the water with feet that don’t stay on the surface long enough to break its tension. I cross oceans bigger than continents in the time it takes you to blink so that by the time you’ve noticed I’m gone I’m already running through Portugal where kids play soccer with pasted together balls of newspaper and the streets smell like cinnamon, coriander and pari pari, I’m past Spain before anyone thinks to raise the red flag, through Greece before the man in Zante’s wine bottle even touches his lips.
A father shouting at his child to look before he runs out into the street. A brush gliding through a woman’s hair. Money changing hands. Dirt and rocks and nobody going outside. Bright pink bright orange bright blue robes and not sticking around to see if anyone will burst into song.
China, a second or two. Deserts, mountains, plains and a waterfall more beautiful than you could ever know. Cities too dense to really navigate. In Beijing three men robbing a tourist won’t ever be able to say what exactly hit them. In Shanghai a woman who has lost her son in a crowd somehow, inexplicably finds him returned to her cradling arms.
I want to do more for people. I want to see more. But I don’t stop. I can’t stop. I’m a man in a costume. I’m a blurry red line. I’m a force of fucking nature. And I keep going through seas and oceans and Japans, through the West Coast and heartland of an America they keep telling me is something to see, but I don’t see much of it, I don’t see much of it at all. I can’t spend too much time with regrets, though. I have too much to do. I have to focus on the task at hand, which is running all the way around the world so that I can punch you even harder. Right in the face.
About The Author
Steve Gillies is descended from a person The Believer once called, “quite possibly the biggest loser that has ever lived.” His work has appeared in Artifice Magazine, Floodwall, The AV Club, and The American Journal of Orthopedics. He lives in Chicago with his wife and son.
Fast-Paced Author Interview (at high speeds! risking dire consequences!)The Squid: Who would you invite for a roadtrip on SHIELD’s hovercarrier?
SG: Jack Kirby. He designed it so he probably knows where all the good booze is hidden.
The Squid: Now, say you’re a science fiction/fantasy action hero —a pretty sweet gig, by the way. Tell us which one you are most like, and why:
a) Conan the Barbarian
b) Han Solo
c) Captain James Tiberius Kirk
d) Buckaroo Bonzai
e) Rick Deckard
SG: Buckaroo Bonzai. I usually feel like I’m being pulled in many directions at once, though I’m not doing anything as interesting as crooning at night clubs, performing brain surgery and doing mad science. You can find him at his twitter account: @steevsteevsteev.
About The Artist
You can find ckrickett, the illustrator, at his profile on Fiverr.