It was morning. I knew it was morning because my watch said so. At least, I assumed it was morning. I had just woken up and the time on the watch read half-past eight and I remembered that it was always morning when one had just woken up and the time was half-past eight. Unless, of course, I had slept all through the day. In which case it was half-past eight at night. I thought for a bit and decided it must be half-past eight in the morning. Even if it was half-past eight at night, I had decided it was morning.
It was morning. I got out of bed and put on some clothes. I assume they were my clothes because they were next to my bed and they fitted me, more or less, and anyway I remembered putting them there last night. Or this morning. I decided I had better have a wash, but then I thought ‘Why bother?’ I remembered I used to wash every morning so that I was clean for the rest of the day and smelled nice for other people. But now? Anyway, I remembered I did not have anything to wash in. Any water I could find was used for drinking. Breakfast then. What shall I have for breakfast? I looked in my cupboard. Inside there were tins, but tins of what? I had found them yesterday in a large cardboard box (I still had the box) and thought that they were somebody else’s. So I waited to see if somebody else came to get them, but nobody did, so I realised they (the tins) must be a present. I do not know if they were meant to be a present for me or another somebody else, but I took them anyway. I have not got a tin-opener. I decided I had better go hunting. Or is it scavenging? I can never remember. Anyway, I picked up my hunting tool (I don’t think scavengers use tools) and went outside.
The day looked exactly the same as it had yesterday, or last night, which surprised me. I don’t know why it surprised me, it just did. Each day I wake up it is exactly the same as the one before, and I am surprised. There was a time when each day I woke up and it was different from the one before, and I was not surprised. Today I will hunt in the forest. I hunted in the forest yesterday and found the tins. Perhaps I will find something else or I might even meet somebody else. It might even be the present giver.
I hope I do meet the present giver. If I do I will say ‘Thank you very much for the present’. I might even say, ‘It was very kind of you to give me a present’. And he will be pleased that I am grateful and shake my hand. I do not know why he will do this, nor, I suspect, will he, but he will do it anyway and then we shall be friends. Or perhaps I will not meet anybody.
I decided to hunt in the big tree. I nearly always found something in the big tree. I found the tins in the big tree. I went inside, crouched down and started hunting. The first branch I hunted along was empty, as it had been yesterday, but I hunted anyway. Just in case. The second branch was also empty, but the third branch had something in it. I stopped. I waited to see if it had seen me, but it just sat there, motionless. I got down on all fours and slowly crept towards it. I was about three feet away and it still had not seen me. I leapt. I wrestled with it. It did not put up much of a fight, so I easily subdued it. Unfortunately, during the struggle all the tins had fallen out. I put them all back into the box. I was very pleased. It had been a long time since I had caught anything, and now here I was with quite a large catch. I still did not have a tin-opener. I decided it was time to go home. I picked up my catch and went out of the big tree.
I arrived home and put my catch with the other tins. I now had a lot of tins. I would decide how to open them tomorrow. I looked at my watch. Half-past eight. Time for bed.
(c) M. Robert Gibson
First written late 1980s