On a lighter note -- to pull away from the unkind feelings I've felt toward a certain anonymous poster -- I thought I'd share another of Nathan's stories. Of those he's written, this happens to be my favorite. It is called "Gary."
Gary was upset. All his life he had been ridiculed and tormented because he was different. In a small mining town, being different was not good. His mother had loved him, but now that she was gone, he had to deal with a life of misery and woe. It seemed as if he had no friends, no one to talk to, no one to laugh with. Every day he would walk into town and instantly a barrage of unkind words would plague his ears, for he could not mine. His body wasn’t built for it. He had tried several times, but always failed at the endeavor.
Today he was more determined than ever to succeed. He stalwartly walked to the mining site and noticed several of the townspeople hard at work extracting the precious resources from the ground. To them, the task was a simple one. The ore was not too deep and, to them, the ground was not very hard. However, Gary found the ground to be very tough, indeed. As he would try to dig, it seemed that everything was working against him and the ground would not give way. Not three feet from where he stood, one of the old timers, now gray with age, was merrily extracting valuable resources from the ground.
“If he can do it,” Gary muttered to himself, “then so can I.” With that, he mustered all his strength and courage and began to dig. This time he wasn’t going to let anything stop him! With all his might, he tore at the ground, throwing his very body into each blow. Suddenly something unexpected happened. He felt the ground begin to give way. This only increased his drive to succeed. Soon he found a strength he never knew he had. His heart was racing as he felt the ground move under his forcefulness.
When his joy was at it’s zenith, he felt the ground shake. Suddenly, uneasiness beset him and his zeal slackened. He waited a moment or two, looking around to the other miners who were busy with their work. After determining that everything was okay, he warily began his digging once again. Soon he found himself in the same mad rush he had been in just moments previous. Debris was flying as he vehemently dug. He knew he must be reaching his mark and decided to give the ground one mighty blow. He pounded the ground as hard as he could and instantly felt a deep rumble. Startled, he tried to get out of his hole, but it was too late. The ground ruptured in an explosion of red liquid. The force of the red geyser sent Gary flying high into the air and far away from his people.
When he came to, Gary found himself on a slab of concrete. He could see no one. The dog had moved on, leaving him on the sidewalk to starve. Perhaps another animal would come by that he could cling to, but the very thought of mining made him uneasy. Instead, he decided to fade away, being remembered only as the tick who hit an artery.