Our Nathan

Our Nathan doesn’t complain. If you asked him he might agree his life is pretty shitty, but left to his own devices, he carries on regardless.

He’s like that, see.

Generous too. Would give you his last penny if he had one. But he doesn’t. His luck is running on empty, has been for years. But like I say, when you pass him in the street, huddled in his cardboard box, he won’t complain, or even stick out a cap for spare change. Course, he doesn’t have a cap.

He didn’t have any clothes at one point, bless him, but the town decided having him roam the streets butt-naked was a bit unseemly and frightening for the little ones, so we pulled together to dress him, and once a year, round about Christmas time, we give him new socks and replace anything torn.

Where did he come from?

Well, old Geoff Branner likes to claim our Nathan’s from outer space, but we all know that’s a load of rubbish. Another theory is he’s been left over from a lost civilisation, you know, like the Loch Ness Monster. But nah. You ask me, and there’s only one possibility. Seems rude to speak of it though.

Who is he?

He’s not telling. It was us named him Nathan, didn’t seem right him having no name. I asked him about his real identity once, but he just shuffled on his way, collecting pigeons like he sometimes does. I tell you, he’s a miracle solution to pest control. Stray cats. Dogs. Rats. Old people. We don’t have none of them.

Course, there are those who think Nathan’s a menace. Sarah-Marie swears blind he snatched her baby from its pram. Odds are she didn’t have a baby in the first place, but when confronted with that one, she just scowls and says, “Then why did I have the pram?”

We all laugh at that one.

Then there was the petition. You know, to have Nathan shooed on elsewhere. But soon as that sprung up, us good folks took a stand. Our Nathan doesn’t do no real harm. Sure, if you catch him on a bad day, trip in the street, or linger too long you might end up getting chewed.

It’s no big deal, though. Generally he can’t eat an entire adult. Worst comes to the worst, he’ll take an arm or a leg. Got to be careful with the kids, mind. We tell them, you see Nathan coming, cross the street.

Most listen.

Some don’t.

Still, our Nathan’s got to have some luck, doesn’t he.


Michelle Howarth  Michelle Howarth's website has publishing credits that include appearances in the Daikaijuzine, Drabblecast, Thaumatrope, Books for Monsters, Strange Publications Fifty-Two Stitches anthology, the Devil's Food anthology, Morpheus Tales Magazine, and Ballista Magazine, where she has been awarded first prize in their short story contest 2008. She also enjoys acting as submissions editor for Shock Totem magazine.

Other works by Michelle Howarth