Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A cup of soup

Unlike his namesake Henry Mesmer had no special talent to induce trances in susceptible human beings. He did however possess a 12-guage pump-action shotgun, and this weapon along with his survival blade, a 9mm handgun, and a Kevlar vest formed part of his arsenal and defences against marauders; for Henry lived in a post-apocalyptic world devastated by natural disasters and pandemics of every kind known to man and some unknown to man.

‘Tired, so tired!’ he thought, as he picked through the junk of a massive junk pile looking for anything useful. ‘Lonely, so lonely – ah, well.’ Some silvery thing caught his eye and he knelt to pick it up, first scanning his surroundings quickly as he was wont to do habitually, to check for any possible assailants.

‘A lighter, that’ll come in handy.’ He snapped it once to test it and a small flame appeared. Satisfied he pocketed it and looked for more goodies. After a while, the strain on his eyes had become unbearable so he decided to call it quits for now and proceeded to find some shade. The only shade to be found was in a gutted building he had already established was free of danger. Under a battered zinc sheet he produced a carefully folded soup sachet from his jacket pocket, the type formerly used to make one cup of soup. It would consume a lot of energy but he knew it would be worth it to have hot soup for a change. He removed the equipment he needed from his bag and set up the little gas cooker. He poured in just enough precious water from his thermos, lit the stove with the newly discovered lighter, and waited for the water to boil. He removed a mug and a tablespoon from his sack and sheared off the top of the soup packet. He poured its brown powdery contents into the mug. It didn’t take too long before the water was roiling. Quickly he switched off the cooker, poured the boiled water into the mug and stirred carefully with the tablespoon. The aromas were strong. He began to sip the soup. He would take as long as he could to finish it. ‘Divine, delicious, lovely’ were the words that came to mind. ‘Lamb and vegetable’ he had read on the sachet. He would have preferred ‘Cream of Tomato’ but beggars can’t be choosers. It didn’t matter. He was enjoying every second of this treat. He prayed no bandits would come onto the scene to disturb this ritual of ecstasy.

When the mug was drained and he scraped the last brown goo off its inside with the tablespoon and into his mouth, he remembered the way it was before doomsday. He tried to suppress once again the memories of food: sushi, burgers, and – he closed his eyes deeply affected – ice cream! It had been years or was it only a year ago that he had last cried? He began to cry but cursed himself for wasting fluid in tears.

copyright © RW 2014

This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.


  1. Well done. I can see you working backwards from a cup of soup late one night.

  2. Actually, it happened in reverse. Late night supper - most unwise : )