“Can we watch TV?” asked Nick.
“Watch TV? Where do you think you are? This is a cave?” said Mick.
He picked up a book from the floor beside his bed and slapped a random spot on the cave wall, bathing him in light. Opening the book where he left off, he began to read.
“Have you got anything else to read?” asked Glen.
“Just my Bible.”
“Can I read that?”
Mick pointed. “It’s on that shelf.”
Glen noted the three shelves mounted on the far wall. A tuft of hair sprouted and reached for the Bible giving it into his waiting hands. Already getting used to Glen’s gift, Mick almost closed his eyes, then opened them widely. The atomic fleas living in Glen’s beard swarmed into a luminescent cloud above his head, enabling him to read.
Pat raised an arm from his bed. Ink flowed from the limb and flowed onto a bare section of ceiling. It became two ships from the 1700s firing canons at each other. The scene changed. Naval officers on deck quickly conferred as to battle tactics against the pirate vessel.
The other men crowded around the bed to watch the movie. Canons fired again and the men cheered.
“Can you turn that down a bit?” Mick asked.
Pat offered a shifty smile.
“It doesn’t have a volume control.”
Canons fired again and again without dialogue as the audience watched, making Mick wonder if Pat manipulated the action. The men cheered and laughed. Mick turned away, placing his pillow over his ears. Over the course of the evening, canons boomed, swords chinked and men cheered. The entire time, Mick kept the pillow over his ears as he slipped in and out of consciousness.
He half opened an eye to see how Glen fared. Glen’s fleas had retreated into his beard as he slept soundly, mouth open with earphones on.
“Shut up!” Mick said.
He said it a couple more times; sure the volume and intensity of the canon shots increased. Without warning, the cave settled into silence.
Mick sighed. “Thank you.”
Unfolding his pillow, he nestled his head down to sleep. Seconds later, giggling permeated his consciousness and the faint strains of Swan Lake.
“Mick,” said one of the men.
He couldn’t discern who as he had his back turned to the group.
“Mick, Mick,” said a couple of the others.
At the same time, they laughed, calling his name more insistently. Eventually he was sure he heard all of them virtually chanting his name.
“What?” he demanded, rolling back.
A tattooed version of himself wearing a tutu danced on the cave ceiling.
“Yeah, real funny,” he groaned, closing his eyes, too tired to care about their antics.