Life & Arts Fiction

Victor Tribute — the rudest man in the world

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(Image by Dan Jensen)

Prologue

Victor Tribute wanted to be a hermit.

Not that he wanted to live in a mountain cave and take a vow of silence. He didn’t want to be an eremite. He wasn’t sure what an eremite was, but he pictured a religious nut, living in skins, having taken a vow of silence and perhaps a strict regimen of dawn chanting. He shuddered at the thought. Victor wasn’t the least bit religious, was not fond of chanting and certainly did not want to rough it in the wild ─ or in any other way, indeed.

Victor Tribute sighed. For while living as a total recluse had its attractions, he did appreciate his creature comforts. Moreover, he was a graphic designer who worked on short-term contracts from a rather luxurious highrise beachfront apartment and enjoyed his work. Didn’t want to give it up. So for Victor, unless his cave had access to good quality streaming broadband and a reliable power supply, he would need to change careers.

But Victor had no intention of changing careers. He just wanted people – most people, not quite all people − to just keep well the fuck away from him.

Because Victor Tribute was decidedly misanthropic. He hadn’t always been this way. He wasn’t really a bad person. He paid his taxes. He said “Please” and “Thank you”. He stood up on buses when the elderly, pregnant and other similarly inconvenienced required a seat. But it had come to pass, over the course of his almost 39 years on Earth, that anthropoids had eroded him, like endless drips on granite. And now he was nothing more than a sliver. Nearly worn through.

He was heartily sick of people and their banal small talk; their tedious little dinner parties, where they discussed other people’s tawdry iniquities, revealing more in the process of their own. He was tired of petty gameplaying; of spending a lot of time with someone only to find out they just wanted to be friends. And so on. Ad infinitum. He wanted no more to do with all that. With all of them.

And so Victor Tribute wanted to be a hermit. Or was it a recluse? Whatever, as Victor Tribute sat in the apartment, looking down at the stick figures bustling around 19 storeys below, he began to devise a plan in his very unusual mind.

Victor Tribute planned to try out stage one of his plan at his family Christmas lunch. It seemed a sensible place to start, since family get-togethers were high up on Victor’s reasons to distance himself from human contact. In fact, in recent years, all of Victor’s interactions with his family – with one notable exception – had left Victor feeling beaten down and harried.

Victor had two brothers and three sisters. And every year, on Christmas day, they would all meet up at Victor’s elderly parent’s low-set bungalow on the parched mud plains of the southern Gold Coast.

COMING UP NEXT FRIDAY: CHAPTER ONE: THE FAMILY DINNER

You can follow David G Donovan on Twitter @davrosz.

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