As Old As You Fear by R J Dent


Benjamin Cross was in pain.

          As he walked unsteadily along the pavement towards the surgery, Ben felt that he had been treated unfairly by life.

          He tried to remember a day during his sixty-four years when he hadn’t been suffering from something or other. He came up with a blank.

          Never! Not one single day of perfect physical or mental health!

          Because of this, Ben resented his constitution. He had been born with a strong body, but one that had slowly and steadily let him down. However, Ben felt that he himself was not in any way to blame for this. If he had been a religious man, he would have blamed God, but he wasn’t, so he didn’t.

          Instead, Ben had worked out an elaborate theory which involved a conspiracy in which the human race and nature conjoined to cause Ben constant illness.

          Every person was in some way responsible for Ben being ill. Drivers were responsible for his poor respiration. Food packagers – and sometimes manufacturers- were responsible for his clogged arteries. The water company was responsible for his thinning blood. Builders were responsible for his claustrophobia. Power companies were responsible for his deteriorating immune system. There were many more people to blame and Ben knew them all. Each one of them used nature in some way to poison him. They had been doing it from the day he was born.

          Seething from the indignity of being a victim of the world he was born into, Ben pushed a young woman aside as she blocked his way on the pavement. He walked on, ignoring her cry of protest.

          He reached the zebra-crossing and walked across. A car screeched to a halt. Read more…


R J Dent says: ‘As Old As You Fear is a story about the perpetual conflict between and old and the young. It was inspired by Richard Hell’s Blank Generation. Each generation thinks it’s the best generation – and that all that came before it or after it is benighted, less sophisticated, less knowing. I hope I got some of that across in As Old As You Fear.’

As Old As You Fear

Copyright © R J Dent (2016)

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