Hullo, mates! Did you spend a few months in a tropical paradise devolving from a well-mannered schoolboy to an amoral, animalistic killer? If so, I’d like to reconnect!

You probably don’t remember my name. I was one of the “littluns.” No, not Henry or Percival—I feel like you might remember them, especially Percival since he had that one episode where he just repeated his name over and over until he was screaming and sobbing and we all stood there and just watched him with a mix of shame and impotence. No, no…my name was Cedric. The reason you probably don’t remember is that it didn’t come up the first day and then by the time I realized that no one knew my name we had all become sort of naked jungle predators and whatnot, and at that point names hardly seemed relevant.

Anyway, I’ve kept busy over the last seventy or so years. Retired now. Had a little aluminum siding business for a time—this and that, you know. Owning my own business was nice—working in the out-of-doors, directly with clients, maintaining a semblance of control in some tiny corner of this mad, dark universe filled with senseless violence and hate. Plus the night terrors made it hard to hold down a regular 9 to 5, so making my own hours was key.

Never married—gracious no. I guess you could say I’m just not the marrying type. Or you could say that the thought of what we did to that poor sow so haunts my memory that the slightest touch of a woman ignites in me such a nausea-inducing guilt that I’ve spent most of my adult life avoiding any situation that might result in physical intimacy. For a time I thought I might just be gay, but I guess I’ll never know that either, since I can’t bear to ever be naked with any other human being lest we both revert to our feral states and claw each other to ribbons leaving nothing but sacks of rotting flesh in our primal wake. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Anyway, now that I’m retired and have had some time to reflect back on my life, I was thinking, “Wouldn’t it be a top-notch idea to have a little reunion of sorts with all those old chaps from way back when?” I imagine you’ve all gone on to fully productive lives as positive and contributing members of society and not been living out your days as husks of the human beings you were before we all descended into the dizzying madness of unadulterated bloodlust. Did Jack go back to singing, I wonder? Did Ralph make something of those natural leadership qualities and his ability to survive in a jungle for days while being hunted by the very children he swore to protect? Did Roger become a prison guard?

I know we made that pact on the military cruiser on the way back to England that we would never speak of the events that transpired on that island again, but what I’m talking about is just a nice, casual get-together. Nothing serious or somber. No rehashing the past. Heavens no! Just a bunch of old blokes having a bit of fun before Death comes for them, as He comes for us all. We could play some cards, toss back a pint or two, and never speak of the ever-present and almost palpable sense of shame and fear we feel at not only the cruelty of which we were capable as mere children, but, by extension, the evil that surely resides in the heart of every human being—like a beast perpetually clawing at the bars of its cage—the which a simple turn of fate or chance is just waiting to release into an uncaring universe.

I’d offer my flat, but I can’t have anyone over—and by that I mean that my crippling fear of my own potential for cruelty precludes my being able to have guests in my home, lest I enter the kitchen to get a bottle of wine or a hunk of cheese and emerge, knife in hand, my own blood smeared across my face like a savage mask, blind with the overmastering desire to drain the life from another human, thereby releasing, if only for a moment, the tension of the paradox of his and my existence simultaneously. It’s also quite a small flat, and not terribly good for hosting get-togethers. If anyone else would like to suggest a place—preferably in public where we might be socially shamed into not tearing each other or anyone else limb from limb with our bare hands—I’d be most appreciative.

Looking forward to hearing from whichever of you is still out there. Our time together will always have a special place in the deep, black center of my dark, shriveled heart.

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