This is a remarkable tale, part parable, part adventure story, part travel-log .
There was a boy in Iceland who lived inland in a small village far away from anywhere, and in Iceland there is a great deal of nowhere the entire countries population being about 250,000.
This village was on a hill and although the village itself was isolated by snow part of the year and as such the community had to function as a whole, as far as the children of the village were concerned the village consisted of three tribes, those at the bottom of the hill, those in the middle of the hill and those at the top.
In order to travel to school unmolested by a rival faction the children would muster at three points where the older children, armed with home made swords would form a defensive line and shepherd the group to the school which was accepted as neutral by all.
If one group met another on the way there would be pitched battles and it was not unheard of for children to lose fingers, chopped off by a rivals sword in the heat of battle.
These battles were serious and an equilibrium existed in which they happened rarely but regularly as first one group and then the other held fearsome dominance.
Small children would cower behind bigger brothers each day on their way to school having known no other experience of education, occasionally lending them hankies with which to staunch their wounds.
In a place so isolated children learnt to make their own entertainment.
There was however , one poor little boy who had to peddle everywhere unprotected.
He was the local paperboy and had to traverse all three parts of the village, putting small locally produced pamphlets of local import through letterboxes.
Everyone thought he must work for the police, that is to say ,anyone under the age of 12 thought he worked for the police. If anyone was sought by the police for anything the paperboy was always the main suspect, being an outsider.
They tried to kill him in three consecutive ways.
The first time they caught him the lower village kids took him up to the top of the hill they lived on and tied him shirtless on his moped and doused his jeans in in-flammables and cut his break cables and pushed him off the top of the hill.
He came off on a corner flaming at high speed and was saved by a snowdrift that broke his fall and put him out.
The second time he was caught by the top of the village kids, they cornered him, got him off the bike and one holding onto each end did the 1/2/3 over a cliff, the paperboy sailed out but again just bounced off snow (This was Iceland) and only broke his collarbone.
He spent a time inside recovering and was quite right to worry as a watch was being kept on his house by the children. He never saw the children but he was quite right in presuming they were waiting just around the corner.
What he didn’t know was that one child, a boy of 12 had stolen his fathers double barrel shot gun and had substituted buckshot for salt and had had both barrels primed when the poor paperboy at last ventured out.
Just before the paperboy got to his first corner the 12 year old with 3 fingers on one hand swung into view and stated, “You're dead”
He pulled both triggers and blew this child off his feet with the blast of cold rock salt at high speed, onto rather than into the chest cavity. (Meaning it hurt like hell but doesn’t kill you.)
Anyway the poor paperboy, the boy that had been shot lay on his back for a full few minutes before stirring and in first a timid and then louder and more amazed tone, repeatedly chanted “I’m alive!”
All the other kids including the rifle bearer ran away leaving the paperboy yodeling his appreciation of not yet being dead.
A babbling bar in Reykjavik, suddenly something snaps and seemingly out of nowhere a maniac with a knife jumps the bar and slashes the barman across the stomach with a blade .
The barman, holding his protuberance of intestine with one hand, subdues the assailant and lets go of his gut to briefly hold two broken bottles over the throat of his opponent, deciding as his frenzy subsides and every eventuality of the next few moments are suddenly frozen . He, with his jagged bottles poised and his intestines popping out his stomach, decides not to kill anyone and concentrate on his wound rather than going to jail for a long time for a dramatic public murder.
He rolls off.
He’s rushed to hospital, catering mainly for fishing accidents and knife injuries and the doctor comes in and prods his guts back in and starts on binding and stitching the muscles of his abdomen and is too concerned with the wound for a good half hour before looking up for the first time and double taking ,then calmly looking into the barmans eyes and asking
“Don’t I know you?”
The barman blanches.
The doctor sewing him up was the paperboy everyone wanted to kill and he was the boy who pulled the trigger of the shotgun.
The barman is filled with an indescribable shame, he lies with his guts in his hands, himself in the hands of a man, once a boy, he’s repeatedly tried to terminate.
He, who had never showed any mercy is now at the mercy of this man who smiles down at him and tells him to forget it, they were children, it was a long time ago and continues stitching.
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