A 21st Century Review of Harvest Moon

So, couldn’t bring myself to do a properly narcissistic Tim Rogers style post. All that navel gazing! No, not now.

Instead of an ego-‘splode, I present this: a riff off a blog post Tim made years ago. In the spirit of Easter Sunday, it is a twisted tale of dead things being resurrected in the unnatural fashion.

Enjoy!

A 21st Century Review of Nintendo Co. Ltd’s Harvest Moon

He stood, in dream-blue dungarees and red baseball cap, in the middle of a perfectly square patch of crops. The patch was one of many such patches he owned, and he was perspiring like a desperate burglar for all of these patches demanded attention, and the sun was very hot. A fatigue like a leaden gas was filling his body.

‘Fucking potatoes,’ said the farmer.

The sky above the farmer was generous, a great soft expanse of vapour and not-at-all. If the sky was a crop, it was surely as ripe as could be and nobody’s for the taking. But the farmer did not look up as he proceeded to the next perfectly square patch of crops. Tomatoes, this time, as green as the vines they grew on.

‘Fucking tomatoes,’ said the farmer.

It was with relief that the farmer upended his watering can and darkened the soil of the last of his plants. The rest of the day stretched and yawned in front of him like a dusty cat.

In truth, he couldn’t stand having to fill the hours of every day. How did others waste time? What was their secret? He thought about it often. Him, stood behind Father Time, a shovel in both hands. Raise it up high- krangg! And that would be it. The end of time.

Jogging back home, the farmer came across a patch of crops he hadn’t yet watered.

‘FUCK,’ he screamed.

Nearby, a young potato plant turned away from the farmer. It was embarrassed, and didn’t know what to do.

*  *  *

The farmer’s wife was standing by the kitchen counter, doing nothing. She watched her husband come in from outside with the kind eyes that you see on wives, sometimes.

‘It’s such a hot day,’ said his wife, happily. ‘I think this is the hottest summer I remember!’

The farmer stopped in the middle of the room, hands on his hips, and looked at his wife. Her luscious feet, her hair, her floury baps. A bead of sweat fell from his nose to spill itself over the floorboards. The woman was making a face at him. It looked like this: ^___^

‘This isn’t right,’ said the farmer with a faraway voice.  ‘I… are you listening? I’ve been here before.’

‘It’s such a hot day,’ replied his wife. ‘I think this is the hottest summer I remember!’

‘No, listen to me,’ said the man. ‘Listen to me. There’s something really wrong here. I don’t feel well at all.’ He made his way to a chair as if he were about to sit, but at the last minute seemed to think better of it.

‘I’m out there, watering the crops, right? Or I’m going into town to buy a hoe, or I’m brushing down a cow. And I think… I’m staying really busy. I’m busy every day, and I’m the busiest person in town. You know I am! So I got to thinking about why I keep so busy. And whenever I think about that I can’t shake this feeling deep inside me that something’s not right.

‘It’s like I’ve been here before. It’s like, every day, I wake up and I’ve already lived that day ten times before. It’s like nothing seems to change. Do you understand? Hey. Remember when we bought ourselves a horse last week? I feel like I’ve already bought ten horses before. Not with you, but with other women, in different houses. I look at the farm outside and I keep thinking of different farms that I’ve never owned. I know I haven’t. But… if I have already been through this before, what’s the point in anything?’

He needed his wife more than anything at that point, because he felt that a single kind word might save him.

There was a knocking at the door.

‘There’s someone at the door!’ Said the wife. The farmer glared at her. He opened the door to reveal Henry, the town’s portly mayor, who looked exactly like every portly mayor any child had ever imagined.

‘Hello!’ Said the mayor. ‘Just thought I’d drop by and remind you that the fishin’ contest is tomorrow!’

‘Yeah, it is,’ said the farmer. He was quieter now, and spoke with a measured tone and all of his pain packed into tightly drawn shoulders. ‘And I’m gonna win it. You know why? Because I win all of your dumb contests. Every one. Because you guys, all of you, are shit.’

‘Hope to see you there!’ said the mayor. ‘Goodbye!’

The farmer turned back to his wife. ‘Well?’ he said. But she said nothing at all.

‘God damn it woman!’ shouted the man. ‘You have to listen to me!’

‘It’s such a hot day!’

‘Shut up! That’s it! That is it!’

*  *  *

And now the puffy white sky was darkened, the mortals having snatched at it with grubby hands.

Water sank greedily into the farmer’s clothes as he came splashing down into the sea. His dusty trousers felt the coldness and withdrew, hugging the man’s ankles in fear. His boots, vigorous and steadfast creatures, sent a last gasp of bubbles to the surface as they were flooded. Sprays of water and sand were being cast upwards with each of the farmer’s strides, the saltwater licking streams of tears from his face.

Under his arm his wife bit and tore at the loop of muscle that held her, but a decade of labour and two decades of disappointment had hardened this vermicular cage and there could be no escape. Under his other arm, their child. Too innocent to fight, the spark inside their baby was at least flaring noisily.

Onwards the man trod, down into the wash.

‘It’s such a hot day!’ howled his wife in protest, the sea splashing at her lowered face. ‘I think this is the–‘ *khakk* ‘hottest summer-‘

But the man wasn’t listening to her anymore, just as he’d eventually stopped listening to her in the last life, and the one before that. This was how it always ended. He remembered now.

‘Gaboo!’ said the baby.

Just a few more steps, the farmer thought to himself, and then the sea would fix the rest. Just as long as he didn’t end up on another fucking farm with the same fucking square fields and the same fucking girls. What would he do then? This cycle was draining him, a secret suction far more terrible than that of pastoral life.

The farmer’s shoe snagged on something then, down in the sand. As reaching down to check would have involved freeing one of his captives he instead opted to kick free, only to find his submerged knee rammed against something too. Aiming to go around the obstacle, he found his shoulder pushed back by something. In blind terror, the farmer found himself faced with an entire invisible wall that stopped him from pushing any deeper than hip-deep into the water.

No- this was how it ended. With a scream he caught visions of himself at rivers, in caves, at the Mineral Town well, sometimes alone and sometimes not but always flattening himself against these unknown walls.

‘Gaboo!’ said the baby.

It was over. He dropped his family, and then the man quit.

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Comments

  1. “The rest of the day stretched and yawned in front of him like a dusty cat.”

    That is the best of similes.

  2. all anyone that ever tries to ape tim does is confirm the latter’s talent

  3. This is word porn.

  4. I find you annoying sometimes, Quinns, but damn it if you can’t write good words. I loved it.

  5. Riff is a word that should be used when talking about music ONLY.

  6. This was great, particularly some of those similes, though I’m clearly missig the point, probably because of never playing Animal Crossing.

    Also, ‘riff’ is a word that I like to utilise in my vocabulary outside of music and fills a hole no other word does for me.

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