Fred was born. Just after the second hand of the secondhand clock in the secondhand hospital, strolled past on its way to outpace the other hands it knew instinctively could be outpaced in any given minute or thereabouts At any given time. The clock yawned, its battery was running out and all hands on the clock deck didn't really care because no-one really took much notice of fixed drab wall clocks anymore. The V nurses and doctors didn't really have the time. They had mobilistic blank mobiles that stared blankly black until pressed to display their ingenious inbuilt enlightened superiority. And they were mostly new until a new buzz or nick- nack ring-a- ding I-plod stand over shiny upgraded latest electronic gadgetry circuit tweak gave them the boot... superseded them...rendering them of recyclable S hand nature.
Fred's mum felt a bit secondhand but she kissed the newborn proudly. She was a single 'secondhand Rose' but she loved Fred anyway. She didn't pick his name but it was a good- though well worn- moniker. The father, as some do, had traveled on. Plenty of fish in the sea.
Fred grew up a bit on the wild side. His mum was a guard at the airport She was punctual,polite, did her job well. Her few friends sniffed at her vocation, muttered under their breath about her being a tad 'superior.' A loner, which could be mistaken for superiority perhaps?
Rose didn't talk behind backs. Didn't really care about social jaunts. She was reserved, well mannered. Preferred to do her job. Go home. She was worried about Fred. The day the police sergeant took Fred away she felt the same shudder as the day her son was born...a bit secondhand...afraid.
Fred must have done something horrendous. Rose had a job to do but she did it mechanically. Her son was foremost on her mind. She was devastated. He was only young surely they could see that.
Rose was invited over to a friend's place one Saturday afternoon...she couldn't refuse. It would be churlish. And she needed company. She ate little of what tasty snacks were offered. A tear trickled down as she thought of her wayward son.
She watched vaguely, disinterestedly, as her friend flicked the news on. He was handsome, a gentle one, but Rose had no interest. And he didn't push for affection. Just a friend to watch the news with.
Rose let out a squeal as the cameras zoomed in...it was HIM! She recognized the V doctor who delivered him, HER Fred was limping out from the old hospital...heavily bandaged...looking a bit secondhand. Rose leaned forward. What on earth? she thought, her pulse frantic...her friend sensed her turmoil.Turned up the volume..."Fred took down the bank robber, saving his partner's life. The bullet missed his vital organs,doctors are confident there will be no long- term effects as a result of his intervention and bravery in positioning himself to take the brunt of the attack."
Rose stood proud as her decidedly secondhand looking son stared at his mother. He grinned. He was wearing a BRAND NEW medal of bravery. The pair were reunited, their handlers grinned. Rose placed a gentle paw on her son's medal. She didn't have to speak,couldn't- but some things proud don't need to be said. Fred had followed in his mum's paw steps. He nudged Rose. Just a mother and son united as one. You can't lick that...or can you?