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Thursday, July 24, 2008

Twenty Two Caliber Redemption-

He sat in silence on the worn park bench, sipping from a bottle in a paper bag and watching the dusk fall. He no longer had a name, and that gave him what little peace he knew. He left that name along with the family that was now just a suppressed and faded memory.

His eyes drifted from the sunset over the sooty city skyline to glance at his quarry. He was always astounded when something like a sunset awoke the vague echoes of pleasure that still clung to the edges of his empty self. His quarry took some money from a young man of about fourteen. The young man received something small in return, and ran off down the street.

The quarry made a few more sales, and then glanced around. Probably looking for the cops, or competition. The man put his bagged bottle to his lips, and took another sip. An empty man is invisible, and winos so common as to be of no more note than the pigeons in the park. He got up and followed slowly as the quarry headed toward a darkening alley.

He mumbled a bit, swinging his bottle about, and stumbled into the alley just a few yards behind his quarry. Slumping beside a dumpster, he took another sip. The quarry met a man at the back of the alley, and they conducted a little business. After the quarry left the alley, the man with no name slowly stumbled to his feet.

He followed. Down a block, a right turn. Another block. A left into another alley. The pusher's digs were not far ahead.

The stumbling wino gait gave way to purposeful strides. The hand not holding the bottle came up with practiced precision. The small caliber hand-gun barked three times. Sub-sonic twenty-two caliber rounds exited the muzzle and quickly found their new home inside the pusher's skull. The quarry dropped, dying even as he fell.

The man with no name walked on. He came soon to the chapel he had chosen. Entering, he looked around in the holy gloom. He did not touch the offered holy water, fearing that it would burn him. He went forward to an empty pew, knelt and prayed.

Here the memories flooded back. Backing out his daughter's car, to get it ready for a family outing. The muffled thump as he ran over something. His daughter's scream. Her, holding his now dead grandson beside the driveway.

"I have brought you another one." he prayed. An offering. A bit of cleansing. An attempt to buy redemption.

He knew in his heart that God had forgiven him. His family had forgiven him. They had struggled to bring him back to himself after the accident. They did not know that he was truly empty. He could not forgive himself.

He had wandered for years, now. The hurt his absence must cause his family simply added to his debt. He hunted those who poisoned children, hoping that somehow that would buy him peace. Perhaps someday he could once again claim his name.

The man with no name stood, and exited the chapel. He wandered toward the cheap room that would contain his dark dreams and muffled screams for the night. He would clean his gun, eat enough to keep his unworthy body alive, and seek a new town tomorrow.

1 comment:

Randy said...

Wow, This one is very powerfull.

Your a great writer. Keep up the great work.

Randy