(A short story, based on actual events, 1980s)
“We are like pigeons-here today, gone tomorrow. By gosh, the more I think of it, the less it matters; I mean, since it had to be, since it couldn’t be stopped. Now it’s over and done with, finished,” the elder white haired man said, with a flat affect-a nowhere expression-on his face.
“That’s what I thought. What I wanted to say-if only I knew how at the time to have said it. Yes, I thought it, afterwards. It doesn’t matter to the dead if you say it out loud, or just think it. The dead don’t say ‘Come on speak up!'” said the tall young man (his face thin, smooth, impassable, the eyes set deep in a hollow, like socks, as if they had seen too much, the skin appeared to suck into the skull, snapped onto the bones like a Coke a Cola, bottle cap. He had the appearance of a neat person, having been a neat person at one time-his short wavy hair watered down-perhaps a little hair-grease on it-neatly trimmed, as if with a razor around his ears and sideburns and the back squared, he wore a Down Parker, his shirt and trousers were matching, green, he had come from his ادرس جدید ولف بت, he was a mechanic, and was smoking cigarette after cigarette, and being asked questions).
“Probably not,” was the response from a third voice in the room (he was no more than a shadow in the corner of the room, his shoulder half lay on the wall, as if it was a cot, he had a dark suit on, but acted more like an armed guard, had stood there for a long while he was no more than a voice, a portfolio of the young man’s background, if the white haired man needed information, and of the situation, the crime at hand), and he said it again “Probably not…!”
“When you reach the edge, and you find yourself unable to live with someone, or let that someone live with someone else, life goes quite fast. Like a flash, everything and everybody passing you up, and then they vanish out of their lives, leaving you standing alone-slanting kind of, and then drifting away into another world, drinking oneself to death, committing suicide. They do have a third choice, these people often cut the switch to those that bother them, saying to themselves ‘I’m too tired for this crap’ and they do what you did,” said the white haired old man.
The old white haired man, potbellied, nearer sixty than fifty, pulled out a reed-stemmed clay pipe, from inside his suit coat, but he didn’t smoke it, or light it, the ash inside the pipe, that stained the top of the bowl could be smelled-it had a scent to it, a tongue to cheek old rustic smell-perhaps that was what he was seeking, now the young man for the first time was looking at him, and the old man thought: “Good Lord, he’s got a heart, not as big as I’d like it to be, but a heart, maybe we’ll still get a confession.” Then he sat back too, in his chair as the young man had done for hours-emulating him.
This time he was watching the old man with such an expression that the old man ceased talking, he sat there, erect on the hard wooden chair, waiting for him to say what he needed to say. The old timer seemed to have embodied some old timeless wisdom, affinity for what was kept deep inside a person, and slowly moving it upward, as if by its own momentum-upward gravity, taking a piece of him out of his orbit, and then another and another until he had it all, he had told the voice in the corner-in private, “I can lie as well as the next man, matter-of-fact, without batting an eye, easily, quickly, but to be genuine, and detached, and truly empathetic, is the secret in persuading the soul to cleanse itself, and sometimes when you get a person on a roll all you really got to do is shut yourself up, shut your mouth and listen, permit him, give him permission to speak. And it seemed as if it was working. Because for the first time the young man stirred, moved, clasping his hands onto the chair with emotion.
It was obvious at first the young man did not remember what he did. “You shot quickly, but slow,” said the old man, as if to remind him, refresh his brain, and tranquilize his recall.
Now the young man said, “If I live to be seventy, like my father and his father did, I’ll not remember that shot.” (The old man saw that that he was trying to look upwards as if trying to picture it, but couldn’t; or at least he said he couldn’t).
“You mean, because of the shock of it, you’ll never hear that shot, nor remember you hitting her gun-butt in the head. Then you were standing over her, she lay on the wet cement floor of your basement, while you were shaking and jerking.”
“I wasn’t shaking or jerking,” the young man said.
“Yes, perhaps not, how would I know that anyhow.” Now he knew the boy’s memory was coming back.
“If she wasn’t dead, she was after you cut her up like a deer in pieces, with her feet cut off at the ankles, so you could put her into two suitcases, head down in one, as if it might jump out at you.”
The young man that did that moved his head to his right side, away from the old man, his throat taut and dry.
“You must have felt her smoking blood on your person; somehow you whipped those hands of yours clean.”
Inside of the young man’s head, that was all black, was now gray, it was as if there were two boiling rocks ready to collide and cause an earthquake. The old man was now wiping his hands over one another.
“After all that, having had had a taste of blood, the true Neantherdal hunter was born. I mean there you had been sitting in your basement, day after day, week after week, perhaps three weeks to my understanding, according to a neighbor’s report, waiting in the dark for her footsteps across those old boards above you, waiting for her to return for her cloths and leave you forever for a better man. You had had nothing to do now but wait, a standby murderer, remain drunk and calm straight and not tremble. You did all right.”