Friday, June 24, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

The sun sat low on the horizon, capping the outcropping of rocks that the family referred to as "the cousins" - in the valley, the cattle moved slow, and Joel knew that this would be the perfect time for an attack. He was nervous. Sweat soaked through his shirt, and the hints of breeze did little to cool the heat radiating from the trail.

The horse was about done. This bothered Joel in terms of survival, but not of bond. The horse was about dead. So be it. He'd been stealing and trading horses ever since he'd left home weeks ago. This horse needed to make it to the next town. That was it.

His rifle lay across his lap, and he lifted it to his eye, sighting down the barrel and right into the ear of Black John. He could see the whole thing in his mind. Black John falling to the starboard side of his horse. The others scrambling. Trying to find safety. Hiding behind the hoofed meat their livelihoods depended on. 

Next, he would toss the dynamite. The ensuing stampede would scatter the cattle. Many would be injured. He would leave those to die the way Black John had left his girl: without water, without food, and without hope. He could finish any of the 'pokes off with the rifle if the blast and stampede didn't do the job.

This wouldn't bring Sarah back. Nothing could do that. But it would settle things a little in Joel's brain to know that the men who raped and abandoned her were laying dead in the dirt on a trail very few people knew about. They would be food for scavengers. 

He knew that it all hinged on this moment. His life, his freedom. The law wouldn't catch him, but a murderer is never free. Joel spit into the dust and shook his head. Who would take care of Emily, the little sister who had tried to keep him home when he'd left on this grisly mission?

But it didn't matter. He was locked into a code that didn't allow for these kinds of questions. He raised the rifle. Pulled the trigger. Black John fell just like Joel knew he would. He packed the dynamite back into his saddlebags. The rage was not gone, but it was tempered.

A life for a life would have to suffice.

Friday, June 17, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

You want to know about the selection process. There isn't one. I'm not lurking in doorways, stalking them on the way to work, the way home when they are exhausted. No, they come to me. I am made aware of them, and this starts the combustion. The picture is the catalyst. They want me to know about the places they go, the things they eat. They create their own maps - they make it a goddamned treasure hunt practically. String together enough clues, and you can begin to taste the blood. 

No, I do not choose them. But I accept them. I welcome them with open arms.

Like a chameleon, I will adapt to my environment. I will change my color, my spots, my clothes, my money. I can become anyone they need. That's part of the secret. 

There is already a relationship by the time I see them in person. One-sided, I'll grant you that, but a relationship nonetheless. I have already inhabited their desires. I am the perfect friend, boyfriend, confidante, leader, boss, parent. Whatever they need. Whatever it is they advertised for. 

I make my approach subtle. I am an apex predator, and I am liquid when it is called for. It is unnecessary. They do not expect me, and this is their folly. An antelope spends most of it's time avoiding the lion. Focuses so much attention on survival. We have lost the fearful edge, and this is my advantage to exploit. 

Sometimes they last a week. Never more. Sometimes less than a few hours. Sometimes, I play with my food. I won't run out. I'm not worried.

The next one is only a mouse-click away.  

Friday, June 10, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

It is a slow descent. That's what they don't tell you. It's not like you wake up one day ravenous. You take small bites. The anger starts to taste good to you. Fear is a reflector, and you can smell it on people. Everyone is afraid of something.

You start with something small. Stealing tips off a table. Spitting in the communal punch bowl. You can key someone's car - just little 'fuck your day up' shit. If you like the way it settles, you keep going. You pull a wallet from a lady's purse. You start taking things that don't belong to you.

If you stick with this program of gradual escalation, you will, eventually, make it to the big leagues. Your torture and murder - that kind of thing. Manipulation. Emotional theft. These are the fields of discontent you can traipse through. Innocence can be plucked in any season.

Eventually, you will flame out. You will become overconfident or paranoid or both. You will give into your baser instincts. You will develop addictions and other crutches. You will be ruined the way you have ruined others. 

This is your legacy.

Friday, May 27, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

I love fishing. If fishing rods killed a bunch of fourth graders, I'd gladly give mine up. I'm tired. That's the thing. Bone tired of excuses and political chicanery. I'm putting myself in Texas shoes, and I don't like the way they fit. 

It's amazing how ignorant folks can be. How defensive. How willing to think only of themselves.

There is so much sadness in this whole scenario. Broken kids. Broken parents. And I'm panicking every time I see one of the kids' pictures because they look just like my youngest. She's so ready for summer, but so determined to attend every day until then. I think about the parents who argued with their kid that morning. 

Just put on your damn shoes, and go to school. 

And then...horror.

It's hard to believe that we keep letting this happen. And it's terrifying to know that it will happen again because folks can't put aside their differences, think with their hearts, and realize that this is a problem we have to face. We have to look in the mirror. Doesn't matter how much we hate the person looking back.

It's called reflecting.

Friday, May 20, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

The countdown has started; take a deep breath.

With every passing second, your life expands and contracts like a noble heart, pumping. There is a smell of ozone, and the sound of the rockets fills your whole body. No time for second thoughts now. You are off, as they say. 

You've been "off" for quite some time. People have noticed. Folks have been talking. The gossip has blossomed into something that no one can control. It has eyes and tentacles. It will devour you.

So, lean back. Let your body go limp. Try to be still, as it will be easier to administer the antidote. We try to avoid blood and scarring. It's easiest if you just understand. You are in our hands now. Your life is not wholly your own anymore. 

You are part of something bigger.

Friday, May 13, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

It's hard to say. Easy to think, but speaking involves overt action. I'd like to invert the whole scenario as a distraction. Look at the bird on the fence, smile, I'll stab you in the back with a ballpoint pen.

Meanwhile...

Your best friend betrayed you. Her actions dismayed you. The people who made you? Who knows what they do. Stay relevant if possible. Sit in the garden. Let the broad leaves shade you.

The good dreams you have won't come true. The bad ones might if you don't pay your dues. The ticket costs misery, but don't worry, it loves company. 

You can throw a bitch party, invite the whole crew. 


Friday, April 29, 2022

2 Minutes. Go!

I don't want to do this. I don't want to be here. I don't want you to placate me or try to inspire me; I'm past that. Leave me hanging. The fickle wind will entertain me. The sounds of the night creatures will be my music. The moon will be my muse.

It's not that I don't appreciate it, although I don't. It's not that I'm over the whole thing, fed up, although I am. I am waiting for the hammer strike. I am spinning into oblivion with my eyes wide open. 

You are an artful conductor. That's something to be proud of, I guess. Quite an accomplishment. You are different than the rest of these two-legged fuck factories. Be the beast you were born to be. Rip flesh with your sharp teeth, and revel in the blood. 

When morning comes, I will be gone. You will be a shell of what you were, and that's fine. That's just all right, man. That shit makes some kind of sense. 

Not really, but whatever.