Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Singular Thoughts

“Don't be surprised if your life comes to a bad ending,” his father told him. “There's no
escaping it. Look at your grandfather and me. Your great grandfather didn't have it any better. It's just the way it goes. We're all losers.”

He's in a West Texas motel, sitting in a chair beside the window, staring out through the
blinds. It's high noon, the sun is white hot. The pavement sparkles like the sea. There aren't any
cars in the parking lot. Luther drove away in theirs and he isn't coming back. Across the road, a
half mile out, are two large hills covered in wild grass. On the other side, at the foot of the hills,
is a ravine that is the local dump. He knows this because this isn't his first time in this town. He
dated a woman from here. Her name was Judy, she used to wait tables at a diner down the road
from the motel.

He pulls his fingers out from between the blinds and lets them snap closed. He looks over
at the snub nosed .38 Luther left on the table. He studies the cylinder, thinks about the four
rounds left in it.

Every time he thinks about running, he reaches down and rubs the stump that he has left
for a leg. He lost it just outside of this very town. He and Judy were driving back to her place
after seeing a movie and were hit head on by a driver who'd fallen asleep at the wheel. Judy was
killed instantly. He'd been in a coma for a week, woke up to find his leg gone and his girl dead.
The other driver had also been killed. That was five years ago.

He ran into Luther in a bar two towns from here. They hadn't seen each other in 9 years.
Luther looked like he'd been up for days. He was in need of cash and asked for a loan. He gave
Luther $300. He would have given him more but the rest had gone to paying for a top of the line
prosthetic he'd been saving up for. They were supposed to be going out for breakfast after
drinking the night away. Luther stopped at a 7-11 for cigarettes and decided to rob the place.
Five robberies later, Luther was gone with the car, the cash, and the crutches, which had been in
the back of the car.

He knew the cops were on their way. There had been plenty of witnesses and the desk
clerk hadn't left the back office since they'd checked in. With four bullets and no bravery, a shoot
out with the cops was out of the question. He could shoot himself but that also required bravery.
Because in his mind he was guilty, it never occurred to him to try and explain the situation. What
he needed now was a plan or a miracle.

Just as two Sheriff's department cars pulled up to the office he reacted. First he slammed
his face into the table a few times, then punched himself in the nose. Dazed, he flung himself
onto the bed pulled off the comforter and top sheet. Quickly, he tied himself to the headboard
with the top sheet and waited.

There was a pounding on the door. “Help!” He shouted. A couple of kicks, the door flung
open. The cops rushed in with guns drawn. “Thank God you're here!”

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