Wuzn Ma Faul

by Ares Demertzis (Aug. 2007)



The old man sitting in his car had just finished dropping off his granddaughters for their weekly ballet lesson in front of a brick faced, two storied building just off Main Street.  As he was about to drive away from the curb, he noticed that one of the little girls had forgotten her ballet slippers.  It was while getting out of his car to take them to her class that he saw them.  There were two of them.  Two young men sauntering arrogantly along the empty street, scorning the use of the deserted sidewalk, their bodies twitching fitfully to music heard only in their heads.  They were dressed in the currently stylish uniform: baggy pants with oversize shirts, dark sunglasses pushed up over narrow foreheads, and baseball caps worn backward over long, unkempt hair.  They stared at the old man with hungry eyes; the fixed intensity of predators preparing an imminent strike.


Feeling intimidated, he apprehensively slipped back into his car as the two young men suddenly separated in a manoeuvre resembling that of the cunning, ravenous beasts of the African Savannah, each moving swiftly to either side of the vehicle.  The old man pushed the security button, and all four doors automatically bolted shut.


The young man standing at the driver’s side door stared with an amused grin at his frightened prey trapped within.  He shook his head chidingly as he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a pistol.  The old man felt his heart unexpectedly twist; his chest tightened, making his breathing laborious.  Rapidly averting his face, he turned to look out through the windshield; he could see the intersection of Main Street barely half a block away.  A brilliant midday sun illuminated the transient pedestrians and automobiles.  He perceived their activity as in a dream, an illusion projected in that exaggerated, artificial slow motion only experienced at the cinema; time extended, prolonged, lengthened, maximized, intensified, made to last longer.  People and vehicles.  People and vehicles.  People and vehicles occupied with carrying out their commonplace, everyday affairs.  He thought his eyes had unexpectedly dilated, for the images appeared somehow much brighter, overexposed; even the shaded side street where he was sitting in his automobile now seemed to radiate a curious brightness.  He felt an urge to cry out, to scream, but controlled himself, knowing it was futile; no one could hear, and even if they could, no one would interfere. 


The old man turned to look again up into his assailants face; the smirk on the twisted mouth.  He felt impotent rage well up from within, because he knew his eyes betrayed an involuntary, instinctive supplication, and he didn’t want to leave the world this way; he didn’t want to die pleading for his life.  Abruptly, an insignificant detail that he considered somehow important came to mind: he had forgotten to inform his wife that her brother had called to invite them for dinner next Saturday, and he experienced an uneasy sensation that he had surely forgotten to tell her other equally important things that he just couldn’t, at that moment, remember. 


Without saying a word, the young man fired one bullet, shattering the car’s window.  The impact sprawled the old man’s body across the front seat, over the diminutive, pink ballet slippers, a tiny hole having penetrated his left temple.  A large chunk of his right skull had exploded against the passenger side window, leaving a dripping crimson spray.  




Standing awkwardly before the judge in an ill fitting, recently purchased suit and tie, the perfectly combed and clean shaved young man fidgeted uncomfortably.  He stared at the floor with an expressionless, vacant look as he spoke.


“Wuzn ma faul.  Ol man think he smart.  Yeah.  He so smart!  I was jes¨ gonna take d´car, but he lock them door up.  So I take his life ´sted.  Wuzn ma faul.”




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