The Beginning Of The End

I was almost 25 when I left the city of my birth. It was time to go, time to move on and get away. There were new experiences to be had and the pain of what I had once been, what I had once had was too much. Everywhere I looked there were signs of the glory and the fall.

For most of my life I had been a scrapper, never afraid to fight, never willing to give up and not smart enough to get out. It was a self imposed punishment for sins that I had committed but was unwilling to discuss.

It is not much of a description, not very colorful at all. In fact it is rather ordinary, but that is ok, I am ordinary and I prefer it that way. If you stuck me in a crowd full of people you would be hard pressed to pick me out. It was like that in school, never did or said much in class. No need to draw attention to myself I did what I needed to do to get through and nothing more.

And for the longest time that had been enough, an average, nondescript existence. It suited me fine to be a guy who punched a time clock. But sometimes even the average man find himself in a situation that is beyond his control,a time in which he becomes something more than he has been.

But the question is not what he does to elevate himself but how he handles the elevation.

It was Friday night and I had just finished my shift at the plant. There was no rush to get home because there was no one to get home to, no wife, no family, no girlfriend, not even a dog. Just an empty house that was sparsely furnished.

Friday nights were not much different than any other night of the week. I’d go home, pop open a can of beer and stare blankly at the television screen content to let my brain turn to mush.

On this particular night I decided to stop at an ATM. I wanted to order a pizza and I had nothing but the spare change from the last time I had visited the liquor store. It wasn’t enough to buy a pack of gum, so I was forced to go to the bank.

There were two people ahead of me in line, a man and a woman and behind me there were a couple of teenage boys.

I didn’t see him approach. I didn’t notice anything about him including his presence until he was standing in front of us, waving a gun and shouting for our wallets. I have a bad habit of giggling when I am nervous. I don’t like being the center of attention and now was certainly a bad time to laugh, but laugh I did.

5’8 or so and about a buck twenty sopping wet with a bad haircut and a Judas Priest shirt, that is all he was, oh and he had a big gun and an even bigger attitude. He grabbed my collar and asked me what was so funny. Before I could answer he had grabbed the woman in front of me.

She cried as he pulled her in front of him and asked me if I thought that this was funny. I choked back a snigger and told him that it wasn’t. He told me that if I so much as smiled he would kill her. I wiped the smile off of my face.

It was the wrong thing to do, but I didn’t know it. The jackass cuffed me in the side of the head and laughed. It infuriated me, brought back memories of years of being teased and tortured by my someone who had been like an older brother to me. So I just reacted. I kicked him in the balls and smacked him in the head.

In the movies the gun falls and the hero (there has to be a hero) grabs it. Not here, not in my world. In my world when I slap him there is a flash of light and a loud noise. I am splashed with something, but it feels like hours before I realize that he just shot the woman, and that he did it involuntarily. The wetness I feel on my face is her blood.

I stand there in shock, numb and not really aware anymore of what is happening. The guy she had been with is beating the crap out of the jackass, the Judas Priest shirt is stained now, but it is with his blood.

There is a cop speaking to me, but I don’t answer. The real hero is lying, telling the officer that I saved everyone’s life, that if I hadn’t hit him the guy would have killed us all.

I didn’t hit him, I hit Georgie. It was Georgie I saw in front of me. It was Georgie taunting me, I just snapped and reacted. But I guess that somewhere inside I began to hear and to believe that I had been the hero, that when the bell rang I had come out swinging.

And that was really the beginning of the end.


Jack’s Note: This is a work of fiction.

Categories: Yeah Write | 47 Comments

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47 thoughts on “The Beginning Of The End

  1. Good one! (Thank goodness its fiction!)

  2. raisingivy

    I’m with Gia; I was so worried about you throughout and so relieved to find out this is fiction! Good voice, and obviously a compelling plot. And I bet there’s more to this story. . .

  3. Ok you totally had me freaking out. I believed every part of it (although I wondered how a Mr.-Beer-Drinker-Tv-Watcher had become such a good writer…)

  4. Fantastic story!!! I love that the character just reacted. I can relate to the giggling. I have done that under stress and at inappropriate times. Kind of uncomfortable!

    • TheJackB

      Thanks. I like nervous energy. It is easy to relate to and something many people do.

  5. Larks

    Yes. Thank God this is fiction. Half way through I was like, “This had better be fiction. Or God alone knows how I’m going to comment on this… ‘Great piece! I’m really sorry that you got held up at an ATM and then had an ill timed flashback resulting in a woman getting shot in the face. Favorite piece on ‘Yeah Write!’ so far!'”

    I totally got sucked in. Which is a good thing. I’d be interested in seeing what happens to buck twenty dude next.

    • TheJackB

      I know two people who were murdered at ATMs so some of this was sort of pulled from those stories.

  6. Scary. It read like a true story. Compelling till the last word.

  7. Very interesting! Love the twist. Did not go at all where I thought it would – the unlikely underdog saving the day. But I love what you did with it and seeing the tragic twist through your man’s eyes. Great stuff.

  8. Wow…wonderful writing. I was enthralled….I’m so happy to hear it was fiction though. That was really scary there.

    • TheJackB

      I am with you. I like the idea of being the hero but I would rather not find out this way. 😉

  9. Great story. It definitely didn’t end like I thought it would, but I think it went someplace far more compelling. After the last line, I found myself saying out loud, “well what happens next?” Really well done.

  10. I’m another who is so glad this is fiction — I love that you tied the sins of his past to the safety of his present. Very cool!

    • TheJackB

      Our past always has some influence on our present. The question is what is it and how much of a role does it play.

  11. Your pace matched the uneasiness/dread we were all feeling! Wonderful!

  12. You had me so worried! I was very happy to read the fiction bit at the end. Great job, very suspenseful!

  13. Whoa – I held my breath throughout and am still shaken up. The suspense was palpable and the pacing, spot on. Great job!

  14. There are so many teasers in here that make me want to read more, to hear this character’s whole story, what came before and what comes next.

    • TheJackB

      Sorry for not responding earlier, this got caught in the spam folder. I’ll have more to share with you all soon.

  15. wcdameron

    Very well done. The details about Georgie made this story.

  16. I loved the connections in the man’s life that led to the moment when he snapped and acted not against an aggressor with a gun, but against a childhood bully who had sucked him in too long. And I loved how the protagonist believes the guy calling him a hero is lying, and how he obviously feels a sense of responsibility, like laughing was what really caused it.

    • TheJackB

      Hi JQ,

      One of the things I love about the Yeah Write community is this feedback. I am trying to build characters who have more depth and layers to them, but am not always certain when I have done it. I appreciate you’re sharing that because it is good to know you see it. Success at any level is good.

  17. Holy crap, Jack B, you had me going. That was terrifying and you did a great job with the characterization. Man. Great job.

  18. Oh wow, what a powerful and haunting piece of fiction. You wrote the characters so well, and it was easy to picture myself in the scene, although I’m certainly glad I wasn’t there…

    • TheJackB

      I hear you. Can’t say I blame you, no reason to be around that if you can avoid it.

  19. Wow! Good stuff!!!

  20. I was sweating it…so glad this isn’t true!!

  21. You really do have a gift. The whole time I hoped this wasn’t another story where you won’t say if it’s fiction or not. Thanks for letting us know!

    • TheJackB

      Sometimes it is fun not to say anything, but I don’t want to aggravate everyone all of the time. 😉

  22. Pingback: Georgie « Words Left Unwritten

  23. Good story, Jack. Nice to get to the top of it.

  24. That last part was especially fascinating. You threw out the hook and started to reel us in!

  25. Pingback: Barry Manilow Could Be A Blogger - The JackB

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