Chapter Twelve

We Are All Angels

~

Even i felt my colleague to be ok, i didn’t have a good night sleep, you know, in prison, they are good to you until you get in debt and then the circus comes in town … to be honest, i slept with my ass “glued” to the wall.

The first weeks were as normal as can be in a prison for a new inmate, a few guys asked for cigarettes, i don’t smoke, they beat the shit out of me, another bunch of guys asked for drugs, i don’t take any, they beat the shit out of me and someday as i expected some guys come around me in the showers, i said no, they beat the shit out of me and this being the foreplay in this world, four of them were holding my arms and legs and the fifth one was “getting ready”. I couldn’t move, drips of blood coming from my nose mixed with the water, i was so still, like a stone. The world collapsed.

No, it didn’t.

– Hey, hey, hey, boys … hold your horses !!!

“The surgeon” with like ten so ugly looking guys looked at me and my love bird.

Love bird went crazy and i can’t blame him. 🙂

– The fuck do you want ?!

Surgeon with a calm voice.

– The little shit is ours, we all want to be friends right?

Love bird was pissed off, he thought for a second, signal the others to let go and they went away.

I felt in a waterfall of happiness.

~

Back in the cell “the surgeon” asked me directly.

– What do you do for a living out there?

– I’m a psychologist.

– No shit ?! Hahahahahaha !!! Dangerous job, man !

– What do you mean ?

– Never mind. From this moment you stay by my side, don’t talk unless you’re really know what to say, don’t look into their eyes, don’t take shit from anybody and show them you’re ready to fight whatever the costs, capisci?!

– Got it man. But why are you doing this? Why are you helping me?

– I’m returning a favor. But don’t you think you don’t have to pay.

One thing came into my head: don’t tell me i would be your bitch. I took a deep breath and asked him.

– What can i do for you?

– You see, there is this inmate Steve, a very closed buddy of mine and he dived very deep in this drugs thing and religion, beautiful combination huh?! He is trying to set a record or something, he beat the shit out of a dozen, inmates, guards since he came here. He doesn’t talk to any of us, he’s very violent, he doesn’t want to talk to his mother anymore, he is just in this state of machine. The thing is i know his mother and how much she suffered, i know her life and this boy is all she has. I fear he might end up dead.

– Any info about Steve?

– Well, he grew in a very poor family, his real father was  treating him and his mother like dirt, he was beating them almost daily. He grew up from police station to police station troubled kid, very troubled kid.

– Where i can find him?

– Cell block 6.

– No, not in is own waters.

– Try when he’s at this “We are all angels” religious assembly, every friday.

~

[Friday, “We are all angels” assembly]

– Hello all of you my fellow people. I am reverend Michael and i welcome you all those who have found God at last. We have new guys here, you sir, what’s your name?

Yes, he looked at me and also Steve was there, he was also looking at me. ME and religious assemblies, i knew things will go up in the air.

– My name is Mark.

– Good day Mark, when did you find God my son?

– I didn’t find it reverend, he was there all this time, he always pick me up where he left me.

Reverend was looking at me in shock.

– I beg your pardon ?!

– Sorry reverend, never mind, please go on with your thing.

Steve was looking at me all this time listening with interest.

– No, no, no my son, do you mock God ?

– No sir, and even if i did, God wouldn’t mind that?

– Why do you think so my son?

– Because God have the greatest sense of humor, he likes that but somehow we’ve been thought this is in no way part of the divine.

– Do you think that mocking and laughing the divine should be alright for a clean soul?

– No reverend, i think the church is missing the point of what should teach us, it is on the wrong track and  they will fail big time with people.

– Explain this my son.

He was getting nervous. I was getting nervous too, i always do in those circumstances. I forgot for what i came here, it was personal now.

– I will explain. The church is doing all this thing it’s doing for thousand of years and it was more than necessary because people lived in chaos and didn’t follow any rules, the church settle things down, it was good. But free thinkers emerged that questioned the ways of the church and started to see that there are other things of equal benefit that religion, like all the nature give us to heal the body, the spirit. What happened to those free thinkers, they burned alive. Time passed, and these days, people are not very sure that only praying is enough. The world have seen so much suffering, for thousand of years and the message of the church was the same. People changed the way they see the world, i can’t stop it, the church can’t stop it, it’s just the way it is. They went away because the things are getting worst for everybody and they started to realize that something needs to be changed.

– Like what?!

– I don’t know, but we all will figure it out, that’s the beauty of being human and when we all will see that, things will turn out for the best.

– No! People don’t came to church anymore because they forgot God.

– No! They don’t come to church because of the opposite, they started to remember the true God.

Reverend snapped.

– You think you know it all boy ?!?!  Look at this poor souls in this prison. What can you all people do to help them ?!

I didn’t wanted the discussion to blow off.

– Not to judge them … and learn from an early age to look out for each other. If we know the one sin our life that only want the best for us … there will be less suffering, and no more prisons.

Total silence …

– I’m sorry …

~

I went straight to my cell with my mind a mess, i couldn’t think straight, i crashed in my bad. I slept great for the first time being in prison. I woke up in the morning, “the surgeon” was beside me.

– Mornin’ man … i heard you put on quite a show yesterday with the good old reverend.

– I had nothing personal with the guy, he’s just an employee. And about Steve … i didn’t do much.

The surgeon smiled at me.

– Forget about it … maybe you already did something.

– Why are you helping me “surgeon” ?

– I am a man of few words … I was a doctor back in real world … I’m in here for 1st degree murder, done 20 years, 30 to go … guess i won’t come out of here alive. I was helped by this guy, also locked up for murder, he said it was innocent and i’m pretty sure he was, he died in prison and he spent almost his entire life in prison. You won’t be here for long but i felt i should help … you see, life just goes round and round. One small mistake can turn your world upside down … the question is if next time you will do the same.

He gathered his strength and continued.

– My sister had always bad time with men, one day she was pregnant with this guy, he left her, she found another, but the guy was a jerk, an alcoholic, scum of the earth. They had this wonderful little girl that i loved and i will love until the day i will die and beyond. She grew around fights, screaming and beatings, my family had this shitty outline not to intervene, a stupid thing, a very stupid thing. Things got worst and worst, and one day, my niece came to me crying … the cock sucker was abusing her. My life was upside down, i cracked. I had this tiny backup clandestine medical center in the basement of a cottage in the mountains, for taking care of wounds of not very nice people, you know, i was young and you can’t forget childhood friends.

– That’s why you have so many friends in here ready to do what ever it takes to save you.

– Yeah … so i kidnapped the fucker, put him to sleep cut his dick off, you know, just like in the movies.

I must admit i was in shock but i listened to him, he was not enjoying telling me this and i could tell he was in pain.

– He woke up, he was shocked, he just couldn’t believe what happened to him but he didn’t repent his sins, no, no, no, he was a macho the fucking asshole and started to shout at me explaining in detail what he should have done with “the little bitch”. I snapped again, put him to sleep, cut all his limbs, he woke up, i played the tape … he was not very thrilled … he died. I went straight to the police, i was all over the news, i am here now … justice was made.

I was shocked, shivers went down my spine, my head started to hurt, my soul was in pain.

– Justice …

– Look around you Mark, look around all the guys in this prison, who knows how much they suffered and what’s in their souls, what made them what they are, maybe they’ve done all they’ve done because of fear, maybe some are innocent and all we do is judge them. Maybe we should judge ourselves because we let that happen … who’s preventing this, the education system, the police, God?! God loves us all but he just can’t do all by himself, he needs some help from us.

– Yes … maybe we are all angels …

~

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Chapter Eleven

End of the World

~

Last night not much until dawn, Carla insisted to go home and i get her there right away and i managed to get asleep for two hours when …

[SFX: KNOCK ! KNOCK ! KNOCK !] on my trailer door. I opened the door and there was the amazing police officer with this smile that made me puke.

– I knew there was something wrong with you …

– Excuse me ?!

His face went blank.

– Mark Lecter, you are under arrest for violent assault and accessory to murder.

– WHAT ?!?!?!

– Take him! And take the car and turn it upside down for evidence.

I was shocked, they were taking me to the big city, but wait … Carla … i need to talk to her.

– Officer, please, get i have my phone call ?!

The officer took my phone, said no smiling and threw it out the window, straight  in the river we were crossing.

~

The evidences were clear, one guy was killed by Hawk, the other two lived but to “my guy”, i did too much breaking the guy limbs. It’s funny what you can to out of fear and with the urge to protect yourself.

Things happened too fast and in a series of events very unfortunate for me, and trust me i don’t feel bad about this, i’m done doing that, there’s always this type of bad events that i encounter in very “special” moments in my life. It’s not a bad thing, it’s not a good thing, just this is how it goes with life, balance. Don’t feel bad when bad happens, just wait a little and see what comes next, in almost any cases you’ll be surprised.

I had the worst lawyer and the worst jury, all the planets were against me, i heard Hawk got around 10 years, i got 4.

I felt like those kamikaze pilots going down … Mom, i’m screwed, i’m sorry!

I gathered all my strength and called my mother, i was walking on egg shells but i made it through, she was not in good health but she felt me i accepted my situation.

Carla didn’t answered my calls for days. I called at the bakery, she was not there, something was wrong, very wrong.

Time to go.

~

Do you know the term from the movies as the Dutch angle? You know, in old horror and thriller movies where the shot is oblique and shot from below the subject to emphasize tension and peculiarness?

I was looking through van’s window and i couldn’t get the whole picture of the huge prison building so i tilted my head and looked up. Even the sky was cloudy and in the dimmed light, the trees, the only life sign were looking black as hell. What can i say, the perfect Hitchcock movie. There are some places in this world that are filled with negative energy and we just can feel them, the state prison gave me the exact feeling, is it because the bad people inside or is it because if the actual suffering of the people inside?

All i ever heard and see on TV were in my face now, i was so nervous i could cut a tree by just holding the chainsaw, with the power off.

Inside my head was a mess, all i could think of was the good things i will lose if i will not get this punishment to the end. But it’s not easy to stay focused when you know you’re in hell. Survive man … calm down … calm down … you just have to put on your best show … you know … it may be your last one.

I stepped in this small cell, door shut loudly behind me, my senses turn full speed on. There is this old guy but very strong, looking at me with the eyes like stone, i couldn’t get any feeling from his eyes.

The first challenge, two beds, strong inmate, me, a first timer, so i dropped the first bomb.

– So any bed i chose it’s taken right ?!

Stupid bomb, one of the most stupid thing i have ever said, and trust me, i said lots of crazy stuff.

He grabbed me by the neck with his strong arms and put me against the wall. I was kind of levitating and sprayed all over the face as it gave me the “introduction”.

– Listen to me you piece of shit, don’t give this bullshit attitude you fucking filth, if you don’t behave i’ll make sure you’ll be eating through a tube for the rest of your shitty life and when i’m done with you, i have some friends in cell block eight that will give you the long chain of steel like there is no tomorrow. Do i made myself clear ?!

Me, still levitating, i nodded trying to get some air in my lungs.

– DO I MADE MYSELF CLEAR ??!!??!!

I nodded again.

I was down, trying not to die, it felt really hard that moment. The guy went on the bed below but all this time he looked at me every second, i felt it.

I get myself together and promised me that i should think like i never did it again, got on the bad and started to assess the situation.

“The guy was old but very strong, he could have spent many years in jail so he has the physical and mental advantage of a long time inmate. I didn’t see any tattoos sticking out of his orange jumpsuit and if he don’t have any, it might be a good sign. If he don’t have tattoos and he’s interested in something else, if you know what i mean, i’m fucked, literally! I might be in a relatively safe wing, at least i dream of it. I have to be ready to fight every second, i am in constant war, because i have to survive and i have no intention of losing my ‘virginity’ “.

Suddenly, the guy spoke again.

– You should first say hello when you enter in some one house.

My bad thoughts disappeared, this is a good sign, the guy is good, the guy scanned me better and faster, he saw i’m like a chicken in a den of foxes.

I reached my hand and said sorry.

– I’m Mark.

– Name is not important, people around here call me “surgeon”. Why are you here?

– Assault.

– Don’t give me those bullshit names those fuckers made up! Why are you exactly here?

– I ran into those three guys attacking a man and a woman, i try to help them, things went wrong, the other guy killed one and injured one, i broke an arm and a leg and pretty smashed the face of the third one.

He started to laugh like crazy and he started to shout.

– AND JUSTICE FOR ALL !!!!!!!!!

~

Chapter Ten

Melt

~

I couldn’t get Mrs.Hackelby out of my head, what is her lesson, what is my lesson, i was trying to get an answer, but there was this gentle breeze started and an inner call emptied my mind … Carla!!!

It was around mid day and i ran to get some food and went straight to the Baker’s Shop.

The store was so well maintained, very clean and appealing, after all it’s a bakery, it should give you a sense of confidence.

Inside, at the counter, there was this old but very strong guy that, i could tell by his face that he is a nice man but troubled by life.

– Hello!

– Hello sonny boy, what can i get you?!

– I am here to see Carla.

– She’s not here, she’s down at old Mrs.Lincoln, she’ll be back.

– Can i wait for her?!

– No! … but you can help me with these flour sacks, sonny boy.

We started working and boy, those sacks were so heavy. Maybe i’m not the strongest person alive, but i could tell for sure Mr.Rivers, as strong as he was, he was experiences some back problems.

The bell hanged by the door rang when Carla entered the shop and smile with surprise as we were sweating like water fountains and started teasing us.

– Sorry to interrupt … is this a guy only thing … should i go and come back later?!

We both laugh and Mr.Rivers played along.

– If i was a little younger, he wouldn’t escape very easy. 🙂

Carla went to see about the oven, she opened the door and the light and heat went violently on her face, she backed up a little but continued, like she would never give up.

– Watch out !!!

I shouted, she turned to me.

– What ?!

– Beware, you could melt …

I said to her with that big smile on my face but waiting her to get back at me. She looked at me from the corner of her eyes.

– Is this your best line ?! 🙂

Mr.Rivers saved the day.

– Sonny boy, you helped a poor old man, come on, have a cup of coffee with me.

My plan was to take Carla out for lunch, but i couldn’t left Mr.Rivers like that, it was not appropriate.

– Come everybody, lunch is on me … you bring the bread! 🙂

~

The annual summer “Farmer’s festival” was approaching and there was much to do in the bakery and for a few days i helped around. Hard work to do but hey, i was spending time with Carla. In the evening she went home to work on her book.

One evening, all three of us were so tired, Mr.Rivers turn to us with the speed of an elephant.

– Kids, tomorrow i will give you the day off.

Carla was thrilled.

– Thank you Mr.Rivers … i want to go sailing.

– Come with me kids.

We followed Mr.Rivers out of the store, through the market, along the docks to this kinda big hut by the sea, he opened the doors and there she was the most beautiful catamaran i have ever seen. He asked me.

– Sonny boy, you know how to sail?

– You bet, i was ailing with my dad since i was a little boy.

– Look at this beauty, are you really sure you can handle her?

– Just try me !

~

The next day, early in the morning, i was getting the boat ready and i have to be honest with you, i was a little nervous. And i have lots of reasons to be like that and the number one is just walking on the docks.

I don’t know if you are with me on this one, but there are times in my life when i just can’t stop watching something, someone, i don’t know if you understand me, but i just can’t help it, just like a mosquito to the light. BBZZZZZ !!!

She walked charming that day she was in a state of “dolce far niente”, big bag in one hand and with the other she was holding her hat.

– The hat looks great on you!

– We don’t want me to melt didn’t we …

🙂

– Welcome aboard !

I reach my hand, she grabbed it and step on the boat like a ballerina.

We sailed on the waves like two leaves in the wind, we both just didn’t care, we enjoyed the sea, the sun, each other.

Do you want to feel it ? It’s easy … just close your eyes, empty your mind and dive into your deepest desires and fantasies.

Around the cliffs we have found this cave that lead the way to this lagoon, just like a bucket with walls of stones, some sand on the sides and the blue-greenish water you can ever imagine.

We both dived in the water and started to look for shells, snails, you know, little treasures of the sea, we got back to the sand, both lying on the sand started to look at the shells.

– Maaaark.

– Yeeees.

– Look, this one is closed.

– Let me see … yeah … it will open when the time is right … can i ?!

– Please …

I threw the shell back in water.

– Maaaark …

– Yeeees.

– Look at the sky and hear the silence … it’s so calming.

– You’re right …

– Maaaark …

– I felt that coming.

– 🙂

– What do you do all that you do?!

– Like what?!

– You want to help everybody.

– I don’t know, i just feel great about it.

– There is no specific reason?!

– I don’t think so, it just something inside that calls me for that … How can i explain … it’s just like you writing your book …

She just reached and squeezed my hand gently.

~

At night we arrived at the bakery and Mr.Rivers was there with the glasses on and on the table lots of papers.

– Hey kids, how was your day, did you come back swimming.

– No no no Mr.Rivers, the boat is alright, she’s sleeping like a baby in one piece.

– Kids, tomorrow it’s the festival and i will leave you in charge. I have to go to the big city to handle some urgent matters regarding the shop, alright? I’m counting on you!

– Alright !

– I’m going to sleep now, Mark, please help me to get all this paper together.

I carefully put the papers in order and hey, the signature of Mr.Rivers looks so strong, so it’s true, it says much about one’s personality.

~

The morning of the festival day  we were so ready, first thing in the morning, everyone was in front of the stores with fresh products, the smell of Carla’s bread and cakes were bringing dead people to life, she worked so hard and i was behind her all the time. You know what i love about those local gatherings, people go hand in hand to get the festival going, they really feel a community, at this type of events people met, people break up, they laugh, they cry, they make some money, some don’t but in the end they got each other not even realising it.

She was nervous in the morning but she never admit it, i encourage her during the day and when the night came and we closed the store she just collapsed.

– Thank you, Mark!

– You’re welcome …

Outside, fireworks were lighting up the night sky, she turned to the window and said.

– Would you hold me in your arms?

I wrapped her with my hands and she wrapped my hands with her’s.

– Carla … i’m falling in love with you at an alarming pace …

She squeezed my hands harder.

– Take it slow …

I slowly turned her around, took her by her waist and lifted her on the table. Little clouds of flower started to dance in the light of the fireworks … we melted in each other’s arms, we became one.

~

Chapter Nine

Sweet Secrets

~

– Here you go Jane!

She said to herself as she was about to board the “Splendor”. People were going here and there on the docks in big hurry, sea gulls were flying, they were free, she looked up at the sky, she felt free.

It was the greatest summer day, she was holding her luggage and the painting stuff, she was fragile if you’ve looked at her, you couldn’t believe she can hold so much stuff. She was excited like a kid in front of a candy store, she was out of the cage, the chains were broken even for a short amount of time.

The ship was new, she was really a splendor, an engineering marvel technically, but very old school looking.

She ran into her cabin, threw the luggage on the bed, grabbed the painting set and wooosh, she went on the deck to sketch the harbor. The deck was so crowded, sailors were busy running everywhere to get the ship ready to set sail, people couldn’t find their cabins, she was just bumped and pushed from place to place.

She went to this corner.

– Lady, you can’t sit there!

She went in the other corner.

– No, no, no, get out of there, you can’t stand there.

She went in that corner.

– WATCH OOOUTT !

She ducked as a big rope with a huge metal hook swing above her head. Jane was in shock, but suddenly she felt  someone touching gently her arm and a voice whispered into her year.

– Come with me!

By instinct, she let her be carried away by the hand on the metal steps, deck 1, deck 2, deck 3, the highest deck.

Everything stopped.

It was the perfect view of the town and the harbor.

– I am sorry to interrupt …

She came down to earth and turn to the “savior”, a tall handsome man, dressed in white uniform, so confident and so proud, but in a calm way.

– I am Captain Powers and i don’t want accidents on my ship, it was reckless of you to go in all those dangerous places on the ship.

She was so ashamed.

– I am really sorry … I am Jane Hackelby.

As he turned around.

– I thought this will be a good spot for you.

– Thank you captain !!!

He waved slowly as he was going down the stairs.

~

Life on board was relaxing for Jane, and familiar, there were lots of painters that got together to share experiences, techniques, feelings. She was sailing on a sea of creativity, she really felt alive.

That morning she was more then happy because she received a message from her in-laws, that the kid was alright, healthy and he missed her mom. She was around the other painters on the back of the ship, all working on the stunning cliff they were slowly passing by.

She was very concentrated on her work but she felt a presence, she turned around, Captain Powers was checking her work a few feet away … he nodded his head like he’s so impressed in what he sees. She smiled, he smiled and walked away.

[A few days later]

Jane get a message from Gerard.

“I thought you missed me STOP is it all about painting? STOP when will you come home? STOP”.

Here they were again …

Days passed, she recovered, she was having a good time with the other paintings, working, laughing getting better, experiencing and checking about the little boy with the in-laws.

That morning she was getting ready to get on the deck to paint and another message from Gerard came.

“i thought you would come home earlier STOP that’s how much you love me STOP where are you STOP i will send a car to pick you up STOP”

She felt the world crumbled, her heart was shattered in pieces she felt a flow of spears rushing through her veins, she grabbed her painting set and went running to the deck.

Jane was climbing the narrow metal stair looking down at the big waves that hit the ship like wild dogs biting she tripped and bumped in a sailor going down the stairs also in a hurry to get the ship ready for stopping in the next harbor.

But everything stopped … again … and the world ended.

The painting set was flying to the water, the brushes scattered in the wind.

She grabbed the railing and set down on the metal steps with a sea of tears on her face.

She started to think this is a sign, that she didn’t have to be here in the first place, she was confused, she was really down.

The ship coasted in the next harbor for the next three days, a slice of heaven island, but she couldn’t get up from her bed, she was crying rivers, she was so down and so full of negative thoughts.

She skipped lunch and after the dinner was over, she was  also in her bed with napkins all over the bed like a cotton field.

[SFX: Knock! Knock!]

– Go awaaaay !!! …

[SFX: Knock! Knock!]

– What is it?!

She dragged herself from the bed, looked in the mirror … big swollen eyes, make-up in a mess around the eyes … she swiped once her face hoping this gesture will do magic on her appearance and she opened the door of her cabin.

– Hello!

– Hi.

– Ms.Hackelby, i have something for you.

There was this big flat beautiful wrapped present and it also had a ribbon.

Jane was puzzled she acted like she didn’t knew what to do, she was chaotic. Captain Powers came to the rescue.

– You don’t have to say anything, please … calm down and take it. It’s no big deal. I hope you will be fine.

She took the present  and closed the door, put the present on the little table and crashed on the bed. But if you think a woman will still stay on the bed after she received a present, boy, you’re so wrong. As she was standing face down on the bed, like being crucified, she turned her head to the present on the table, she dragged her there and opened the present.

It was a brand new painting set.

Poor girl instantly get to her senses, washed, fixed make-up, dressed and in not more than 5 minutes she was on the highest deck, the captain was there.

She threw her arm around his neck.

– Thank you so much captain!

He get around her waist  with his arms squeezing her back. She let go of him.

– This is the greatest present i have ever received.

He smiled.

– You’re welcome. And you can call me John.

~

The last month of the cruise, the Jane and John were inseparable, they talked for hours, she painted, they walked and explored every harbor town the ship stopped, they felt very open and sincere and the captain turned out to be very sensitive and supportive. She loved that, she was at large, she was herself, she have found the greatest friend.

Messages from Gerard continued but as long as her child were alright and she was not needed, she thought she would get the trip going until the end.

And here came the last night of the cruise, the last night together, she didn’t do anything all day, she just sat in her room and thought about her life, her marriage, her kid, painting, the awesome moments spent with John.

Gerard gave her tones of presents but never a single brush or canvas, he looked at her pictures in the beginning but not like the good captain, she had everything she wanted with Gerard but all this time with John, she really felt communicating with someone a man really being there for her.

They were at the ship’s restaurant for the last lunch, both dressed impeccable, both trying to enjoy every breath of the other one. They were not showing that but they both felt it on the other side.

– John, can i ask you something?

– Of course.

– Why are you a ship’s captain?

– I feel free at sea, i’m feeling like home and i think i will change this only with a very strong reason. You see, it’s exactly like you, and painting.

She couldn’t believe her ears, her heart almost exploded.

After the lunch, they both started to walk to Jane’s cabin but they were like one step forward two steps back, they were kind of nervous …

They get in front of Jane’s cabin door. She looked at him.

– John … can i ask you something?

– Of course.

– We had some great talks during this trip, what can you say you have discovered about me? Honestly !

– Honestly ?! Nothing !

– Oh, sorry, it was a dumb question!

– And to be brutally honest … right now i wish i could leave the sea to discover you.

Her heart was shattered in a million diamond islands in the ocean and she went in her head.

[ Is it over … it can’t be ]

They touched their lips like the sky kisses the ocean in a clear night, he took her in his arms and opened the cabin door.

~

– Nine months later, my daughter was born.

Said Mrs.Hackelby turning from great sadness to a smile while looking at me.

I didn’t get it.

– … And what happened to Captain Powers … ?

– That night we made plans to go together, i was supposed to get the boy and leave Gerard but when i got home, all sorts of crazy and dark thoughts came to my mind. What if i was just another girl, how can i explain this to Gerard, what would he think of me, what his parents will think about me, that i was indeed not good for their son, they hated me from the start, what will think of me my little boy, they will never let me take him away from them, it’s my husband, he loves me in his way, what if i will give up painting, maybe things will improve in my marriage .. what if ?!… what if ?! John insisted we should meet and sort things out, he could not believe i turned my back on him, we met, i told him i don’t want to ever see him, i’m a married woman and what happened to in the cruise was the biggest mistake. He was devastated, he knew i mean it, i made him swear he will never try to find me … but he did one more thing, he send me the letter …  and i didn’t went to the docks … i couldn’t.

Tears were coming from her eyes.

– I never saw him again …

I took her hand in mine.

– It’s alright …

– You don’t say anything ?! You don’t judge me ?!

– No, you have suffered enough.

– Mark …

– Yes.

– I owe you an explanation … you know, the hand thing …

– Only if it will make you feel better.

– My daughter don’t know anything about her real father. After a few years, Gerard died. We had lots of arguments and i think he suspected something about my daughter. My in-laws told me one day not long after he died, that i should live the house and live my boy with them. I get to Happyville with both my kids, not without a fight with nothing and we started over. All this killed me little by little and one night, after a fight with Gerard’s mother, i collapsed, God punished me and left me motionless. My kids take care of me for years, they didn’t deserved this, my son was more of an adventurous type, but my daughter was by my side for years. I couldn’t take it anymore, all i wanted was to kill myself and set her free. I prayed to God every second and God helped me, one day my arm moved … a few days later i smashed the window that shattered over me and a divine big piece of glass cut my wrist … i panicked … again … i was a coward, i should have take a piece of glass and finish it … the neighbour came and … i get to the “Thousand Oaks”.

I squeezed her hand … she squeezed mine.

– Thank you Mark!

– You’re welcome!

– You can go now … and Mark … this story will stay in this room.

– Or what?!

– You know, i’ll beat you to death, and you know i can do it now!

~

Chapter Eight

The Green Envelope

~

[SFX: phone ringing]

– Yes!

– Is this Mark Lecter?

– Yes. How can i help you?

– You always want to help … This is Jane Hackelby speaking.

– Oh God, did you send a hitman to put a bullet in my head and wanted to hear my die?!

– No! I want to talk to you, please come see me.

Mrs.Hackelby to say that? Her tone was so calm and friendly, no more mrs. wise woman.

– Alright Mrs.Hackelby, i will get there.

~

I drove to “Thousand Oaks”, past the huge metal gate along the road with the old oaks right in front the entrance.

At the reception, Dorothy was looking at me sitting with the elbows on the counter. I went to her and took her hands in mine.

– I promise you i’ll be a good boy.

– I know …

Got at the entrance of her room, again a deep breath and i knocked.

– Come in.

– Hello Mrs.Hackelby.

– Hello Mark. Come sit here with me.

I don’t know why but my heart was bumping out of my chest. I always thought there’s something special about Mrs.Hackelby, i kind of liked her. I was sitting on the bed with her, she didn’t lose time, she gave me the green envelope. I took it in my hands like it was some sort of ancient artifact but it was an old regular green envelope with a “Please do not open” written on it.

– Mark, you can open it and read it.

– Are you sure you want me to do that?

– I wish i was sure in more important cross roads in my life.

~

“Dear Jane,

I can’t believe you told me those words, you know i love you and i know you love me, i told you that, you told me that. I can’t understand why do you want to stay in that prison cell you called marriage, you can’t be serious. We made plans but you went back, were you serious? Our moments together was the biggest mistake?

 Questions, questions, those questions are killing second by second but at least you looked me in my eyes when you said we will never see each other again.

You killed my world … but i respect your choice and in  a parallel world maybe we shouldn’t have fallen in love with each other, you are a married woman, you have a wonderful little boy, maybe this is our destiny, this is my doom.

I’m living the harbor tomorrow at noon, i will wait for you on the deck.

You are the biggest love of my life and i will always love you even after i’ll leave the earth, we are meant to be together and we’ll always be together.

Yours, always

John Powers”

– I didn’t went to the docks …

– And this was my doom. This was the decision that ruined my life and of others …

– What are you saying, a bad decision will result in a bad life only if you don’t see the next cross road.

– You think so?

– Believe so! … Can i ask you why?

– Why what?

– Why didn’t you go with him?

– Weakness, fear … and the stupid outlines … i remembered how it all started …

~

[Many, many years ago]

Gerard Hackelby was a young man in his 30’s coming from the wealthier family in town, he was not ugly but not handsome, not chasing after girls, a little shy, not very educated but very anchored in his father’s business. His only problem, by their parents was that he didn’t gave any signs he wants to get married. Mother and father talked this problem for years but in the last period of time they were like crazy on him. Every night they sat at the fireplace reading or listening to music.

– Gerard my son. Do you know Glenda Wilson?

– Yes mom, i know Glenda Wilson, she’ll get married soon.

– You knew about this?!

– No, but everytime you brought up a girl to the discussion, she married recently or she is about to get married.

– And that should make you think my son.

Father backed her up.

– You know Gerard, the business we have is a family business, your mother and i worked very hard and only together we could get all this around us. All the good girls are taken and you’ll feel very sorry when you’ll wonder alone around town. You should get a wife and have kids, that’s the way it is boy.

Gerard couldn’t take it no more, they were killing him with the marriage business and in this psychological war he decided he can only do one thing … go fishing.

He was sitting on the docks thinking about all the things his parents said to him, he just wanted to take care of the business and to go fishing.

But if someone is constantly bombarding you with something, you know, the chinese water torture, in the end, your gate went down, your will crumbles and you give up. The conclusion was simple and expected, he have to do anything to get married.

Another day fishing after work, made a list of all the girls in town and started to cut the ones that are not available.

Surprise, the list ended with all the names cut off.

He went fishing again and suddenly he realized that every time he went fishing, there, on the docks, there was this girl painting, she was there that day.

– Very nice painting, very realistic.

– Oh! You scared me …

– I am very sorry … I am Gerard Hackelby.

– Delighted, i am Jane Gibson.

– I was looking at you every time [author note: LIAR ! ] i went fishing and you were here painting, i always wanted to see what are you working on.

– Here it is, hope you like my paintings, i have the most fulfilling time when i paint, i consider this my life. What do you like to do?

– Me? I just run side by side with my father the family business and fishing when i can.

– What do you enjoy more?

– Hmmm, making money i guess.

Jane smiled.

Gerard was sincere and innocent in his way and he started to like Jane as they spent more time together. He was really kind to her and overwhelmed her with presents, flowers, fine chocolate, and expensive jewellery,  she gave him spontaneity and thought him a little how creativity can boost the business. He wanted to spend more and more time with her so she got away from painting, this thing bothered her but they were having a good time and that was all that mattered.

They got married, but not after the tables have turned and Gerard convinced his parents that he has to marry Jane even she came for a normal family. In the end, they didn’t said know, in fact it was Gerard’s only chance, they hated Jane but said yes.

A few months later, Jane was pregnant and Gerard started a crusade that started to destroy Jane little by little.

– Jane, we will have a child together, don’t you think you should try and let go of this painting you are doing and concentrate more on the family?

Another few months later, they had a little boy, they were happy, Gerard continued his crusade.

– Jane, we have a child now, we must focus on the family, i think you should grow up and let this painting child’s play.

Jane was a very good mother maybe because of her creativity but her attempts to paint were always cut off. This went on for years, she started to close her from the world, she turned sad, she didn’t communicate  with her friends anymore and focused only on raising the kid, a thing she would have done anyway with the greatest responsibility you would see in a mother.

She tried to talk to Gerard several times but he was so strict and so bound to his principles, nothing made him consider alternatives, in all he did, he was sure it’s the only way to do and in all she did, she was not doing it right.

One weekend, the little boy was with the grand parents on a three month trip at the summer house by the ocean, and they had this huge argument, she was so upset, she went to her room and painted the most wonderful and intriguing painting she ever made.

She felt this was her greatest work that far and begged her husband to let her and the painting be part of the annual art exhibition in the country.

He said yes, not because he was alright with that, but because she was so determined and he felt that to the bones.

As expected, she won the great prize, a month and a half cruise on board the great ship “Splendor”, plus a painting course.

Again she felt it in her heart that she has to go, the kid was alright with the grand parents …

She was for the second time really happy after the boy’s birth.

~

Chapter Seven

Riots

~

[A few years ago]

People snapped.

They just couldn’t take it anymore, the stress of everyday life, we were turned into robots.

Take a day in the life of Average Joe.

[SFX: Alarm clock: beep beep beep]

He stop the alarm clock and get up, the wife followed and here we go on the roller coaster …

Brush teeth, shower, wake up kids, make coffee, breakfast, milk for the little one, get dressed, search for socks, search for the yellow shoes, the middle on would not go without them and he’s crying and screaming, the little one saw his brother crying, he starts crying too, the girl couldn’t find the butterfly hair pin, search for the butterfly hair, the school bus is coming, father went out in flip flops with the shirt out of the pants, he kisses the kids goodbye and wooooosh back in the house, mother dressed the little one, the baby sitter came, mother finished putting the dress, take the little one in her arms, kiss, burp, mother dress ruined, go and change, father is struggling to start the car, mother is running to the car like she robbed a bank, father start to bump the dashboard, coooomee oooon you piece of shit!!! the car starts, mom gets in and there they were on the go.

He drives in silence, she enjoys the silence.

Everything is so calm.

And they get to work and again on the roller coaster.

Boss to dad: Come in my office, NOW!!! The sales are down, we have to make profit, we’re going down, GROWTH, GROWTH, PROFIT, we need money, all the money, we have to cut off expenses, we have to cut salaries, you have a mortgage, three kids, think about it. Dad hates his boss, hates his job but he can’t back up now, he has to work very long hours, he has to pay the mortgage, feed the kids and save for their education, pay the bills, buy garbage food that poison the body, buy medicine, buy new furniture every year, buy the latest hydro-nano-atomic-power-carpet cleaner, buy clothes they get to wear twice in a whole year, iPhones, gadgets to keep us with the eyes down, buy, buy with credit card, buy, take loans, buy more … you know what they say, buy shit you don’t need with money you don’t have.

Mom is in the same shit with him, but hey, we’re swimming in this shit but at least we’re together.

And all this for what?

To have a life full of stress, frustrations, sadness, depression, sex once in a thousand years, killed softly by huge debt and above all, the mother of all evil, the media … a stinky swamp to raise kids on.

Again, all this for what ?

Not for you anyways but for the profit of banks and companies, for the twisted minds that want you dead because the earth can’t handle us all, for the ones that is feeding you poison just for you to buy medicine, for those who kill bees, for those who want to take the water from you and to give it back with a price, for those who is spying on you because they fear us, for those who think it’s cool to have three cars, two houses, to work 12 hours a day, to get their kids all the money they can have and not to give them love and attention and we are puzzled when our daughters get to work in strip clubs or our boys get out with the shotgun and start random killing in the middle of the street.

People couldn’t take it and riots started, but i’m not talking about random riots here and there, the thing was going globally. It was all on the news, London, New York, Paris, London, Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, everywhere, everybody was on the streets.

The system collapsed, anarchy was all over the places, cars burning, people stealing from stores, cops beat us, we beat them, tear gas and water cannons, i heard there was some bullets down town.

~

I was going back to a friend house to get some more molotov cocktails and to but some more vinegar on my bandana, you know, helps with the tear gas.

As i walked by a little alley between two buildings, i heard in the dark some strange noises.

– Freakin’ rats! They can kill a pitbull in a blow.

And went on.

[SFX: load scream]

I rushed back and went to the alley and from the shadows i saw at the dead end there was those two guys beating the shit out of this another guy and the third was all over a woman struggling to free herself.

– HEY !!!

I yelled as i jumped with a lead pipe in my hand, trajectory, the horny guy.

[SFX: BANG! ]

Horny is down!

One of the attackers came to me with a knife, the other one wasn’t that lucky, he was punched with full speed and full force by the attacked guy.

He swing the knife and cut my hand and i snapped with the fear i might lose my life, grabbed the guy hand and break it.

He screamed in pain.

Adrenaline rush in my head and full defensive desperate fear maneuver.

[CRACK !]

Broke his leg. He was screaming in more pain. The attacked guy get the girl and yelled to me.

– LET’S GO !!!

As i looked behind as i went running, i saw one of the guys in too much blood but i din’t have time to enquiry and we left the scene.

~

The girl was ok now, she was sleeping after hours of us trying to calm her down.

– I’m Hawk, thank you very much.

He said to me reaching his hand to me.

– Mark, no problem.

We were in Hawk’s apartment a small tin can in the big city full of Che Guevara, freedom and anarchist posters, some marijuana pipes, an entire wall of books, a desk full of papers and maps, a guitar in the other corner and a parrot in a cage. Hawk looked at the cage and said to me.

– I will release him after the war outside will settle down. Isn’t it funny, we take a bird that belong to the sky and put it in a cage for our own amusement. We take one of the most free creatures of God and stick it in our own closed world, how selfish is that for humans?

– We were like the birds, but our ignorance, greed and envy got us in cages.

– Yeah … you’re right man.

~

Hawk and me got together in some attacks and at night we had some of the greatest talks on freedom and human nature. One day he told me he will need to lay low for a while.

– And Mark, you need a vacation too! Free the bird from the cage, you know ?!

And that’s what i did.

Chapter Six:

Real Love

~

Another sleepless night. Faces, situations, Carla, Mrs.Hackelby, “Saint Mary”, people, the riots, father, brother, all of them, i tried to meditate on them, lying in bed, hands behind the back of my head.

[SFX: Rrrriing, rrrriiiiing]

– Mom?!

– Mark, honey, i’m not feeling very well, can you come to see me.

– Of course, i’ll be on my way in the morning, stay calm and take the medication.

– See you honey.

– Take care mom.

[Call ended]

Talking to my mother and knowing her life was a series of fights that left her in great distress, Mrs.Hackelby came to my mind. What is wrong with her, the wrist wound, the sorrow in her eyes, she has kids that look after her, i heard, that envelope, the police officer, decades paralyzed. Why did she cracked when i talked about real love and why do i have the strangest feeling she moved her arm and mu eyes didn’t play any trick on me? And then it struck me.

First thing in the morning i jumped in the trailer, put the pedal the floor and swept the town market as everybody were staring the day, exist the town and went like the wind to the “Thousand Oaks”. Entered the big metal gate like a storm and hit the brake like i have found the biggest oil deposit in the world in my yard and couldn’t wait to get to it. I rushed out of the car, left the door open, entered the Hospital and at the reception, Dorothy was looking at me with the biggest eyes stunned of fear and she said to me like the world would collapse.

– Don’t do anything stupid boy !!!

I was way past her when she finished the sentence, rushed to the stairs and arrived at Mrs.Hackelby door.

Wait a few seconds to cool down. Lizzy was laughing.

And knocked on the door.

– Yeeeees.

I entered the room.

– Hello Mrs.Hackelby.

– It’s you again.

– What happened to you that day?

– Excuse me?!

– When you came to the hospital? What happened?

Her eyes started to move chaotically. I pushed on, raising my voice.

– WHAT HAPPENED?

– It’s none of you business!

– TELL ME!

– NO!

I saw the corner of the green envelope in her pocket, and i reached to her pocket in full storm, touched the pocket … she touched me. She grabbed my hand and everything stopped.

I burst.

– You have kids that look after you, the first think you should do when you discovered that was to caress your kids faces, not trying to kill yourself !!!

– YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING !!!

Dorothy rushed in the  room with two guards full of muscles, they drag me away from Mrs.Hackelby and put me against the wall. Dorothy was shocked.

– What the hell is wrong with you boy ?!?! Get him out.

I left “Thousand Oaks” and drive the long way home to see my mother and the trip was like therapy, i couldn’t get the story straight but at least i calmed myself down.

~

– Hi mom!

– Mark, darling, come here my son, give me a hug.

– How are you feeling mom?

– You know, that dam’ building master, he keeps sucking money from our pockets, money, money and more money, tomorrow i’ll went to the IRS to come and see hs papers, the thief … calling me a pain in the back.

– Mom, mom! I’m here for about 2 minutes and there you are, conflicts, always in conflicts … You said you were not feeling well.

– You’re right honey … During the day i’m ok … but in the evening … i get this pain in my arm and my head hurts … maybe it’s the loneliness. I really miss your father … it’s 15 years since he died, this year he would have turned 70. And i also miss your brother … did you talked to him lately?

– Not really, we talked on the phone about this and that, his family.

– It’s years since he didn’t came to see me … i love him very much, i gave him everything, i didn’t provide you not as close as i gave to him.

– Mom, not again, you gave both your kids the same, the same love. The problem is that you never let go of him, it’s years since i’m telling you this … and i never could make you realize that …

It’s almost ten years since my mother and my brother speak to each other once in a few months and during this time i was the closest observer of the love and pain my mother experienced. I wish i never been there.

The love of a mother for his son, i think it’s the deepest love i have ever seen. This is real love. The mother gave him everything and put all the love in him, he had everything he ever wanted, he was happy, she was happy.

She loved every little thing he did and she was alright with all his decisions, complete freedom.

But also, she is a woman of conflict, she lives being in constant conflict with someone and nature retaliated. Her lack of happiness come from her ability to follow her outlines and being in total control despite the love she is capable of giving. This came to be above all, and this “killed” her.

People go their ways, offsprings leave the nest, it’s the human  nature, it’s DNA, it’s God, you name it.

Husband lost, son alive but lost, she was stuck with the only one left to get her up when she fell.

Maybe this is real love, giving everything to the other one not asking for anything in return and the first that do that are parents with their kids.

Think about it, if you screw it up bad, and when i say bad, i’m talking about shit really hit the fan, who are the ones that reach you a helping hand, unconditionally? Some give their kids money for drugs because they can’t see them sick for a shot, i’m not talking about this, i’m talking about going the extra mile, getting into the fire for someone. If you get this with the loved one, you’re a lucky bastard.

That test came to my mind, the test of unconditional love: take the wife and the dog and lock them in the trunk. After three days, open the trunk and see who is happy to see you.

I spent three days with her, “patched” her up emotionally because i could never heal her and that left me again with a big regret in my heart.

~ 

At the night fall i get to Happyville and as i get to the docks, Carla was there on her way home.

– Need a ride?

– Oh, hello! Thank you!

She jumped in the car.

– How was your trip?

– Almost identical to the others.

– Everything is alright?

– Yes, yes, don’t worry. What you were up too these days?

– Writing and writing and i can’t wait to get home, i kinda feel inspired.

– Great! I’ll step on it then.

I felt a punch in my stomach but i loved her enthusiasm and smiled. Womanly she felt my stomach getting punched.

I stopped in front of the house and she get down, she stopped for a moment and turned around.

– Mark, when i’m writing this book, i’m feeling so great because i’m so connected to the story for quite some time. I’m trying to invest all the time i have int this book.

– Carla, look at me, i understand. Take your time.

– There are lots of chapters you know …

Is this some kind of woman game, i didn’t knew but i smiled.

– I’ll be around here.

– I’m planning a three volume book.

She was pushing?!

– Three million, how many do you want, as long as you need, but please keep in mind that men die before women do so if you’re planning to release the book on your death bed, there’s a big chance i will be clay on the local pottery shop.

She was stunned, she didn’t knew what to do or say …

– I’m not talking to you anymore.

I started to laugh and went my way.

– Good niiiight Caaarlaaaa, seeeee yoouuuuuu arouuund …

~

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