The Man Who Would Kill Bill
Gary Brooks Waid
In these trying times there are all kinds of victims and all kinds of punishments that have nothing to do with legal or illegal deportment. Harry, back in the early nineties, was a desperate survivor hanging on to the tatters of a life which had folded in around him in a rising tide of bad luck and lonely misfortune.
How could this have happened, he thought?
Just one year ago he was a high school teacher, married and middle-class with all things aligned towards the semi-sweet American design of modest, cud-chewing prosperity. Harry’s life was exactly the life he had planned it to be. After twelve years in the Air Force he had settle down with his wife in Melbourne, Florida to teach and live in the valley of somnolent, Chevrolet-and-Sears-and-Pizza Hut unpretention, there to grow old and retire amid the trophies of his thoughtful existence in the heart of the American dream.
Then, somehow, as he neared his middle years, his luck took a distinct turn for the worse. Whatever the cause, something happened to destroy him. Maybe the moons of Jupiter aligned with the freckles on Harry’s nose or the rings of Saturn rang doom into normal Harry’s psyche; maybe it was less cosmic than that, but by turns he lost it all. His wife left him to explore new horizons and, devastate, he lost his job which was a portent of financial ruin visited upon him in spades. His extended family blamed him for certain, ill-defined ills, excommunicating him from their conspiring embrace and poor Harry was cast into the cold world without a coat. Inside the year he’d lost his house and was living on wisps of friendless uncertainty, hunkered down in a small, upstairs apartment in Orlando, Florida, nursing a clinical depression of galactic proportions and daily contemplating the relief of suicide. “Gary,” he said, “I just wanted some rest.”
It has been explained to me that Harry was what the medical profession calls bi-polar. That is, a man of achievement one day – distinguished military service, leader in the community, voracious reader of the classics and enjoyable lecturer on the peccadilloes of history and literature – and a cowering denizen of his darkened room the next. When Harry fell and depression took hold, the smallest things in life were beyond his ability to cope. With no money for medical help and burdened with a certain amount of prideful abstinence preventing him from asking for a charitable lifeline, he became a recluse in a time zone of his own, trying to preserve his dignity in the stale air and darkness of his rented room. All alone in life, Harry’s pathology got worse. His pipes pinged and hissed, and his pressure gauge percolated and peaked in the otherworldly pasture of a deepening, noisome psychosis. With the inward turn of his mind, he became a dreamer of secret scenarios and dastardly deeds. A Walter Mitty mind fuck had complete control and was looking for terrible release.
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