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The Weekender – Jeffrey Deaver

Hi, come closer, don’t be afraid. I just want to introduce you to someone greatness. You may not be an avid reader like some of us but this person should make you want to be. He’s that amazing. A friend and I have been binge reading his works and I basically don’t know how to chop alone. If you don’t know him, this is your chance to. If you are aware of him, how many of his works have you read?
His first book I read “Blue Nowhere” walked into my list of favorite authors.

More info after you’ve met.
His name is Jeffrey Deaver and he’s awesome!
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This is one of his short stories. Read and tell yourself how it makes you feel. More info at the end.

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The night went bad fast.

I looked in the rearview mirror and didn’t see any lights but I knew they were after us and it was only a matter of time till I’d see the flashers.

Toth started to talk but I told him to shut up and got the Buick up to eighty. The road was empty, nothing but pine trees for miles around.

“Oh, brother,” Toth muttered. I felt his eyes on me but I didn’t even want to look at him, I was so mad.

They were never easy, drugstores.

Because, just watch sometime, when cops make their rounds they cruise drugstores more often than anyplace else. Because of the perco and Valium and the other drugs. You know.

You’d think they’d stake out convenience stores. But those’re a joke and with the closed-circuit TV you’re going to get your picture took, you just are. So nobody who knows the business, I mean really knows it, hits them. And banks, forget banks. Even ATMs. I mean, how much can you clear? Three, four hundred tops? And around here the “Fast Cash” button gives you twenty only. Which tells you something. So why even bother?

No. We wanted cash and that meant a drugstore, even though they can be tricky. Ardmore Drugs. Which is a big store in a little town. Liggett Falls. Sixty miles from Albany and a hundred or so from where Toth and me lived, farther west into the mountains. Liggett Falls’s a poor place. You’d think it wouldn’t make sense to hit a store there. But that’s exactly why—because like everywhere else, people there need medicine and hair spray and makeup, only they don’t have credit cards. Except maybe a Sears or Penney’s. So they pay cash.

“Oh, brother,” Toth whispered again. “Look.”

And he made me even madder, him saying that. I wanted to shout look at what, you son of a bitch? But then I could see what he was talking about and I didn’t say anything. Up ahead. It was like just before dawn, light on the horizon. Only this was red and the light wasn’t steady. It was like it was pulsing and I knew that they’d got the roadblock up already. This was the only road to the interstate from Liggett Falls. So I should’ve guessed.

“I got an idea,” Toth said. Which I didn’t want to hear but I also wasn’t going to go through another shootout. Surely not at a roadblock, where they was ready for us.

“What?” I snapped.

“There’s a town over there. See those lights? I know a road’ll take us there.”

Toth’s a big guy and he looks calm. Only he isn’t really. He gets shook easy and he now kept turning around, skittish, looking in the backseat. I wanted to slap him and tell him to chill.

“Where’s it?” I asked. “This town?”

“About four, five miles. The turnoff, it ain’t marked. But I know it.”

This was that lousy upstate area where everything’s green. But dirty green, you know. And all the buildings’re gray. These gross little shacks, pickups on blocks. Little towns without even a 7-Eleven. And full of hills they call mountains but aren’t.

Toth cranked down the window and let this cold air in and looked up at the sky. “They can find us with those, you know, satellite things.”

“What’re you talking about?”

“You know, they can see you from miles up. I saw it in a movie.”

“You think the state cops do that? Are you nuts?”

This guy, I don’t know why I work with him. And after what happened at the drugstore, I won’t again.

He pointed out where to turn and I did. He said the town was at the base of the Lookout. Well, I remembered passing that on the way to Liggett Falls this afternoon. It was this huge rock a couple hundred feet high. Which if you looked at it right looked like a man’s head, like a profile, squinting. It’d been some kind of big deal to the Indians around here. Blah, blah, blah. He told me but I didn’t pay no attention. It was spooky, that weird face, and I looked once and kept on driving. I didn’t like it. I’m not really superstitious but sometimes I am.

“Winchester,” he said now, meaning what the name of the town was. Five, six thousand people. We could find an empty house, stash the car in a garage and just wait out the search. Wait till tomorrow afternoon—Sunday—when all the weekenders were driving back to Boston and New York and we’d be lost in the crowd.

I could see the Lookout up ahead, not really a shape, mostly this blackness where the stars weren’t. And then the guy on the floor in the back started to moan all of a sudden and just about give me a heart attack.

“You. Shut up back there.” I slapped the seat and the guy in the back went quiet.

What a night. . . .

We’d got to the drugstore fifteen minutes before it closed. Like you ought to do. ’Cause mosta the customers’re gone and a lot’ve the clerks’ve left and people’re tired and when you push a Glock or Smitty into their faces they’ll do just about anything you ask.

Except tonight.

We had our masks down and walked in slow, Toth getting the manager out of his little office, a fat guy who started crying and that made me mad, a grown man doing that. Toth kept a gun on the customers and the clerks and I was telling the cashier, this kid, to open the tills and, Jesus, he had an attitude. Like he’d seen all of those Steven Segal movies or something. A little kiss on the cheek with the Smitty and he changed his mind and started moving. Cussing me out but he was moving. I was counting the bucks as we were going along from one till to the next and sure enough we were up to about three thousand when I heard this noise and turned around and, what it was, Toth was knocking over a rack of chips. I mean, Jesus. He’s getting Doritos!

I look away from the kid for just a second and what’s he do? He pitches this bottle. Only not at me. Out the window. Bang, it breaks. There’s no alarm I can hear but half of them are silent anyway and I’m really pissed. I could’ve killed him. Right there.

Only I didn’t. Toth did.

He shoots the kid, bang, bang . . . Shit. And everybody else is scattering and he turns around and shoots another one of the clerks and a customer, just blam, not thinking or nothing. Just for no reason. Hit this girl clerk in the leg but this guy, this customer, well, he was dead. You could see. And I’m going, “What’re you doing, what’re you doing?” And he’s going, “Shut up, shut up, shut up. . . .” And we’re like we’re swearing at each other when we figured out we hadta get outa there.

So we left. Only what happens is, there’s a cop outside. That’s why the kid threw the bottle, to get his attention. And he’s outa his car. So we grab another customer, this guy by the door, and we use him like a shield and get outside. And there’s the cop, he’s holding his gun up, looking at the customer we’ve got, and the cop, he’s saying, It’s okay, it’s okay, just take it easy.

And I couldn’t believe it, Toth shot him too. I don’t know whether he killed him but there was blood so he wasn’t wearing a vest, it didn’t look like, and I could’ve killed Toth there on the spot. Because why’d he do that? He didn’t have to.

We threw the guy, the customer, into the backseat and tied him up with tape. I kicked out the taillights and burned rubber outa there. We made it out of Liggett Falls.

That was all just a half hour ago but it seemed like weeks.

And now we were driving down this highway through a million pine trees. Heading right for the Lookout.

Winchester was dark.

I don’t get why weekenders come to places like this. I mean, my old man took me hunting a long time ago. A couple times and I liked it. But coming to places like this just to look at leaves and buy furniture they call antiques but’s really just busted-up crap . . . I don’t know.

We found a house a block off Main Street with a bunch of newspapers in front and I pulled into the drive and put the Buick behind the place just in time. Two state police cars went shooting by. They’d been behind us not more than a half mile, without the lightbars going. Only they hadn’t seen us ’causa the broke taillights and they went by in a flash and were gone, going to downtown.

Toth got into the house and he wasn’t very clean about it, breaking a window in the back. It was a vacation place, pretty empty, and the refrigerator was shut off and the phone too, which was a good sign—there wasn’t anybody coming back soon. Also, it smelled pretty musty and had stacks of old books and magazines from the summer.

We brought the guy inside and Toth started to take the hood off this guy’s head and I said, “What the hell’re you doing?”

“He hasn’t said anything. Maybe he can’t breathe.”

This was a man talking who’d just laid a cap on three people back there and he was worried about this guy breathing? Man. I just laughed. Disgusted laughing, I mean. “Like maybe we don’t want him to see us?” I said. “You think of that?” See, we weren’t wearing our ski masks anymore.

It’s scary when you have to remind people of stuff like that. I was thinking Toth knew better. But you never know.

I went to the window and saw another squad car go past. They were going slower now. They do that. After like the first shock, after the rush, they get smart and start cruising slow, really looking for what’s funny—what’s different, you know? That’s why I didn’t take the papers up from the front yard. Which would’ve been different than how the yard looked that morning. Cops really do that Colombo stuff. I could write a book about cops.

“Why’d you do it?”

It was the guy we took.

“Why?” he whispered again.

The customer. He had a low voice and it sounded pretty calm, I mean considering. I’ll tell you, the first time I was in a shootout I was totally freaked for a day afterwards. And I had a gun.

I looked him over. He was wearing a plaid shirt and jeans. But he wasn’t a local. I could tell because of the shoes. They were rich-boy shoes, the kind you see all the Yuppies wear. I couldn’t see his face because of the mask but I pretty much remembered it. He wasn’t young. Maybe in his forties. Kind of wrinkled skin. And he was skinny too. Skinnier’n me and I’m one of those people can eat what I want and I don’t get fat. I don’t know why. It just works that way.

“Quiet,” I said. There was another car going by.

He laughed. Soft. Like he was saying, What? You think they can hear me all the way outside?

Kind of laughing at me, you know? I didn’t like that at all. And, sure, I guess you couldn’t hear anything out there but I didn’t like him giving me any crap so I said, “Just shut up. I don’t want to hear your voice.”

He did for a minute and just sat back in the chair where Toth put him. But then he said again, “Why’d you shoot them? You didn’t have to.”

“Quiet!”

“Just tell me why.”

I took out my knife and snapped that sucker open then threw it down so it stuck in a tabletop. Sort of a thunk sound. “You hear that? That was a eight-inch Buck knife. Carbon-tempered. With a locking blade. It’d cut clean through a metal bolt. So you be quiet. Or I’ll use it on you.”

And he gave this laugh again. Maybe. Or it was just a snort of air. But I was thinking it was a laugh. I wanted to ask him what he meant by it but I didn’t.

“You got any money on you?” Toth asked and pulled the wallet out of the guy’s back pocket. “Lookit.” He pulled out what must’ve been five or six hundred. Man.

Another squad car went past, moving slow. It had a spotlight and the cop turned it on the driveway but he just kept going. I heard a siren across town. And another one too. It was a weird feeling, knowing those people were out there looking for us.

I took the wallet from Toth and looked through it.

Randall C. Weller, Jr. He lived in Connecticut. A weekender. Just like I thought. He had a bunch of business cards that said he was vice president of this big computer company. One that was in the news, trying to take over IBM or something. All of a sudden I had this thought. We could hold him for ransom. I mean, why not? Make a half million. Maybe more.

“My wife and kids’ll be sick, worrying,” Weller said. It spooked me, hearing that. ’Cause there I was, looking right at a picture in his wallet. And what was it of? His wife and kids.

“I ain’t letting you go. Now, just shut up. I may need you.”

“Like a hostage, you mean? That’s only in the movies. They’ll shoot you when you walk out and they’ll shoot me too if they have to. That’s the way the cops do it in real life. Just give yourself up. At least you’ll save your life.”

“Shut up!” I shouted.

“Let me go and I’ll tell them you treated me fine. That the shooting was a mistake. It wasn’t your fault.”

I leaned forward and pushed the knife against his throat, not the blade ’cause that’s real sharp but the blunt edge, and I told him to be quiet.

Another car went past, no light this time but it was going slower, and all of a sudden I got to thinking what if they do a door-to-door search?

“Why did he do it? Why’d he kill them?”

And funny, the way he said he made me feel a little better ’cause it was like he didn’t blame me for it. I mean, it was Toth’s fault. Not mine.

Weller kept going. “I don’t get it. That man by the counter? The tall one. He was just standing there. He didn’t do anything. He just shot him down.”

But neither of us said nothing. Probably Toth, because he didn’t know why he’d shot them. And me, because I didn’t owe this guy any answers. I had him in my hand. Completely, and I had to let him know that. I didn’t have to talk to him.

But the guy, Weller, he didn’t say anything else. And I got this weird feeling. Like this pressure building up. You know, because nobody was answering his damn, stupid question. I felt this urge to say something. Anything. And that was the last thing I wanted to do. So I said, “I’m gonna move the car into the garage.” And I went outside to do it.

I looked around the garage to see if there was anything worth taking and there wasn’t except a Snapper lawn mower but how do you fence one of those? So I drove the Buick inside and closed the door. And went back into the house.

And then I couldn’t believe what happened. I mean, Jesus. When I walked into the living room the first thing I heard was Toth saying, “No way, man. I’m not snitching on Jack Prescot.”

I just stood there. And you should’ve seen the look on his face. He knew he’d blown it big.

Now this Weller guy knew my name.

I didn’t say anything. I didn’t have to. Toth started talking real fast and nervous. “He said he’d pay me some big bucks to let him go.” Trying to turn it around, make it Weller’s fault. “I mean I wasn’t going to. I wasn’t even thinking ’bout it, man. I told him forget it.”

“But what’s with tellin’ him my name?”

“I don’t know, man. He confused me. I wasn’t thinking.”

I’ll say he wasn’t. He hadn’t been thinking all night.

I sighed to let him know I wasn’t happy but I just clapped him on the shoulder. “Okay,” I said. “S’been a long night. These things happen.”

“I’m sorry, man. Really.”

“Yeah. Maybe you better go spend the night in the garage or something. Or upstairs. I don’t want to see you around for a while.”

“Sure.”

And the funny thing was, just then, Weller gave this little snicker or something. Like he knew what was coming. How’d he know that? I wondered.

Toth went to pick up a couple magazines and the knapsack with his gun in it and extra rounds.

Normally, killing somebody with a knife is a hard thing to do. I say normally even though I’ve only done it one other time. But I remember it and it was messy and hard work. But tonight, I don’t know, I was all filled up with this . . . feeling from the drugstore. Mad. I mean, really. Crazy too a little. And as soon as Toth turned his back I got him around the neck and went to work and it wasn’t three minutes later it was over. I drug his body behind the couch and then—why not—pulled Weller’s hood off. He already knew my name. He might as well see my face.

He was a dead man. We both knew it.
You were thinking of holding me for ransom, right?”

I stood at the window and looked out. Another cop car went past and there were more flashing lights bouncing off the low clouds and off the face of the Lookout, right over our heads.

Weller had a thin face and short hair, cut real neat. He looked like every ass-kissing businessman I ever met. His eyes were dark and calm like his voice and it made me even madder he wasn’t shook up looking at that big bloodstain on the rug and floor.

“No,” I told him.

He looked at the pile of all the stuff I’d taken from his wallet and kept going like I hadn’t said anything. “It won’t work. A kidnapping. I don’t have a lot of money and if you saw my business card and’re thinking I’m an executive at the company, they have about five hundred vice presidents. They won’t pay diddly for me. And you see those kids in the picture? It was taken twelve years ago. They’re both in college now. I’m paying major tuition.”

“Where,” I asked, sneering. “Harvard?”

“One’s at Harvard,” he said, like he was snapping at me. “And one’s at Northwestern. So the house’s mortgaged to the hilt. Besides, kidnapping somebody by yourself? No, you couldn’t bring that off.”

He saw the way I looked at him and he said, “I don’t mean you personally, Jack. I mean somebody by himself. You’d need partners.”

And I figured he was right.

That silence again. Nobody saying nothing and it was like the room was filling up with cold water. I walked to the window and the floors creaked under my feet and that only made things worse. I remember one time my dad said that a house had a voice of its own and some houses were laughing houses and some were forlorn. Well, this was a forlorn house. Yeah, it was modern and clean and the National Geographics were all in order but it was still forlorn.

Just when I felt like shouting because of the tension Weller said, “I don’t want you to kill me.”

“Who said I was going to kill you?”

He gave me his funny little smile. “I’ve been a salesman for twenty-five years. I’ve sold pets and Cadillacs and typesetters and lately I’ve been selling mainframe computers. I know when I’m being handed a line. You’re going to kill me. It was the first thing you thought of when you heard him”—nodding toward Toth—“say your name.”

I just laughed at him. “Well, that’s a damn handy thing to be, sorta a walking lie detector,” I said and I was being sarcastic.

But he just said, “Damn handy,” like he was agreeing with me.

“I don’t want to kill you.”

“Oh, I know you don’t want to. You didn’t want your friend to kill anybody back there at the drugstore either. I could see that. But people got killed and that ups the stakes. Right?”

And those eyes of his, they just dug into me and I couldn’t say anything.

“But,” he said, “I’m going to talk you out of it.”

He sounded real certain and that made me feel better. ’Cause I’d rather kill a cocky son of a bitch than a pathetic one. And so I laughed. “Talk me out of it?”

“I’m going to try.”

“Yeah? How you gonna do that?”

Weller cleared his throat a little. “First, let’s get everything on the table. I’ve seen your face and I know your name. Jack Prescot. Right? You’re, what? About five-nine, a hundred fifty pounds, black hair. So you’ve got to assume I can identify you. I’m not going to play any games and say I didn’t see you clearly or hear who you were. Or anything like that. We all squared away on that, Jack?”

I nodded, rolling my eyes like this was all a load of crap. But I gotta admit I was kinda curious what he had to say.

“My promise,” he said, “is that I won’t turn you in. Not under any circumstances. The police’ll never learn your name from me. Or your description. I’ll never testify against you.”

Sounding honest as a priest. Real slick delivery. Well, he was a salesman and I wasn’t going to buy it. But he didn’t know I was on to him. Let him give me his pitch, let him think I was going along. When it came down to it, after we’d got away and were somewhere in the woods upstate, I’d want him relaxed. No screaming, no hassles. Just a couple fast cuts or shots and that’d be it.

“You understand what I’m saying?”

I tried to look serious and said, “Sure. You’re thinking you can talk me out of killing you. You’ve got reasons why I shouldn’t?”

“Oh, I’ve got reasons, you bet. One in particular. One that you can’t argue with.”

“Yeah? What’s that?”

“I’ll get to it in a minute. Let me tell you some of the practical reasons you should let me go. First, you think you’ve got to kill me because I know who you are, right? Well, how long you think your identity’s going to be a secret? Your buddy shot a cop back there. I don’t know police stuff except what I see in the movies. But they’re going to be looking at tire tracks and witnesses who saw plates and makes of cars and gas stations you might’ve stopped at on the way here.”

He was just blowing smoke. The Buick was stolen. I mean, I’m not stupid.

But he went on, looking at me real coy. “Even if your car was stolen they’re going to check down every lead. Every shoe print around where you or your friend stole it, talk to everybody in the area around the time it vanished.”

I kept smiling like it was nuts what he was saying. But this was true, the shooting-the-cop part. You do that and you’re in big trouble. Trouble that sticks with you. They don’t stop looking till they find you.

“And when they identify your buddy,” he nodded toward the couch where Toth’s body was lying, “they’re going to make some connection to you.”

“I don’t know him that good. We just hung around together the past few months.”

Weller jumped on this. “Where? A bar? A restaurant? Anybody ever see you in public?”

I got mad and I shouted, “So? What’re you saying? They gonna bust me anyway then I’ll just take you out with me. How’s that for an argument?”

Calm as could be he said, “I’m simply telling you that one of the reasons you want to kill me doesn’t make sense. And think about this—the shooting at the drugstore? It wasn’t premeditated. It was, what do they call it? Heat of passion. But you kill me, that’ll be first-degree. You’ll get the death penalty when they find you.”

When they find you. Right, I laughed to myself. Oh, what he said made sense but the fact is, killing isn’t a making-sense kind of thing. Hell, it never makes sense but sometimes you just have to do it. But I was kind of having fun now. I wanted to argue back. “Yeah, well, I killed Toth. That wasn’t heat of passion. I’m going to get the needle anyway for that.”

“But nobody gives a damn about him,” he came right back. “They don’t care if he killed himself or got hit by a car. You can take that piece of garbage out of the equation altogether. They care if you kill me. I’m the ‘Innocent Bystander’ in the headlines. I’m the ‘Father of Two.’ You kill me you’re as good as dead.”

I started to say something but he kept going.

“Now here’s another reason I’m not going to say anything about you. Because you know my name and you know where I live. You know I have a family and you know how important they are to me. If I turn you in you could come after us. I’d never jeopardize my family that way. Now, let me ask you something. What’s the worst thing that could happen to you?”

“Keep listening to you spout on and on.”

Weller laughed at that. I could see he was surprised I had a sense of humor. After a minute he said, “Seriously. The worst thing.”

“I don’t know. I never thought about it.”

“Lose a leg? Go deaf? Lose all your money? Go blind? . . . Hey, that looked like it hit a nerve. Going blind?”

“Yeah, I guess. That’d be the worst thing I could think of.”

That was a pretty damn scary thing and I’d thought on it before. ’Cause that was what happened to my old man. And it wasn’t not seeing anymore that got to me. No, it was that I’d have to depend on somebody else for . . . Christ, for everything, I guess.

“Okay, think about this,” he said. “The way you feel about going blind’s the way my family’d feel if they lost me. It’d be that bad for them. You don’t want to cause them that kind of pain, do you?”

I didn’t want to, no. But I knew I had to. I didn’t want to think about it anymore. I asked him, “So what’s this last reason you’re telling me about?”

“The last reason,” he said, kind of whispering. But he didn’t go on. He looked around the room, you know, like his mind was someplace else.

“Yeah?” I asked. I was pretty curious. “Tell me.”

But he just asked, “You think these people, they have a bar?”

And I’d just been thinking I could use a drink too. I went into the kitchen and of course they didn’t have any beer in the fridge on account of the house being all closed up and the power off. But they did have scotch and that’d be my first choice anyway.

I got a couple glasses and took the bottle back to the living room. Thinking this was a good idea. When it came time to do it it’d be easier for him and for me both if we were kinda tanked. I shoved my Smitty into his neck and cut the tape his hands were tied with then taped them in front of him. I sat back and kept my knife near, ready to go, in case he tried something. But it didn’t look like he was going to do anything. He read over the scotch bottle, kind of disappointed it was cheap. And I agreed with him there. One thing I learned a long time ago, you going to rob, rob rich.

I sat back where I could keep an eye on him.

“The last reason. Okay, I’ll tell you. I’m going to prove to you that you should let me go.”

“You are?”

“All those other reasons—the practical ones, the humanitarian ones . . . I’ll concede you don’t care much about those—you don’t look very convinced. All right? Then let’s look at the one reason you should let me go.”

I figured this was going to be more crap. But what he said was something I never would’ve expected.

“You should let me go for your own sake.”

“For me? What’re you talking about?”

“See, Jack, I don’t think you’re lost.”

“Whatta you mean, lost?”

“I don’t think your soul’s beyond redemption.”

I laughed at this, laughed out loud, because I just had to. I expected a hell of a lot better from a hotshot vice-president salesman like him. “Soul? You think I got a soul?”

“Well, everybody has a soul,” he said, and what was crazy was he said it like he was surprised that I didn’t think so. It was like I’d said wait a minute, you mean the earth ain’t flat? Or something.

“Well, if I got a soul it’s taken the fast lane to hell.” Which was this line I heard in this movie and I tried to laugh but it sounded flat. Like Weller was saying something deep and I was just kidding around. It made me feel cheap. I stopped smiling and looked down at Toth, lying there in the corner, those dead eyes of his just staring, staring, and I wanted to stab him again I was so mad.

“We’re talking about your soul.”

I snickered and sipped the liquor. “Oh, yeah, I’ll bet you’re the sort that reads those angel books they got all over the place now.”

“I go to church but, no, I’m not talking about all that silly crap. I don’t mean magic. I mean your conscience. What Jack Prescot’s all about.”

I could tell him about social workers and youth counselors and all those guys who don’t know nothing about the way life works. They think they do. But it’s the words they use. You can tell they don’t know a thing. Some counselors or somebody’ll talk to me and they say, Oh, you’re maladjusted, you’re denying your anger, things like that. When I hear that, I know they don’t know nothing about souls or spirits.

“Not the afterlife,” Weller was going on. “Not morality. I’m talking about life here on earth that’s important. Oh, sure, you look skeptical. But listen to me. I really believe if you have a connection with somebody, if you trust them, if you have faith in them, then there’s hope for you.”

“Hope? What’s that mean? Hope for what?”

“That you’ll become a real human being. Lead a real life.”

Real . . . I didn’t know what he meant but he said it like what he was saying was so clear that I’d have to be an idiot to miss it. So I didn’t say nothing.

He kept going. “Oh, there’re reasons to steal and there’re reasons to kill. But on the whole, don’t you really think it’s better not to? Just think about it: Why do we put people in jail if it’s all right for them to murder? Not just us but all societies.”

“So, what? Ooooo, I’m gonna give up my evil ways?”

And he just lifted his eyebrow and said, “Maybe. Tell me, Jack, how’d you feel when your buddy—what’s his name?”

“Joe Roy Toth.”

“Toth. When he shot that customer by the counter? How’d you feel?”

“I don’t know.”

“He just turned around and shot him. For no reason. You knew that wasn’t right, didn’t you?” And I started to say something. But he said, “No, don’t answer me. You’d be inclined to lie. And that’s all right. It’s an instinct in your line of work. But I don’t want you believing any lies you tell me. Okay? I want you to look into your heart and tell me if you didn’t think something was real wrong about what Toth did. Think about that, Jack. You knew something wasn’t right.”

All right, I did. But who wouldn’t? Toth screwed everything up. Everything went sour. And it was all his fault.

“It dug at you, right, Jack? You wished he hadn’t done it.”

I didn’t say nothing but just drank some more scotch and looked out the window and watched the flashing lights around the town. Sometimes they seemed close and sometimes they seemed far away.

“If I let you go you’ll tell ’em about me.”

Like everybody else. They all betrayed me. My father—even after he went blind, the son of a bitch turned me in. My first PO, the judges. Sandra. My boss, the one I knifed.

“No, I won’t,” Weller said. “We’re talking about an agreement. I don’t break deals. I promised I won’t tell a soul about you, Jack. Not even my wife.” He leaned forward, cupping the booze between his hands. “You let me go, it’ll mean all the difference in the world to you. It’ll mean that you’re not hopeless. I guarantee your life’ll be different. That one act—letting me go—it’ll change you forever. Oh, maybe not this year. Or for five years. But you’ll come around. You’ll give up all this, everything that happened back there in Liggett Falls. All the crime, the killing. You’ll come around. I know you will.”

“You just expect me to believe you won’t tell anybody?”

“Ah,” Weller said and lifted his bound-up hands to drink more scotch. “Now we get down to the big issue.”

Again, that silence and finally I said, “And what’s that?”

“Faith.”

There was this burst of siren outside, real near, and I told him to shut up and pushed the gun against his head. His hands were shaking but he didn’t do anything stupid and a few minutes later, after I sat back, he started talking again. “Faith. That’s what I’m talking about. A man who has faith is somebody who can be saved.”

“Well, I don’t have any goddamn faith,” I told him.

But he kept right on talking. “If you believe in another human being you have faith.”

“Why the hell do you care whether I’m saved or not?”

“Because life’s hard and people’re cruel. I told you I’m a churchgoer. A lot of the Bible’s crazy. But some of it I believe. And one of the things I believe is that sometimes we’re put in these situations to make a difference. I think that’s what happened tonight. That’s why you and I both happened to be at the drugstore at the same time. You’ve felt that, haven’t you? Like an omen? Like something happens and is telling you you ought to do this or shouldn’t do that.”

Which was weird ’cause the whole time we were driving up to Liggett Falls, I kept thinking something funny’s going on. I don’t know what it is but this job’s gonna be different.

“What if,” he said, “everything tonight happened for a purpose? My wife had a cold so I went to buy NyQuil. I went to that drugstore instead of 7-Eleven to save a buck or two. You happened to hit that store at just that time. You happened to have your buddy”—he nodded toward Toth’s body “with you. The cop car just happened by at that particular moment. And the clerk behind the counter just happened to see him. That’s a lot of coincidences. Don’t you think?”

And then—this sent a damn chill right down my spine—he said, “Here we are in the shadow of that big rock, that face.”

Which is one hundred percent what I was thinking. Exactly the same—about the Lookout, I mean. I don’t know why I was. But I happened to be looking out the window and thinking about it at that exact same instant. I tossed back the scotch and had another and, oh, man, I was pretty freaked out.

“Like he’s looking at us, waiting for you to make a decision. Oh, don’t think it was just you, though. Maybe the purpose was to affect everybody’s life there. That customer at the counter your friend shot? Maybe it was just his time to go—fast, you know, before he got cancer or had a stroke. Maybe that girl, the clerk, had to get shot in the leg so she’d get her life together, maybe get off drugs or give up drinking.”

“And you? What about you?”

“Well, I’ll tell you about me. Maybe you’re the good deed in my life. I’ve spent years thinking only about making money. Take a look at my wallet. There. In the back.”

I pulled it open. There were a half dozen of these little cards, like certificates. Randall Weller—Salesman of the Year. Exceeded Target Two Years Straight. Best Salesman of 1992.

Weller kept going. “There are plenty of others back in my office. And trophies too. And in order for me to win those I’ve had to neglect people. My family and friends. People who could maybe use my help. And that’s not right. Maybe you kidnapping me, it’s one of those signs to make me turn my life around.”

The funny thing was, this made sense. Oh, it was hard to imagine not doing heists. And I couldn’t see myself, if it came down to a fight, not going for my Buck or my Smitty to take the other guy out. That turning the other cheek stuff, that’s only for losers. But maybe I could see a day when my life’d be just straight time. Living with some woman, maybe a wife, and not treating her the way I’d treated Sandra, living in a house. Doing what my father and mother, whatever she was like, never did.

“If I was to let you go,” I said, “you’d have to tell ’em something.”

He shrugged. “I’ll say you locked me in the trunk and then tossed me out somewhere near here. I wandered around, looking for a house or something, and got lost. It could take me a day to find somebody. That’s believable.”

“Or you could flag down a car in an hour.”

“I could. But I won’t.”

“You keep saying that. But how do I know?”

“That’s the faith part. You don’t know. No guarantees.”

“Well, I guess I don’t have any faith”
Then I’m dead. And your life’s never gonna change. End of story.” He sat back and shrugged.

That silence again but it was like it was really this roar all around us. “You just want . . . What do you want?”

He drank more scotch. “Here’s a proposal. Let me walk outside.”

“Oh, right. Just let you stroll out for some fresh air or something?”

“Let me walk outside and I promise you I’ll walk right back in again.”

“Like a test?”

He thought about this for a second. “Yeah. A test.”

“Where’s this faith you’re talking about? You walk outside, you try to run and I’d shoot you in the back.”

“No, what you do is you put the gun someplace in the house. The kitchen or someplace. Somewhere you couldn’t get it if I ran. You stand at the window, where we can see each other. And I’ll tell you up front I can run like the wind. I was lettered track and field in college and I still jog every day of the year.”

“You know if you run and bring the cops back it’s all gonna get bloody. I’ll kill the first five troopers come through that door. Nothing’ll stop me and that blood’ll be on your hands.”

“Of course I know that,” he said. “But if this’s going to work you can’t think that way. You’ve got to assume the worst is going to happen. That if I run I’ll tell the cops everything. Where you are and that there’re no hostages here and that you’ve only got one or two guns. And they’re going to come in and blow you to hell. And you’re not going to take a single one down with you. You’re going to die and die painfully ’cause of a few lousy bucks. But, but, but . . .” He held up his hands and stopped me from saying anything. “You gotta understand, faith means risk.”

“That’s stupid.”

“I think it’s just the opposite. It’d be the smartest thing you’d ever do in your life.”

I tossed back another scotch and had to think about this.

Weller said, “I can see it there already. Some of that faith. It’s there. Not a lot. But some.”

And yeah, maybe there was a little. ’Cause I was thinking about how mad I got at Toth and the way he ruined everything. I didn’t want anybody to get killed tonight. I was sick of it. Sick of the way my life had gone. Sometimes it was good, being alone and all. Not answering to anybody. But sometimes it was real bad. And this guy Weller, it was like he was showing me something different.

“So,” I said. “You just want me to put the gun down?”

He looked around. “Put it in the kitchen. You stand in the doorway or window. All I’m gonna do is walk down to the street and walk back.”

I looked out the window. It was maybe fifty feet down the driveway. There were these bushes on either side of it. He could just take off and I’d never find him.

All through the sky I could see police-car lights flickering.

“Naw, I ain’t gonna. You’re nuts.”

I expected begging or something. Or him getting pissed off more likely—which is what happens to me when people don’t do what I tell them. Or don’t do it fast enough. But, naw, he just nodded. “Okay, Jack. You thought about it. That’s a good thing. You’re not ready yet. I respect that.” He sipped a little more scotch, looking at the glass. And that was the end of it.

Then all of a sudden these searchlights started up. They was some ways away but I still got spooked and backed away from the window. Pulled my gun out. Only then I saw that it wasn’t nothing to do with the robbery. It was just a couple big spotlights shining on the Lookout. They must’ve gone on every night, this time.

I looked up at it. From here it didn’t look like a face at all. It was just a rock. Gray and brown and these funny pine trees growing sideways out of cracks.

Watching it for a minute or two. Looking out over the town. And something that guy was saying went into my head. Not the words, really. Just the thought. And I was thinking about everybody in that town. Leading normal lives. There was a church steeple and the roofs of small houses. A lot of little yellow lights in town. You could just make out the hills in the distance. And I wished for a minute I was in one of them houses. Sitting there. Watching TV with a wife next to me.

I turned back from the window and I said, “You’d just walk down to the road and back? That’s it?”

“That’s all. I won’t run off, you don’t go get your gun. We trust each other. What could be simpler?”

Listening to the wind. Not strong but a steady hiss that was comforting in a funny way even though any other time I’da thought it sounded cold and raw. It was like I heard a voice. I don’t know. Something in me said I oughta do this.

I didn’t say nothing else ’cause I was right on the edge and I was afraid he’d say something that’d make me change my mind. I just took the Smith & Wesson and looked at it for a minute then went and put it on the kitchen table. I came back with the Buck and cut his feet free. Then I figured if I was going to do it I oughta go all the way. So I cut his hands free too. Weller seemed surprised I did that. But he smiled like he knew I was playing the game. I pulled him to his feet and held the blade to his neck and took him to the door.

“You’re doing a good thing,” he said.

I was thinking: Oh, man. I can’t believe this. It’s crazy. Part of me said, Cut him now, cut his throat. Do it!

But I didn’t. I opened the door and smelled cold fall air and wood smoke and pine and I heard the wind in the rocks and trees above our head.

“Go on,” I told him.

Weller started off and he didn’t look back to check on me, see if I went to get the gun . . . faith, I guess. He kept walking real slow down toward the road.

I felt funny, I’ll tell you, and a couple times when he went past some real shadowy places in the driveway and could disappear I was like, Oh, man, this is all messed up. I’m crazy.

I almost panicked a few times and bolted for the Smitty but I didn’t. When Weller got down near the sidewalk I was actually holding my breath. I expected him to go, I really did. I was looking for that moment—when people tense up, when they’re gonna swing or draw down on you or bolt. It’s like their bodies’re shouting what they’re going to be doing before they do it. Only Weller wasn’t doing none of that. He walked down to the sidewalk real casual. And he turned and looked up at the face of the Lookout, like he was just another weekender.

Then he turned around. He nodded at me.

Which is when the cop car came by.

It was a state trooper. Those’re the dark ones and he didn’t have the light bar going. So he was almost here before I knew it. I guess I was looking at Weller so hard I didn’t see nothing else.

There it was, two doors away, and Weller saw it the same time I did.

And I thought: That’s it. Oh, hell.

But when I was turning to get the gun I saw this motion down by the road. And I stopped cold.

Could you believe it? Weller’d dropped onto the ground and rolled underneath a tree. I closed the door real fast and watched from the window. The trooper stopped and turned his light on the driveway. The beam—it was real bright—it moved up and down and hit all the bushes and the front of the house then back to the road. But it was like Weller was digging down into the pine needles to keep from being seen. I mean, he was hiding from those sons of bitches. Doing whatever he could to stay out of the way of the light.

Then the car moved on and I saw the lights checking out the house next door and then it was gone. I kept my eyes on Weller the whole time and he didn’t do nothing stupid. I seen him climb out from under the trees and dust himself off. Then he came walking back to the house. Easy, like he was walking to a bar to meet some buddies.

He came inside. Gave this little sigh, like relief. And laughed. Then he held his hands out. I didn’t even ask him to. I taped ’em up again and he sat down in the chair, picked up his scotch and sipped it.

And, damn, I’ll tell you something. The God’s truth. I felt good. Naw, naw, it wasn’t like I’d seen the light or anything like that crap. But I was thinking that of all the people in my life—my dad or my ex or Toth or anybody else, I never did really trust them. I’d never let myself go all the way. And here, tonight, I did. With a stranger and somebody who had the power to do me some harm. It was a pretty scary feeling but it was also a good feeling.

A little thing, real little. But maybe that’s where stuff like this starts. I realized then that I’d been wrong. I could let him go. Oh, I’d keep him tied up here. Gagged. It’d be a day or so before he’d get out. But he’d agree to that. I knew he would. And I’d write his name and address down, let him know I knew where him and his family lived. But that was only part of why I’d let him go. I wasn’t sure what the rest of it was. But it was something about what’d just happened, something between me and him.

“How you feel?” he asked.

I wasn’t going to give too much away. No, sir. But I couldn’t help saying, “That car coming by? I thought I was gone then. But you did right by me.”

“And you did right too, Jack.” And then he said, “Pour us another round.”

I filled the glasses to the top. We tapped ’em.

“Here’s to you, Jack. And to faith.”

“To faith.”

I tossed back the whisky and when I lowered my head, sniffing air through my nose to clear my head, well, that was when he got me. Right in the face.

He was good, that son of a bitch. Tossed the glass low so that even when I ducked, which of course I did, the booze caught me in the eyes, and, man, that stung like nobody’s business. I couldn’t believe it. I was howling in pain and going for the knife. But it was too late. He had it all planned out, exactly what I was going to do. How I was gonna move. He brought his knee up into my chin and knocked a couple teeth out and I went over onto my back before I could get the knife outa my pocket. Then he dropped down on my belly with his knee—I remembered I’d never bothered to tape his feet up again—and he knocked the wind out, and I was lying there like I was paralyzed, trying to breathe and all. Only I couldn’t. And the pain was incredible but what was worse was the feeling that he didn’t trust me.

I was whispering, “No, no, no! I was going to do it, man. You don’t understand! I was going to let you go.”

I couldn’t see nothing and couldn’t really hear nothing either, my ears were roaring so much. I was gasping, “You don’t understand, you don’t understand.”

Man, the pain was so bad. So bad . . .

Weller must’ve got the tape off his hands, chewed through it, I guess, ’cause he was rolling me over. I felt him tape my hands together then grab me and drag me over to a chair, tape my feet to the legs. He got some water and threw it in my face to wash the whisky out of my eyes.

He sat down in a chair in front of me. And he just stared at me for a long time while I caught my breath. He picked up his glass, poured more scotch. I shied away, thinking he was going to throw it in my face again but he just sat there, sipping it and staring at me.

“You . . . I was going to let you go. I was.”

“I know,” he said. Still calm.

“You know?”

“I could see it in your face. I’ve been a salesman for years, remember? I know when I’ve closed a deal.”

I’m a pretty strong guy, ’specially when I’m mad, and I tried real hard to break through that tape but there was no doing it. “Goddamn you!” I shouted. “You said you weren’t going to turn me in. You, all your goddamn talk about faith—”

“Shhhh,” Weller whispered. And he sat back, crossed his legs. Easy as could be. Looking me up and down. “That fellow your friend shot and killed back at the drugstore? The customer at the counter?”

I nodded slowly.

“He was my friend. It’s his place my wife and I’re staying at this weekend. With all our kids.”

I just stared at him. His friend? What was he saying? “I didn’t—”

“Be quiet,” he said, real soft. “I’ve known him for years. Gerry was one of my best friends.”

“I didn’t want nobody to die. I—”

“But somebody did die. And it was your fault.”

“Toth. . . .”

He whispered, “It was your fault.”

“All right, you tricked me. Call the cops. Get it over with, you goddamn liar.”

“You really don’t understand, do you?” Weller shook his head. Why was he so calm? His hands weren’t shaking. He wasn’t looking around, nervous and all. Nothing like that. He said, “If I’d wanted to turn you in I would just’ve flagged down that squad car a few minutes ago. But I said I wouldn’t do that. And I won’t. I gave you my word I wouldn’t tell the cops a thing about you. And I won’t. Turning you in is the last thing I want to do.”

“Then what do you want?” I shouted. “Tell me!” Trying to bust through that tape. And as he unfolded my Buck knife with a click, I was thinking of something I told him.

Oh, man, no . . . Oh, no.

Yeah, being blind, I guess. That’d be the worst thing I could think of.

“What’re you going to do?” I whispered.

“What’m I going to do, Jack?” Weller said, feeling the blade of the Buck with his thumb and looking me in the eye. “Well, I’ll tell you. I spent a good deal of time tonight proving to you that you shouldn’t kill me. And now . . .”

“What, man? What?”

“Now I’m going to spend a good deal of time proving to you that you should’ve.”

Then, real slow, Weller finished his scotch and stood up. And he walked toward me, that weird little smile on his face

***************************************
These days I enjoy reading more than writing so I’ve been reading more than I have been writing (durhh).
I have an amazing collection of books by authors on my list. If you are interested, use the comments section and we’ll see how you can get your hands on them too.

Reading is a pretty beautiful thing. A worthy experience. Especially when it’s masterfully done.
If we have enough takers, we might begin synchronized binging on some authors’ works

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Posted by on September 4, 2015 in Discussion, Inspiration, Stories

 

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Ebola: Public Service Announcement

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Good morning fellow Nigerians. My name is Boluwaduro Asala, I’m a pharmacist and this is a Public Service Announcement!
Our president Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has declared a National Health Emergency to avoid the spread of the very deadly Ebola Virus Disease. In lieu of this, you are to take note of the following;

Ebola is very contagious and transmitted via contact with body fluids such as; Blood, Saliva, Semen or Body discharges. If you notice, there is one activity where 3 out of the four body fluids mentioned are exchanged. And that my people is coitus, sex, or love making. This is a National Health Emergency my people, and I propose that this activity be stopped for the next three months so as to prevent the spread of this very deadly disease. That also includes oral sex and kissing. If you must cuddle, do so while waddled up like The Baby in a manger. In no time at all, you’ll get so hot, you won’t need the other person. The officials say only visibly sick people should be avoided. I say let’s be safe eh? No sexual activities for 3 months!

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Ebola is not air borne, so all of you that have bought face mask; una too try! Unless of course you are one of those people who like to gesticulate with spittle instead of your hands, by all means, protect us from yourself.

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Only about 10-30% of people who get infected with this disease survive. I know that sounds small but…no buts really, it’s very deadly! It kills in a few weeks. This is one of those cases where prevention is honestly and really better than cure. This my people is because there is no cure for Ebola

Which is where we come in really, let me shout this very loudly THERE IS NO CURE FOR EBOLA!!! The following are the symptoms of Ebola Virus Disease;
The first and most important symptom is high and sudden fever. When this occurs with
Diarrhea,
Vomiting,

Headache,

Weakness,

Joint & muscle ache,

Stomach pain,

Lack of appetite,

Sore throat and

Bleeding from the any body orifice that blood shouldn’t be coming out from.

Looking at the symptoms individually, they are fairly common but when you notice 4 or 5 or more symptoms out of 10, you should get help. My advice is; don’t go to the community pharmacy – there is no drug for Ebola Virus Disease. Don’t go and complain to the ‘Omo Ibo’ on your street that sells medicines – he is not a healthcare professional. Don’t go to your village – why do you want to truncate their hustle? Don’t go to your pastor – unless you’re really very sure he/she is a man/woman of faith. Don’t complicate matters with naiveté. What you need to do is to commute yourself to the nearest secondary or tertiary health institutions where they would be able to properly handle the disease.

The patients who survive (10-30%) are often those who were under intensive care, who were treated for the symptoms until the disease ran its course.

Don’t go to a community pharmacy because there is the risk that you will be given drugs for malaria, typhoid and body pains, the symptoms are fairly similar. If it has crossed your mind, make sure you mention it to the pharmacist there, he/she can then direct you to the nearest hospital which is the best thing we can do for you really.

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In conclusion, have you bought your hand sanitizer? Don’t beef the manufacturers and importers of the product for increasing the price, its simple economics. Demand goes up, price goes up to. Everyone wants to date models, it’s freaking expensive to. That my people is simple economics, don’t beef them. Buy and use regularly, it is still the safest way of protecting the most exposed part of your body – your hands which you eat and touch every other part of your body with.

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Wash and bathe with antiseptic soaps and detergents. Keep a clean environment.  Stay away from monkey meat! If your house is a bat cave, make sure you don’t get bitten! Also try not to feed on the bats.

This is the end of the Public Service Announcement. Thank you for reading. God bless you, God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Take care now!

PS. I did not forget about the salt o. There’s just no need to further abuse our intelligence.

I am @OverlordNoni on twitter

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2014 in Discussion, Social commentary

 

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On the GAY topic -The Origins

Before you start reading, you should note that this piece may be divisive and certainly not all encompassing. I was taught to not judge until I have all the evidence or at least enough to be fair. So this piece is aimed at understanding the origins. This is not a 1 in 10,000 occurrence, as it stands, It’s almost a ‘more than 1 in 20(certainly not equally distributed across cultural climes) and that’s quite a number when you put in perspective. Read with that in mind.

Sometime last year, I came across a DVD of the 2012 MTV Awards ceremony on a friend’s laptop, I remembered the ruckus and hullabaloo that trailed Miley Cyrus’ performance at the event and wanted to see for myself so I copied it. I saw the performance with Robin Thicke and I had to admit, that performance was as raunchy as I read online and very well worth the ruckus. I came across something else though, Macklemore won the award for the best song with a social message, he performed it with Mary Lambert and Jennifer Hudson and the performance blew me away but like every rap song, you can only fully appreciate it when you hear it through clean speakers or good headsets where you can hear the lyrics. So I downloaded the song ‘Same Love’ and it immediately went to the top of my playlist for that week; it was on constant repeat. And it got me thinking as well, I needed to get to the bottom of this gay ‘thingy’ so I reached out on twitter to talk to any gay person so as to get perspective on the topic. I wanted to write on it but also not mal-align anyone. I wanted to get into their head and have a feel of how they think and it was whew!

I need to first say that I’m not gay, and should anyone make a move on me, he would get the beating of his life followed by the counselling of his life as well because as my father would say “Aya omode ni were di si, egba ni a ma fi gbon danu” loosely translated as “Madness is inherent in the mind of a child and it’s only the cane in copious amounts that can remove it”. I had my opinion on the phenomenon but I couldn’t write on it without getting some perspective. I needed to know and, more importantly, feel how they processed that information. Looking at a guy and getting sexually aroused?! I mean, does that even make any sense? I look at a girl and I see the works of God, I see how beautiful she is and appreciate her feminineness, her sexiness if you will. I look at a guy and I see a guy, either good looking or not and that is it! So I was wondering how you make that leap from ‘here’ all the way to ‘there’.

My Initial Theory
Before now, I had only given the topic a cursory thought and my theories bordered on the hilarious. For a female to be a lesbian, it had to be that she had dated men for a large part of her life only to realise that it has only caused her repeated heartbreaks and crisis of identity. Therefore it seemed logical that since men are the problem, women must be the solution, they can both still give each other sexual pleasure without having to deal with the monster that is man. For a guy to be gay on the other hand, he was simply sick in the head, I don’t see how you could have kissed a girl, or felt a soft warm body with your bare hands or to have had sex with a girl and open your mouth to say you like guys without having lost some nuts upstairs. There is a large gap in logic there. The male act is more reprehensible than the female by far. I know how it feels when I have not visited the toilet in days and my faeces had compacted and I have to groan in pain as I force it out. That shit is painful I tell you. Now to now imagine someone deliberately inserting his phallus into another man’s anal orifice is just urgh.

The Truth
On a serious note, for a guy to like guys and for a girl to like girls is a perversion, no matter how you put it or look at it. If you do not see it as a perversion, then you need to re-evaluate your stand. God in his mastery created us male and female with different anatomical features to distinguish between us. But those tools are not just anatomical; they are also physiological and complimentary to one another. That the penis in males is located at a location that on the females correspond to the vagina is no mistake. As a side note, I always did wonder how Adam knew where to put ‘it’. The female organ however is unlike the male not just physiologically suited for sexual actions, it is however most suited for its maternal roles, the breasts may entice you as a guy, but you would admit that it makes more sense to the babies whose survival largely depends on them. Therefore, lesbianism and/or gayness are a perversion of God’s intent for our bodies. So again I ask, how do we go from here to there or rather more importantly, why?

The Interview
Like I said earlier, I reached out on Twitter for any gay person to contact me so we could have a confidential conversation on the matter. I was glad I got a response and it was enlightening. The first question I asked was “How long, have you been gay?” his response was that “I had my first gay sex when i was 14”. I had to stop to consider that, how many young children are victims of this act, how many people have their lives changed forever because of one uncle who felt the need to use them to satisfy their sexual perversion? My next question was “Was it a choice or did it just happen”? He said “It wasn’t a choice and it didn’t just happen either” I needed further clarification and I asked for it, he then narrated a story for me “I used to like this uncle in my area, not sexually though because I didn’t know about sex at the time. So one day, the ‘uncle’ wanted my friend to help him do something and he refused, so out of pity I decided to do it. When I was done with his little errand, he invited me to his room; it was a little nice dark room. At first he was lying on the bed and I was sitting, nothing was going on between us but I felt a strong urge to touch him. He himself later invited me to touch him; I felt so much relief so I started touching him. He invited me to hold his private part and I did, after he got hard, he touched me and got me hard, he later started sucking my private part, after a while, I told him I wanted to pee, he invited me to pee in his mouth. That was my first ever cum and it felt so good”. Before you call him ‘omokomo’ or a nonsense child, I’ll want you to know that it was a very young age and kids are really impressionable at that stage and considering the hormonal changes puberty brings, the whole thing can go awry if a child doesn’t have direction.
My next question was “Prior to that incident, were you attracted to females? And after, did you ever feel you wanted girls”? His response was enlightening “I know I’m not strictly homosexual, I’m Bi, so I still feel attracted to girls. As a matter of fact, I have a girlfriend but I have never had sex with a female and my bisexuality tends towards men over 40 years old” I only have passable knowledge on the works of Sigmund Freud on Psychoanalysis but I know I can diagnose the last part. Since his first was considerably older, it makes sense that only older men appear attractive to him. A certain thought was brewing in my mind as you would see in my next question “Can someone be born gay? As in, attracted to guys from day one without having a decisive moment like yours that tilts the scale? ”he responded “Bro I have to be sincere with you, if you’re not born gay, you can never be gay” That threw me off balance I must admit. I was taught children are born with ‘tabula rasa’ a blank mind that is and what society impinges on it is what it becomes. I also know that the argument of Nature versus Nurture is one that can never be concluded, you just pick a side. Let’s complete the interview before I discuss the ramifications. He said “I will let you in on a little secret, gays have a distinct character, and many of them have the ability to conceal that character while others can’t. Gays have this girly character! No matter how much they try to conceal it, if you observe them closely, you will get to see it. Most other ones want to show their masculinity by becoming machos. Most of the six packed and overly muscularly built guys are gay. I wasn’t surprised when Iyanya was accused of being gay though it may not be true. Watch characters like Charly Boy and Denrele, I wouldn’t say they are gay because I can’t say for sure but something tells me otherwise”. The macho thing brings a new twist to it doesn’t it? Is he right, I would not know, but the logic adds up! Overcompensating is something we all do one way or the other so it makes sense to fight the girl in you by becoming the perfect definition of manliness.
He wasn’t done though, he made another profound statement, “You can be forced to have gay sex but that wouldn’t change your sexual orientation, you are either born gay or you are not”. There was something nagging me about that sentence. He went on to further say “Most gays are happily married; I have been with all sorts of men, even though I don’t abuse my gayness. I have been with a priest, pastor, doctor, top politician, lecturers etc, they are everywhere! Most people that came out of the closet, have you asked yourself why? Why did they just choose to, knowing the implications to their careers”? He felt the need to reiterate an earlier point “Make no mistake about me, mine wasn’t a decisive moment. I had always admired that ‘uncle’ before our escapades” what’s coming next will blow your mind. “One thing you must know, growing up as a gay wasn’t easy, no body to talk to about how you feel. No love to call your own. At a point, I felt suicidal. I wanted to take my life! I questioned God. I asked Him why he chose to make me gay in a homophobic continent like ours, I became rebellious to God and to myself but after speaking with one gay pastor in the UK, I accepted myself for who I am. I am now working towards ‘fitting’ into my homophobic environment

Logical Discourse
About what was nagging me, the mindset that they are born this way is one that is hard to stomach. And the gay pastor bit had me stumped. Gay pastor? Come on! I consulted other intellectuals and got their opinion on the matter. If you think you’re born that way, then we must be able to explain it genetically, physiologically, psychologically or spiritually. If it passes all the checkpoints, then we would have to agree that people can be born gay so it is therefore not their fault they are the way they are and accept them.

Genetically speaking, no genetic markers have been identified to lend credence to the genetic claim. When you look at children born with genetic disorders such as Down’s syndrome etc, you can tie it down to the biochemical reason they are the way they are. Multiple chromosomes or extra chromosomes, or other such phenomena have been implicated in genetic disorders. There are also congenital disorders and I am sure this is not one of them. For instance, according to some psychology researchers from the University of Toronto and Harvard University, some children are predisposed to schizophrenia if they are born with Low Latent Inhibition and a considerably low Intelligence Quotient (IQ); the brain wouldn’t be able to handle the influx of information due to the low inhibition and would result in psychosis. In that case, we can identify the source. But in gays, genetics won’t sufficiently explain it, so strike one!

Physiologically, until a gay hormone can be identified, I’d say strike two. The sex organs are a part of the reproductive system hence their purpose is for reproduction. Homosexuality doesn’t perpetuate that, it rather mitigates it. The simple question has been if your parents were gay, would you be born? Remember my earlier question about how Adam knew where to put ‘it’. I’m going to with instinct because I’m pretty sure Eve didn’t come with a manual. God is the originator and master of double entendres in that while reproduction is the goal, it’s not a mechanical act, but rather a pleasurable one. The vaginal canal is present for the delivery of sperm cells to the ovaries but it’s also provides pleasure. So, the function is not pleasure, it’s for reproductive purposes (the pleasure is a required side benefit) so strike two!

The psychology is a fascinating one though, having talked about Tabula Rasa earlier, I’d like to bring Schrödinger’s cat into the discussion. You have a cat in a box with a device that can kill it. You don’t however know for sure if the cat is dead or alive unless you open the box. It is therefore said that the cat is both dead and alive. This is called quantum indeterminacy or observers paradox whereby the observation or measurement influences the outcome. In lay terms, it can be posited that a child can be born with both and which he/she grows up to be will depend on the measuring tool, which is society in this case. A child can become gay if exposed to homosexual acts early in life and can be heterosexual if adequately exposed. You can invoke Nature vs. Nurture here and you won’t be wrong. In the case of the interview above, it can be argued that the encounter with the ‘uncle’ tilted the scales in that direction. If it had being an ‘aunty’ for instance, it would have been something else. I posit that the number of gay people is on the rise because the act is been encouraged. It is no longer seen as an abnormality so more people are into it now. There is also the fact that some people are born with an adventurous spirit and that would push them to try things no one else has ever done or defy the odds to do that which should not be done. Many of gay people got into it because they wanted to experiment and it felt good enough that they continued. You know how they say something is so wrong but it feels so good? This is a typical example.

I think the spiritual angle offers most insight. We would have to start at the beginning though, as in, the very Genesis. Where it is written that “God made man in his own image and after his own likeness”, where it is written that “be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth” Genesis 1:28. From that point of view, it is wrong, wrong and very wrong! Since that’s the only point of view that potentially has a solution, It’s the only one that should matter!
Also in the book of Leviticus 20:13, the bible speaks against homosexuality. If you think that God should relax his laws because we are in the new age, you should note that he spoke against it in the New Testament as well in the book of Romans Chapter 1. God’s stand on the matter is clear; the passage of time does not change the word of God. It is sure, immutable and irrefutable. So, no matter what you may have been told, you should know that God did NOT create you to be gay and do things he has said should not be done.

Resolution
Having gone through all that, we have to come to a resolution of sorts, expecting the whole world to ditch our ingrained sense of normalcy and accept you all without blinking, is a lot to ask for. It’s like telling a man at 80 that his wife of over 50 years is not the mother of his children. That’s a blow to the gut, a shift of magnanimous proportions, and you expect him to smile and say “It’s nothing”. Before he finishes processing the information and the emotions that come with it, I won’t be surprised if he says he doesn’t want to ever see her again or worse(perhaps bring out a gun if he has one). He may of course later come to a resolution and accept her, but it won’t be easy and it would be a testament to his strength than anything else. It’s a lot to take in when you factor in the fact that we are Africans, ingrained in and defined by our cultures and traditions. When you add religion to that mix, homosexuality as a way of life stands no chance. I personally do not subscribe to violence as it often causes more harm than good even if it’s done with good intentions, so killing gays is not the way to go. Letting the ideology thrive on the other hand is not African.

A fourteen-year jail term for homosexuals is an interestingly hilarious idea, in that it doesn’t help the homosexual man/woman whilst making scape goats out of them, but still not a solution. For a nation, it may be okay for some to die to save the rest but that’s not what the church of God stands for. There is no genetic and physiological basis so there can be no genetic or physiological solution. It can be said to be a psychological (i.e. a state of mind, an addiction, an act of defiance, a coping mechanism, an experiment/adventure etc.) condition or a spiritual one (in which case you implicate the devil). Many have tried to pray it away with little returns:  psychologists too have had a go at the problem with little or no success. What then do we do? Something has to give, either gays change and become straight or the whole world changes our ideology and mindsets. In fairness, both sound like pipedreams but with intervention one can be pulled off. The thing about change is you have to want it badly, be properly informed and adequately motivated to pursue it. A prophet can’t just lay hands on you and poof you’re no longer gay but if you want to change, you would do what it takes. It won’t be easy but I believe it would be worth it.

In conclusion, Africa and Nigeria especially will never accept ‘gayism’ as a way of life in the foreseeable future , if you want to do your thing, do it somewhere else, but if you want to remain on our shores, you would have to get help or just keep quiet. I strongly recommend the former though, God is the creator of mankind, and if anything is broken, He is the one who can fix it. Not a pastor, not a prophet, not even you yourself can fix yourself. Go to God, tell Him what you want and tell Him you’re going nowhere until he does something about it. I’m sure he will turn up. That is my 2 cents.

I am @OverlordNoni

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in Christianity, Discussion, Faith, Maiden, Social commentary

 

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I Am Not Fat

I’m not gonna say this twice! (If i do, disregard the others.). I AM NOT FAT! Y’all got that? I just happen to be blessed by the genetic pool that define my make up. For as long as i can remember, i’ve always had a bumbum bigger than most, i cant apologise for that. Plus i also have large bones to go with them. So its not my fault okay? I am not fat!

In case you dont understand my rant, i have recently noticed that accusation a lot. From people who are thin and cant add weight even if they were force fed. People who dont have bumbum and that are jealous of mine. They open their mouth and call me fat. I dont blame you at all . To add salt and pepper to injury, they now ask me to slim down and lose weight. I tell them in my mind that i am not fat. I eat good food and it shows. Shebi a big tummy is kuku a sign of good living. I have an healthy digestive system that extracts the nutrients my body needs to grow. So mind yourself seriously. Ka ji ko?

**** End of Rant****

Now, this is something i’ve wanted to write about for a while. You know how men desire women to have the perfect Figure 8? Even after 2 or 3 children? And they now complain that she isn’t looking like what he married and she argues that he is supposed to love her anyway since its his children that turned her this way. Man then sees another figure 8 and well endowed lady and starts cheating on his wife. Sounds familiar? Well let me rant before i put a twist to it.

image

Having seen some women in their 60s, take Vera Wang for instance, that picture above was taken when she was 62. That body rivals a lot of young girls’ nowadays.

image

This woman was 55 years old at the time.

Lets face reality, very few people in Nigeria can pull that off. My mum is 50 and she looks great for her age. Better than a lot of her colleagues who are even younger. In other to put this in perspective, you need to picture Lagos, if you are still on your bed by 6am, you can be sure you are not escaping that traffic, that early morning logjam that defines the streets of “Lasgidi”, you get to work and eat something, afternoon you eat something, by 4,5,6pm you leave the office, get stuck in returning traffic and pray you get home on time to prepare food for your family. You’re lucky you get home 8pm. And now, someone expects you in the middle of all that find time to work out? Come on! Lets be as realistic as possible here. Lets say you try more than most and watch what you eat…sometimes. After a while you realise its just not enough.
Another factor to consider is that by the time you hit 50, you’re pretty close to hitting a top position at work, less hard work, more paper pushing, document signing and of course more pay. So you do what everybody else does, you chop your life! And before you know it, your sides fill up, the figure 8 disappears, fat starts piling up in the stomach and voila, you are rotund!

I used to criticize those women, calling them lazy for allowing their bodies to lose shape. And siding with the foolish husbands who use that as an excuse to frolick with girls far younger than them. Saying stuff like “look at how soon Beyonce dropped her baby fat and jumped right back on the saddle” while forgetting one critical thing. Beyonce doesn’t represent the common American. Her type of work gives her the luxury of time. Heck! Even if she never sings again, she’ll never lack with what she already has. Forgetting that This is Nigeria! Where hustle has a face, has a voice, even has a name. And there is no time for serenren.

Before i started work, i used to think “hey just wake up early and do 30minutes to 1hr workout” and you’ll put the fat in check. Tell that to a mother of 3 who has to wake up and prepare the kids for school and still prepare herself for work all before 6:30am. I mean, whats there? How hard can that be? Right?
Now that I’ve started working, I’m So positioned that 10mins is all i need to get to work, factor in the time I’d use to get ready and all that,.I’d still have pretty notable time for my workouts. But alas it is not so! Even when I manage to wake up between 5:30am and 6am, I use it for my devotion! And sometimes sleep back, before u know it, It’s 7am and you have to be at work by 8, So I manage do 50-60 pushups and sometimes Add some sit-ups not regularly, dress up and his to work. Note that I’m single and take care of nobody But me.
So little by little, I’ve been adding weight these past months, and people are now talking and It’s pissing me off.

I tell myself many things, (my rant above), defend myself with genetics and the fact that I’m a guy, all that matters is How successful I am, I’d still be attractive. Shebi ladies kuku like money. I go further by saying, It’s not even that bad, when it gets really bad, I’ll do something about it, people just like putting their noses in other people’s matter. Screw them, It’s my life, It’s my body, and I will do with it as I please! Yada yada yada, meanwhile the paunch grows. I stand in front of the mirror and pull my stomach in, while telling myself “Is Nothing!”

Here comes the twist, its all about CONTROL. How much control do you have over yourself? Are you a victim of your desires or were you just living life as it comes? Do you close your eyes to the drops of water and start fixing when it becomes a flood? CONTROL! Many of us just live life singing “Que sera sera, whatever will be will be”, That’s all well and good until things take a turn in a direction you never anticipated or saw coming, life throws you a curve and you now have to “deal with it”. I’m gonna admit This, we know So little and can control that much, But wherever we find out that we indeed have control over, let’s not leave it up to chance.

Take a step today, you’d be amazed at How much just regular jogging daily can do to your body, your heart, lungs skin, and overall mental acuity. Just set a time, whatever distance you cover in 30minutes for instance, after which you head back home and prepare for work. If you don’t have that luxury, get a treadmill, get your whole body working and You’ll see the effect in a short while. Talk they say is cheap, So I’ve bought my running shoes and started. You might Wanna take the initiative too, take control. And when you don’t see the point (which trust me will happen in the first few days) just remember How Good You’ll feel both in and out when you’ve successfully lost some weight, you wont have to spend forever in the market just to find something that both fits and is attractive, you also get the extra benefit of shutting up your ‘beefers and haters’.

You can’t deny the power of habits and how much effects they have on our lives, the way I see it, we’re still young and this is an habit that once you inculcate, has many pros and few cons (can’t think of any off the top of my head ). Whether you’re male or female, young or young at heart, it’ll be to your own benefit. Especially ladies, you have no idea how sexy a flat tummy is, I shit you not when I tell you It’s damn hawt! You’ll immediately start feeling good about yourself.

Finally do it for you! Not for anybody or what they say. If you know how many people have asked me to start working out, some even went as far as instructing me to do so. Zilch is what it did. I decided to start jogging when I went to the market to get new trousers, I told my roommate I use size 32, got there and 32 felt So small I had to say What?! I picked up size 34 , took it home and it was soooo tight I had to go back to pick up size 36. Now calm your balls and listen. It was way too free and not corporate at all. I didn’t return it, I kept it as my Ginger source and the next day I started jogging. My terms! So don’t go doing cos you read this, find your own reason, it’ll Help you stay focused.

P.S. Try and use the word Big instead of Fat, it sounds nicer.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to drop your comments below.

I remain @overlordnoni

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 6, 2013 in Discussion, Inspiration, Social commentary

 

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Prime Leadership!

While Men Slept

Hey guys, how have you all been, great I believe. I have been great too. I just had my drama night in school after much postponement, and for that I’m really glad and thank God for His help and faithfulness. I’ll tell you this without a doubt, “God takes care of His Own”, it doesn’t matter whether or not it’s a he/she, a property, or whatever it is, once you make the claim that it is God’s, He steps in and takes care of everything. My Life Belongs To you O Lord! (You might want to say yours too).

That was by way of introduction, what I really want to write about is the place of leaders in this age and how much people are seeking for true leadership, someone to literarily lead the way, someone to tell them which direction to Go. I must concur with Karl Marx at this point, he said “Religion is the opium of the people”, that is true because I can’t imagine a world without a Jesus said this and as Christians, it’s expected of us to obey or a world where the words of the holy prophet (SAW) is not there to guide people. It would be chaos! But then Nature Abhors a Vacuum, something would have filled that space up in no time.

As some of you might know, I’m in my final year in school and I was the drama coordinator of my fellowship (Winners Campus Fellowship @wcfui on twitter), I recently handed over. Almost all fellowships form a forum of all final year students, and a day was dedicated to us finalists, so for weeks now, we’ve been rehearsing for our Finalist Sunday! Automatically, I was put in charge of the drama to be ministered on that day. I twiddled a little while but I got to writing the script too close to my test and I was unable to cogitate for too long without thinking of my test, so I wrote the first thought that came to mind. And the drama was a classically dry one, I didn’t need to be told, I knew it was. But we had no choice so I submitted it like that and ran away to face my drama night (yes I admit I ran).

On the final day of rehearsals, I had concluded that we were not going to act that drama, either we had a replacement or we don’t act. Not acting on its own is like breaking a 17 year old custom, but I was willing to risk breaking that than to appear a mediocre. Everyone kept asking me ‘how far’ with the drama, I wasn’t in any mood so I was just faking the smiles and nodding. But then, more people were asking how far? Then I got to thinking, the person in charge of songs came up with a beautiful song to sing, the dance guys had done a marvelous job with the choreography, and here I was giving the sanest and worldwide acceptable excuse any writer could give “I had Writers block”. I mean it was perfectly acceptable, I had writers block for Christ’s sake, how was a new script supposed to appear? So I sat there, put my feet up, and was gisting with someone who perfectly understood my situation. Everything was ok, but then I noticed, time was ticking and the problem isn’t going anywhere.

That was when I realized failure is not an option, and no drama means that I failed in my charge. So I did the smart thing, called for outside help! Holyparcel I called and instantly he answered, I presented my problem to him, including my Writers block, I couldn’t write does not mean I can think. As a leader, you should be too proud to fail and never too proud to call for outside help so far it guarantees success. A true leader should be as objective as possible, know when to remove yourself and you inadequacies from the equation and do what you have to do, recruit essential personnel to achieve the goal before you. So Holyparcel had an idea, which was skeletal, so I went to the front of everybody, acknowledged the wackiness of the previous script, mind you I gave no excuse for it, though I had a rather tenable one. I had to write 7 tests in 4 days! But what is past is past. I relayed Holyparcel’s idea to everyone, and together we filled it up. Everyone was on a roll after that and even though it was around 4am in the morning, everyone was contributing and before you know it, our drama was ready, we even had fun doing it.

I’ll start by telling what I learnt from this episode, and you add yours too. No single person can see it all.

So the first thing I learnt is, no excuse is acceptable,

Failure is not an option.

It doesn’t matter who came up with the idea as long as we are a team because Together Everybody Achieves More!

When you take the initiative, people will follow you, but you have to take it first or else, it’ll remain dormant.

Even when the excuse is tenable and acceptable, don’t accept it. Nobody gets to the top without being hard on him or herself. Don’t cut yourself too much slack.

You have to rise to the occasion, it’s in you!

What else did you learn friends? Please share! Perhaps I might learn more!

follow me on twitter @overlordnoni

 

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Which Would It Be?

Hello friends, how was your day? Mine was great by the way. I went to the library with good intent but i guess i am not in form at all. I barely passed 3 pages but thats not the issue at all. The thing is i have started and dont you ever despise little beginnings. Na so we do am so tey we reach final year. So no wahala.

So i got back to the room and me and my roommate got into a discussion i feel like sharing with you.

1st, it was raining, and i had to get to church, he asked me if i was going in this rain? I promptly replied, “whats the worst that could happen?”
I probably will get wet, get to church and dance the cold off anyway.

So the question now is, WOULD THE WEATHER STOP YOU FROM GOING TO CHURCH? Considering the church is just blocks away. If you have to take a bus or drive your own car, would you still go? Even though it’ll be certainly uncomfortable?

The second thing was if your church was burning and about 10 of your friends, i mean your own friends and not just church members. If you had a dangerously slim chance to save then, would you take it? Considering its either only you survive and the other ten die or d eleven of you live.
Which would be your decision.

Lastly, we talked about who is most important to save in the case of an accident.

Your Child or

Your Mother or

Your Wife.

*Just picture the Dana Air Crash if u need help weighing your options*

Just one can be saved, which would it be for you personally!

Please, lets make this discussion as honest as possible, someone might learn something from this afterall.
Thanks.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Discussion, Faith, Love, Maiden

 

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