Steel And Shadows

Originally Published 10/16/2011

Photo Source: William Gedney

…damn…damn, Damn, DAMN! GodDAMNit, why didn’t I do it sooner?

Harold paced up and down the block, through the shadows of the el, smoking like a fiend, replaying the evening and lamenting the fact that it took so long to play out. It was so easy! It was just like any night with Doris at her place.

Just like any night with Doris when she wasn’t out whoring around, making a fool out of me…

Easiest thing in the world, 1-2-3, like falling off a log. What was all that worry about? Harold kept thinking about how silly all his fretting seemed in retrospect. In comparison to the worry, it was like…like taking candy from a baby.

Or a kid in a candy store…

A train screamed overhead: express. Where the hell was a local when you needed one? Anyway, yeah…it was so easy. Just like any night with that cheap whore…up to her apartment, play some records, smoke a little reefer…only Doris wasn’t entertaining Harold. No, not this night.

Harold thought of all those evenings he waited, lurking behind the stanchions of the el, watching, observing, waiting. He would call Doris on the telephone to make a date, but she had a headache or was going out with her girl friends. Yeah, that’s how it was.

It’s so easy for a girl like her to lie. Easiest thing in the world, 1-2-3, like falling off a log, RIGHT?

So finally his night had arrived. Just like any night with Doris at her place, only she’s got company she ain’t supposed to have. So Harold walks in, and for the last time he walks out. Just…BAM!…walks out.

No more Doris, no more third wheel…sorry, what was your name again? Oh never mind, it don’t matter, HAH!…no MORE! Harold felt great. Better than he had in weeks. It was all over, and the relief washed over him like the shadows of the tracks above. What a great feeling! And all that worry over nothing!

Easiest thing in the world…

An IND train pulled in, pushing the sound of approaching sirens into the background. Harold stood for a second, feeling the piece in his pocket. Cold steel never felt so warm. It felt like…happiness. He ran up the stairs, jumped the turnstile and got on the train just as the doors were closing.

The train pulled out and Harold headed away, replaying the evening and looking forward to doing it all over again…


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