7/1/2012

 

My dad was dying. I was the only one who called him dad. Everybody else called him ‘The Godfather’. I walked up to the door of the bedroom of the huge house and Clark the masculine number two guy blocked my path. See, Clark and I have never seen eye to eye because everybody answered to him except me. I only answered to The Godfather.

My name is Michael and the Godfather adopted me when I was fourteen years old. I killed my first man when I was fifteen and after that, over the years, I stopped counting the bodies. Now, at the age of 45, I realize that killing is an innate thing that I can’t control. I was born to kill.

            “Move away Clark, I need to see the old man,” I said calmly.

            “Or what Michael, or what?” Clark leaned forward and dared me.  My imminent clash with Clark was something the mob was looking forward to and money had changed hands; bets on who was better than the other. And now that the old man was dying, the question of who was to take over the mob empire lay rife in everybody’s mind. Finally Clark moved out of the way and I walked into the room.

            “Michael, Michael,” The Godfather whispered with a smile. “I knew that you would come.”

            “How are you feeling dad?”

            “Like am about to die.” The Godfather chuckled.

            His face was wrinkled but his eyes still sparkled with life. Even in his deathbed, his authority was evident. Small talk over, I got down to the real purpose of my visit. “Dad, I have been by your side for many years. I have protected you and killed everybody you have asked me to. I never questioned your authority or decisions. You are the dad I never knew.”

            “Cut the crap Michael.” The godfather broke into a coughing fit and I gave him some water. I hesitated and weighed my words carefully.

“I have a son who is fourteen years old. His name is Tommy and he’s a smart kid. Wants to be an engineer.” I smiled at fond memories. “I want my son to have a normal life: you know, finish college, get married and have kids. I don’t want Tommy looking over his shoulders wondering where the next bullet is gonna come from-”

            “Stop.” The Godfather touched my hand. His voice was soft, his eyes passionate. “Michael-”

            Suddenly, the window shattered and I saw the Godfather jerk up as a bullet struck his chest. He groaned as blood oozed from his body and then he just lay there still. I moved quickly without thought and started pumping his heart. “No… noooo! Come on dad. Don’t die yet! Don’t die on me!” There was blood all over my hands and face and it was then that Clark decided to walk in. “Murderer!” he yelled as he pulled out his gun.

            I moved like lightning, flinging the bed in the air, cringing as I heard my dad’s body hit the floor. My two .22’s were in my hands and by the time Clark fired once, I had fired four times. He dashed out of the room and I repositioned myself. Think Michael! My movements were calm, my heartbeat constant. I had been in this situation a million times. I had been in this room a thousand more. I pressed the switch on the wall and grabbed two more guns and a grenade from the secret compartment.  I crouched low and listened. A train whistle in the distance… and then … a stampede outside the door. I moved.

I flung the door open and threw the grenade. The noise was deafening, the screams haunting.  I dove through the door into the smoke and fired; I rolled on the ground and fired; again and again … shot four men, killed them instantly. There were body parts lying all around me and I counted nine dead bodies.

Suddenly, something ripped through my body and I was flung backwards against the wall where I slumped to the floor. I couldn’t believe it. I had been shot! In the haziness, I saw my gun nearby but when I tried to reach for it, I realized that I couldn’t move. Something inside me had shattered… I could smell my own flesh burning; I was paralyzed. I smiled for the first time and waited for the inevitable. My whole life had all but led up to this moment. You live by the gun, you die by the gun.

            The smoke cleared and I saw Clark walking towards me. Cautiously at first, gun pointed, a dry smile on his face. “Michael, Michael, Michael… I always wondered how this was gonna play out. I mean, you and me.” He chuckled. “You and the old man always thought that you were better than everybody else. Now look at you.”

            I listened to Clark gloat and watched his trigger finger twitch. I wanted him to make it quick. If only I could move… There was blood in my mouth, my breathing labored. Clark pointed the 45 pistol at me and with a final chuckle, fired. I sighed in resignation, I knew I was dead.

            My ears burned from the noise. I waited for my skull to explode but nothing happened. Stunned, I realized that I was still alive and slowly opened one eye and then the other. What I saw made my heart throb for the first time in a long time. My boy Tommy stood dazed in the doorway, a smoking gun in his hand. Clark’s body lay in a heap, dead!

            A tear fell down my left eye and a heavy rock sat on my heart. I knew that my little boy Tommy would never be an engineer.



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Off to AFRICA

 

My book A Whisper in the Jungle has been picked by a publishing company and approved by the board. It has been scheduled for release soon.

 

The music is all around you, all you have to do is listen

 

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mrobertto@yahoo.com

Without God, what are we? What do we have? What is life...