About 'What Goes Around Comes Around'.
The idea for this came from watching yet another political rally, where terrorists had more or less taken upon themselves to create carnage, with another good person on the receiving end of a beating. I could have made it a lot worse, in that revenge could have been very sweet indeed. In a way the main protagonist in this story got off very lightly.
13. What Goes Around Comes Around
Today was the day. Finally some real action.
Paul slapped the pipe into his left hand with a satisfying thwump. The pipe was not an ordinary pipe, but purposely built by himself, being lead filled at one end. Swung hard enough it would smash wooden boxes with no trouble whatsoever. He couldn't wait to use it on his intended targets - the slime filled followers of the opposition party. Tonight was the night when they would unleash some instant justice.
F*** democracy. F*** talking. Intimidation was as much a political tool as any. They were going to teach these bastards the hard and violent way. They were the real revolutionaries, not the lilly livered, chatterboxes, spouting endless platitudes who made up the rest of the party. To them it was a game, but to Paul and his like minded brethren it was a life and death struggle. They were part of something unique and were ready to lay down their lives for it - or to end someone else's, if that is what it took.
In a town hall a meeting was taking place between folk who supported the political party they thought was more suitable for running the country. No fuss - no bother, just a legal gathering of like minded people who shared the same ideals and vision of the future. They were buoyant as their 'man' was in office and the decisions he had made until then were in-line with his campaign promises. They held such meetings on a regular basis and apart form a little fracas now and then everything had gone smoothly enough. At the arranged time the event came to a close and people began to vacate the premises, one of whom was a man called David.
David was a war veteran who had seen action in Iraq, having worked as a medic during those troubling times, managing to arrive home safely without a scratch on him; physically that is, mentally not so much, but even those scars had healed by now. A pacifist by nature, but a realist at heart, so he could justify his involvement in the war, having joined the army voluntarily, so what choice had he in the matter anyway? Nowadays he was working as a paramedic. The constant change of scenery and incident kept him on his toes. He was appreciated as well as being regarded with much affection by his fellow workers. He doted on his wife and two children, both of whom were in college, being industrious mini-adults he was incredibly proud of. The future looked fine without any real concerns for himself or his family. The off-license was next on the agenda as he wasn't working the next day, so a few drinks with the missus whist watching the box was on the cards - he was looking forward to it.
David left the meeting and stepped out onto the pavement with a view to making his way to his car, which he had parked some way from the others so as to be first away. David was 48 yrs of age and was fit as a fiddle with everything to look forward to.
Paul and his compatriots surged forward towards the main entrance, hurling insults left right and centre and in no time at all a ruckus developed, sending an elderly man down on the ground. Being elderly was no defence against this mob and the boots reigned in, only letting up once the man was deemed incapable, finally allowing incredibly alarmed and worried friends to rush to his side. This was no way enough for the likes of Paul as he hadn't managed to inflict any pain so far, harbouring a deep desire to batter someone before the night was out. It was then he spotted a man who was a little way from the action and alone. Aided by a few justice warriors he rushed forward to quickly surround the victim, thereby separating him from any help. Without any further ado Paul swung his home-made weapon as hard as he could striking the man on the side of the head. It wasn't as he imagined it would be as the man's skull cracked like an egg, with a sickening sound penetrating the air to such an extent all in the near vicinity froze in surprise. He and his friends looked at each other and laughed. The attack was over - it was time to leg it, leaving the man collapsed on the ground with a pool of blood forming around his caved in cranium.
David had died there and then. His life snuffed out for nothing more than a desire to support a party he thought would be good for the prosperity of his country. He hadn't harboured any grudges towards his fellow man, having saved them from further harm for most of his adult life. As you can imagine the torment of his close family was indescribable. They would never be the same again. His once vibrant wife was utterly devastated and a complete basket case who was never to remarry. The whole family failed to regain its once solid composure. A family destroyed.
Back at their hideaway the insurgents slapped each other on the back, revelling in the pain and suffering they had inflicted; especially congratulating Paul on laying that 'bloke' out in such a manner. They were howling with laughter at the sound of the skull crushing. The blood was flowing strongly in their pumped up veins. The next day though, when they were back at their homes, away from the infectious atmosphere of their electrically charged, illicit gathering, a few sobered up and even Paul had moments of doubt. When the news of the man dying hit the headlines more than doubt entered their minds, more a feeling of panic set in. Paul would sometimes be completely dismissive of the evenings events, but at other times the realisation he was now wanted for murder was more than a little worrisome. When the next meet arrived he was taken aback at the lack of enthusiasm for his continued involvement. From being a hero - a trail blazer - it seemed he had turned in to a liability. The initial revelry and chanted slogans had been nothing but hot air by the looks of it - just a means to stir up their emotions to fever pitch, whereas the reality didn't seem to gel with the party agenda. Paul was disgusted and left of his own accord.
Some years had passed since this harrowing incident and now we find Paul a completely reformed character. His youthful, practically uncontrollable energy and drive, had gone the way of many - satiated, or he had just simply grown up - physically and mentally he was no longer the same person. Here we find a hard working man in his late 30s, who was holding down a good job, married with a kid on the way. All the rabid, politically inspired dreams of the past, were as nothing to him, in fact this change also affected his political affiliations as he was turning more and more conservative. Whereas before any that had harboured such thoughts were deemed his most hateful enemy, here he was agreeing with their sentiments and political aspirations - how ironic. Thinking back to how he had acted and thought sickened him. The memory of 'that night' had been relegated to the back of his mind for many years, away from his conscious thoughts, but recently flash backs would occur - and then there were the occasional dreams.
The more Paul's conscience was assaulted by the memories of his most sickening act the more he felt driven to making up for his mistakes. This resulted in a greater involvement in the very political party he had once so vehemently opposed. He even felt drawn to seeking out the family of the man whose life he had ended so abruptly - they lived a relatively short distance away, but he hadn't yet acted on the impulse. To his shock and horror, when attending a new social gathering of conservatives at his local town hall, he was introduced to a young man who he recognised straight away - David's son - the likeness was uncanny. Talk about unnerving, but in a strange way Paul welcomed the chance encounter. Was this a real opportunity to attempt to make up for past sins? Paul befriended David's son regardless. His dreams though, became all the more vivid, to such an extent he would wake up covered in sweat. His lovely wife was concerned, but Paul allayed her fears as best he could with various excuses. It was when the face of the man he had battered in his dream became his own did Paul really begin to wonder about his sanity.
All the while this was going on the political party Paul had once showed undying support for was still in opposition and still elements of deep seated hatred was in attendance. Once again 'scare' tactics were to be employed so violent thugs were being recruited, also the culpable minds of those of a predisposed violent nature were being twisted with hate-filled propaganda. The 'strong arm of the movement' was once again taking shape. The failings and the horrific incidents of the past were long forgotten, in fact this movement was even more aggressive than when Paul was a player.
Martin was a little younger than Paul, but even so their political association turned to one of genuine friendship, to such an extent they would play squash together now and then. Paul had even opened his door to Martin on a number of occasions, inviting him into his home. Annoyingly, for Paul, the more time he spent with his new found friend the more his dreams became inhabited with the playback of the one event he wished he could forget. Sometimes even Martin entered the fray, where he was the one attacking with a pipe, with Paul being on the receiving end, but in a strange way this felt only right and proper!
Paul had never told anyone about the incident, but maybe he should? Could? The thought of telling Martin crossed his mind once or twice, but he quickly put the notion to bed. What about telling his wife for that matter? Nope, that wouldn't work either. A murderer for a husband and she with a child on the way? Ridiculous notion and spilling the beans to his own family, such as his father and mother, was also out of the question as they hadn't really seen eye to eye for many a year - his turbulent youth had put paid to that. So Paul kept his past clamped up tight in a mind that was becoming all the more fragile as time went by.
And so it was another meeting took place, more or less a re-run of the incident played out so many years ago, where rival political factions met with discord being its sole purpose, but this time Paul was on the other side of the fence.
In a way he welcomed the excitement. A throwback to a time when his energy knew no bounds, being only too willing to revert to type. 'Bring it on', he shouted, but then he spotted Martin in trouble. What could be do but rush to his aid? Valiantly fighting off a few of the young hooded punks he turned to help Paul get to his feet. It was then he felt a sudden pain enter his side and traverse all the way through the rest of his anatomy as the blade sliced through vital organs. Pain never before experienced flooded his body to such an extent he literally froze on the spot before collapsing to the floor. As before the assaulting crowd dispersed once they had accomplished their goal.
The damage was deep and invasive with blood flowing freely both internally and externally. There was literally no hope for him. His deterioration was rapid. A strange mist descended and a deep feeling of separation dragged at the very core of his being. It was now all that really bothered him came to the fore. There was little time left to make amends and there before him was the very man within reach and earshot - or at least he thought it was.
Martin knelt by the side of the stricken man, being very surprised when Paul reached out in an effort to speak a few words in his ear. He lowered himself accordingly, listening intently to what Paul had to say.
With tears flowing freely down his cheeks, Paul mustered all his remaining strength to hug the imagined person he had so terribly wronged to his still beating chest and with an intensive rush of remorse uttered his last words:
'David', he said. 'I'm so very sorry'.
After a time Paul's grip lessened and he was lowered to the ground by the caring and woefully concerned arms of Martin - David's son, who wondered why his departed father's name had been spoken of at such a time.
Paul, who had lived by the sword at one time had now died by it at another. What goes around comes around as they say.
Paul left an expectant widow, whose only solace was the fact that her man had died so bravely protecting a friend. It was only later that the truth revealed itself, but thankfully, by then, her memory of her dear departed was a little hazy as she had moved on many years before. A new husband and another child had filled the void. Her responsibilities, thankfully, kept her feet firmly on the ground. Even so, the irony her new husband was Martin wasn't lost on either of them.