July 6, 2018

Flash Fiction A Vignette by Paul Kindlon: "A Young Man Raped and Beheaded"

The author has had published ten short stories and six poems. After having graduated with  a Ph.D. in Russian literature and Philosophy, he taught Humanities for 23 years in Moscow, Russia. He now resides in Buffalo, N.Y. The author is 66 years old and counting...   

A Young Man Raped and Beheaded
To those who experienced the 60s and remember it as a vignette.
According to the dictionary: vi·gnette
1. a brief evocative description, account, or episode.
2. a small illustration or portrait photograph that fades into its background without a definite border
                                                Part I
Matty's house. After school.  Walk into his bedroom. He's transfixed. Watching TV.
The Mike Douglas Show. John and Yoko are guest hosting. Matty tells me excitedly
that he's going to try to use ESP and commincate with John Lennon - through telepathy.
I look at him. I can see he's already transmitting. Bug eyed. Leaning closer to the set.
"Matty " I say. "it's not live... it's on tape."
"It doesn't matter", he replies
I say nothing. Because I know.
Matty had a breakdown shortly after that. Shaved his head and wore a fur coat. Even in summer. Everybody called him "Uncle Fester"
Girls laughed at him. Girls he would never know according to the Bible
He sort of disappeared for awhile. No one saw him. Or heard from him.
Then once while I was in a bar someone came up to me and told me Matty had completely lost it. Was totally nuts. And heading this way
I wanted to help so I went outside to wait for him. Finishing off a cigarette, I spot a figure fast approaching.
Who is this guy walking aggressively down the sidewalk? And why does  he seem way too serious?
"Matty"... "What's up?"
He looks at me with eyes from far away. Or deep inside. Maybe both.
He barks something at me. Incomprehensible.
"I'm sorry... what?"
"You're on their side", he says accusingly
I see the stark raving paranoia
And I'm scared.
"Fuck you!' he screams.
I realize there is no one to talk to. Not anymore. He's simply not there.
So I walk away in a fog of confusion. A burning feeling of loss mixed with failure.
                                           Part II
              The foreground fades into the background

Years later I visited him after having spent a number of years in another town..
He was living in a low-rent apartment. Had no idea what to expect.
He answered the door half-naked laughing at himself... or maybe life. Perhaps both.
I saw the mess immediately. Empty beers bottles. Unmade bed. A crazy quilt of
newspapers on the floor. Not pretty.
He sees me staring at them.
"Sports sections" he explains. "Horse racing"
"That's how I make money"
"Can you really do that?' I ask he thinks naively
"Of course. Well.. .sometimes" and he gives that laugh again.
"You know I got busted once for selling an ounce of weed. Spent time in jail. Some bad shit happened"
"No I didn't know, sorry"
We sit on the floor and he very excitedly offers me a peanut butter sandwich on plain white bread
I decline his kind offer. There's an awkward silence.
"I forgot to tell you I have a system!" he declares triumphantly
A lecture on numerology follows.
Okay. I've  had enough.
We agreed to meet again. We didn't shake hands. But we did kind of nod our heads a bit.

                                                 Part III

It was ten years later that I heard he had died. Was I surprised? I don't know.         
Maybe . Not sure. Doesn't matter I suppose.  His parents had finally managed to
get him labeled insane. That's when the bureaucracy went into action. Providing those
Matty spent a lot time being cured.  
Some crazy guys gave him mind- altering drugs. Because they could.
According to the law. What are the odds?  
Matty  decided to take a shower one morning as part of his yearly cleansing ritual and
lost his balance due to the drugs' cumulative effect and cracked open his head. Funny
because he didn't need it anymore.

~Paul Kindlon

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