Boys will be Boys
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By Richard Dani
A soiled blue four door obeyed the streetlight at the intersection of Main and Sycamore and slowed to a stop. Discarded soda cans and food wrappers rustled for an extra moment and then settled masking the vehicleís floor. The car looked exhausted both outside and in and so did its occupant.
Tom leaned against the door allowing it to support his weight while the wrist of his right hand balanced on the steering wheel. Rivers of deep wrinkles extended from the corners of his eyes and mouth in a southerly direction.
The setting sunís orange light was caught in the warm, wet air casting an eerie glow over the landscape and it tainted the cars, pedestrians and storefronts that lined the thoroughfare. The humidity was weighing on everything causing people to sweat, air conditioners to strain and steam to billow off the blacktop. To his right, hunkered a large automotive repair shop whose name was spelled in black letters against yellow siding. It had three work bays and though their doors were wide open, the interiors were hidden by the dark shadows that had taken residence.
Two young adults stood on the sidewalk in front of the building. One boy, who was purposely bald, wore a white T-shirt and jeans that would fit a man three times his weight. His companion was dressed in a sleeveless black shirt with a fiery bird emblazon on its front. The mass of his upper arms peeked out from beneath the jagged edges of his garment and Tom could see the muscles wiggle when the boy moved his hands. The black shirted boy wore a scowl similar to that of a hunting hyena as he tossed small rocks at the storeís pane glass windows.
ďAssholes,Ē Tom thought as he looked back to the streetlight and willed it to switch colors. More than anything, he wanted to be home sitting on his couch with cool drink in one hand and a remote in the other. ďIf only the damn light would turn green,Ē he thought.
Then, out of the corner of his eye, Tom saw a large man burst from the store. The mechanic took three steps and stopped. Judging by the look on the manís face, he had assumed the boys would be intimidated. If not by his size, then by the bat he waved in a menacing fashion. The two boys however, hadnít budged. The one in black actually smiled as he shot the repairman the middle finger. The mechanic decided to change tactics and to Tom, the man looked like he was trying to reason with them.
During this soap opera the light must have changed because car horns blared. Tom ignored them and kept his eyes fixed on the sidewalk scene. For a moment, he considered getting involved but nixed the idea while hoping that someone else would.
The mechanic lowered the bat and appeared to be talking in a calming tone. But evidently, it had no effect. The bald boy attacked by taking a few short steps and firing a stiff right hand at the repairmanís head. The one in black quickly followed suit and ripped the bat from his elderís hand and swung the weapon with full force at the mechanicís brains. The dull sound of wood striking bone could be heard over the traffic and the hum of Tomís engine.
In stark horror and from the safety of his car, Tom watched as the repairman staggered and fell to hands and knees on the warm white pavement. Mercy was an emotion beyond that of the bat-wielding boy, and he struck again at his victimís skull. The mechanicís mouth hung open and he blinked wildly as if he were confused. Then he collapsed flat onto the sidewalk. Like a chef tenderizing a tough piece of meat, the boy slammed the bat repeatedly into the repairmanís head, back and legs.
Tom glanced around at the multitudes that were watching and wondered why no one had acted. Was it fear? Cowardice? Tom didnít know and he didnít question his own motives. He simply drove through the intersection and considered stopping off for a beer.
If you have no questions or fears about your abilities, then you will learn nothing from your mistakes and know nothing about your limitations.