Saturday, July 9, 2011

Chapter Fourteen

When I was a kid I’d run upstairs in the middle of the night and crawl into my grandfather's -- my Papa’s -- bed.  I couldn't sleep because I had nightmares after my father was killed in Vietnam.  He couldn't sleep because he thought the war he fought ended all that crap in 1945. 
My father was his only child. 
Papa had an old Philco radio that buzzed and crackled an AM country station.  Sometimes he hummed along, out of tune. He’d tell me stories about flying in China and over to India.  He was one of the famous Flying Tigers.  He smelled of Sir Walter Raleigh Pipe tobacco and cheap bourbon.
Whatever time it was in my "cell" it felt like the middle of the night.  I found myself humming like Papa and running old lyrics through my head.
Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea.
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

It was an old Boxcar Willie song, "Just a Closer Walk with Thee." How did I even remember those words?  Lord knows I hadn't been a frequent churchgoer these many years.  I didn't object to the idea of God. I had just seen too much carnage and suffering. Lost too many good people. 
The idea of heaven appealed to me, though.  Sounded a lot better than the shit-hole the world was devolving into. I kept humming and playing the lyrics in my head.
In this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who but Thee my burden shares?
None but Thee, oh Lord, none but Thee.

My thoughts turned to what I had to do. The one thing in the world left me, Moira, was being used as a catspaw against me.  I had lost all my money, my home, my dignity, and my health.  I had been in no condition to fight for those things. The fatigue, pain, and addled brain left me listless.  I learned to subsist only because I had Moira with me.  I had never loved anyone or anything more.
I glared at the dogged door.  Beyond it lay everything I despised - self-serving, immoral, cowardly bastards that would kidnap a child to further their agenda. 
But what was their agenda?  Money?  Power?  Whatever they wanted I swore to myself I'd make them gag on it and smile as they died.  I'd look them in the eye as their life ebbed and the last thing they'd see would be the satisfaction on my face.  Rat Bastards!
No, I would not let this stand.  An idea I had earlier began to crystallize.  For the first time in a very long while something stirred in me.  I felt something -- something raw, something primal. An anger, a sense of urgent power.  I began slowly to smile.  Again I began to hum.
I am weak, but Thou art strong
Jesus, keep me from all wrong.
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk let me walk close to Thee

When my weary life is o'er
Pain and suff'ring are no more.
Who will lead me safely o'er
Canaan's shore,
That sweet Canaan's shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Grant it, Jesus, is my plea.
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

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