Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A Short Story

My son recently had a college assignment to write a one-page fictional story. His story involved a fat man with a sledge hammer. I was so inspired by such an obviously lofty theme that I decided to take a stab at writing my own story using the same elements. This is the result...

Walter was a man like the rest of us, or at least he would have been if the rest of us had been raised in the low-rent “Desert Queen” trailer park by an abusive mother whose favorite hobby, besides getting the name of her latest boyfriend tattooed someplace on her body, was using a blunt household object to strike her slow-witted son on the head to help him “think straight”. Walter loved his mother and knew she only meant the best for him. He had always been rather slow at putting things together in his mind, he knew, and her loving blows to his dented cranium did seem to help him clear his thoughts, at least until the pain subsided. Even these many years later he still wrote to his mother at her new home in the Chino State Correctional Facility for Women, a definite step up for her from the trailer park where Walter still resided.

Perhaps Walter’s slowness was due to a cholesterol blockage in his brain from a childhood diet of cold Spam, eaten straight from the can with a spoon, which he still maintained daily. His mother never had time for cooking as she was usually on a date with her latest beau in the backseat of his car, or off to the tattoo parlor having his name and something like “Forever Love” inscribed on one of the few remaining unlinked portions of her anatomy. That was alright; Walter liked Spam, and when his mother came home and hit him over the head with the remaining carton of it for forgetting to take out the trash or some such thing, he was at least grateful that the carton was nearly empty. Tasty Spam!

Despite the many good things that had happened throughout his life, Walter was unbelievably still a man with a problem. He often found he retained a certain difficulty in thinking straight unless he picked up the nearest household object in his chubby hand and struck himself repeated on the head until the desired clarity of thought could be obtained. He started with cans of Spam since they were always in abundance around the trailer and handy. But soon their lack of mass failed to produce the necessary result. He had then progressed up the scale to using hammers: light tack hammers, then ball-peen and claw hammers, and finally resorting to heavy-duty construction hammers. These either provided him the necessary clarity of thought or a good night’s sleep, depending on how vigorously he applied them. Eventually, even his prized 21-ounce Vaughn framing hammer was failing to shake his brain clogs loose to grant him straight thought. What else was there to do but pay a visit to Home Depot for a bigger hammer?

Walter found himself in the “Tool Corral” at the Depot, joyously eyeing some wonderfully massive tools until his eyes fell on the Holy Grail of blunt instruments, a “Big Buster” sledge hammer! He hefted the huge tool in his hands and knew instinctively that this would be the implement that would grant him straight thinking like never before. He might even become the next Einstein or solve some age-old dilemma like how to work the buttons on his shirt! Wielding the tool with practiced precision, Walter aimed it straight at his forehead and brought the “Big Buster” up with all his considerable might.

Store employees heard a loud and revolting “Pop!” akin to a very wet coconut being dropped from a great height and bursting in two. Walter’s body was found on the floor, his hands still grasping the bloody sledgehammer. A strangely satisfied smile adorned what was left of his face, as if the very last impulse that shot across the synaptic nerves in Walter’s big fat head was, “Clear thought at last!”


At 2/03/2006 2:22 PM , Blogger Sean said...

Ouch! :)

At 3/24/2007 10:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been considering suicide for quite some time and in fact came within minutes of it recently. Does the teaching of the Orthodox Church allow for the possibility of heaven for those that do ?

At 3/25/2007 1:59 PM , Blogger Fr. Michael Reagan said...

In fact it does not. The teaching of the Orthodox Church is that suicide is the ultimate selfish denial of God, and the rejection of the principle that our life belongs to Him and not to us. Every other sin that a person might commit is pardonable through repentance and restoration. Suicide removes all possibility of pardon, of change, of restoration to God. It serves no purpose but to delight the demons.

If you are considering suicide I urge you to reach outside of yourself for help from a trained professional. It might be difficult for you to appreciate now in your present state, but the right treatment can restore the joy of living and help you find gratitude for this precious gift God has given you.

Please seek help.


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