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TITLE: BBNB3-If Not For His Name
By David (The Goliath Assassin)

THis poem stems off from "BBNB2-She Wanted It That Way." The link is in the very first two lines, as they relate back to two lines in the previous poem. Actually, this entire exercise has been extremely rich in foreshadowing, so this finale might wrap things up like a suspense film. Right down to the loose-ends conclusion. People hate those, but for me, it's a reality. God will see these events to their close in His time...

(Critiques still verymuch welcome and encouraged.)
If not for his name, I’d have never even recognized him.
(I fear that now is the time to stray down that alley.)

Not all children die of violence. Not all abuses leave a bruise.
Not all abuses are allowed to unfold in their entirety.
Which might leave the victim asking, “What if it had? What was in store?
What more could I have done? Could I have thrown a wrench into the cycle?”

And so one abuse may mutate itself into another.
Perpetually self-inflicted.
And then clouds rise up into fields of view.
Rancid clouds of filth, billowing from the skeleton’s decomposition.
Billowing forth until the skeleton disappears.
The density and aroma of the atmosphere a constant.
Accepted as normal for lack of memory.
Or lack of desire to relive what hides beneath the mire.

Life goes on, waiting for you to catch up.
You fumble along and learn to keep pace
Accepting whatever handicaps you’ve acquired as your own.
Rationalizing their causes as something of your own doing.
Anything to forget. Anything to adjust.
You fumble along and learn to keep pace.
I’d done it before. So I did it again.

Funny the kind of people you run into working midnights at a convenience store…
Some people are too drunk to understand why they can’t buy more beer.
Some people walk too fast and complain about it being “too hot.”
They won’t stop swearing or pacing, and they won’t put on a shirt.
All they want to know is where the steel wool is and how much it costs
So they can get back to smoking their fix.
But none of these people rattled me as much as they guy who came in one afternoon.

“Do you have any Newports?” Sure. (But you’ll die sooner.)
“Okay, I’ll take a carton of those.” (Sooner yet.)
“And I need a carton of Marlboros… Make that two…”
And do you have Salems? (Yeah, but can I find them?)
(Searching… searching…)
“There they are. Just a pack? Sir?” (And he’s gone…)
Better than armed robbery, I suppose. Thank God for cowards.
Hope one of those stolen smokes kills him tonight. More air for us.

I followed procedure. Chain of command. Police correspondence.
Sketchy profile. Surprising lack of detail. Ten minute wait.
“Is this the man you called us about?” Tall. Skinny. Brown hair.
Yeah. That’s him.
“We found him at the intersection trying to sell the stolen goods to minors.”
Handcuffs locked. Two-way static. Dispatch notified.
“We have confirmed that mister Cipriani is the suspect of both of the crimes.
We’ll be in shortly.”

A silence so deafening God himself sent it.
Time slowed down as my head spun around.
Sketchy profile. Surprising lack of detail.
Considering I’d wanted him dead for years.
If not for his name, I’d have never even recognized him.
Tall, skinny, brown hair. Trademark evil grin replaced by a fool’s shame.
No wonder I didn’t recognize him… That evil grin was unforgettable.

Some talk about those guys on the news that molest small children.
Some say they’d like to meet that guy face to face.
I met him when I was six. And then fifteen years later.
I saw him in cuffs for a crime he committed on my watch.
Had I been holding a knife, it would have been SO easy…
But then I’d have been the man in cuffs.

You’d think I’d have recognized him… Saw him coming a mile away.
But 15 years is a long time. Still tall. Still skinny. Still evil. Some things never change.
The infuriating part was that I’d told myself he would never take advantage of me again.
Nobody would. But now he had. Shame and frustration are both understatements.
We never locked eyes. I don’t even think he knew who he’d stolen from.
The cops left too quick for me to say my peace.
Then again, I’m not sure I had anything to say… nor wanted to dig up old skeletons.

Oddly enough, I found myself wishing he hadn’t been caught.
I wished he hadn’t tried to sell the cigarettes either.
I wished that God could let it be that he died smoking his last smoke a week later.
Then his death could have somehow come at my hands.
Accidentally and somewhat poetically… Though I’d never have known at all.

Eventually, I became grateful to God for at least letting me see him in cuffs.
If not for my crime, or his sister’s, then at least for something else he did.
A guy like that is too stupid to make it on this earth very long.
He’ll do something else and end up in jail for good. Or dead, for crossing the wrong guy.
His sister told me it was over. When she said she was okay.
He’s obviously moved-on to smaller crimes… Thank God for cowards.
God will have His vengeance… I’ve washed my hands clean for good.
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