“You almost done?” a once very familiar voice queried.

“Give me 15 minutes,” I answered, tossing a lazy smile. “Want anything while you wait?”

“Sure. Give me a coffee.”

“Anything in it? Anything special?”

“No, black. I can add the cream and sugar myself.”

Though it was many days later than he had stated, I expected Izzy’s arrival. He was undoubtedly carrying a plane ticket so I could go check on his daughter in some foreign destination. My manger had been told... Manager? My manager... The man temporarily running the bean crushing operation was told that I would be leaving soon for a short sabbatical. Now was the time. I told the woman with whom I kept guarded companionship the same thing, but she had not heard.

“I’ll be back in a couple of weeks, or a month, or a year, or 17 days, or never,” was my proclamation to management as I finished my shift and handed over my apron.

“You will be back, right?”

A wink was all I could offer in honesty.


“Take care.”


“Be safe.”

Turning to acknowledge the no-longer coworkers, I nodded in appreciation and exited the building, taking a seat out front with my old ally Izzy.

“You going somewhere?” Izzy grumbled.

“I am always going somewhere, even when I am going nowhere.”

“You’re still the same,” Izzy offered, laughing.

“Yet different,” I promised.

“The question is, am I going somewhere for you?”

Tossing me itinerary and a loaded cash card, he said, “Just find her and check. This is all the information I have, but it’s pretty much everything you need, so it should be easy. You leave in 4 days.”

Raising my cup to take a drink, Izzy raised his coffee and extended it to toast. We toasted. Not sure what we toasted, but we toasted.

We talked the empty talk of old friends who have no need to impress and no concern for impression. After about 46 minutes, there was a restful, natural lull.

“I am going to do something that would get your adrenaline pumping tonight. Interested?”

“What?” Izzy asked in guarded tone.

“Something very bad, for the purpose of good.”

“Will someone be hurt?”

“Perhaps. Though, others may be saved.”

“Is hurt the intention?”

“The intention is to stop a bad man from doing bad things. Actually, that is not true. It is to punish a bad man for something he did.”

“Do you need my help?”

“He is a heavily armed, huge man, with deep connections on your side of the line. Full disclosure: he was a sheriff.”


“Are you in?”

“I don’t know. I’m not as young as I used to be. I don’t know if I can keep up with you. I don’t...”

“No excuses. Yes or no is all I need, and I am hearing a ‘no’.”


Who would have thought Izzy would become a spectator. I guess we all move to the sideline at some point in our lives. Some never get in the game, but Izzy moving to the sideline? Makes me wonder if I am making thejourney to find his daughter because he wants to keep his seat on the sideline warm.

“I’m in!” Izzy shouted after prolonged silence.

“Too late. You know better than I do... Heck, you’re the one who taught me, hesitation kills. You’re not in. Maybe next time.”

“Whatever. That’s fine, I’d probably get hurt anyway.”

We parted ways. We have to talk again, when I find his daughter. I return to my friend’s bungalow and tell her that I was leaving...immediately. She becomes angry, throws objects at my head and proceeds to get me so jacked up on her sweet sticky candy that I was on the verge of becoming diabetic. The woman knows how to dispense her soft and tasty treats. After a short period of unconsciousness, I grabbed a bag and left.

There was one more stop to make. A sheriff of ignoble character had moved into town. He was living comfortably on his generous retirement, which he starting taking about 6 months before relocating to the quiet little town...after pleading guilty to manslaughter of two teenage girls, for which he received 6 months probation. (You would think a cretin of criminal character would want to stay in such a pro-irresponsibility locale.) The case was clear. The beast was at fault for killing two beautiful young girls who had yet to experience the full joy and pleasure of life.

Having watched the remorseless remnant, I knew his routine. I know the man is heavily armed, and a massive bull of a man, but all had been taken into account.

1) While Deepak was taking a late dinner, I borrow his taxi.

2) I pick up Mr. Murder as Meaningless Misdemeanor from in front of the strip club.

3) I drive the demon back to his house.
I looked into his dead, empty eyes through the rear view mirror.

3) Unexpected: “Isn’t this a beautiful night?” I ask.
“Just take me the fuck home,” was his near final response.

4) I drop him off in a way that he will take the desired path. He does as expected, walking behind the car and coming to my window to pay.
“What the fuck you smilin’ about, dumbfuck!?”
He threw money through the window and headed toward the front door.

5) Walking in front of the taxi, between the taxi and his elevated pickup truck, the hand of fate continued to encourage the plan. The taxi had been left in gear for a reason. The taxi accelerated to crush the man between the two vehicles.

6) Walk away. Yes, the screaming and yelling were loud, but a casual walk away is the best way to retreat unnoticed. I thought of offering some last words of wisdom, but figured he should be along with his thoughts, and I should find freedom.

No need to look back and see what the hand of fate brought the inconsequential murderer of precious young beauty, as I am simply the hand’s tool.

It is surprising how quickly the sirens approach. I would rather not spend my time in their system of punishment, as I doubt I will be rewarded or dismissed with a period of probation being paid, but that is the hand of fate.

A car pulled along side me as I walked quickly.

“Get in!”

I look at the man. I am in no position to argue, and his car seemed less obvious than being the only person walking the street.

“I saw what you did,” I heard the man say as soon as the door closed.

There was nothing I had to offer in response.

“Thank you,” he added.

Looking into his face, I could see his words were sincere.

“I’ve wanted to do something since the day he moved in. I can’t believe he was allowed to kill two beautiful young girls. I have 3 daughters and all I have been thinking about since he moved in was how to make him pay. And then you come and do this. I feel like a coward. I didn’t do anything.”

“But you have, you are. This is your role. This is what the hand of fate was guiding you to do and you did it.”

He smiled, sitting a little more erect in his seat. “Where can I take you?”

As much as the man was saving me, there was a need to put myself at risk. My bag was waiting for me in an abandoned lot, where those without permanent roofs and proper ties to society often find respite. I would have him drop me off in a toxic neighborhood a few miles east of my destination, a neighborhood society pretends does not exist and any and all activities are excused.

“Thank you. I hope you never speak of this and rest knowing you have done your part to bring a bit of justice into the world,” I offer as I exit the vehicle, seeing his trembling fear at the neighborhood he found himself.

“Thank you, and I have nothing to share with anyone. Do you mind me asking your name?”

“You can ask me anything you wish. Again, thank you.” Then my hand guided the door closed.

I understand there are lines I continue to cross, lines that become more and more blurry each and every day. I also understand I will not be able to cross back. I will trust the truthful hand of fate, wherever that may lead.