The Prologue to My Life's Flashback

by Victor S. Smith

Looking down the barrel of a Colt .45 tends to give you a perspective you might not have realized you were capable of having; I realized very quickly, as the cold steel slid between my teeth, that I had no business being in the bedroom of the house at 65 Ellerbee Lane. I also realized very quickly as the ever-so-slight pressure against my cheek spun me around so that my back was facing the door, that in Texas it was legal to shoot a man in your house as long he wasn't facing a door, or you weren't shooting the man in the back: the theory being that a man who is heading for a door is looking for an exit and if you shoot him in the back you are shooting in cold blood; but with my present body orientation there was nothing the police could do except write the report up and file it in some ridiculous file named Crimes of Passion. I couldn't really remember why I was even there; but when the hammer on the shiny weapon started to slowly withdraw from its resting place it came back in a blinding light: there was music turned up too loud in the seedy dive bar as we debated the twenty dollar drink-and-drown cover charge, a woman in a crimson halter-top passed by the entrance door and the decision was made for me so I passed through the bright blue door frame and into the belly of sin, twenty dollars poorer. My memory blinded by a drink called a Woo-Woo and copious amounts of bourbon I extracted from my alcohol soaked neurons the details that I could: she was older than I was, she looked emotionally neglected and I knew in the first five minutes that I was going to leave the bar with her; if there was a conversation about a husband I am sure that I didn't remember it—but it wouldn't have changed anything if I had, and it wouldn't have been the first time. Then nothing, a complete black out; until the sound of elephants storming up the stairs, screaming as something kicked down the four panel bedroom door brandishing the implement of a betrayed man's fury. I came to two conclusions, as the hammer on the shiny pistol started its return home; the first, that the sum total of my life would be pared down to a series of vignettes depicting drunken debauchery and second, that there was nothing even remotely funny about a crime of passion.

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Victor S. Smith, author of Next Stop: Fountain & LaSalle Square, is a recovering economist who caught a writing bug penicillin isn't clearing up. His two blogs are Like Pollution and Marlowe's Sketch Pad.