Fiction: Ouch! That Hurts

November 13, 2017 Fiction , Literature , POETRY / FICTION

Thomas Hawk / John Langley Howard



Grant Guy



“Ouch! That hurts.”


Not the most immortal words.


Tommy Roscoe had two heroes in life: Mikhail Bakunin and Pretty Boy Floyd.


He first came upon Mikhail Bakunin in the local library of his home town when he was fourteen years old. Well, to call it a library was an exaggeration. It was three shelves of books at the back of a bar attached to Tork’s General Store and Gas. Both the general store and the bar were run by widow Tork. Before her marriage to Walt Tork, Mrs.Tork was a school teacher. She always put an emphasis on reading as the avenue to knowledge.


“A key to a healthy adulthood”, she always told her class on the first day of school.


Her collection of books was donated to the three shelf library by the citizens of Benjohn, Ohio. There was no rhyme or reason to the collection books on the shelves. They were disowned books nobody wanted anymore. No one would admit who donated what to Tork’s wall of knowledge.


Nothing in the three shelf library was arranged by subject matter or was it in alphabetic order. A reader just grabbed a book, signed the ledger on a clipboard hung from the wall, with a promise to return the book, and when they did return the book the reader shoved the book back on the shelf wherever there were room. Who donated the biography on Bakunin had been long forgotten. Some in Benjohn suggested it was Tyrone Wylkes. He was an odd duck, it was agreed upon from Arnie, the seed lot owner, to Walla, the maid at By Pass Motel. The fact Tyrone was illiterate escaped most people.


It was browsing the shelves was how Tommy discovered his first hero.


The Bakunin quote:


“The passion for destruction is also a creative passion,”


seared itself in Tommy’s soul.


Pretty Boy Floyd became the second hero following a newspaper report of a robbery in Akron that was attributed to the Depression era outlaw. In the newspaper story, it was reported that Floyd had burnt the mortgages of many surrounding farms, leaving no legal record of what farmer had mortgaged his farm with The First Saving and Mercantile, and how much of the principal was outstanding. He freed many farmers of crippling debt. The destruction of mortgages was the hearsay legendary calling card of Pretty Boy Floyd. Legend or truth was not an issue with Roscoe. The mere thought of such a notion wetted his appetite.


Tommy thought, it would be wonderful to merge the social and criminal actions of his two heroes. Rob for the goodwill of mankind, striking a blow for the little man, the victim of ravenous and ruthless capitalism, with a free spirit of the bandit living outside the constraints of the law, and making a little cash on the side.


It was a hot July day in Erie, Pennsylvania when Tommy robbed his first bank. A satchel of money was perched open on a counter in bank. He ordered the clerk to empty the till and load the money into the satchel. As the clerk did as he was told, Tommy busied himself rifling through the file cabinets looking for mortgages to burn. He tossed the mortgages into a metal trashcan beside Mr. Toles’ desk. He was just opening the fourth file drawer when . . .


“Halt! Don’t move,” said a voice behind him. “Hands up, and turn around slowly.”


“Huh.” Grunted Tommy. Tommy turned to see who spoke. It was Erie’s deputy sheriff.


Tommy swiveled around. He stared at the deputy sheriff dumbstruck. He had never contemplated being confronted by officer of the law in any of his robbery scenarios.


Tommy had his handgun still in the grip of his fist when he swiveled.

The gun in Tommy’s hand was all the deputy sheriff saw. Out of fear, or from an animal instinct, the deputy sheriff fired his revolver. The bullet tore into Tommy’s gut.


“Ouch! That hurts.”


Tommy fell.


The Bakunin/Floyd hybrid would have to wait another day.






Grant Guy

Grant Guy is a Winnipeg, Canada, poet, writer and playwright. Former artistic director of Adhere + Deny. His writings have been published in Canada, the United States, Wales, India and England. He has three books published. He was the 2004 recipient of the MAC’s 2004 Award of Distinction and the 2017 recipient of the WAC’s Making A Difference Award.

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