Pocketing his module, Dad attempts to find his feet—which he presumes exist, if numbly, somewhere under the table. Making them respond is the task on tap.

"A cab?"

"Yes, please."

Aware that something none-too-pleasant has occurred (and all-too-recently) he accepts the barmaid’s offer to summon transportation... as well as, not long after, her help to stand erect.

Fragrant with J’adore, his nose identifies...

"Sally, is it? Bless you, girl."

... she who served him Scotch (non-stop) bears the brunt, his-nibs the guilt (for tying-one-on in grievous breach of the promise he made to Flo).

Once again the cold night air smacks sense into his Dad O'Rourke'swits, enough to recollect the name of his hotel (the room number escapes him), as he stoops, steps, tilts, and topples into the taxi’s generic seat, fishing for a twenty dollar bill to foist upon the barmaid (too late), the vehicle set in motion, his stupor reinstated, bearings vaguely lost to vision-on-the-blink, muscles in his neck as supple as silly putty.

Killed a man this evening. Snuffed his wicked life out. Tried, convicted, and sentenced the lad to death. Performed the deed myself. Who am I to flex such God-awful authority? Self-defence, they’ll call; I’ll call it, to avoid "Thy just punishment." Postpone it, rather, since punishment I deserve. Maybe not for this one so much as for its predecessors. This one was a freebee; for the others I got paid. Handsomely. Judge, jury, and executioner—though my clients passed those verdicts—thrice. Two lads and a lass. Each one “had it coming," of course; as do we all, reaping, in the end, what conscience claims we’ve earned...  unless...

Aye, there’s the rub. What if Life Eternal is a wishful-thinking daydream? Forgive me, Lord, for doubts; 'tis the liquor makes them bloom. A nosegay from your rival; Lucifer himself. But what if (Satan aside) I still wonder about salvation? Question how it works? Imagine it does not? Suppose that we’re in error by presuming ourselves most favored? What if we, like chickens, simply croak when our necks get wrung? Or our hearts forget to pump? Or our lungs refuse to breathe? Dust to dust might include the very soul itself, as plausibly as not. Especially if the soul is akin to awareness, glowing when we do good, dimming when we do bad, but destined not to outlive its lowly fixture—regardless myths to the contrary, faiths and superstitions, legends, fables, lore. All compiled by the folks they’re meant to soothe... self-servingly? Or is it impolite, dear Lord, to ask?




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