Reciprocity (or the Confessions of an Artist)

He beat the source of so much hurt, humiliation and pain.

He beat it until he could no longer swing his arms.

The thing slumped on the ground, not moving and it did not make a sound.

The man smirked while thinking to himself “who is the victim now?”

The thought created the immediate need to place a swift hard kick to the thing’s back. He could feel the back give way to his foot. He smirked again “you were always a cancer to the world and now – finally – the chemo has arrived.” He knelt down to try and look into its eyes but was unable to do so. The swelling and coagulated blood hid the thing’s eyes.

He stood up, looking around to see if anyone was watching.  He pulled the gloves off his hands. They worked just like the retailer said, “Whatever you hit will be decimated by the additional power in these beauties.” The gloves had small rectangular forms of lead in the middle section of each finger so that the glove was the equivalent of lead knuckles. The lead and his own hatred and hurt would power his fists through the thing’s flesh, muscles and bones.  Once the gloves were off he placed them in the bag he had folded into his back pocket.  He unbuttoned a couple buttons from his shirt near his stomach and slid the bag inside then re-buttoned and adjusted his shirt. He had the urge to crush his heel into the thing’s remnant of a nose but he showed discipline and vengeance. He figured the thing would live. Thing would be a mess, require surgery and a lot of pain medication. Vengeance given in this case required life not death. He wanted thing to suffer and he knew it would.

He turned his back on the slump of flesh and blood and headed for a cup of coffee. He needed the jolt of energy because he was exhausted. Beating that waste of carbon had tired him. He thought about going to the local Starbucks but decided instead to fix the coffee at home. He could wash himself up and relax. He slid the mask off his face and threw it on the passenger seat and stepped into the car. He looked over himself quickly with the cabin light on and was glad to see not one drop of blood on his hands or clothes. He patted his stomach to make sure the gloves were still present and then started the car, slowly accelerated and began his trip home.  

The plan as it was executed today was finalized a year ago. The first wisp of thoughts about today entered his subconscious about twenty-five years ago. Slowly each year and with greater frequency and duration, the wisp developed into a thought and then thoughts and finally to the plan. There was beauty in the plan since it was a reaction, a correction, of past abuse; long past. The bullying and misery took place around thirty years ago and it was daily and brutal. The waste of carbon had made his life hell for no good reason. The thing had targeted him simply for being alive and in the general vicinity. The devastation it ushered into his life apparently had lifelong impact. But now, the thing would have the scars physically and psychologically for the rest of its life. It was owed it and the debt had now been paid in full. Thing was not intelligent, it was a brute. Thing was a base life form that polluted and harmed unfortunate human beings in its path. This evening though the thing had been remodeled, re-shapened by the hands and volition of the bullied. Thing’s teeth would no longer be its own. Thing’s eyes would have drooping to them and be slightly misshapen. The nose would need to be reconstructed. Thing’s face shape would be changed because of the damage and correction of its jaws. Thing will now always walk with a limp and its hands will not be able to be clinched into tight fists ever again. Using its hands will cause pain and just the simple movement of the fingers will require a grimace.

The beauty of the transformation of the bully is that it is without any chance of the bully knowing or understanding who the artist was. Hurt has a long memory unlike the aggressors’. The base has little if no intellect and its mind had the mental faculties of a goldfish (I mean no slander to the goldfish). Things do not contribute to society in a beneficial way. Things are usually predators and rarely does it have the experience of reciprocity. As he stepped into his home he turned on the lights and headed for the kitchen. He set up a cup of coffee with his Keurig and then took the bag out from under his shirt. He turned on the hot water and ran the water over the bag. He then took out the gloves and rinsed the infection’s blood off of them. Examining the gloves he saw no damage to them and then he smirked at the thought that came across his mind about the same can’t be said of its condition. Examining his hands he noticed the redness and swelling from the repeated impacts. He smiled. Running cold water over them he then splashed cold water on his face. He felt so alive. He felt lighter. Empowered. He looked at the clock on the wall and did the math; the ride home had taken an hour. Thirty-five miles away he was sure that the human waste was now getting the attention of hospital personnel. He pulled out the mop bucket and dropped the empty plastic bag inside and then covered it with bleach and let it soak overnight. He dipped the gloves into the bleach and the rubbed them against one another making sure to treat the entire glove. He dunked them again and let them sit for about thirty seconds and then pulled them out, ringed them and left them in the sink.  He picked up his coffee mug and went into the living room and placed the mug on the coaster. Sitting down into his chair he picked up the remote and turned on the television.  A hundred and forty channels and he had to settle for a rerun of Burn Notice. He appreciated Michael’s can-do attitude. Sipping the coffee with his legs propped up on the ottoman he heard his wife come down the steps behind him. She patted the top of his head and went into the kitchen. He heard the water run and the refrigerator open and close. She came in with a handful of grapes and lay on the couch. “How did it go?”


She popped another grape into her mouth and he watched her as she was watching the television. He had originally thought about lying to her and not letting her in on his plan but decided against it. He didn’t think he could get away with it with her. Something would not connect or an unexpected event would happen and it would all spiral into trouble. He decided to be candid and was certain that she would understand and not hinder him from what he needed to do. In the end he was able to go with not only her support but her blessing. She had originally expressed interest in watching her husband make the wrongs right but he was able to persuade her that it was best for him to only be focused on transforming the pile of crap into something less harmful to society. She understood and agreed. As he watched her while he drank his coffee she happened to glance over at him and saw his gaze. She smirked and popped a grape into her mouth and threw one over to him.

The next morning after showering and dressing he walked into the kitchen and saw that the mop bucket was put away and the baggy was gone. He looked out the front window and saw that the trash collectors had picked up the garbage this morning, just like every other Wednesday morning. The gloves were lying on the kitchen counter wrapped in a large paper towel and next to the coffee pot was his morning note from his wife. He poured a small amount of coffee in his stainless steel Starbucks travel mug and grabbed the gloves. He drove to the Starbucks that was out of his way to work and walked inside placing an order for a refill of his Starbucks cup and paid with cash instead of his Starbucks’ card. The store was busy and had a low symphony made up of voices, music and the espresso machine. He walked over to the condiment counter and grabbed a Splenda and a couple napkins and then walked out and took a small table next to the garbage can. He opened his work bag, unfolded the napkins and the using them grabbed one of the discolored gloves and placed it on his lap. He opened the Splenda and dumped the contents into his coffee then in one graceful move disposed of the empty packet and glove & napkins into the garbage can. He sipped his coffee swishing the coffee around his mouth. It was a pleasant morning and he had thirty minutes to get to work and it was about fifteen minutes away. His mind drifted to his previous night’s work and how he now knew he had the answer for a problem in American society but needed a safe avenue to share his insight with others so that the problems could be remedied and hopefully deter their future existence. Reciprocity was needed and it had to be with an overwhelming amount of force that was disciplined so that the artist would experience no further harm.  With the technology age the violence and abuse of the bullies in the world seem to grow exponentially which meant more lives forever harmed and changed. This tide needed to be met with a preponderance of violence expertly executed on these waste of carbon so that they would be changed entities no longer willing to be harmful while ever humbled for the past transgressions. As he drank his coffee watching people come in and out of the coffee shop he knew that his purpose would not be complete until he could get the word out and empower others to courage and responsibility so that they could gain some of themselves back that was lost days, months or years ago. He got up and entered his car and did a turnaround in the parking lot so that he could easily swing in to the McDonald’s drive thru. After paying for & receiving his food he pulled slowly to the convenient drive thru garbage can. He pulled his sausage McMuffin out of the bag and then used the bag as a glove to pick up the glove out of his work bag and then pulled the bag around the glove back into the bag, crumpled it up and threw it away in the garbage can and then drove to work.

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