The Puppet Show – Chapter 1: Pulling the Trigger

The night was young, 2:30am, but to me it was young. The sun had set long ago, and the moon was out, full and bright. The night was cold, and I had on a long sleeve shirt, with a sweater over it, and a jacket over both; my scarf protected my neck from the dangers of the cold. I was driving; driving to get away from my life because it had been too much for me. I drove around my empty block, cold and silent with only the noise of the cats meowing and the dogs barking, but I decided to go elsewhere as I didn’t want to raise any suspicion of a car driving around at 2:30am. And so I drove. I drove down my block, past several traffic lights, and I came across a long desolated highway. There were no street lights, and the only light guiding me was the full moon. I could see the picket fences to the left of me, and the bushes and a long canal to the right. The smell was horrendous; cow manure was the worse source of fresh air. I continued down this highway for fifteen minutes, driving at ninety miles per hour, I could hear the engine roaring, crying for me to stop. But I continued on my drive, not coming across any cars and there was no end in sight; I thought I was on my final drive to hell. I noticed an unmarked path I sped past. I came to a screeching halt, scratching the back of my tires, creating tire marks as I stopped, and reversed back to see the path. I drove down the path as I could see the overgrown grass overtaking the dirt path as I continued further; I had to stop. I drove my car to the side, parking it, rolling down my windows, creating a crack, as I inhaled the quiet night’s tasty air. I could no longer smell the cow manure and I could smell air, fresh air. The smell of unshaven grass, the muddy water, and the living bark of the trees nearby. I sat in the darkness, placed my head on the steering wheel, feeling the texture of the wheel. I began to weep.

I wept because this was going to be my final night alone. I picked my head up and looked to the passenger’s seat. Lying on the seat was my 9mm pistol with its black handle and silver lining at the top reflecting off of the moon. I picked it up, and I knew this was the end of my journey. I had no other choice but to pull the trigger, to end my miserable life. To end what never began. My life was nothing but a seed that never sprouted. I was always the shadow of others, listening to others, never having power or dominance over others. My life was miserable, damn my life, damn those born into rich families, damn those more privileged than I was, to hell with them. I was always the puppet, a puppet to everyone who could pull my strings but I could never pull theirs. I placed the tip of the gun to my temple. I could feel the cold, lifeless gun on my skull. This was it, my final days as the weaker human. I placed my finger on the trigger; my heart was beating faster and faster, my arms and legs were shaking, and I could feel the car trembling back and forth, tears began to roll from my eyes, down my cheeks, down my neck and dripping onto my pants, I sniffled as I clenched my eyes shut; I mouthed the words: please, please, please, please, please over and over again, I prayed to God, I prayed for forgiveness, I prayed for hope, I prayed and I prayed, I mouthed the words of please over and over again, clenching the gun’s handle, feeling my fingers touching the trigger as I apologized to my family and said my final goodbyes … VROOOOM!

The flickering lights irritated my eyes, and the smell of fresh paint gave me a throbbing headache. My head was beating like my heart, pumping blood in and out, in and out, bigger then smaller, bigger then smaller. The white wall was dripping with wet paint; seeping through the entire hallway were the fumes of the fresh paint. The smell of the paint, it was awful, deadly, it was almost like chloroform. The hallway was long, very long, several feet but it felt like miles. Too many miles to be exact, I never kept up with my endurance and walking down this desolated hallway felt like an eternity. My legs felt like they were weighed down by bags of sand, I could barely move. To the right of me, I could see through the clear square windows into a brightly lit room almost as if the sun was shining into it. I saw three men dressed in white surrounding a woman who was strapped to a chair, fidgeting, shaking her head wildly back and forth, and trying to get away. To the left of me was another was another room. There were candles lit all around the darkened room, and I could see a strange circle drawn in the middle of the room. There were men dressed in red, holding a chalice into the room and staring at me as I walked down the hallway. But I tried not paying any close attention to the rooms as I was excited to be walking down this hallway. I was finally going to be given the chance to relieve myself of my past, to tell the truth to the world, to tell my story.

I had to stop now as the flickering lights and smell of paint spun my head out of control. I slouched down, placed my hands on my knees and began huffing and puffing—I felt like the big bad wolf—I looked at the two men leading me down the hallway, there were four of them now; I was losing my mind. I could feel a clog deep in my throat, something was coming up, it was hard and burning; maybe it was the leftovers from “Sunday’s Surprise” I had from last night, or it was the expired pudding cup I ate before walking. I could feel the saliva producing in my mouth, wet and slimy but with several bubbles, and my mouth began to water, and I knew I was going to puke soon afterwards—luckily I didn’t. I picked myself back up and continued to walk down the hallway. I looked down and began to focus on my newly polished dress shoes. I stopped again, this time I began to cross my legs together, spinning my body around, pretending I was Michael Jackson, admiring my fancy footwork before one of the men told me to stop. Damn Pigs with their batons and pistols holstered to their sides, tall, white, short haired muscular donut eating pigs.  But I digress because I was finally given a chance to be happy. I had the chance to wear my black suit, white dress shirt, red tie, dress pants, and dress shoes. My black hair was gelled and combed back like Elvis Presley in perfection. The men escorted me into the dreadful interrogation room; boy did I hate this room. I hated the idea of being in a clamped room with only two windows, two chairs, and one long table. The fact that I had to talk to someone facing across from me made me feel like puking.

The men led me into the room pointing their hands down to indicate that I was given the clearance to go; the hell I was given the clearance to go, I don’t need their hand gesturing to point me in the right direction. I waltzed in, flailing my arms around, confident and perfect as I was. I looked back at one of the men, held my middle finger up to my nose slowly pulling it back, and grunted hoink-hoink. The men didn’t like it, but to hell with them. I turned back around and tried to admire the room. The room was small, smaller than a run-down apartment’s closet; the only window was that on the side, I assumed it was a one-way window. There was one light in the middle of the room, right above the long, thin, brown table. The chairs looked horrendous, brown chairs sitting on top of a blue granite floor, the hell! I could feel the cold air sweeping through the room, running across my hand making them feel numb. I couldn’t admire the room anymore as I saw the man from the local newspaper. He copied my outfit, damn bastard. He stood up, black suit, white dress shirt, red tie, and shiny black shoes. On the table was a yellow legal pad with torn pages from the top, and his white MacBook. I first noticed his pencil on the table, yellow but short. The pencil had seen better days; torn, scratched, and scars from top to bottom, but the eraser was full of life, never touched once. But I shook my head, clenching my eyebrows trying to remember why I was here, to talk to this man from the newspaper. I was finally given the chance to tell him, to tell the world the true story, my story. The story of how I changed as a man. Here I was facing this bastard wearing my damn outfit I took all week trying to perfect. But I wasn’t going to talk to a stranger, no; I was going to talk to myself, to relieve myself of my past. I took a step forward and my doppelganger took a step forward as well, stuck his hand out like a government mule and looked down at my hand. I looked at him with my jaw shut down—I could hear my teeth crackling—and my fist clenched, flexing my bulging forearm muscles, the veins popping out, my heart was racing, I could feel the sensation of my fingers pressing on the palm of my hands; I was ready for battle.

Read Chapter 2: The Interview

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