The evil behind a thorn.

Freckles and lines form on my face, like weeds they seem to pop-up completely unexpected. Even my house has weeds. My neighbor has zero weeds, I don’t understand where the jealously came from, but it sprouted from the most mundane encounter. I took the slow walk to the mailbox, maybe I should get one at the post office. They sat, almost gloating over their superior lawn and trimming. They wave, I wave in return, nothing out of the normal. I close the door, as it clicks I huff then scurry to the wall. I can peek out of the window. With the blinds in between my fingers I stare at their glossy heads and hearts, wanting to extinguish them with my most fiery passion. I let the blinds slip from me, a step back to the rational. If I could get away with it, I think to my grieving self. If I could say what’s stopping me now, what stops my evil from being evil?

I fall back and forth between a drunken stupor and a sober stupor, which might be worse. My memory works better when I am sober.  I sit heavily or delicately, in the moment it’s hard to determine which is which. I remember the woman I loved, but yet become sick at the thought of loving her. Is it then that evil might be a sickness, an infection one incidentally catches by circumstance alone. Then what if I was the creator of happenstance, I guess that is to say I am the cause for every reaction, or action. A better voice then mine seems the most appropriate. Putting my coat on, and a pack of cigarettes in my pocket I go to a time in which I long for understanding

New York City is something special, it is magical but devastating, when dreams can float over the Hudson to flourish or die. I wait in a coffee shop for the chance to meet her. I look at a map I pulled from the counter. A map, a road map, blue and yellow lines crisscross in-between the black font and the white textured background. A map can do two things; they will show you where you’ve been and where you can go, but it can’t tell you why you’re here. Annoyed I put the map down and a silver haired woman walks in. I do my best to act like I am not staring, but as you probably know by now, I’m not a very good actor. She sits at the table at the rear of the cafe. I listen to her drink order and wait for the waiter to walk pass me. I take my map and coffee cup and sit down at her table. She slowly raises her eyes to me from the menu. As if unbothered by my sudden appearance she goes back to reading. A minute passes before she puts the menu down and acknowledges me. “May I help you?” I rub the back of my neck and answer. “I wouldn’t really use the word help, but, I just came to talk.” She nods her head, sips her coffee, and adds a little more creamer. “Some may say that helps a few people. Talking that is, so now what is it you would like to talk about, mister…” I snap to the facts or lack thereof. “Oh, it’s Karl. And I know this might sound odd, but I want to talk about evil Ms. Porter.” She sets down her coffee again. “I say I am unsure on which I should be taken a back on, the subject of your wanted discussion or your familiarity with my identity.”  I try to make something up, but I just end up coughing out the truth. “It’s because I’m time traveler.” Her laugh explodes out of her, turning her face pink and red. Mine follows suit. “Alright, well, if that is the case, lets order our food before I succumb to hunger.” She says as she waves for the waiter. I try to read the menu but the words are blurred and my head was still hot.

Our food comes with the refills of coffee. With the small talk extinguished we move into my wanted subject. “Have you done something that would constitute this feeling of evil?” She asks. “I have.” I mumble in an embarrassed tone. “Was it in the war?” Her eyes narrow and pick at me for the truth. “Not really, but yes, but no, but yes.” I say while I try to shove as much of the pancake into my mouth. “It’s well alright if you do not wish to speak of it, but does this feeling hurt you to have? And further more can you control it?” I chase her words down with coffee then reply. “Hurt, sometimes. It’s not like bad or good feeling. It’s warm however, likes you’re sea sick. I can, I believe, control it. I am not an evil person, which is probably what every evil person says. I’ve just done evil things in the past. But no more.” She gives a chuckle. “Well if you’re not going to do it anymore that’s good. However if it’s in your destiny to do evil things, then they will most likely happen.” I in return chuckle at her statement. “Destiny, that’s just bullshit, I mean excuse my language. Destiny is just a lie we tell ourselves when things don’t work out.” There’s silence at the table as we drink from our coffee. “Destiny, as you so colorfully said isn’t ‘bullshit’. It is however just the route you’re supposed to take regardless of either outcome. Do you know the story of Judas?” I nod my head and she continues. “Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, its how it’s said. In which he hung himself for this. He played his role.” I loosen my tie then speak. “Sure, that’s fatalism. Which if that’s really the case, I guess Judas made a very large sacrifice himself, and probably shouldn’t have been cast off into hell. You don’t throw the pawn into the trash after you lose him in one game of chess.” She nods her head then ushers the waiter over to fill our coffee cups. She pours some cream in her cup then gives her rebuttal. “That is the case however, with God’s sovereignty. He does what he wills, as he’s God. As you know the one that did most of the forgiving was dying on a cross.” She finishes as I jump right in. “That’s fine and all, but sadly I wasn’t here to speak of biblical truths or fallacies. I wanted, I guess to understand if I was evil. But by this It appears to be my fate or what have you, to be an evil man.” Her hand slides across the table to rest on mine. “I do not see an evil man in front of me. Do you have evil thoughts often?” I slip my hand from hers. “Yes, I do.” she chuckles. “So do I, dear! I believe I am a rabbit in my dreams, but does this make me a rabbit, as I do not spend my waking hours eating lettuce. Do you feel guilt on this evil, remorse over the fact?” I slouch and nod my head with the guilt. “Then it appears you’re not evil, for evil men are only empathetic when cornered.” She says.

The waiter brings our check. She asks me about the future if it’s really different. I tell her it isn’t, even though it is. She gives me a smile then stands up. “The best time to parts ways is when you still want to stay.” She says. I stand up as well and shake her hand. I watch as she walks out of the shop. I count to twenty in my head then head for the door. I am no Judas or Jesus, I think as I turn down the alley. The city disappears and my house appears. I am something. I think.