“I noticed you didn’t answer that part about beautiful women hauling your ashes . . . and thanks for not offering back the compliment I set up so perfectly for you!” she exclaimed, a bit heated towards the end. “Is it too much to ask for just a kind word after sex? It’s a good thing you seemed intelligent and that you know how to row the boat because your pillow talk sucks!” With that she slugged me in the shoulder.
“Thank you for reminding me of why I never got married.”
Admittedly I was a bit stunned when she started beating on my shoulders and chest with closed fists, planting herself over my torso slapping my face with all she had left. “Never, ever say that!” she screamed at me then tossed herself over to the far side of the bed and curled up in the bedding.
I laid there for what the alarm clock showed was five minutes then got up and went to the bathroom. I rummaged around in the dim light for my clothes and began organizing them to dress. While I had no intention of pissing her off, Hell, I had no intention of being here, I still regretted leaving her hurt for no reason. Thanks Henry. May I one day return the favor. Just because we kill for a living doesn’t mean we cannot be decent humans the rest of the time.
Sitting on the edge of the bed to put my socks on, my clean get away came to an end. Softly, from the other side of the bed, sounding like she had silently been crying, came the question again “Why do you do it then?”
“Honestly, because I chose to and it turned out I was good at it.”
“How can anyone justify doing that? I mean, I see patients at the nursing home with Hospice coming to visit and I think ‘My God! Just give them a mega dose of whatever is in that machine and let them go!’ But none of us do it because, it is illegal. So they suffer. Many can’t even communicate with or recognize another human, even their own children.” Melony said, obviously effected by what she saw on a regular basis and whatever button I pushed earlier.
Thinking for a moment I began “It’s not difficult, really.”
“How can you say taking a human life is not difficult?” she asked somewhat shocked.
Training. A person who was truly shocked would have gotten out of bed and scrambled away. A person who believed the lights had come on and allowed them to see a monster in its natural state for the first time would have bolted no matter what they were wearing or what chance they had of escape. A person who his shocked by something they don’t understand but feel they should or must become fascinated with it, drawing closer and focusing on it. Training teaches us to understand, predict and utilize the things we see everyday, even expect to occur, but otherwise ignore. Melony sat up, turning towards me and moving closer. Never taking her eyes off mine. She asked again, no shock this time, softly came the question. “How can you say taking a human life is not difficult?”
“Honestly, because it isn’t. Once again, you make an assumption, just like the one about the truck” I responded.
“What assumption is that? No games this time, just tell me.”
“You are believing the lie we were taught as children. The lie we have heard so many times we reflexively utter it ourselves.”
“What lie is that?”
“All life is sacred.”
“It is!” she uttered emphatically.
“Thus sayeth the priest eating a fish. Thus sayeth the politician eating a steak. Thus sayeth the construction worker eating bacon and eggs. Thus sayeth housekeeping staff as they squirt bleach into a toilet to neutralize all of those things which cause order and make us sick.” It is a mantra I had learned years ago, mostly because it was true. There is a paradox in the universe. Humans claiming all life is sacred while, like many other species, being forced to exterminate mass quantities of life just to exist.
She wasn’t prepared for that answer. Once again I could hear the rusted gears grinding on shafts long since seized in place. Her mind was trying to unlock the paradox she had accepted all her life. It isn’t an easy thing. Most people you tell that to snap back with practiced cognitive dissidence. At least that is the name I think it has. Humans, confronted with a fact which doesn’t fit their view of the world reflexively reject the truth outright launching into a story they concoct on the fly justifying, in their mind, the falsehood of the truth. Some quietly look for an exit. That fight or flight response is strong in us. A token few will begin trying to assimilate this new found fact, tossing out previously believed facts which now, cannot be facts in light of the new fact.