Seeing The Light

Part One: He was born in poverty and darkness

He made a few mistakes in the beginning, because he was born in poverty and in darkness. I’ve selected, arranged, itemized and interpreted them for you.

-He fooled around a lot, sexually.

-He drank heavily.

-He used foul language.

Don’t look so discouraged. It gets better: you know that.

-He once shot his brother in the foot during an argument about money. Everyone thought it was an accident, but I know that the bastard meant to do it.

He was a bastard, all right. But he reformed. He’s a decent fellow now: I rather like him.

Part Two: He sees the light

Before we go any further, I ought to produce the relevant facts.

1. He was born 4 October 1939.

2. His father was a housepainter and an alcoholic. His mother made crafts. This accounts for our hero’s artistic propensities. He has become quite a clever writer.

3. His mother often read the Bible to him, although he didn’t get much out of it at first–that is, before he saw the light.

4. He had trouble with women. He married in 1962, but after only sixteen months of marriage his wife left him. That was 18 May 1964 at 3:27 p.m.

The car she left in was orange.

5. He liked Dixieland music, and he played his 78 r.p.m.s loud.

6. He shunned vinegar.

He was a bastard, but he saw the light. Let me tell you about it.

On 6 June 1964, 10:27 p.m., he was sitting in Sam’s diner, a white rectangular building on Queen street. If you go there today you’ll see it, although Sam is dead now and the name has changed. It’s the same place though. The very booth he was sitting in is still there.

Anyway, he was eating a clubhouse sandwich with fries. He had put salt on the fries, but not vinegar. Sam’s had the best clubhouse in those days. The bacon made all of the difference: it was crispy, but not dried out and charcoal-tasting.

He had just finished his dinner when he looked up and saw the headlights approach the front window of the diner. The light was blinding. He thought he was going to fall to his knees. He said to himself, God who are you? He eventually got up out of the booth, onto his feet, blinded. When his sight returned to him a minute later, he looked out of the window.

It was him, all right. You don’t forget a face like that, especially when it’s behind the headlights of an orange car.

Well, to make a long story into a short story, he walked up to the front door and waited for the man to come in. They looked one another in the eye, and our hero said, “Step out back.” So out back they go, and our hero gives the man a damn good beating, like no one in that town has ever been beaten before.

When our hero is done, he goes home, puts on a Dixieland 78 r.p.m., and opens up his Bible. He sees the words, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. He thought of those words, there in the restaurant.

Because he saw the light.

Part Three: A New Man

Yes sir, he was a bastard, that man. But you know the story: with age comes wisdom, understanding and contentment. He’s a new man now. I rather like him.

Did I mention he became quite a clever writer?

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