Cal Embraces the Death Penalty

Cal Embraces the Death Penalty

—Originally published January 08, Oregon Literary Review—

And then Linda got car trouble the other night. Yeah, she was coming up

from the South Side on the Dan Ryan

and her car started to act up. And these two guys come over to her car,

“Hey, you got car trouble? Let me in. Let me see

if I can fix it. Let me in there. Heyyyy . . .” You know what I want

to get her? I mean, if I don't break up with her?

I want to get her one of those stun guns you can get at Walmart—

you know the ones—they shoot a beam of electrical energy,

and it doesn't kill 'em, it just zaps 'em with a thousand or so

volts of electricity and bam! They're out cold.

‘Cause if she killed anyone, you know, she'd go to jail.

This is ridiculous. I say let's go

to the station and get the guy. But she doesn't want to

leave her car. “O.K., you go to the station,

and I'll wait here.” But she says no, she'll be O.K.

So I'm just about getting ready to go. Then

two more guys show up: What's up, car trouble?

They wanna push the car with their car. We get to the station,

everything's fine, so I’m thanks a lot for your help and

“This ain't gonna cut it.”

What?

“This isn't gonna cut it.” So I go give him twenty more.

He’s “Hey, man . .  .” I’m, listen, you lowlife. You

just made forty bucks doin' something you shoulda done

 free. I mean, don't you think? I mean,

if I saw someone on the road like that, especially a woman, hah!

Any one of my friends woulda done that, and.

Any one of 'em. What's the matter with people now?

Like I said, I said, You just made forty bucks doin' somethin’

you shoulda done for free. You asshole. Get out of my face

before I beat the shit outa you.  That’s why I believe in the death penalty.

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