True Story: The Savage
[Editor's Note: Jack Grisham is an author, hypnotherapist, T.S.O.L. front man and all-around troublemaker. This column may or may not be factual, with characters who may or may not be real.]
The suit fit, so he wore it. It was a garment picked out for him by his handlers. It was the suit of a gentleman. He turned this way and that; the mirror revealed the sharp pleats to the pants, the razor blade lines of his lapels. The suit hid the scars on his back; the tattoo of his first wife on his chest, and at present, it held in his desire to drink. He was ready to go.
There was a line of converts waiting to enter the church, and he took his place at the end of a long tail of down-and-out humanity. He stood as proud as he could.
Looking over the line, he saw a few of his kind--every sixth or seventh soul seemed to have that skittish desperation to bolt the queue and run back to their decrepit slice of heaven. He caught the eyes of one he knew: the old Welshman, Colin. There is much to say in a glance, and whether he caught the reflection of his thoughts in Colin's eyes, or whether they thought the same, there was communication there--more than acknowledgment. He made fists of his hands, and then broke his stare.
Four or five men from inside walked down the line. They were extremely well-fed, well-dressed and well-rehearsed in their words. The heaviest of the set strode toward him. "Welcome, boys," the man called. "Salvation is before you. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth."
"Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness," he replied, "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Good boy," the man said and continued down the line.
"Boy?" he thought. He was older than the man. "And righteous? What is it to be righteous? Isn't it to be virtuous, justified and upstanding?"
He looked down the line, singling out those he knew.
"We are these things, to us, not to them. Is it so righteous to pull men away from the path they chose, to force your version of morality upon those that believe otherwise, to clothe them as you feel a man should wear. And what of those who go against the moral law of their kind, who break and crawl their way on to the fat bosom of your teat and suckle from your judgment?"
He unbuttoned his coat and let it drop. He pulled his undershirt over his head, and the black line drawing of his ex-wife blinked in the sunshine. He kicked off his shoes and removed his pants. He stood naked among the others, his body tanned and weathered. He stepped away from the men and reached toward the stars. His fingertips touched the heavens, and he realized the perfection of his existence.
"Blessed are the pure in heart," he said, "for they shall be God."
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