Yeah, I use to be the man! I never had money or power but I tell you I was free! Backpacked and hitchhiked this great nation! From east to west and everywhere in between. Built a great collection of trophies. The things I’ve seen and done… all good and bad… I was the man.
Time is brutal. Once your time is spent or wasted you never get it back. From the moment we are born, the time bomb starts “ticking and tocking”. *TICK* You are young and handsome, full of life and vitality. *TOCK* Your bones get old and brittle. Women don’t find your fat, wrinkle infested body appealing. Your doctors are always searching for a reason to stick their fingers in places untraveled. You roamed your youthful days away never working a job so you become the nasty 76 year old fart leaving in the Christian Mission Housing Project in Preston Valley, Georgia. At least in my case this would be correct.
My 15×15 apartment reminds me of a dark, damp cave and I’m like the stalagmite stuck to the floor unbothered for eternity. Well, I’d like it take way and it would be that way if it wasn’t for “rent day”. The only time I leave my room is on Sunday. Sunday’s are mandatory church service on the first floor of the Mission. You must attend if you want housing. This makes no sense to me. You would think having an unbeliever at service would stick up the room or put out “bad juju”. But they insist on my presence so…
I play my part.
Bro. Richard usually comes knocking at my door on Tuesdays at the ungodly time of 6:00am to check in on my “walk with Jesus”. Ever since I moved into the Mission it’s been his personal goal to win my soul for the Lord. Maybe next time I can fake salvation for him. You know? Just to make him feel good about himself. But I know God doesn’t want me. And I don’t want him.
It’s 12:00am. Or at least that’s what my alarm clock keeps reminding me with its repetitive flashing.
“Electricity must have went out again,” I said out loud as someone was really going to confirm my statement.
I go to set on the edge of my bed and place my hands on my bald liver spotted head. But only for a moment. I am sprung to my feet by the sound of children’s laughter coming from under my bed.
“Wh-who is in here?!”
“I SAID WHO THE HELL IS IN HERE?”
A soft, sweet girly-girl voice responds
“It’s me Bruce… Don’t you remember?”
I go to look under my bed and see all my trophies that I haven’t looked at in years. Something starts shifting around. A small old fashioned baby doll. Not some cheap plastic made in China doll but an all cloth, cotton filled homemade baby doll. I reach to grab it.
“Careful Bruce!” it says.
I take the doll and throw it across the room.
“Bruce! I’m ticklish!”
I was going to assume I was dreaming or going crazy but suddenly I feel it’s all so real. I don’t know, maybe the years of seclusion had taken my sanity or perhaps I wanted it to be real but either way I was at peace with the idea of speaking to my beloved object.
“Laurie! Come here my old friend.” I went to pick her up and gave her a warm hug.
“Bruce! Bruce! You do remember me!”
“Of coarse Laurie! You were always my favorite trophy! March 2nd, 1976! Ft. Worth Texas!”
“Yes and I was the first of your collection!”
“Indeed you were!”
“Do you know why I’m here Bruce?”
“No earthly clue Laurie but please, tell me why?”
“I came to ask you why? I’m not mad, I just wanna know why you did this to us?”
A chill down my spine, a lump in my throat. That feeling of stress in your chest when you know you’ve been caught doing wrong. Is this how Christians feel when they sin knowing their Peeping Tom God is judging their every step?
“Laurie, Sis- you wouldn’t understand, you don’t know what mom and dad made me do growing up.”
“Bruce, that’s enough.”
She said comfortingly.
“Bruce, I do understand, we all understand!”
Confused by what she said.
“Yes we do Bruce! We are happier because of you! Why did you stop?”
Suddenly from underneath my bed came all my trophies marching in line. They danced in a single file circle twice then broke into a line of 13 objects facing me. There was Mary Ann the hair ribbon October 31, 1976 Logan, Oklahoma! Plus Sasha the sock monkey January 12, 1977! Even little Betty the blue button that I earned April Fools Day 1982! Everyone of my precious trophies ALIVE! SPEAKING TO ME!
The whole group exclaimed.
“We could tell you were sad and blue Bruce.”
“I am, but not anymore! I remember you all! I’ve always had you! I’ve been so down lately because I’m so alone, always hiding and just so darn old.”
“Hide no more Bruce!”
Shouted Maria the tiara I collected Halloween night 1991 in LA.
“You’re never too old to add to the collection!” said Betty.
“I don’t think I can girls.”
“Bruce, don’t think, just do!”
Laurie trying to build my confidence.
“We believe in you! Go!”
The whole group cheered.
“BRUCE! BRUCE! BRUCE!”
The cheering continued.
And up I jumped from the bed filled with new life. And sprinted for the door with my new found confidence. Down the stairs, through the lobby, pass the sanctuary with no plan as I wore an enormous smile on my face. I run for the exit and I taste the freedom again! Finally out the door I stop in the street. It’s pouring down rain but I hardly feel it because of my overwhelming freedom and desire in my heart. I am going to turn my head thinking of who I’ll and what my next trophy will be.
“I AM THE MAN!”
I yell to the top of lungs and every inch of old heart. Screaming so loud and intense I’m sure I hocked a lougee in the process.
All this was brought to an end when a black Cadillacs brakes failed to stop its forward motion. I was struck, not by lightning from the storm but by confusion and something much more solid. My feet lifted off the ground. My bald head and smile went through the windshield. That was it for me, no new trophies.
Later that morning at a local Denny’s.
“Hey miss! Hey waitress! Could you turn the TV up please? Something big happened over in Preston Valley.”
TV turns up and female news anchor speaks
“Breaking news. This Tuesday morning out of Preston Valley, Georgia, 76 year old Bruce Dealings found dead. He was reportedly struck by the car of local Pastor Richard Sonny around 5:45am. Not all details are available as of now but police have revealed that Bruce Dealings is expecting to be involved in the 1976 murder of his sister Laurie Dealings and possibly multiple murders of young girls across the country. Police say they have found multiple objects in Dealings apartment that link him to his sisters murder and allegedly up to twelve other individual cases. Police profilers claim in some cases serial killers will keep items linked to their crimes as keepsakes or trophies. We will continue to bring you the details as new information is brought to light.”