The following is brought to you by the National Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and is made possible in part by a grant from the Ford Foundation—and by Pfizer Corporation—“Putting Non-Existence to Work for You.”
“I didn’t need a gun. Okay? For me to kill somebody, I don’t need a gun. Can’t you look and see? I’m two hundred and eight-six pounds. Okay? I would rip you like a rag doll. Okay?. . .I could have killed her, the baby, okay, that wasn’t my beef. I didn’t kill my wife with the meat cleaver—I threatened her. Okay? I didn’t hit Bridget with the crowbar—I threatened her. I was a dog, barking. I didn’t do nothing. I ran. After my wife did that to me I left New York, packed up, took my tools and said, ‘I’m a good looking man I’ll be able to get another woman,’ left, went to Atlanta, was in the strip club with hundreds of girls—hundreds!—when I had a problem with a girl I was dealing with in Atlanta, packed up, went to Charlotte, met Bridget, when I had a problem with Bridget I packed up, went back to Atlanta. I ran. This is what I tried to encourage the young man to do. I told him not to do it, for six months I avoided him, I didn’t go ahead and do it—I couldn’t do it. He forced me to do it. He threatened me and the ones I loved. And it’s still not over.
Prison is full of great men gone wrong, their thick haunches going to fat, their greatness turned adipose. Weary days, walking it off on the treadmill—greatness seeps from every orifice and pore—leaves salty pools of might-have-been to stain the mattress ticking—men in the pen, stinking. Some killed the things they loved; the rest happened on surrogates. Poor Bridget gets it with the crowbar either way.
Consolation Site: Retains the power to shock