Circles

There was a man
Alone
On the side of the road
Crying
In the rain

Why?

There were four black circles
Technically, I suppose, cylinders
The final components of a complex mechanical system

There was a glistening wet circle
Sitting innocently on top a slab of wood
Birch, maybe, or pine . . . maple
It doesn’t matter, really
Because there it was
A circle of water

There was a small silver circle
With a slot
For a key

There were going to be
About three dozen circles
Small, brown, maybe 2 ½ or 3 inches across
Sadly, this did not come to pass

There was a man crying alone on the side of the road

Why?

Why was he alone?

Because the only other person with him on the road
Was dead

That circle of water
Was suddenly obscured
An empty glass
Moved across it
Across the table

Several circles
Of varying sizes
Jangled across another piece of wood

“Keep the change”

Jangle again
Another circle
This one held six or seven keys

One of them fit into a slot
In a silver circle

The same key
Another slot
Turn
A system came to life
A propulsion system
In fact
Thousands of intricate parts
Working in perfect concert
Hundreds of processes
Connected
Turning

A knock on the window
“Hey pal
I don’t think you should be driving”

“Shut the fuck up”

And four black circles
Moved the car into the road

There were two black circles
Inside two blue circles
Inside two white circles
And these eyes looked up at her mother
With a smile

“Mom
Can we make some cookies for school tomorrow?”

“Hello Mrs. Jones this a Samantha across the street
Sally and I are making some cookies and we’re out of eggs
Could I send her over to borrow a couple?”

“Be careful crossing the street”

There was a man crying alone on the side of the road

Why?

Why was he crying?

Guilt . . .

No

No
I refuse to believe that
He was crying out of selfishness
Out of pure, ugly, righteous selfishness

Not because of what he had done
But because he knew that he had live with what he had done
He had to pay the price
This time there was no way out

How many hundreds of times before?
But this time
It didn’t work

He’d never even considered that possibility
Because
As we all know
Those things only happen
To other people

There were two silver circles
Locked tightly around his wrists
He cooperated completely
What else could he do?

His grandfather
Died with a bottle in his hand
Too drunk to even know who he was

His father
Died of cirrhosis of the liver
A broken shell of a man

He
Is going to die in prison
For manslaughter

There is a black circle
Around the eye
Of a fifteen year boy
Just about the size of his fathers fist

He’ll be learning to drive soon
He’ll be making his own decisions

Maybe he can break the circle

February 22, 2760 AUC

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