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The Paradox Theater

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Victor stumbles into the room faster than
his mind’s ability to assess what had just occurred.
Sweat drips down his face as he pants heavily
as he tries desperately to catch his breath.
It’s vacant. Good.

He’s asking too much of his left hand,
which grips the Astra 600 semi-automatic pistol
given to him by his father,
but also attempts to stop the bleeding
from his lower abdomen.

His grip of the weapon loosens;
soaked with so much of his own blood
that he could taste the metal.
Never use it unless you’re dead, his father would always say.

Right palm open on his chest, he begs his spirit
for a sliver of peace, waiting for his
heart and mind to see eye to eye one last time.

He takes a moment to survey the room;
the wallpaper, once bright, symmetrical and gracious,
is now torn, revealing the ugly foundation underneath;
a frame-less door hangs on a corner of a wall,
ironically leading nowhere.

His eyes turn to the center of the room;
a chair, made with traces of oak
and other synthesized material,
occupies the space.

Victor’s pistol slips from his hand,
and he uses what energy he has left
to drag his feet – each step harder than the last –
to take his seat.

The chair is positioned
to give the sitter the best view
through wrecked windows,
but the real show was about to begin.

“Sam. Sam I am”, Victor begins to mutter under his breath.
“I do not like… them. Sam, I am. I do not like… green eggs…”
He pauses.

His mind wanders, and then begins to project images
of a life, once colorful, beautiful and happy,
now unrecognizable, yet familiar.

Act I
he was knee high, playing with the neighbor’s Jack Russell Terrier
for days on end, only to be told he wouldn’t see the dog again.
He was sick, and had to be put down.
When he asked his father what that meant,

His father replies, “He’ll suffer if we do nothing, Victor.
Sometimes we have to be cruel to be kind.”

Act II
A young adult, taking an English literature course,
decides to study The Importance of Being Earnest,
a tale of individuals using different personalities to
escape social obligations. Masks.

It’s ironic that Oscar Wilde was hiding his true self
when he wrote that garbage
, Victor thought to himself,
now chuckling at the thought.
What was it he once said?
I can resist anything, but temptation.

Act III
the woman he spilled coffee on
the first time he met her
was now saying “I do”,
feeding him a slice of their wedding cake.
Bittersweet.

Nothing lasts. Couples fight.
An unstoppable force opposes an immovable object.
I always lie is something
Victor would often yell at her in a passive aggressive manner,
but was he being truthful?

“I do not like… them. Sam, I am. I do not like… green eggs, and… ham.”

Green Eggs and Ham.
His daughter’s favorite book.

My daughter… my baby girl, Victor wept.
Her life was taken
the day after he read her Dr. Seuss,
unknowingly for the last time.

It took him three agonizing years
but he finally found the monster responsible
for taking her life;
until five minutes ago,
that man was living a floor below the apartment
that Victor is now dying in.

Seconds before the skirmish,
Victor vaguely remembers the murderer
shouting something to the effect of,
“Leave me alone! I’m nobody!”
He was neither right, nor wrong.

Victor’s 9x19mm parabellum slugs
pierced the murderer’s chest and neck,
but that man fired first with his
long-range carbine rifle;

it was the ricochet
of his 5.56x45mm round
that ultimately did Victor in,
striking his abdomen from behind, with the bullet
travelling through and through
and the residual shrapnel
poisoning his blood.

Victor killed a murderer,
and narrowly escaped death, only to die.

He leaves this world believing
that life in and of itself is a contradiction
full of negations, deceit, and divisions by zero.

To honor life, he chose to kill;
revenge in the name of harmony.
Never use it unless you’re dead, his father would always say.

His father would be proud.

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8 Comments

  1. Great narrative & storytelling This piece is different and like the way it’s concluded. Nice to see this.

    • I truly appreciate your patience with this one. I’m not sure what this is, to be honest. But Victor’s story was unfolding as I was writing it and I sort of lost myself in the story. That’s what happens though haha. Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. I love the reflection in this piece, but also the sense of insanity from repeating a few of the lines. Excellent work Cyrus!

    • Thanks so much for you kind comment brother 🙂
      It’s truly appreciated!

  3. Oh my. I am on the verge of being speechless I could not take my eyes away! I just could not stop reading, this is absolutely phenomenal. You are so very talented. This is just wow. My heart beat to your words.

    • Your words move me as well, Missy. Thank you for your amazing review. I’m thrilled that it had such an effect on you. I look forward to sharing more stories and reading more of your work 🙂

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