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Kill Him For Love (standard:romance, 1125 words)
Author: CyranoAdded: May 26 2010Views/Reads: 1393/658Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Grandfather was a cripple. He was also a walking ideas giant.
 



Whenever I write a story, or listen to one being read, I can forget
everything of my life and live over the scenes. This ability first 
revealed itself, I recall, when in the company of my Grandfather. In 
fact, I recall the exact instant; hearing him read letters from a long 
ago pal shipwrecked off the Cape of Good Hope. As Grandfather spoke so 
his voice rose and fell with each wave that flooded over the bow, not 
just that, but the lifting of his hands in such dramatic fashion to 
protect himself as the mast came crashing to the deck, ‘The mast has 
gone!' he yelled, spittle appearing at the corners of his mouth, ‘Crash 
it goes!' thinking they would all perish right at that moment. It was 
gripping stuff and I sat at his useless scaffolding carried along on 
his words. Grandfather was a Scot who, for the better part of his life, 
studied and practiced law. He said had he not been a cripple he would 
have been an adventurer, but being a cripple had been a blessing in 
disguise, he insisted. 

Grandfather's heart was not in his profession at the end; he wanted to
write romantic novels; wanted to roam over the beloved heather-covered 
hills of Selkirkshire; wander aimlessly in the glorious free open air 
with his dogs, working his few sheep, keeping horses for companions. I 
was most times left to myself in that endless country cottage: reading 
in the kitchen, drying mud from my clothes. Grandfather, I heard from 
behind doors, had soured with age.  What belonged to him once, the 
composition of his body, was a dream, vapor. At his worst when visited 
by relatives, Grandfather's sniveling repugnance of their intrusion 
poured out of him in a thinly veiled displeasure, a barren wilderness 
of collected acknowledgement. That was his disguise; his acceptance. 
Like the first time he met Lorenzo, in a railway car traveling from 
Cadiz, on his way to Tangier. He was eating a green banana, passing 
himself off as a Spanish nobleman, a visionary. He appeared very aware 
of himself.  He could have been made of ice. He spoke strangely, as a 
poet, saying his visions had to be smelled, fondled and listened to. He 
was a lothario for sure, but his soul was that of a monster, and when 
you got to know him you discovered strange things, unfathomable, 
repulsive...and then again, delightful things.  Lorenzo became very 
real to me, and around women, well it was as if he stirred a symphony 
inside their hearts. Around men, not so much, they were mere skeletons. 
 By the time I realized Lorenzo was Grandfather's alter ego it was too 
late.  Lorenzo must die, or it would be me, Grandfather whispered, a 
sand-paper rasp, so I killed him under tons of rubble, or so I thought, 
he went on, a flight of mischief passing across his sightless antique 
eyes. 

When asked about his health, his response was never more than a mumble,
its meaning lost in a painful scene of intrusion and irritation. His 
clothes bitter smelling, toys all forgotten, living in the hyacinth 
hours, tobacco stained chin, he could feel himself walking out of the 
house, preferring the company of dirty children, but he was 
square-rigged to his chair, even though he wriggled, wanting to engage 
his legs, feeling himself bolt.  I don't know when the appalling 
ignominy of his position roosted with him. Perhaps, I often considered, 
never until Grandma died. Only after her death did I look upon him as a 
sickened starling, or think about the depressing wretchedness of his 
appearance, observe the way he fumbled, with grotesquely misaligned 
fingers, the sherry glass, filled from a crystal decanter at five p.m.  
Or why in the twenty years without her he never spoke her name.  “Love, 
young bairn, is not about kissin' and cuddlin', but about adventure.”  
I could have believed him, really, I could, but then I saw his limp 
body, his jackdaw legs, his spider-veined hands lying flat on the open 
pages of his Britannica Encyclopedia, resting over the subject Charles 
Dickens's ‘A Christmas Carol.' That is what I remember, him sitting 
slumped in front of the log fire, a near empty glass of sherry, and I 
knew his heart was broken. He urged me close, picking up my chin with 
the deftness of an angel, and took a crumpled piece of paper out of his 
dressing gown pocket. On it a scribbled address and a message: On June 
10th 1960 Lorenzo flew out of Cuba. Before that he'd been living in a 
room on the twenty-second floor of the hotel Cohiba, in Havana's Vedado 
section. I traced him there. Lorenzo is a priest, living among money 
changers and prostitutes. Your job is to find him. Kill him. I said I 
would. “You kill him for love.” It was all so deliciously absorbing. He 
smiled and inhaled a large pinch of creative snuff. 

Ofttimes my Father would chastise Grandfather for his behavior,
producing a shrug of defiant shoulders before the animated canvas of a 
son's disdain; it didn't please. Rarely did. But maybe my father was 


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