The Hero by Arthur S. Newman
He stood there staring at the pictures, the years had just rolled by, the memories of both the good times and the bad times.
How could he have known?
How could life ever expect or demand that he accept?
That all the joy and the pain this life had to offer would come down to the unshakeable loneliness that he now feels.
The moment was broken by the steps of their eight-year-old son. “Dad come on let’s go, I can’t wait to see grandma and grandpa, especially grandma.”
“Why especially grandma,” the father would reply.
“Because she looks just like Mommy, and she reminds me of Mommy. And when I see her, I feel like mommy never left.” The little boy said with a sad smile. “So, are you ready to go, come on let’s get in the car.”
"All right, All right, I'm coming." He did not want to say it but he felt the same way. It was shocking the resemblance his wife and her mother shares. He still had not gotten used to using the past tense when referring to his wife.
Once they had gotten all of their gear into the jeep, they were on the road.
As they got on the highway, they were nearly side swiped by an orange sports car.
“Come on get your head out of the cell phone and pay attention to the road. I swear this world is becoming more and more inconsiderate.” He mumbled. The father looked down at his son, he was proud of his little man, without him he knew he probably would have lost his mind. This little excursion was just what he needed.
He had been having mental flare ups and some emotional turmoil lately, that has been picking him apart.
Other than the close call a few miles back, the ride so far had been uneventful, traffic was not as heavy as expected for a Saturday morning.
The sign read Welcome to North Carolina.
“Dad can we stop at the rest area, I have to go.”
“Sure, I could use a drink and a snack.”
It was surprising how many cars were at the rest area, considering the traffic was not that heavy on the highway. There were people everywhere. They had to park a considerable distance from the rest rooms.
As they got close, he could see a plain white bus and what looked like guards with a handcuffed man in a white jumpsuit. The guards were both dressed in brown uniforms.
He was stunned to see the handcuffed man lift the gun from the guard's holster, at this moment people started dropping to the ground.
The man motioning to the guard reaching for his gun, demanded, “Throw your gun to me, and you take these cuffs off now.” That did not take much persuasion since the gun was pointing at his head.
As the father observed what was going on, he said to his son, get down, go on, lay down on the black top now, and like wise he followed his own advice.
The man with the gun started yelling, “I am in control now, and all of you will do what I say, start emptying your pockets I want your cash all of it do not hold back.”
As one lady handed him her purse, he declined.
“No, No, No, I want you to remove the money for me you are all willing participants and next I want all of your federal ID’s and your bank cards. That's right, your driver's licenses.”
He raved on and on like a mad man, as he reached down and grab the ladies purse and dumped it out saying, “Thank you, after all, this will be just what I need to put all the cash in.”
The distraught father all the while was getting worked up, as he dug into his own pockets to retrieve his cash, he thought about all the implications of his actions if he would lose it at this moment. He could feel the anxiousness in his heart as the mad man kept on and on about how the man, the law, has kept him down and now it was his turn.
“That's right I want all the cash and your driver's licenses and don’t forget about them bank cards. What, is that all you have, come on don’t hold out on me, you had better dig deeper old man. This is my payday, the eagle has landed, and don’t any of you get any ideas or I will put a plug in it.”
As the antagonist moved closer, the father could feel all the anger and rage in him about to erupt, he thought to himself I am not about to let this maniac get away with this. He looked over at another person lying near him.
He was sizing up his allies, but he did not see the support he needed to overtake his opponent.
One man had gestured as if he was going to take on the assailant, but the distance and angle was not right.
All the while the man continued to rant and rave.
“You are all getting your just reward, and I am getting just what I deserve, I am in control, all I need to do is decide which vehicle will be my get away car. How about that nice orange sports car over there? Who is the lucky, I mean unfortunate sap that owns that car? Come on don’t everyone speak up all at once.”
The maniac stepped over the father's son and reach down for his cash.
“Give me the cash, don’t be a hero.”
The gun waving man stepped back, and the father turned and jumped up and lunged at the man.
At this point the father had his own words to say, “I am tired of this world and all of you people who continue to make it unbearable for the rest of us to live, I will not stand for this any longer and I am starting with you. You greedy, ruthless maniac, you could have stopped at the first ten people you pilfered, but no you had to have more. You will now get your just reward.”
There was a loud noise, the crowd did not know whether the father was struck or whether the bullet missed him.
The gun appeared to be still in the despised man's hands, but the father did not stop, there was a second shot.
Everyone was waiting for their unknown hero to drop.
The onlookers were amazed to still see the courageous man still standing as he grabbed the mad mans head and with two twists of his neck the man dropped to the ground.
The father stood over the lifeless body, looking down in disgust, he spoke: “From this moment on you will no longer terrorize anyone else.”
Bending down he grabbed his money, ID, and bank card.
He did not look at anyone else as he looked at his son, walking over to him and scooping him up and then headed to his jeep.
While strapping his son into his seat, his heart was still raging, his head was pounding, his face was tingling. At this moment that is all he felt.
The crowd was shouting Hero, Hero, Hero, but all he wanted to do was flee the scene.
One guard made his way to the lifeless corpse and the other was making his way to the Father.
The State Troopers had final arrived on site, because of all of the 911 calls that had been made.
The distraught father had gotten into the driver side of the jeep and started it up. He had started driving to the on ramp.
The little boy said to his father, “Dad don’t be mad but I think I wet myself, I could not hold it any longer.”
The State Troopers were not sure of the situation, they began to pursue the jeep. Not knowing that the ruthless criminal had already been handled.
As the jeep made its way onto the highway, one of the State Trooper cars was blocked by the crowd.
The other State Trooper in his rush to catch the jeep side swiped a tractor trailer. Causing the tractor trailer to veer into another vehicle, pushing that car into another car.
When it all had settled the highway and been blocked.
The jeep disappeared out of sight.
As the adrenaline started to subside, the father felt an intense pain in his side. He reached and touched his left side and withdrawing his hand, he saw blood on his fingertips.
The little boy saw the blood as well, and said, “I have blood on my hands too dad.”
The father's heart stopped and then and there he grabbed his phone and typed into the search parameters hospital. As the navigation said, “In nine point two miles take the right exit.”
Anything else that the navigation unit said faded.
The father asked, “Where does it hurt?” He knew he had to keep his composure and get to the nearest hospital.
The little boy pointed to his left leg and said, “Right where I wet myself.”
The father looked and saw his sons pants was blood stained.
“Don’t worry I will get us to a hospital, they will fix us.”
“Will we still get to see Mommy, I mean grandma after the hospital?”
“I promise,” said the dad.
The father could not think of anything else but, “What have I done if I had just been patient and kept my composure. And waited for the State Troopers this would not have happened.”
Back at the scene, the people in the crowd had been saying, “It is amazing that no one was hurt,” they could not believe two shots sounded off but no one got hit.
The guard that had made his way to the criminal, knew different he had seen the blood on the black top.
The site where the body laid, had been cordoned off by police tape. The scene had become congested with news reporters, it was chaos.
Also by Arthur S. Newman