January 2023

The Man Who Killed The Song

Altenir Silva

I was there... sitting on a sofa... waiting, waiting, and waiting. Fuck time.
It seems to have stopped, but not. While the time was passing, my thoughts seemed to watch a movie. Yeah. It was a biopic. The screen came on, and
I was there in a close-up when I turned thirteen, and I went on a trip with my father. He had a blue 1972 Oldsmobile Toronado, the same color as Miami happiness. Only he and I went traveling at that time. My dad was a salesperson. He sold kitchenware for restaurants. But, as I liked to read gangster novels, I imagined my dad as a hitman. Then I set up a plot in my head that my father was on his way to killing someone. It could be a butcher, a farmer, a politician, or a mobster. But it wasn't. My dad was going to offer spoons, forks, chef's knives, and other wares in restaurants.

After some selling, we stopped to eat at one dirty place full of strange guys. Behind the counter, there was a waitress with her red hair gathered into a Cubs cap, beautiful blue eyes, big breasts, and a tired expression, as if she had gotten a lot of sex the night before. When she smiled, we got to see her teeth. They were yellow, like egg yolks. She carried a lot of kindness while serving food to patrons. Suddenly, a man got up from a table placed in the background, approached the counter, and furiously asked the waitress, "Where is my burger?" She replied calmly, "Hey, man! Take it easy." Then, he thumped the counter and yelled at her, "You're a bitch! Your head is full of shit!" She complained to him, "What's your problem?". He punched her violently in the face and knocked out the poor woman. At this very moment, I swear to you, I wish my dad was a hitman and had killed that horrible man who harmed the red-haired girl with yellow teeth.

Thank God, my father never became a hitman, but, for an irony of destiny, I'm sitting here on this sofa that stinks like a climber's shoe, waiting to know details about my new job. I still didn't know that it would be hard to live with that in my mind because it would be the first time I would kill someone I loved. Yes. It's true. It really was a bad joke. My future would depend on this job. It would save me from loan sharks. I needed to pay them. Fuck poker. I've got to be strong and get ahead.

Now I'm carrying my suitcase and my M40 rifle up the stairs of an old three-story building. I've got to do it easily. I cannot make any mistakes. Nothing could be wrong. After I've done my task, I'll leave this place
quietly. So I'll keep walking down the street like other people we see on the sidewalk without knowing who they are, just wondering where they came from, and where they are going.

Everything is okay. My rifle, my position, my anguish, my fear, my doubt, my despair, my excitement, my life. All these things will disappear after my job is done. Then, I believe, a relief will enter my soul because I will be free of my moneylenders. On the other hand, it will haunt my mind for the rest of my life because I will murder someone I care about. Well, while I waited for my target to leave his house, another movie played in my head—it showed the first time I met him.

I was thrilled because Claire had accepted my invitation to the prom. She was a beautiful girl with whom I fell in love. Some days before the ball, she met me and said that she wanted to make love with me before the gala night. That way, both of us could enjoy the prom without anxiety. What a fantastic girl!

At Claire's house—her parents had traveled to Seattle—we made love. It was her first time and mine, too. While we were flying to the moon without using a rocket, I heard the voice of the Jersey Crazy Guy on the stereo, and everything took on a new meaning for me. Yeah. It was Patrick Lehman singing "The Boots Don't Work In The Rain Without Love." So, with Claire naked and the voice and the lyrics written by this singer, all of that never got out of my mind. Since then, my life has gone along with this song. I traveled to many places just to watch his performances. When he didn't sing my favorite song, it was like the sadness of losing a baseball game to the home team on a walk-off.

Patrick Lehman's style is in the vein of heartland rock and American roots music; however, his lyrics are avant-garde. Strangely, the art of this man went into my heart and mind. It's crazy! A man like me? A man who is born to kill dreams.

I was okay to start my show. A few minutes later, the target was in my sight. He left the house with his entourage: two muscular guys and a beautiful redhead, who smiled a lot with her white teeth, very different from the redhead with yellow teeth.

I prepared my weapon, adjusted the aim, and the song of my life invaded my mind. So, my heart got to beat harmonically with the guitar and Patrick's voice. For a moment, I thought about giving up. But the crack of my rifle interrupted the song.


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Altenir Silva is a Brazilian playwright and screenwriter working in mass media and communications, including Cinema, Theater, Television and the Web. His texts and scripts - both fiction and reality-based - have been presented , produced and performed in the US, the UK, and Brazil.
For more of his writings in Scene4, check the Archives.

©2023 Altenir Silva
©2023 Publication Scene4 Magazine





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