A boy. A man. And Mom’s Advice.

Meaghan had taken my fascination with her when she went off to college. So I compelled myself to join the Navy and endure Hell Week in Seal training. Maybe it was self-punishment to remove some gunpowder from my young loins. In any case, time passed. A war happened. I had played my part to remove a terrorist from existence. I had had a buddy over there in all that smoke and strife. His name was Tim. I should say is Tim. Funny how that works after they’re gone. No last name anymore, just Tim, forever Tim, camping out in a guest room of my brain, kicking back on a couch, always available for a chat…. Shit. A promise is a promise, and I had promised Tim I’d put the Lucky Strikes down—what witnessing the last death-sighs of a friend can do to a man’s willpower.

I would still be an enlisted man, if not for the burning bullet that had ripped through my kneecap, and started my new life as a hobbled Navy Seal in search of an outlet for my talents. Now, the new job description reflects on my hide; scars read like braille in the story of my life. And there are times this life turns my blue eyes red, observing all the dirty in this world. But it’s all good, ’cause the planet keeps spinning, my free heart beats on under my Seal tattoo … and there are those out there that need my skills. See, when I was a child, I had to witness my father beating my mother on a daily basis. One day he went too far. Days later, Mom was resting under a big tree, six feet under the fresh sod, and Dad was behind bars, until he found a way out with a bed sheet tied around his neck. Therefore, I decided to use my life, and my Seal training, to protect the abused women. I do it for Mom. I stay clean-cut, as my perpetually bruised mom always told me while primping my sandy hair and such with a loving touch. I may be clean and polished, but I’m a self-titled bike bum, living in my quaint loft above my shop. Income is the result of handyman hobbies, my retirement fund, and the occasional gratuities received from the appreciative when I assist a woman out of the chains of hell that is their abused life. There are times that those clients direct their gratitude toward me with a semblance of love. I know that it is one of the symptoms of healing, a transference. Therefore, I politely decline, and friendships are born, most of the time. I’ll know when love is right, is what Mom always used to say, and still does occasionally….



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