The Picture in the Wallet

Editor’s note: This one is a little violent and contains some blue language. Proceed at your own risk)

By John Clise

He stumbled out of the bar half drunk though maybe not at all. It was difficult to tell with him. He had a tendency to stutter and hobble on a cane half the time.

He walked into the parking lot to find five would be muggers. He had his cane this day giving the muggers a false sense of security that would soon come crashing to an end like a freight train going off the tracks at 100 mph.

He stopped for a moment, scratched his head and wrinkled up his nose as looked at the half moon thinking how crisp it looked to the naked eye.

He took a few more steps into the parking lot only find himself surrounded by the self styled criminals. You know, the kind that prey on people they think are weak and vulnerable. In other words, bullies.

Give us your wallet old man, one said. We want your God damn money.

Always so calm. He replies… Well you can have money but you can’t have my wallet. So just take the money and be on your way. No questions asked. It’s just money.

Fuck you old man, we want your wallet now. What’s in there.

Boys there’s nothing in there that concerns you. Now, if you attempt to take it… well, then it will concern you.

Fuckin’ shut your mouth and hand it over. I’m not fuckin’ askin’ again.

Okay, then, there’s something you all should know. I’man extremely violent man when I need to be. I don’t have mercy in my heart when I get this way. God is your best shot at mercy but I don’t see him here in this parking lot. Now I’m going to ask you one last time if you’d like to take the money and go because I just wanted to go home and sit in my chair and eat some tater tots and talk with my dog.

Fuck you, old man.

Well then, he said, as he brought his hands together in front of his face with his cane between them as though he was praying he breathed in and let it out slowly, then dropped the cane, let’s get down to it.

And then there he was perfectly positioned like a big cat stalking its prey. The mouth piece made his initial move only to meet by an invisible stone wall.

The old man moved moved like a classically trained dancer with the skill of well-trained surgeon delivering his pinpoint strikes as the circle closed in on him.

He delivered blow after blow with malice. Eye sockets were fractured, jaws were broken, teeth were shattered, blunt force trauma was delivered to testicles, noses were broken, arms were broken, knees and shoulders were dislocated, fingers were shattered, kidneys and spleens were damaged from precision strikes, elbows were dislocated, lungs were collapsed, ear drums were popped, and it was over almost as quickly as it started.

The only utterance aside from the moans and cries from the five criminal impostors on the black top was the exclamation of a waitress on a smoke break of Holy Shit.

Standing there taking in his handy work he told the waitress to go in and have Howie the manager call 911, that he’d wait by the bench in the parking lot for the police.

He leaned down to speak to the leader laying in a puddle of his own blood and other bodily fluids. All you had to do was take the money. He opened his wallet to show the would be bandit with only one good eye left the content of the wallet. Look, it’s like $600 in there. You should have just taken it. You lost your eye tonight over ignorance. A couple of your friends are going to die before the sun rises again. You are going to have to have surgery on your eye, your nose, your jaw, your elbow. You’ll never play catch again or go fishing. You should have just taken the money, bud.

The man on the ground tried to speak but his words just gurgled out mixed with spit and blood without any syllables one could understand.

The old man stood up after grabbing his cane and made his way to the bench. He heard sirens coming as people started coming out of the bar to see what happened.

He was being interrogated by a deputy when the sheriff arrived and waived off the over exuberant deputy who was taking his handcuffs out.

The sheriff sat down next to the old man. You know the wife and I were dangerously close to getting friendly when I heard your name come across dispatch.

Sorry about that.

What happened here tonight.

These fellas wanted my money and then they wanted my wallet. I explained they could have the money but not the wallet which made them want the wallet even more.

Something special in the wallet.

The old man took the wallet out of his pocket to show the sheriff. My dad’s old wallet. It has to be close to 40 years old now. Flipping it open he showed the sheriff the pictures on either side of his license. That’s my mom on the day I was born. That’s my mom and dad on the day they were married.

You’re in their wedding picture.

Yeah, I know. I was a year and a half old when they got married. I guess they didn’t want to rush into anything.

They both smiled and chuckled.

Looks like self defense to me the sheriff said. There were five of them and one of you. Hey, you never had any self defense training in the military, law enforcement, martial arts classes even as a kid or a teenager.

Nope, nothing like at all. Never was in the military, never a cop, I was never a joiner of classes. I guess I just got scared and reacted.

Scared, yeah, that’s probably it, the sheriff said scratching his neck. Scared…

He wasn’t scared. But he didn’t lie. He never had any proper training. He just reacted.


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