Daddy had a grip like steel
If he ever shook your hand you would surely know it
If he ever pulled you close you would surely feel it
He threw a horseshoe like a bullet from a gun
He served in tennis like a rabbit on the run
Whether it was a handsaw, a claw hammer, or a handgun,
He had a killer grip and the grip of a killer
And he could teach the hawk a few things about the handsaw.
Instruments of death that fit snugly into the palm of your hand were gleaming dully in their showcases lovingly caressed by blue velvet. Oiled wooden handles jutted from solid blue back bodies. There was a faint odor of oil and metal lingering on the air conditioned atmosphere of the room. The soft sounds of creaking leather reverberated through the reverential quiet as the clerk tenderly, ever so gently, eased a delicately balanced, but heavily weighted .357 magnum out of its holster
“Listen to this action,” he whispered to me imploringly.
Firmly, but gently, he gripped the butt of the gun in his right hand. He placed the web of his thumb over the hammer of the awesome black revolver and slowly began to exert pressure on it. The man’s hands trembled slightly and he closed his eyes. Small beads of perspiration began popping over his upper lip. A little metal clicking noise emerged from the gun as the hammer went through its first cocking phase. A slight smile appeared on the lips of the clerk as he continued to pull back on the heavy hammer and another click emerged — the gun was half-cocked — the clerk began breathing heavily now and rapidly his face grew flush. He slid his thumb to the edge of the hammer and applied the tip of it to the ridges cut deeply into the top edge. He pushed down hard and fully cocked the revolver. A tiny tear drop appeared in the corner of the clerk’s eye.
The gap between the ridged head of the steel hammer and the body of the gun was a chasm. It looked like the jaws of a primordial reptile. It was powerful, and it was frightening — the stored-up energy of that hammer begged to be released. He pulled the trigger.
I jumped. The hair on the back of my neck prickled and a shiver ran down my left arm. The clerk placed the gun back into the showcase and hung the holster back on the rack. He lit a cigarette, inhaled deeply and blew out blue clouds of smoke across the room. He had a distant look in his eye. I turned on my boot heels and walked out of the store into the bright afternoon sun. I squinted my eyes and shuttered with relief to be back in normal time and space again. Just to-make sure I kicked out at the base of a red white and blue mail box standing at the edge of the sidewalk. It hurt sufficiently to be convincing. I began the three block walk back to my office still in a bit of a stupor.
What mystery lies beneath the mist enshrouded tombs?
The dead die hard, they are born astride a grave
A stranger’s shadow finds its way across the yard by dead reckoning
He meets a deadend
He is deadbeat meat for worms
That’s a sensible cadaver
There never was such a season for mandrakes.
Shall we linger here until perdition caches up to us?
The Cemetery is a cockpit for comic panic
Sob heavy world, sob heavy.
“I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones.”
-William Shakespeare, from Julius Caesar