Inasmuch as James’ defiance riled him up because it reminded him of James’ father Paul, Martin couldn’t help but like James. Something inside of him said that James was a man of integrity and good character.
Silence filled the room once again but this time, it was not suffocating.
“So, is it true what happened between you and my mother?” James asked his voice soft and questioning.
Martin only glanced at James before lowering his head. He closed his eyes, inhaled deeply, lifted his head and nodded. “Yes.”
James watched as Martin gently lowered the gun, sat down and stared at the wall above James’ head. A moment later, Martin’s eyes filled with sadness as his shoulders slumped.
To witness this man wilt before him, James was moved. In his heart he now knew that what Martin had told him was the absolute truth. He gently cleared his throat and said, “Martin, I believe you.”
When Martin lifted his head, James continued, “I’m not here to get you. I am not your enemy. He’s dead.”
Martin swallowed hard and nodded. “I can’t offer you anything to eat. I ran out of money last week and haven’t any groceries.”
Money, that’s what had been quietly nagging James. How had Martin survived?
James stared at Martin for a long moment. Then it came to him. He remembered his father and mother arguing about money being stolen. James tried hard to recall the amount. He just had to be patient and it would come.
“I have a couple chocolate bars in the plane.”
Martin nodded. “That’s good enough for me.”
James cautiously stood up, nodded and headed for the plane. He retrieved the candy bars and walked slowly back to the house. Halfway there, the amount of twenty five thousand dollars popped into his mind. His mother suffered much because of that and James’ anger welled inside him.
When he entered the house, Martin was at the sink. The rifle was leaning against the table. James snatched it up and pointed it at Martin’s back. “You caused my mother to suffer,” he snarled and moved his finger to the trigger.
Martin glanced over his shoulder and was shocked to see James holding the rifle. He dropped the coffee pot into the sick and spun around.
“What the hell is this?”
“What does it look like?”
Martin shook his head. “So this was all a ruse to get me to let my guard down so you could haul me in to your father.”
“I told you my father’s dead. But not before he put my mother through hell for the twenty five grand you stole.”
Martin put his hands up. “Hold on there. I didn’t steal a damn thing. I don’t know……”
James lifted the gun a little higher. “Shut up. I’m not falling for it. You fooled me once. I’m not buying your bull anymore.”
Martin’s anger filled his eyes. “You snot-nosed kid, you don’t know a damned thing. If I wasn’t telling the truth, why didn’t I shoot you? Why are you the one holding the gun?”
Visions of his mother being beaten by his father flashed through James’ mind. Rage filled him and he felt his finger tighten on the trigger.
October 30, 2014