The Blessing

The Blessing

The sun knifed through the stained and bent venetian blinds. The sun couldn’t set soon enough. He twisted the auger to halt stilettos of beams that sliced through the blinds. He yanked the sun-worn olive curtains together. Glittering dust lifted from the tattered swags.

Outside, was still 110 degrees and it was only 4 p.m. The air was hot, still and the sun continued to beat against the dirt and concrete. It wouldn’t temper down enough for a sensible man to walk to the corner bar until around 9 or 10 p.m.

Motels across the line provide an hombre with a good measure of anonymity. It was a hidden curse. It was sticky inside the small filthy room. The ceiling fan, absent one of four blades, shook violently. It clicked in time with his beating pulse. Sweat beaded on his forehead. The moisture ring around his collar provided a small touch of coolness.

He gripped the neck of the Jimador Blanco tequila bottle. He said with firm conviction, “It’ll be quick.” He held the bottle at eye-level. He put the bottle to his lips and guzzled the remaining contents. With the skill of a professional softball player, he pitched the empty glass bottle directly into the corner of the room. It shattered with the loud crash of a wild party, absent the laughter. No one in the motel would be alarmed. Nor would they ever dare to be. Broken bottles, drunken screams and occasional gunfire were the usual.

He picked up his holster from the grey kitchen table. He unclipped the retention strap, slid the pistol from its black leather pouch and lifted the barrel to his lips. The smooth-bore muzzle tapped against his front teeth. He exhaled and salty gunpowder bit his pallet. He firmed his grip around the weighted handle. He slid his index finger around the curve of the trigger slowly.

The Mexican police would find him dead sprawled out on the hard packed dirt floor in this filthy three-peso motel room across the line. He murmured his mantra for the past three days, “It is all lost.” He gazed down the barrel and glanced at a cockroach that scurried up the chipped wall. He dropped his gaze, as if he were focusing his attention through his third eye. With another exhale, he tightened his stomach and felt the beveled pistol site angled against his upper lip. As if she were in the room, he stated, “This is all for you, my dear.” And, like the good Catholic alter boy that he once was, he lowered his eyes prayerfully and sighed a final breath of release. He squeezed the trigger tenderly while maintaining the authority that he had when pulling his wife close for a kiss when they first met. The cylinder rotated, ever — so — slowly. The hammer clapped against the firing pin. His head jetted backward. But there was no burst. Just the echo of the clap that snapped up against the walls. The pistol failed to eject and deadened silence seemed to fold into the center of the room.

He lowered to his knees and the pistol dropped to the floor. A tear traced from the corner of his eye down his right cheek and a lump swelled in his throat. She was gone. There was nothing he could do. He arrived at the end of his path. He lifted his eyes and fists to the air and cursed “Chinga! Chinga La Madre Maria!” But God did not hear him that day. He slowly crumpled into a ball on the floor and sobbed.

(c) 2017, Ron McFarland