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ANGER AND THE GOOD MAN


Anger is like a knife.
Anger is like a knife that lives in the heart.
Anger is like a knife that lives in the heart
that bleeds.

Anger is like a tool.
Anger is like a tool that I use.
Anger is like a tool that I use to cut these wounds
from my heart.

If you seek what is good in me,
you will find it there.
If you seek for compassion from me,
you will find that too.
But whether or not
you seek judgment from me,
you will receive it

Because anger is like a weapon.
Anger is like a weapon that lives in the heart.
Anger is like a weapon that lives in the heart
that bleeds.






It's four a.m. on a Monday morning.  The store is dead quiet; no customers have come in for the better part of an hour.  Outside it's as still as it is in; there's neither wind nor snow, though it's bitterly cold.  The day's newspapers have just arrived and, since I've already finished most of my shift duties, I've opened up one of them and begun to read.  I'm standing at the table where the coffee and doughnuts have been laid out for the customers, the paper before me; my back is to the door.  I hear the door open.  Turning round to take a look, I see two men coming in.

I am first startled, then alarmed by their appearance.  They're wearing black masks, or hoods rather, pulled down over their heads.  I cannot see their faces; there are not even eyeholes cut in the hoods.  One of the men moves quickly behind the counter to where the cash register is.  The other man steps towards me, drawing out a knife and pointing it at my belly as he does so.  I raise my hands into the air.  "Okay.  Okay," I say, realizing that a robbery is taking place.  "What is it you want me to do?"  The man holding the knife tells me to lie face down on the floor.  I do as he says.  I wonder if I'm about to find out what it feels like to be stabbed.

I lie there, it seems to me, for no more than a minute or two when a truck pulls up in front of the store.  Its headlights shine in on me and on the hooded man holding the knife.  Immediately the truck pulls out of the parking lot again.  Now the two men grow panicky:  I hear the cash register being slammed about; then, suddenly, they run out of the store by the back door.  They take no money.  I am left unharmed.

The two men – they are no more than boys, really – one is eighteen, the other nineteen – are caught the following day.  The one who had tried to get money from the cash register lifted up his hood for a few seconds while doing so, and at that point his face was recorded by the store's security camera.  He used to work at the store.  In fact, I had trained him myself.

Both would-be robbers had broken the law before.  But not like this.  Had they succeeded with the robbery, they would have gotten, at most, about ninety dollars.  That's forty-five dollars apiece.  On the hopes of that slender profit, they will each likely be sentenced to several years in prison.



As the nights go by, I find myself becoming increasingly anxious at work.  In particular I find that, whenever I see a customer approaching the store, I have an almost desperate need to see his or her face.  If it's obscured, by a sign in the window or by the darkness outside, I experience an overwhelming sense of fear:  I expect to see not a face, but a mask.  By the third night I decide that I've had enough.  I quit my job.








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