Abjure

“I abjure writing!” the ragman said, bursting into the courtroom to the awestruck stares and foul consternation of the people at work. “Never was any good at it but Hell I gotta tell someone. Hey! Did you hear me? I give it up!”

The guard tried to restrain the ragman but he tore himself out of the man’s arms and trailed thin pieces of himself as he approached the bench. “I wasted my time,” he said to the court. “I never did what I said I’d do, didn’t sit down, didn’t hack it out. Hacked it out, half-heartedly, let the whole thing go. Let it all go. I stunk! I never got any better!”

He slapped his hands down on the prosecution’s table. Each thump bumped another book off the side, the prosecutor dashed away to the jury, and the judge called for order. But the ragman kept on thumping. “I abjure, ya hear me! I dithered, man, I just didn’t have what it took. Cripes, I thought I had it, y’know, for a couple years I coulda swore I was the guy.” The guard threw his arms around the ragman’s shoulders and dragged him backwards. The ragman twisted and ripped but couldn’t quite get himself free. He writhed, in dry shreds, as they carried him up the aisle.

“Yeah, take me away, boys, maybe I’ll do better stamping license plates. Takes less time than writing, doesn’t require so many convictions. But, man, I just ain’t got it. You gotta be honest with yourself!” he cried out to the court. “You gotta say enough’s enough! Game over, no resets, pack it up and knock it off. I spoiled!” He leapt in the guard’s arms, leaping to the middle of the high doorway. “Any of you creeps try to lie your way outta this lifetime, I’m comin’ for ya! You step outta line and I’ll eat ya! I ain’t no ragman no more – I’m just a hungry BUM!”

Then the door slammed and the ragman was gone, a rowdy voice screaming in the hallway. And laughing, and laughing, and laughing like that was all he had to say.

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