Friday, July 29, 2005

Friday Night Races - Part IX

Things started to change after David died. I missed him, and it surprised me. For the past four years, he had been one of my closest friends. For the past few months, we had been partners and roommates. In moments of weakness, or maybe moments of honesty, I felt bad for the way it ended between us. But I made a promise. A promise that was almost finished.

Three down. One to go.

I once asked a rebbi what God felt like when he killed the first born Egyptians. Was it power, control, dominance? My rebbi said it felt like nothing. To God, killing was the same as creating. God has no feelings.

But now I knew differently. Killing was God-like. It was all about power. When you choose to end someone’s life, and go through with it, it changes you. It makes you godly.

I didn’t know what I believed about god anymore. But I knew about Godlike power. I reveled in it. And feared it.

Three down, I thought. After today, it would be all over.

I felt a familiar rush go through me. The same rush I had when I switched Sruli’s medication at the hospital. The same rush I felt when I tampered with Chaim’s car. The same rush as setting up David and Vlady.

Today was payback day. Payback for eight years of torture. Of the four of them, Moshe was the worst offender. Every day, from fourth grade onward, he bullied me in his own unique way. Sometimes he would lock me in a locker. Sometimes he would lie about me and get me in trouble. Other times he would push me around and hit me.

Once, feeling particularly cruel, he rubbed my sandwich in mud, and forced me to eat it.

I had been waiting for this day ever since.

He had taken the most pleasure in torturing me. He was the ringleader of the four of them. And today he was going to die.

I looked across the room. Shanna was still there. There was no place else for her to go. Her parents weren’t talking to her, and her school had kicked her out after finding catching her sitting on a boys lap in a hotel lobby. She stayed after David disappeared. I thought about kicking her out, but I liked having another person around. I wasn’t sure what she did all day; I think she worked in a pizza shop or something. Some place where she didn’t need a work visa.

I never told her the truth about David. The police had been by in the weeks after he was killed, and asked questions. They searched his room, found some drug paraphernalia, and filed a report. I never heard anything from them again.

Moshe was still on a religious kick, but when I talked to him on the phone, I knew he was in pain, suffering from the loss of social network. He talked about how great he was feeling and doing, but when I told him David was involved in a drug deal gone bad and had to run away, I could hear the cracks in his voice.

We made plans to get together, and hike. To Har Arbel. Just the two of us. I convinced him that a day off would be good for him. Get some fresh air.

I picked him up in my car, and we drove north to past the Kinneret. We found a lot, and parked the car. We began to hike up the mountain.

Years of hard work to get myself into Moshe’s little clique were about to pay off. I started off by getting close to Sruli in ninth grade, and after he was dead, I worked my way into full group membership.

We reached the top, and looked out over the valley.

I lit a cigarette, and offered one to him. It was the least I could do. I stood up and started walking toward the edge of the cliff.

For our other three friends, I had set events in motion that would lead to their deaths. This one would be different. This one, I would have to be an active participant. No one else to do the dirty work.

“I’ve been thinking about what you said,” I began. “About that whole finding God and confession and feeling good about yourself. Is that stuff true?”

“Yeah,” he smiled, relaxing. He inhaled his cigarette, and put his backpack on the ground. “For weeks I couldn’t close my eyes without picturing Chaim in his car. Since I started learning, I’ve decided to trust that Hashem did what was right. It could have been any one of us. For some reason he chose Chaim.”

Moshe turned around, and pointed out to the valley. “See all this around us. Hashem created it. We owe it to him to learn his Torah and keep his Mitzvos.”

A part of me was glad he put his bag on the ground. He always kept two packs of cigarettes and some cash in his bag. No sense throwing that stuff off the cliff.

There was no one around. It was cold outside and there were no tourists to be found. As Moshe continued to talk about God and beauty, I looked behind me, to the left and right. It was all clear. And I pushed him over the edge.

I stood over the edge of the cliff, and watched as his body spun downward, hitting the side of the cliff and bouncing away from it. His downward flight felt like forever, and I could barely see his body as it crashed on the ground below.

Promises made. Promises kept.

I went through his bag, took out the cigarettes and the cash. He had a cell phone in his bag, and I called the police. And waited.


What next, I wondered, as I sat on the top of the cliff, feet dangling dangerously over the side. There were no more demons to exorcise. In killing off the enemies of my youth, I had sacrificed the friends of my adolescence.

I wanted to feel Godlike power; instead I felt waves of regret.

Could I ever have a normal life? Did I want one? For the first time, I thought maybe I would be better off in jail. As the police officer approached, I thought about what I would tell him.

For some reason, I pictured Shanna sitting in my apartment all alone.

And I chose freedom.

This is the final chapter in Friday Night Races. The preceding was a work of fiction. You can catch the story from the beginning by clicking on the The Race under Friday Night Races on the sidebar.


Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

does she pee in the sink NOW

July 29, 2005 12:39 PM  
Blogger Veev said...

Of course she does. Doesn't every girl?

July 29, 2005 12:51 PM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

I like the story. i'm glad you ended it with his choice.

If you were one of those sniveling pricks i hate, you would have omitted the final sentence. Truthfully, it may better to kill it. As for me. I want another chapter.

July 29, 2005 12:55 PM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

please don't leave it like that,what happens to shanna and shalom?(BTW on the blog how do i get the Contributors part to stay on top?}Of course she does. Doesn't every girl?only in jerusalem hotels

July 29, 2005 12:59 PM  
Blogger Veev said...

I think it would have been more twisty to choose suicide at the last minute instead.

Amshinover, do you realize how fixated you are on sink-peeing?

July 29, 2005 1:12 PM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

fixated?in new york it's called fetish

July 29, 2005 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this story stared off great. However the last two chapters were bland. It seemed like you were looking for the quickest way to end the story.

I hope the next story is better.

July 29, 2005 1:43 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Sorry Amshi, I had to edit this part out.

I looked across the room. Shanna was still there. We both stood up to use the bathroom, and arrived at the door at the same time. She looked at me and giggled.

"Your turn to use the toilet," she said. "I'll just hop up on the sink on go there."

July 29, 2005 1:58 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Suicide was too easy a choice. So was indecision.

Amshi - I don't know what happens to Shanna and Sholom. They can do whatever they want.

Anon - Sorry you were disappointed with how it ended. I decided somewhere around part four that this is how it would end.

July 29, 2005 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

does freedom mean he chose death?

July 29, 2005 2:10 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

to me he chose not to admit he killed his friend to the police officer.

Readers are open to interpret it how they see it.

July 29, 2005 2:25 PM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

thanx for the mellow yellow part!

(BTW on blogger how do i get the Contributors part to stay on top,without screw up my posts?}

July 29, 2005 2:41 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

I don't know. it just stays there on mine.

July 29, 2005 2:43 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

I thought he committed suicide also.

July 29, 2005 3:56 PM  
Blogger Krum as a bagel said...

I thought he committed suicide also.

July 29, 2005 3:56 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

You suicide people are so negative. But i did leave it open to interpretation

July 29, 2005 3:57 PM  
Anonymous AETC said...


I also am disappointed with the ending. I would have ended the story much earlier.

I would love for him to get to his apartment and find the police waiting for him. Shanna had told them everything to corrobate their suspicion. Someone saw Shalom push Moshe and someone else saw him watch David's murder. He was being held as Shalom's murder and an accomplice to David's murder.

The freedom he longed for, would be found in prison.

Now that's a Hollywood ending....

July 29, 2005 4:52 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

AETC - I think you need a new name now


Anonymous who Encouraged AT to Continue but wished he hadnt't continued so far

July 29, 2005 4:56 PM  
Blogger SportPsych Detroit said...

At first, I thougth freedom meant jumping, but that would be way too Thelma and Louise.

It is clear that freedom doesn't mean from the demons he'll hear for the rest of his life.

so, AT, what does freedom mean to you exactly? (no Janis Joplin resets please)

July 29, 2005 6:05 PM  
Blogger da shevster said...

wait- thats the end???? so what does sholom do now??

July 31, 2005 5:33 AM  
Blogger rockofgalilee said...

I think it's a great ending. Now he goes to college, gets married and has a demon-free life, since he killed the bastards who annoyed him in elementary school.
Psyche, there are no demons to haunt him for the rest of his life, he now has closure.

July 31, 2005 5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... good story... the ending was very depressing... sholom really needs a shrink. and shanna could use one too.

July 31, 2005 12:59 PM  
Blogger swiftthinker said...

maybe the sequel will start with shalom and shanna showing up on some remote island somewhere with just a backpack, 2 boxes of cigs, and a few dollars.

August 01, 2005 11:38 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Maybe they could be on a beach, rolling around in the sand, and a wave comes over them, it will be perfect...not.

There will be more stories. I don't think Shanna and Sholom are going to play roles in them. There shared history is too littered with bodies.

August 01, 2005 11:51 AM  
Blogger swiftthinker said...

well after a few stories, maybe you could have characters from one meet characters from the other like when the flinstones met the jetsons.

August 01, 2005 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what, have sholom go out with mary ann maxwell? somehow i dont see that happening...

August 07, 2005 12:59 AM  
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