642 Things to Write About #2 : The First Time I Killed a Man:
The first time I killed a man, Patak mused; he had never thought about it and he had definitely never been asked. The first time, it was incredibly easy. I a nameless alley a small time wannabe hard man low-level low life drug dealer put a gun to his brother’s head. Instinctively Patak, drew aimed and fired a single shot that passed clean through the dealers head from the side. As he and his brother ran from the scene he didn’t see the mess left behind, and in the terror of fear of both reprisal and capture no emotion had broken through. Patak felt nothing, to this day, he had no sorry or remorse, the man, if you could call him that, was a waste of space and air. The dealer had jumped out at Hiran, and drawn the gun while Patak has stopped briefly to check out the insanely hot girl walking down the street. Patak never found out why, instead as he turned and saw the scene he drew the gun from his waistband and fired. His shot deadly accurate from hours and hour of range and hunting time. His gun perfectly maintained, the round a hollow point, meant that one shot was deadly.
Patak had killed a deer, a wild hog, he had put down a horse savaged by something wild, such was rural life, death was never that far away. But never a man, never a son, friend or collection of hopes and dreams. Till that day Patak had considered human life sacred, but in that moment, instinct trumped intellect, reaction won over philosophy, the protection of his younger Hiran was all that mattered. Patak could remember how he sat in his and Hiran’s apartment, shaking and sweating in fear, he could remember the words and tone of terror in Hiran’s voice and he asked what if after what if questions over and over again. He remembered how he snapped and regretted his anger instantly when Hiran’s chanting became too much to bear. It was still immediate and real how they waited and waited, listened attentively for the sound of heavy boots or the squeak of over priced trainers combined with the silence of foreboding that never came.
Instead, the next morning, still clothed in fear, Hiran and Patak left for work, greeted their family and carried on as if nothing had happened. The days went by, as they did Patak came to realise, nothing had happened. His action had become devoid of consequence, perhaps only he and Hiran were the only witnesses, more likely no one cared, and perhaps those who saw were glad to see Patak remove the garbage. Patak lapsed into musing again. And so Patak turned his attention to the question, when was the first time you killed a man? Patak looked at Carlos, the mighty Carlos bound with heavy tape to a chair in the disused warehouse where Carlos sent people to die, and Patak answered: “the first time I killed a man, Carlos, was when someone made the mistake of threatening my family”. Carlos probably never heard the next sound, the sound of a scrupulously maintained 1950s colt commander firing pin moving effortlessly as Patak took half a step back from the back of Carlos’ head.