All Stories, Crime/Mystery/Thriller, Short Fiction

Progress, Not Perfection by Fernando Meisenhalter

I rob banks, and I always get away clean, except this one time when my old lady ratted me out to the cops.  She wanted part of the money to pay for her smack addiction, and I didn’t give her any, so she went to the cops, told them about the heist, and I did time.

I’m taking a break from her, understandably.  I didn’t dump her, though.  She’s an addict.  She needs love, understanding, not more rejection.   So, we’re taking some time off until we put this into perspective.

Meanwhile I’m learning to take things easy, meet other people, to stay positive, to forgive.  I’ve been learning this since I’ve been attending these NA meetings.

I used to use guns, way back when, but just air guns, not the real thing.  I did paint them black, so they’d look real, but they weren’t.

But now I’m off guns, too.  Now I use notes, which is how you rob banks nowadays: just hand the teller a note, and that’s it.  No longer a violent crime.  Even freaking Gandhi could do it.

So, things are better now, they’re changing; there’s progress all around us.  Anyone can see that.  You just need to stay positive and learn from your mistakes.

Now I go to bars by myself, meet new people.  I ran into this woman once, a pretty hot lady.  She invited me to dance, and we did, and while we were dancing she grabbed my ass, which is okay we me.  I like that in a woman.  I’m a feminist that way.

But then her boyfriend showed up, all huff and puff, demanding to know what the hell I was doing dancing with his old lady.

“She asked me,” I told him.  “You should learn how to control your woman.”

He got all mad and shit, told me to step outside, and settle things like a man.

So, okay, I go outside, to the parking lot, to beat the crap out of this little jerk when, out of the blue, my pacemaker goes off.

I’ve had two heart attacks, one in prison, and one on the outside, so I know to take it easy.  I’m learning to pace myself, to stay positive, to take my time.

“Gimme a minute,” I said.  “My pacemaker just went off.”

“Your pacemaker?”  He laughs.  “Your pacemaker just went off?  Ha, ha, ha.”  And he wouldn’t stop laughing.  And that’s so disrespectful, so not okay.  So, I pull out my blade and poke Little Mr. Ha Ha Ha Laughing Boy twice in the gut, but just a bit, just to scare him.   It’s insane, I know, but someone had to teach this punk a lesson.

Then the girlfriend started screaming, He killed my boyfriend!  He killed my boyfriend! all crazy and shit, but I could tell she loved every minute of it.

I didn’t kill the guy; I just poked him.   I’ve sworn off murder.   I’ve improved a lot in this respect, especially since I’ve been attending these meetings.

So, I fled the scene, went to a friend’s house, and since no one knew me at the bar, I knew I was in the clear.

Next morning an article comes up in my newsfeed.  It says cops were looking for a “Caucasian male about fifty years old suspected of stabbing an off-duty police officer behind a bar last night.”

That guy was a cop?  No wonder he was such an asshole.

Can’t anyone put a label on these idiots so that stand up citizens like myself don’t have to be taken by surprise every time we defend ourselves?  I mean, this is why the world is such a mess!  Nothing is what it seems.

I kept on reading the article, and guess what?  It had like a gazillion mistakes.   It said that I had a mustache, when in reality I have a goatee; that I was six feet tall, when in fact I’m just five foot eight.  I mean, those idiot reporters can’t get anything right!  They didn’t even mention my pacemaker, the most important thing!  How can anyone be so incompetent?  I should have called them; let them know they had it all wrong.

But I’m too old for this crap, too old for fights, for these ass-grabbing, messed up women.  I can’t do this anymore.

But you need to stay positive.  Things are better now, they’re changing; there’s progress all around us.  Anyone can see that.  You just need to stay positive and learn from your mistakes.


Fernando Meisenhalter

Banner Image:


8 thoughts on “Progress, Not Perfection by Fernando Meisenhalter”

  1. At first I was drawn to sympathy for the character then he reminded me of people I know, they talk about redemption but under pressure nothing changes. So I would listen and wish him well, but wouldn’t trust him with my pint if I went to the toilet. Just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Fernando,
    James has hit on a great point and that is no matter what we revert to type.
    You balance that superbly with the one philosophy that is biological, we all get too old eventually.
    A brilliant character and a story beautifully told!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.