A Short Story-

In a Face
Short Story- Nonfiction
Written by -M. Taggart

In a Face

 

You can see intelligence in a face.

In college I was told by one of my English professors to not bother writing a book.
Actually, he told me that I wouldn’t. And to not bother.

I asked him why. He said, “It takes a lot of work to write a book. And so many students say they will, but they don’t. Or, a book is started and not finished.”

He was bald. He was having a hard time pushing his material into his carry bag. Which,
For some reason was already slung over his shoulder.

I’m bald. I was going bald while in college. I don’t care who’s bald.
He was bald.

So there he was, this man-thing, telling me to not bother writing a book.

I don’t want to be a writer
I am a writer.

But, he didn’t know this, he wouldn’t understand even if he did.
My professor had just told me his struggles to write a book were my own.

Another thing he didn’t know was that I had already written. A lot. And I wasn’t an English major. I took English classes because they were my young-adult recess.

When I read Kafka’s Metamorphosis we dissected it with a professor’s assistant.
She was Russian and spoke broken English. Our class of over 400 was broken down into small segments. My group was roughly 15.

We met with her every Tuesday at 4pm.
She would constantly ask for my interpretation of Kafka’s work.
I wondered if she asked for my opinion so often because I wasn’t afraid to speak in front of others. But, that was a lie. I knew why she asked. I just didn’t allow myself to accept it, not just yet. Isn’t it funny how we do this to ourselves.

She was driven by literature. She listened, and thought about her responses
before delivering. She would ask us what authors we enjoyed. Then she’d write the names of the authors in her notebook.

She was beautiful. Her mind. Her broken English.
Her struggle to express.
She seldom made facial expressions. Her eyes danced while listening.

You can see intelligence in a face.

Turners Falls. A Biography Bit

Written by  M. Taggart 3/27/15

Nonfiction: A short story concerning a car, a baseball bat, and a bridge. Two names have been changed.

Copyright 2015, Matt Taggart, aka M. Taggart

 

Turners Falls

It was late. I was driving home. While stopped at a stop sign, Chad and Tim, flagged me down. “We’re having a bit of trouble downtown. There’s a group of guys that gave us a hard time as we drove by.” said Chad.

“How many of them?”

“It’s hard to say. Maybe six, seven.” said Chad.

“What do you want me to do?”

“I don’t know. Just figured you’d want to know.  You’re going that way.  Maybe drive behind us and see if they’re still there.”

I was seventeen. “Sure, this isn’t my thing, but I’ll go on down and see.”

I put my Chevy in gear and listened to the V-8 rumble. The street lights lit the s-curve best they could and we entered the downtown section of Turners Falls. Rows of housing lined the blocks. Some of the homes were three story brick buildings with dark porches. We took a right off of 3rd street and then a left where they had last seen the group. There wasn’t anyone in sight and we drove directly into Avenue A. Chad crossed Avenue A and parked in an empty parking lot. I parked next to him and rolled my window down.

“I don’t see them anymore. I guess it was nothing.” said Chad. Chad’s friend nodded his head in agreement.

“What were they doing?” I asked.

Chad’s friend leaned from his seat toward me so I could hear, “They were yelling something at us when we drove by them and it looked like one of them had a bat.”

“It was hard to tell though.” said Chad.

We decided to move on. It was nearing midnight. Chad drove his car out of the parking lot and back onto Avenue A. I lagged behind him, pulling slowly from the parking lot and into the street. Six or seven young men lined the road in front of me. They had cut between Chad’s vehicle and mine. I rolled my window up and drove slowly towards the advancing line. In the middle stood a tall young man, walking with confidence; he held a baseball bat in his right hand.

It happened quickly. They converged on my vehicle. I tried driving between them, trying to not run any of them over. I’d rather a fair fight. I’d rather get out of my car. Instead, the young man pulled his arms back in a baseball swing and I stepped on the peddle. The engine roared. I saw the swing in slow motion coming nearer. I ducked as the bat slammed into my driver’s side window. The bat swung through and over my head as glass rained down. I kept the peddle down and felt the car sliding sideways. I counter steered into the street as I picked my head back up and found myself sideways in Avenue A and caught a glimpse of someone standing on the opposite side of the street; a police officer.

I didn’t let up. I straightened my Chevy out and had a full on adrenaline rush. I should have stopped, but my mind was focused on anger and speed. In a blink, I went from sliding sideways on Avenue A to driving on the large bridge that crossed the Connecticut River. I drove as fast as I could across the bridge, through the lights and into the corner gas station parking lot. I got out of my car, shook my head to rid the glass out of my hair, and spit glass out of my mouth.

Chad came to a screeching halt. “What the hell happened?”

“Fucking guy took a swing with his bat at me.” I continued to shake the glass from my body.

“What are you going to do?”

“I’m going back.”

“I don’t think you should; maybe just go home. Or, go to the police.”

“Nope. Now it’s my thing. I’m going back.” I got back into my car, slammed on the gas, and drove back and over the bridge and into Turners Falls. I parked my car where I’d seen the police officer. I stood listening for movement or laughter. I walked to the entrance of a few side streets and nothing.

I was furious. Yet, I decided to do something I’d never done. I was going to ask for assistance. I drove a few hundred yards to the police department. I walked inside, still with glass particles all over me. The girl at the window told me to wait and got a police officer. I told the officer exactly what happened. I walked him to my vehicle where he shinned his mag light on my driver’s side door and inspected the inside of my car.

“Listen, you’ll never find out who it is. I’d just let it go. You’ll never find him. This type of thing happens.”

I felt the fimiliar feeling in my gut. “That’s fine. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“Warn me of what?”

“I only came in here because I saw an officer when this happened. I figured he’d seen. If he says he didn’t see anything, that’s fine, I’ll do it my way. I’ll find him and I’ll handle it how I want to handle it.”

I was seventeen. And I did find Sean.

 

If you google map Turners Falls, MA you’ll easily find Avenue A and the bridge.