Instead of the single bullet theory

`The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie —deliberate, contrived and dishonest— but the myth —persistent, persuasive and unrealistic.’ -John F. Kennedy

Every morning he’d get up around six thirty, drink his coffee in the half light and look down at his wife still sleeping. He was due at the bottling plant by seven but never made it there on time. He was supposed to unload containers, stack cases of bottles and then load up other containers with the same bottles before they were driven away to another location.

After about three weeks he had a discussion with Mr. Khruschev about the rights of the working man and the nature of the coffee break and that was that. He broke a stack of unwashed Cokes over the hood of Mr. Khruschev’s new Toyota and with labor relations at an impasse he made both their lives easier by leaving for good.

Nothing else exceptional happened after that, except for a vague feeling he’d get sometimes that he was one of the quiet victims of history and how as his life should’ve turned out differently. He felt this particularly strongly when watching the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, but his doctors suspected that this was mainly because the game didn’t air in Moscow until the Thursday of the following week.

It was as if, in some way, anonymity was a medical condition for Lee Oswald, and it must be said that he declined. In time boils developed on his chest and collected their thick yellow tears on the inside of every shirt he wore. His gums would bleed and the snow carpeting the streets would be dirty white as he approached, dirty pink upon his passing.

Eventually he would plan his revenge on the city, going through plots and exit-lines as he sat, day after day, in the American bookshop, but he never thought seriously of going home until he heard that Jack Kennedy had finally succumbed to arterial thrombosis. A day later, and as though released somehow, he bought himself a plane ticket.

At Idlewild, an airport unchanged, and stood quietly by the carousel waiting for his cardboard luggage, he began weeping, as old men who’re confused will sometimes do.


Advertisements