Keeping things in order


Bill is mild, boring, goes to work, comes home, never wants more than a job and house, though in high school used to fantasize about getting even with those who picked on him

 And they picked on him viciously, especially a bully named Craig, who has since become a cop.

 Craig still comes around, and bothers Bill, flirts with his wife.

 Bill has thought to complain, but doesn't want trouble.

 He learned long ago to fear authority, and to stay quiet


 And these days he has more to worry about than Craig, his wife has been inattentive

-- Bill is sure she's been cheating, on him,

--it has been coming for a long time. She has always been annoyed by his quiet, non-exiting attitude towards the world.

-- likes the security, but hates being so bored

--he's seen the look on her face when young and free girls wander by on the street, a kind of envy

-- Bill knows he was lucky to get her.

-- In high school she was one of the popular party girls, someone so popular that people like Bill didn't exist for her.


-- he began to suspect things when he came home from work and found dinner not ready or fast food

-- decided to come home early and found the house empty.

-- then after pretending to leave in the morning, he waits up the street and sees her rushing out of the house

-- he follows her as she goes downtown and into a restaurant

-- He goes into the restaurant and finds her with Craig, a boisterous, bragging Craig that laughs about his ability to steal Bill's wife-- though doesn't know Bill is watching them both from the bar (hands shaking as he pays for his drink)

-- Bill remembers a scene not too different from this in high school when Craig deliberately made a point of stealing Bill's girl friend

-- Craig never explained why, though Bill had demanded it and challenged him, and gotten nothing but a fist in the face behind school.

-- angry and determined to find out, he marches across the restaurant and demands to know what Craig and Bill's wife think they're doing.

-- Bill's wife is shaken and pale

--but Craig only laughs, no more ashamed of this activity than he was over the one in high school. He tells Bill to go away, and leave two adults to their pleasures.

--Bill outraged, makes the same foolish mistake he made in high school and grabs the man, trying weakly to hurt him.

--But like in High School, Craig is bigger, tougher and better prepared for anything Bill can do, punches him in the stomach, then the face, then pelts him with more punches in a vicious attack

--Broken and humiliated, Bill stumbles out -- his wife reaches for him, but the cop tells her not to bother, that Bill's just a loser and she doesn't want to associated with his kind

 A few days later, a bandaged Bill stops the officer outside the police station.

 Craig is annoyed, saying this isn't the time or place for personal discussions.

 Bill insists on knowing why Craig did this to him. Does Craig love his wife? Or is it something Craig has against Bill, to keep on trying to ruin his life.

 Craig, inpatient to go inside and join the other laughing cops, says he doesn't love Bill's wife. She just seemed too good for a loser like Bill, and Craig figured he needed to make a point of taking her away.

 You see, he tells Bill, if us cool people don't keep you uncool people in check, then you'll think you're as good as us.

 That's it? You've ruined my life to prove I'm basically a nerd?

 To remind you, Craig laughs. That's what everything is about, reminding people who and what they are.

 But I have nothing left, Bill says. My marriage is ruined. I can't concentrate on my work and my boss is angry.

 Hey, Craig says. You never had anything. That's the point. You just walked around thinking you did. I made a point of letting you know different. Now go away little man and let us cool people get to our jobs.

 No, Bill says angrily. I'm not going to let you get away with it like you did in high school

 Craig laughs. What are you going to do, report me to the principal?

 I'm going to do this, Bill says and pulls out a gun-- people stop on the street. Several off duty officers reach for their own pistols, but not in time. Bill squeezes off the shots one after another, watching the shock on Craig's face as the first shot hits, and then later, death seeping into the cool man's eyes.

 Go ahead, Bill says, laugh.

 He hardly knows when the gun is empty, or feels it when several other officers tackle him at once, he sees only the crumbling figure of Craig as it falls to the ground.




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