In November of 2007, Pine Magazine, an on-line magazine that addresses politics, culture and contemporary issues, printed my short story, In the Center. It is the story of a man who never questions, choosing to stay equal distances from the extremes life has to offer. In one long night, he learns that while he’s been tarrying in the middle, life has been busy making plans of its own.
In the Center
He was shot? By whom?
By me. I shot him.
The why is next. He grasps the concept, comprehends the word. It is the answer that eludes the old man holding a shotgun across the knees of his worn pajamas. There has to be an answer, of that he is sure, such acts always contain reason, most heinous.
He has spent a lifetime, close to eighty years, ensuring that any decision made can easily be reversed. It is his greatest achievement: he has mastered the middle ground, never ventured far from the median. But the proof is lying lifeless at his feet. It seems incomprehensible that he has committed something so irrevocable.
He hears tell of those who risk themselves in daring and chance, but those things have never appealed to him. As a young man, when one is expected to be venturesome, he remained apart, tarried in the realm of safety, sensing that was where he belonged.
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