Yes, Madeline. No need to be sorry, Madeline. It's not your fault that my wife left me. It's not your fault that she took the two kids and slapped a restraining order on me. Yes, I know. This would not have had happened, if we'd stayed together. It wasn't my fault though.
You remember the end of our junior year in high school, don't you? The cheerleader and the football player going steady for over a year, that was us. I was trying to make squad captain of the cheer leading team.
I love hearing your laughter, Madeline.
Anyhow, we were happy as pigs in mud. Then your father dropped a bomb on us. Your father had to go to Arkansas because his job was changing. And he was taking the family with him. Your father was moving and taking you, my dearest Madeline, away from me. We found this out a week before school ended for our junior year. You were leaving for the south at three o'clock on the last day of school. You didn't know what your telephone number was going to be, but your father knew what your address was going to be. You gave me your Arkansas residence's address on a folded piece of paper in the morning of the last day of school. I put that paper in my book bag because things tend to fall out of my pocket. I must have lost my wallet a hundred times throughout high school.
School ended at one-thirty that afternoon, but I had to be back at school at three o'clock for weight lifting. So I left my stuff in my locker, and we ate our very last meal together at the little diner across the street from your house. We promised ourselves that it would be okay. I promised that I would write you. I dropped you off at your house and your parents waved goodbye to me. That was the last time I ever saw you.
I came back to the high school with tears in my eyes and went to get my weight lifting clothes from my locker. But I never put my hands on those clothes. The only thing I touched was my broken padlock that had been cut off by bolt cutters. My locker door was wide open and the inside was empty. Everything was gone. My clothes and my book bag. And inside my book bag was your address.
I looked around. All the other locker doors were wide open as well. All of them were empty. I ran down the hallways breathing heavily. This couldn't be happening this couldn't be happening. I saw one of school's few janitors going through a row of lockers and throwing the contents into a trash bin. I figured out what happened. Those fucking janitors had cleaned out everyone's locker. My book bag and weight lifting clothes were piled underneath someone garbage in the school dumpster by that point.
I'm sorry, Madeline. I didn't mean to curse.
I asked that slightly overweight male janitor where my stuff was. He seemed confused. I explained the situation and he just stared blankly at me. He told me that it wasn't him who cleaned out my section of lockers. He told me to ask one of the other three janitors. So I did. The long-haired janitor didn't clean that section either. And the third and last janitor on the floor, she didn't do that section apparently. She snapped at me that I should have had a lock. I told her I had a lock on my locker. She shrugged and she asked me how long I'd been going to this school. I replied three years, to which she retorted that I should know that you have to have your lockers cleaned out by the end of the year. Madeline, I did football every year in high school. I lifted on the last day of school every single year. This never happened before. Those fucking janitors not only cleaned out my locker they lied about it.
So I never got to write you. You were probably angry with me for not writing you back, so you didn't write me. So I never communicated with you again. All because of those fucking janitors. But do not worry, my love. I finally made them pay. I made them pay for destroying what would have become a fairy tale marriage that ended happily ever after. I made them pay last week.
Two weeks ago -- my wife had been gone for a month by that point -- I started thinking of you and the more I thought of you, the more I remembered what they did to us. They had ruined our lives and I wasn't going to let them get away with that. I put on a suit and went to the high school to find out those janitors' names. It's not hard to get private information from the school. All you have to do is pretend to part of an investigation and be a decent liar. It took me about three minutes to get those records handed over to me. Sandra Waynes, Thomas McDaniels, and Lee Harvey were about to get paid a wonderful visit by me.
I remember how those individuals looked twenty years ago. I remember everything about that dreadful day, Madeline. But people change during time and I needed to find out what they looked like currently. It only took a phone call to my drinking buddy at the police station to get the information sent to me. I told him I was planning on doing a surprise visit with some of my classmates. He mailed me the information. I had current pictures, addresses, and phone numbers of each of those bastards within a few days.
Sandra Waynes still worked for the school from what I understood, so I went to her house since it close to the high school. 243 Wright Boulevard. A red Honda was parked in the driveway. I pulled up in my pickup truck behind it, jumped out with the engine running, reached into the truck bed, and pulled out my sawed-off pump shotgun.
I held the shotgun with one arm by my side, as I walked to her front porch. I reached for the doorknob and turned it. It was unlocked. I pushed the front door open, and cradled my shotgun with both hands. Through the front hallway, I found the living room. The television set was on and sitting in front of it was Sandra Waynes. She heard me come in, she turned around, and leapt up to her feet.
"Who the fuck are you?" she yelled.
"You should have had a lock."
I unloaded those shotgun slugs into her chest and she flew back onto the floor. I heard someone scream in the background, but I didn't look to see who. I just turned around, walked out of the house, and left in my truck.
Yes, Madeline. I'm sure she died. I didn't shoot her again, because I wanted her to suffer in horrific misery like we had to all our lives. She should consider herself lucky. We've suffered the past twenty years. She only had to suffer maybe a few minutes.
Directly following that, I drove fifty miles to a town called Thomsville. I went to 44 Gaylord Drive, but I parked my truck a few houses down.
I walked over to the residence, hid down beside a black sedan, and I laid my shotgun down on the driveway concrete. I reached into back pocket and pulled out my cellular phone. I woke up the resident with a disturbing phone call.
"A bomb will explode in your house in fifteen seconds,"
Out of the house came running Thomas McDaniels and his wife. You remember Thomas McDaniels as a slightly overweight guy with a walkman always on his hip. I remember him as a slightly overweight guy with half of his face blown off.
His wife was screaming at the top of her lungs. Tempted to silence her, I held up my shotgun and pointed it at her. But I didn't kill her, Madeline. It wasn't her fault. She couldn't have known that she'd married a lying sack of shit who would deliberately destroy a high school romance just for kicks. So I left her there, crying over her husband's stinking corpse. I walked past a couple of houses and got back in my truck.
Lee Harvey, that old long-haired hippie janitor, almost got away. Harvey lived three states south of Montana, so I was in for a long drive. When I finally got an hour away from Harvey's residence, a policeman turned his sirens on. I didn't stop. I'm sorry, Madeline. I have a conscience. I didn't want to murder a police officer who was just doing his job. So I kept going. The squad car gave chase and soon enough, another squad car was giving chase. Then another squad car. And another squad car. I felt like I was the lead star in a Hollywood movie or something, Madeline. I was a little scared to be honest, but I just thought about what those bastards did to us. I wasn't going to let the last one get away with it.
I flew into Murray, a suburban city, at about seventy miles-per-hour around seven o'clock in the afternoon. With squad cars giving chase, I pulled into a nice neighborhood and found Redding Street. I brought the truck to a screeching halt in front yard of 7812, where a barbecue was taking place.
I rushed out of the car and found Lee Harvey trying to get out his lawn chair and flee like the dozens of others were. I blasted Harvey right in the throat. He would never say goodbye to any of his family. Just like I never got to say goodbye to you, Madeline.
I watched him clutch his throat, as blood exploded out of it. I watched him fall out of his lawn chair, while trying in vain to keep the blood inside of his body. I kept watching him even when something pierced my shoulder. I kept watching even when I felt the back of my head get rocked. I watched as Lee Harvey tried to cry out for help, but couldn't because his voice box had been torn apart. I kept watching even as my legs stopped holding up the rest of my body. I watched until everything went black.
We did it, Madeline. We did it.
© 2002 Matthew Jacob Moon, all rights reserved
appears here by permission