Zest Lit Issue 2, October 2013 - Page 135

wedged like a shiny metal coffin in the mud. And all around an ocean of fire rages, with hardly enough good air to breathe. One crummy mistake, a misjudgment, one too many chances taken, an error in how things should have been, and soon the henchman of admonishment and guilt will gather like sharks circling a shipwreck. What will he tell them? A board will convene, of course, and questions, a hundred questions asked over and over again.

And why did you attempt that turn? You must have known the risk.

Department heads will don serious faces, they’ll page through documents, they’ll rub their fingers thoughtfully over their chins, their double chins – they’ll paw through records and sniff the air, they’ll set loose their bloodhounds – they’ll look to find a reason, someone to blame. Insurance companies will squirm, maneuver, point fingers in subtle ways, make low-key accusations, underpinned by innuendoes; all the same, Griff did what he thought he had to do, he took a chance. It’s just that right now there’s time to reconsider, time to second guess, floating amidst a blazing forest, underwater to keep from broiling his face, back underwater to wet the T-shirt again so he can breathe.

His teeth chatter. His body reaches its limit against the cold. Deer are drowning. His despair has deepened, turned to slow surrender. How can this fire persist? Will circles of angels descend from the heavens, lift him up, guide him to the light, to the side of Jesus, count him among the good and righteous, forgive him for everything, forgive him that fateful error? For the earth was never flat – men’s minds were flat – and the celestial emptiness beyond the stars is a place for disbelievers, that void, that cold and uncaring place where no footsteps resound, no voices ever sing. Keep moving those arms, those