Thursday, February 23, 2017

Paw-Paw’s Journal

Moe sat in his small home office looking down at 2 old army ammo boxes. These were his paw-paws that just recently died and was left to him. Moe is a bibliophile, like his paw paw was, they were more concerned with quality over quantity. Rare first editions and antiquated tomes on geology, science and phrenology. Signed copies by authors which would bring a handsome sum were they ever sold.

Packed away carefully in refurbished World War II ammo crates, a... testament to his service, the books slowly revealed themselves and Moe silently thanked his forefather for what he thought was his final gift to him. At the bottom of the last crate Moe found a small leather ledger. Seated on the floor of his small office, a half empty bottle of bourbon on the table and volume after volume of Paw-paw’s books, now his. Sitting inside a semicircle of old books on the floor, Moe slowly opened the small book.
The pages were yellowed and stained in places and were filled with a neat script. Always a meticulous man, it seemed Paw-paw had a bit of a morbid streak as well, for each entry was dated and contained a description of one of his kills from the war. It seemed as though each and every death he caused was listed therein. Included were his impressions of each one, a brief description of the event as it transpired and what weapons he used from his M1 rifle to his 1911 pistol, bayonet or rock and even a few detailed descriptions of hand to hand combat which Moe rather enjoyed.

As he read through his dark and twisted account of war he was struck by the matter-of-factness of it, the clinical way in which the details were recorded. And then Moe was surprised by something else. The dates extended well beyond the war and, though less in volume, the killings were recorded up to a few years ago. Moe placed the old ledger down, took a large swallow of bourbon, and then sat there in silence for quite some time. Many of Paw-paw’s killings were cold cases he recognized from news reports. Moe got up and placed the ledger in his safe next to his own clandestine little ledger. Because it was nice to know that Moe wasn’t an anomaly in his family. It was nice to know that Paw-paw saw enough of himself in Moe to give him that final wonderful gift.

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