His mother never wanted him, but at his most notorious he was the second (and the eighth) most wanted man (also the eleventh, but beyond the tenth, he couldn’t be bothered) in the state where he lay hiding, parenthetical, practically invisible. Defiant celebrity will have to wait until his capture and trial; for now he can’t risk being noticed. Two women died in the daytime blast he executed, both pregnant with babies who could not be saved, which he finds ironic and for which he takes no credit. A nurse, lashed by nail shrapnel, lost one eye and the use of her right arm. Do I look scared to you? she’ll ask him from the witness stand. This is what it takes to be second most wanted. He hasn’t worked since, but, by planting stolen ID near the dying teller during a bank robbery, he managed to hang an alternate version of himself onto the top ten list. That alias has ranked as high as eighth and looks like Robert Reed. Since then, he’s performed small amateur surgeries on his cheekbones and jaw. His looks were unremarkable even before he went into the abortion clinic bombing business, but now his face is half erased, the other half looks stabbed. Nobody will look at him long enough to recognize him. Meanwhile, he’s been busy in other states, as other men, while agents in pursuit go chasing wardrobes and mustaches that no longer exist. They need a break. He knows how to become a coat and hat, then burn the coat and give the hat away. When he is ultimately handcuffed near a dumpster for vagrancy, interrogated, identified, and slapped around with the name his mother gave him, expect the law to keep him alive for life, for consecutive, sanctified lives.

Copyright ©January 24, 2007 David Hodges

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