Worried about Retribution

One night, Q and I were among a group of people seated outside on a large safety grate which covered a below-ground corridor, deep in the theater.  The corridor, we gathered, led to an industrial furnace somewhere far below us.  Warm air from this furnace rose up through the grate, and was contained, somewhat, by the shelter of a large concrete staircase which ran over our heads.  In this warm place, it was possible to sit still and smoke outside, even on a frigid January night.  Somehow we’d gotten onto the subject of how to break into a car with a key ring and a length of string, how to jimmy the casing off a steering column, how to start a car with a screwdriver…

Looking back on it, I realize that we sat less than fifty meters from where local mafia had destroyed all of the car windows along a single block.  They had done it to make a point.  We never learned the details of the situation.  Nonetheless, those details were part of our environment…

That night, Q told me about his sympathy for a friend of his who was an accomplished car thief.  It was an unpleasant sympathy, he explained.  And he had asked his friend, why are you doing this?

Q knew how to steal cars; he simply didn’t.  And in the case of his friend, he was not worried about retribution, or even physical safety.  He knew his friend was cunning, and skilled. But Q had put himself in the man’s shoes, and was worried about his heart.

(A Front Door:  Enter Pain Flashed into the search bar.)


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