Scoundrel Time

How It Ends: How the Best of Us Goes

Tell me the story again, the boy says sitting before a cold, dusty fireplace. His father sighs.

 How many times have I told you the story? the father says. You’re too old for the story. It’s something I told you because the world didn’t make sense. It’s not the face of the world, son, but a mask.

The boy’s face grows slack and blank, his eyes nearly translucent and in the boy’s face the father recalls the morning’s tantrum, how his son kicked his toys about in an indignant rage, a fire that could only be quelled with more flame. So the father rose, making himself not just tall, but big as a bear. Not in my house! he screamed. The boy flinched and whined as tears wet his face. His features shifted, becoming a mask from a Greek tragedy.

The father thought then that he was the only tyrant the boy needed, not all those little tyrants who roam the street every night alive with indignation now that their king’s been toppled, torches aflame, bringers of violence and shadows of death.

No, no there’s no use for tyrants; the father threads his fingers in the boy’s and again tells him the story.


That day the God stone loosened from its setting in the dirt above and fell from the Cliffs onto a child’s head. The laughing boy, too old to be cute, too young be anything but a boy, albeit an irritating one. Some would say a jackass, always annoying those around him, pushing us to the limit until we exploded at him in rage. Now our messiah. These days, those who think him a jackass only call him that in the most airy of whispers. The damn prophecy. The prophecy is a lie. I made it up. Every word, comma, and period. A FALLING STONE WILL MAKE A CHILD INTO OUR WARRIOR-KING. Just something I said to pass the time. Some words to give us hope. How was I to know a stone would fall onto the biggest jackass amongst us? We live now in a whole village of jackasses. Fools awaiting the resurrection of our dead jackass messiah, all the while adopting his ways. Jackasses rule us now. Jackassery falling from the sky like bird shit. That poor child’s eyes rolling back. His fresh blood making mud of the dirt beneath him. And in the blood all knees will bend.