I think of children lost
because they have not found themselves.
It is the explorers
that are finding the new world.
– Curtis Robinson, Retired U.S. Army
A Shade of Gray: a situational puzzler
created by Kendall F. Person
(from Pride & Guidance or Cloak & Dagger)
You are driving alone in a strange part of town. A tire blows and briefly, you lose control of your car. You are skidding in the direction of an unyielding giant oak tree. Both legs throb from cramping, from the way you rammed them into the brakes, and because the rush of adrenaline ricocheting through your veins, is overwhelming the natural process, so your mind attempts to brace your body for the real pain. No life flashing before your eyes, and you hope the expression is no myth, because you have a family that needs you and you are not prepared for death.
It all happens so fast, you do not have time to register what your eyes have clearly seen: seconds before your life, literally, begins to spin out of control: a punk kid or a troubled youth – only you can decide which of the two – standing on the side of the road, throws a 40 ounce bottle into the city street. It shatters upon impact, leaving shards of glass still spinning in its wake. Only he knows why he threw the bottle, and rather it was a far reaching plan, that your car would drive directly over the sharpest shard and explode the balding tire – of which you had meant to replace – or the story he would tell bares true; it simply slipped out of his hand, makes no difference, because even as he watched the chain reaction unfold, at that moment, he felt no remorse either way.
God in heaven saved you or the brakes finally held, inches from a fatal crash, the skidding car comes to rest. As you catch your breath and wipe away the sweat, you collect your thoughts and it all begins to register, forcing a sly look into the rear view mirror. And like a raider in search of the lost ark, no rest for the weary, or out of the frying pan and into the fryer, storming across the street, is the punk kid or troubled youth – no decision yet by you – who believes you are unconscious or wounded, and with neither forethought nor malice, plans a blindsided approach to rob, then run away with your gold.
The world is a beautiful place, filled with timeless treasures, contributed by humanity throughout the ages. A blue sky and the vastness of the ocean, always give us a reason to pause, and take note of the natural wonders. But either man in his ultimate wisdom, believes good cannot exist without bad, offering reasoning why judging or stereotyping or profiling is sound. Or, a dark angel exist, producing soldiers born as one of us, but is indeed a bad seed, stripped of any pride and unresponsive to guidance, hell-bent on destruction, under cover of cloak and dagger.
Time is up. He is right behind you, a decision is now at hand. One final piece, in which you must consider is that when you caught a glimpse of his face via the side view mirror, the uncanny resemblance to your own kid, starts your head spinning, all over again.
Pride & Guidance or Cloak & Dagger, in the split second you have to decide, which tool do you reach for, without anyway of knowing beforehand, if you are making the right choice….. and the right choice is the only one, you wish to make.