Anger Management: (Flash Fiction)
Author's Note: The following very short story was inspired by a scene from an episode of FX's hit show, Justified starring Timothy Oliphant. The series features Oliphant in the main role as U.S. Deputy Marshall Rayland Givens. The show and its characters are based on the novels of crime fiction writer, Elmore Leonard.
I think of the protagonist in this story, Sheriff Erick Neumann, as a combination of the toughness and cunning of Marshall Givens and the thoughtfulness and imagination of Sheriff Longmire, from A&E's hit series Longmire.
In the ensuing struggle the prisoner seemed poised to overpower Sheriff Erick Neumann. But Neumann dived away from a clinch, rolled to his right, grabbing up his shotgun. Not stopping there, he let loose a non-lethal beanbag round from its chambers.
He got the prisoner between the legs. Right squash into his manhood. It was all over now except for the moaning and wailing. There was plenty of that, of course.
Neumann flattened his hair and put his hat back on, refitting his mask of professionalism. He went over the the prisoner but not too near. He squatted, sort of leaning against the shotgun, the business end of which was pointed skyward.
"That must hurt like hell," Sheriff Neumann thought to himself. Upon completing that thought Neumann felt a stab of anxiety because he believed in Karma; which meant that he, too, might be in store for a crushingly painful blow to the balls someday through some wacky convergence of circumstances.
There was nothing Sheriff Neumann could do to ease the man's pain. He had no ice with him, no ointments. The stinging -- and what would shortly become throbbing -- pain would have to leave the prisoner's body in its own good time.
Before Sheriff Neumann's internal motor could really get going, and he fell into full-on sympathy for the prisoner who had attacked him, and might have killed him if he could have in order to make good his escape --- he shut it off. Or, at least he took his foot off the pedal and let it idle.
The prisoner, Mark Banfield, was not the kind of person who would take this pain and humiliation, and use it to learn and grow from. He would make somebody (ideally the Sheriff himself) pay. Banfield would seek to displace it at first opportunity, probably in prison, victimizing someone smaller, weaker, and meeker than himself.
The pain and humiliation that attended the grievous insult to Banfield's balls, would sit with the man, or rather on him like the burden of Atlas. Until he could get someone else to carry it. To feel what he had felt.
This is how he would get back to feeling good about himself again. That's the way his rap sheet read: a long menu of aggravated assault and burgulary. The most grievous of his breeches of societal protocol had usually been triggered by some setback or disappointment, frustration, and especially some embarassment of some kind, some feeling that he had been challenged or contradicted; or some sense that his masculinity had been insulted.
His partner-in-crime, his wife, Margorite, had gotten away. Theirs was a simple ripoff. They worked bars and casinos. Margorite, beautiful as she was, would catch the eye of some liquored up high roller, lure him somewhere with the promise of sex, at which point she and her husband, Mark, would simply "roll" the foolish men, taking all the money they had on them as well as credit cards, essential for identity theft for fun and profit.
The way Sheriff Neumann had it figured, Mark Banfield looked upon life -- certainly treated it as if it were a long marathon of ego-replenishment. Even when their simple little scam worked out (which was the vast majority of the time since it was so simple), Banfield still felt as though he had been robbed of something, something which he had to get back to feel right with himself.
After capturing their target's money, Banfield would often go back and beat the man to a pulp, occasioning a 9-1-1 call and the arrival of paramedics and police. The beating was, of course, the penalty for daring to bed the beloved wife of Mark Banfield.
The Prisoner's moaning and wailing were subsiding now. He was recovering physically. But before he could do that fully, and possibly launch another attack, Neumann rolled him onto his stomach and put the handcuffs on him.
Sheriff Neumann hoped that Banfield's sentence would include some kind of psychological therapy, which the career thug badly needed. In the lawman's opinion, Banfield not only needed to learn how to "manage" his anger and humiliation, but to own it in the first place and deal with it without passing off to other human vessels.
The lawman put the prisoner into the backseat; and as they drove off to jail, Neumann sincerely hoped that Banfield would find a way to exorcize the demons of his imperial hatred.