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Delusions of Grandeur
by Michael C. Keith

There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

–– Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sometimes dying quickly is the best way out. You avoid the suffering. I can’t take pain, man. So I’ll off myself. Bang, it’s over. Best outcome for a situation like this. Load the damn gun now. Get it done, for God’s sake. Stop stalling.

You have to be precise with a 22 caliber. Better shoot myself in the temple. Don’t want to end up just getting injured, or become a freaking vegetable. You’ve seen those jerks that didn’t pay up. They got limps or disappeared permanently. You mention their names to Johnny at the bar and he just rolls his eyes like he knows something but ain’t gonna say nothing.

You dumb ass, McKenna! Why’d you borrow money from a lone shark, even if you knew the guy? When it comes to dough, friendship doesn’t matter to these mugs. Christ, I thought you were smarter than that. You know how it goes. Don’t pay up on time with these hoods and they crush your kneecaps, or worse, they cut off your . . . no, I can’t go there. I’m gonna’ be sick.

Okay, so load the friggin’ pistol now before you don’t got a choice in the matter, moron. I could have borrowed the money from someone else . . . Uncle Cal, maybe. He was always good for it. But no, you have to borrow from a dude connected to the mob, the son of a bitchin’ mafia. Okay . . . okay, so shut up and just do it before he gets here, you loser.

“Hey, Mac, it’s me, Ace. Open up, okay. I got something for you.”

Crap, he’s here. Pull the trigger, you idiot. I can’t . . . shit, I can’t. I’m gutless. Screw it. Let him in to do what he needs to do. You deserve it.

“What took you so long, Mac? You hiding from somebody . . . or something?”

“No, Ace. I was . . .”

“Playing with yourself, I know. I brought something to give you, Mac.”

“Yeah, I was expecting you. Just do it, okay? Make it fast.”

“What are you talking about, man?”

“The dough I owed you last week.”

“Huh? The dough? Oh, you mean the ten spot I lent you? Don’t worry about it. Jeez, we’re amigos, right?”

“You’re not . . .?”

“Here, Mac. I brought you some donuts . . . Munchkins.”