31 March 2001

"We do not choose our subjects. They choose us." 
        - G. Flaubert

I wrote a story this week about an abusive, predatory man. In my story, the man gets his comeuppance, courtesy of a victim who just happens to be an abused predator. I had a lot of fun writing the story, imagining the final clash between the two, knowing before I even put the words onto the paper how it was all going to turn out. I got a great deal of satisfaction from the final sentence, when the hero of my story walks off, leaving the villain and the predator to resolve things between them, in whatever way they saw fit.

I felt like the Universe was taking care of business, if only for the space of a few pages.

We don't often get to realize true retribution in real life. The tit-for-tat, what-goes-around-comes-around result of whatever good or ill act is irritatingly elusive. Murderers go free on technicalities and attorney errors. Rapists submit to chemical castration and house arrest in lieu of confinement and torture comparable to what they inflict. Men and women who fancy themselves professionals use leveraged buyouts to undermine economies, and fly off to tax-sheltered tropical islands to contemplate the wickedness of their ways.

But we want retribution. Who, if given the opportunity, would not wave the magic wand over the world and intone, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap?"

Since the magic wand isn't mine to wield, I opt for the power I get from my pen. For the space of a single story, the universe dispenses retribution. Good begets good. Evil begets evil. And the more evil there is, the nastier the outcome.

Works for me.


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