He apparently is more forgiving of the men who shot him than the son who worked side-by-side with him from a young age. He knew it wasn’t normal, but it was his son who’d caused the accident. His son who’d disappeared the night it happened. His son who never visited him the entire six months while he lay in a bed at Cedars- Sinai.

“You’re lucky to be alive,” his medical team repeated. Shot fourteen times. Fourteen.  “A miracle,” his wife whispered. He’d had his suspicions about her involvement. But his investigation ruled her out. Lucky her. Not so for his son.

His son. He sighed, couldn’t even bring himself to say his name.

“What? What is it?” His wife, Bernice, sat next to him on the banquette. “You’re not thinking about him again are you? Dominick, crissakes, it’s our 30th anniversary.”

He nodded, took a long pull of Taittenger’s. Poured a fresh glass.

“I’ve hired someone,” he finally said. Tinkered with his mustache.

“You what?” she almost shrieked.

The patrons at adjacent tables stopped eating. Stared.

“Keep your voice down,” he warned.

Bernice collapsed against the banquette. Her Dolce and Gabbana decollete trembled. “Why are you doing this, Dominick?” She stared down at her lap, unable to look at him.

“Why? You know perfectly well why. It’s time.”

She covered her face with shaking hands. “He’s my son,” she mumbled.

“He’s no son,” he growled, jaw clenched. “He hired those fuckers.”

“Isn’t there any other way?” she pleaded. Used her napkin to dab a tear.

He shook his head, signaled for the check. Glanced at his Rolex. “It’s done.”


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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7 Responses to Forgiveness

  1. Andrea says:

    Nice. Scary!!!

  2. Shari says:

    I would submit this short fiction. It really captures a fascinating, scary and dramatic back-story as well as bringing it right into the moments of “celebration” of Dominic and Bernice’s 30th anniversary. Made me so happy that I don’t live in this world, but also more curious about it at the same time.

  3. Don says:

    I loved this- tense, and read it so fast I had to read it over. Thrilling.

  4. Bernini's Lover says:

    Film potential— it’s so Hollywood!

  5. david says:

    “Dolce and Gabbana decollete” that’s a bit much.. but YES I need more of this too….

  6. Tom Froehlich says:

    Very nice Robert! Once again you have told a story within a story! With out saying it you told me they are wealthy, possibly involved in organized crime and his son ordered a hit on him. Nice work! And I love the D & G decollette!

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