There is a very intricate and delicate web in the relations of humanity. A give and take that one has to wonder how far to take things. And then at other times, when to lay off. Relationships always potentially uneasy. But that is the nature of the beast? Expectations are always troublesome but they must in some way be dealt with and hopefully resolved. Tolerance of others within reasonable limits that ever has to also be felicitously negotiated. A walk upon eggshells, more often than not!
The railroad yard just down from the station was a maze of some seventeen or more parallel sets of tracks. The platform for boarding as a passenger one the end of the wide lozenge-like complex that was a horizontal forest of strings of boxcars passing through and innumerable tankers to be loaded. All being re-sorted for further journey accord to the siding of their placement. It was a dark dirty coal smoke ridden place that was impossible to tell day from night. Raw coal ripped from both surface mines and burrows deep into the earth were loaded from tireless conveyors. Hordes of people would clamber across at the sound of the steam engine’s distant whistles. There being no announced schedule to and from this over-developed corner of the countries coal mining section. One might have wondered to see the sight from afar if they were witnessing some displaced valley risen from the fire and brimstone of deep below. So disheartening was the sight of the earth despoiled by the hand of man’s industry.
Their was fair and there was not. In the jungle of man if one let another creature get away with something. Something like a deal unmet or simply constantly avoided. Then something had to be done. A bad something! Kurt was a burly lad that had never felt lesser for the fact that some might have said he had been born to overalls and would probably be put to rest in a pair. Rough and tumble from his mother’s breast he could raise men twice his girth up over his head and toss them four times further. Something that had not gone unnoticed from detection from the off corner of the town less savory section. A job of keeping an eye on things and making sure that no one who was present in this small lesser used section of this trunk of the yard had reason to stay there unless invited. It was said that dark dealings occurred in the vicinity of the aging line shacks. Some beyond those of the daily ‘look left and right’ transactions of stolen merchandise for quick recompense. And others where a few bucks offered to those normally on patrol in the other parts of the yard gong a long way to helping them keep their mouths shut.
Kurt held sway from the onset of the sun’s passing over the low range of mountains to the hour just before dusk. He kept his eyes focused on the small depot ever alert for a friendly high sign or the other possibility of bringing for that heavy leather bound sap to employ its hidden gift of a stack of heavy steel washers against an intruder’s temples. The resultant baggage to be carried off by a lesser pair of thugs resting further down on the bosses’ totem pole. Their baggage deposited in some untoward spot rarely discovered. At occasional moments within the unrelenting darkness also serving as silent well-behaved sore losers who grunted grudgingly at each poker hand upended by straights or flushes. Kurt had a habit of announcing his displeasure about his hand being challenged with a mighty sound of ceremoniously cracking the knuckles of his two hammock sized paws stretched overhead. Then in a mock show of feigned exhaustion bringing the knit together mass of same down hard on the table. All this supposedly absentmindedly. The two other rubes would shirk away from presenting a trump card and more than not throw their hands back in the discards. All the while his thin fiction circumvented by a certain cock of the head suggesting that like any good junkyard dog he was ever on patrol even in the midst of these infrequent rests.
The envy of his ‘helpmates‘ did not encourage them to any loyalty. In fact the case was just the opposite. They waited like jackals on the periphery for some slip up on Kurt’s part so that they might provide reason to replace him. Fatal or not. No one could figure how many nights were spent speculating and making plans? But they were all talk at least when they were far from earshot. But Kurt’s deeds were beginning to garner notoriety farther afield some of the families of his victims were party to the fact of the perpetrator of their loved one’s demise. Though some lived upon the heights above the surrounding valley in what would be termed in advantageous sense of affluence they weren’t adverse to coming down with their sleeves rolled up to get their fists a little bloody. A little water and soap did wonders when the need to avenge a fellow family member was involved. Something as old as the hills that the railroad country had driven it’s presence through. That is why one morning when Kurt’s body was discovered with his skull cracked open having been split neatly in two from the blow of a crowbar that parties unknown had generously left quite purposefully beside the body. A calling card of some anonymous designate of the community at large. Few if any seemed surprised at all. Some people deserve what they get?
The basic sense of balance within any community once challenged is ever likely to call down forces that even those who proclaim themselves as the strongest need to heed. Lest those who make a career of transgressing again the wishes of the majority come to find out so fatally too late. That final lesson that their hubris has only bought them a one way trip to the boneyard via the river Styx.