Your Kind of Courage

Image of Set Stories Free - 2018
Image of Short Story
“Funny thing isn’t? Courage, I mean.”
A man in a dark suit leans forward in a wooden chair. A single light bulb dangles from a cord above his head that casts a faint glow around the small room.
“It’s not a thing,” the man continues, and I don’t mean that it doesn’t exist, I mean it’s not a thing that someone can have.”
The man sits back in his chair and lets out a soft chuckle. The bulb casts a stream of light across this man’s grizzled face. He has a stubble beard that reaches up to his sideburns, and his hair is messily kept with several strands that have fallen in front of his dark green eyes. The skin around is mouth and eyelids are slightly wrinkled from age, and there are scars scattered across his face.
“There are thousands of different definitions for the word courage out there. Practically everyone has their own definition for that disgusting word. In fact I don’t even know why people use that word in the first place. There’s no point to it, any possible definition that you could come up with I could find another word that matches your definition. Do you get what I'm saying? Cause I'm not sure if I'm making sense with this, I haven’t really planned out what I'm going to say here. I haven’t planned out a monologue or anything I'm not some sort of crazy don’t think I’m you?”
With this, the man stops all of a sudden, a concerned look on his face. He then leans back forward, his chin resting on his hand, and stares intently in front of him to a chair just like the one he is sitting on.
“I apologize,” the man continues. “I didn’t mean to get off track, it happens to everybody. Anyway what was I saying... Aw yes, people think of courage as a good thing, but you see, I don’t.”
There’s another pause in the man’s sentence as he stares contently forward at the chair like it’s talking.
“Well you say that, but it’s wrong,” the man starts after a couple seconds of silence. “You see, courage isn’t a synonym for bravery at all. No, in fact it’s the opposite, cowards use the word courage to describe themselves when they feel like they’ve done something of importance, something that people should recognize them for. And that just defeats the purpose, don'tcha think?”
Once again this man stops and stares forward towards the chair. On the wall behind the chair rests a wooden desk with papers strewn about. Above the desk hangs a large bulletin board with several more papers that are pinned up and being connected by a long piece of red string that darts back and forth across its surface.
“Now I know that ‘my opinion’,” the man puts these two words in air quotes with his fingers, “might be controversial, but I don’t care because I know I’m right. I know I'm right because I’m brave, I don’t always worry about myself first. I put people before myself, I make sure people do the right thing, and when they don’t I make sure they know that they did something wrong.
But yet people have the nerve, people have the AUDACITY, to tell me I don’t. Does that make sense, DOES THAT MAKE SENSE TO YOU?” At this point the man is screaming his sentences. Small bits of saliva fly from his mouth as he reaches forward and grabs the chair that sits in front of him. He then lifts it up and through a it across the room. The chair goes soaring and smashing into the bulletin board, causing the chair to smash to pieces and the board to go crashing down and landing on the desk. Papers flew into the sky and drifted back down to earth, falling to a rest on top of the pile of broken wood.
The man stared at the jumbled heap, stunned. Then all of a sudden he scrambled forward and started to rummage through the pile, throwing splinters of wood every which way. He continued digging while muttering to himself, “I’m sorry, oh I’m so sorry. Please forgive me, please, please, please. I lost my temper, it was an accident, I lost control. I’m sorry.”
He finally stops and picks up a small photo that had laid buried underneath the wood. In the picture stood a tall slender woman with a beautiful face that was covered with several freckles. On her shoulders lay the straps of a long golden sun dress that reached down to her shins. Bright light from an unseen sun glinted off her crimson hair that fell down to her shoulders, and her pure white teeth shown almost as bright as her dazzling blue eyes.
Gazing into the photo woman’s eyes, the man moved over and set the picture on the seat of his own chair. He put his hand gently on the back of the chair and slowly moved it aside. Stepping forward the man picked up a wooden baseball bat that had been leaning on the wall beside him. The man then grabbed a long overcoat that hung up on a hanger and continued to speak, “At this point I’ve gotten fed up with all this crap-”
The dark suited man puts a brown fedora on his head, “-and it’s made me realize-”
He moves over to the pile of wood and from it picks out a pair of black shaded glasses, “-that if I ever want people to stop thinking of me in this way, then I have to do something about it.”
The man walks over to a steel door that sits in the middle of one of the walls, the bat dragging on the floor behind him, but before he opens it he stops, “I’m gonna show them, I’m gonna show them all... I’m gonna show you-,” and as this man says the final words of his sentence his eyes glow with a menacing light, and his voice changes to a low growl, “-that I have your kind of courage.”