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Fiction

Tunnel Vision
(c) 1994 by Jeffrey H. Baer

I thought that was him.

            His head was low as he rifled through the card rack. After mulling over his identity, there was no doubt in my mind. It was him.

            He was so engrossed in his search he didn't notice me on the other side of the rack. He went through the same routine with every card--stare at the front, flip it open, stare at the inside, then replace it. Stare, flip, stare, replace. Stare, flip, stare, replace. He seemed programmed to do it. Maybe he was upset none of them conveyed only his feelings--if he could have any.

                He distracted me from searching for a birthday card for my girlfriend. She would be twenty-four the following week, and I didn't have time to do it sooner. I still had yet to pick up her gift, or even to decide what to give her. The smart thing to do was to take care of the easy stuff, like picking out a card. It's usually a snap; sometimes I just zero in on the card. This time, however, I zeroed in on a much bigger target without looking.

                He went through the motions one last time and stormed off. I followed at a safe distance.

                He still wore that stupid, candy-apple red football jacket he wore to school no matter the season. He wanted everyone to see the "QB" stitched on the right sleeve, as if nobody knew who he was. He wore it like an Armani suit, and God help anyone who grazed him in the hallways. Once in the cafeteria, someone accidentally spilled milk on his jacket. The kid wound up with a broken nose; the kid's parents screamed...read more >>

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