The Hustler


Taking up Reena’s Exploration Challenge #81
by Reena Saxena. The challenge is to end the blog with these words from Emily Dickinson ” We grow accustomed to the dark”. This is my fictional contribution. Thanks for the mind prompt Reena.

Joe thought in binary terms. His mind a whirl of dots and dashes signalling certainty in all his actions. You are either right or wrong, with me or against me, winners and losers, light and darkness. As Joe stood on the bridge looking down upon the murky depths of the waters swirling beneath, he was thinking, life or death.

Dark clouds were looming on the horizon, swirling in his direction. He stared in defiance embracing the coming darkness, his body electrified with the anticipated intensity of the storm. It suited his mood and the state of his soul. For Joe was a trojan horse offering himself as a charming gift to the world, while a dark malevolence lurked within.

Joe was a hustler cloaked in the respectability of his wealth management business. He preyed on the innocent and vulnerable, he could sniff them out, like a good hunting dog. He joined the local community churches looking for victims. He smiled, he charmed, he hugged and he gratefully accepted the congregations money to invest, guaranteeing them a fixed double digit return. He saw nothing wrong in this. It was the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest and he prided himself on being a survivor. Every dollar he cheerfully accepted diminished the light in his soul until only darkness reigned. People were just gullible objects to be manipulated.

Joe had never invested his clients money, rather it went into funding his own extravagant life style of fast cars and the best casino hotels. He was continually on the prowl for new clients to keep the pyramid stable. Now the illusion he had spun for so many years was slowly dissipating as the truth became known. He was in serious trouble.

He was in a pensive mood and had retreated to the bridge pondering his options. Choose a new environment and start over or just jump from the bridge and end it all now. He smiled to himself. It had been a good ride, he would never allow himself to serve time in prison, now that he had tasted the good life. There were always suckers around to be fleeced of their money. The storm was now overhead and he became soaked to the skin. Embracing his discomfort he turned away from the bridge and ran towards his destiny.

At some point in the past Joe’s soul must have been illumined by light. But as he took his first tentative step to self justify the wrong he did to others, his soul became a little darker. Small negative habits denying the humanity of others escalated and he began to walk in the dark. We grow accustomed to the dark.

———————————————————

We grow accustomed to the Dark - 
When light is put away -
As when the Neighbor holds the Lamp
To witness her Goodbye -

A Moment - We uncertain step
For newness of the night -
Then - fit our Vision to the Dark -
And meet the Road - erect -

And so of larger - Darknesses -
Those Evenings of the Brain -
When not a Moon disclose a sign -
Or Star - come out - within -

The Bravest - grope a little -
And sometimes hit a Tree
Directly in the Forehead -
But as they learn to see -

Either the Darkness alters -
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight -
And Life steps almost straight.

Emily Dickinson

31 thoughts on “The Hustler

  1. Good story, Len – and have seen and read a number of accounts about real-life Joe’s. Good to read that Emily Dickinson poem, too. Had not read it before. I like the analogy of growing accustomed to the dark – to mean also dark desires, and the darkness that encroaches as morality diminishes. Mark 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The truth in every line is the light shining through the darkness you describe. I titled another piece as ‘Blazing Pen’ yesterday, but found it here today.

    I am a fan of your writing, more than Emily Dickinson. Thanks for your contribution to light!

    Liked by 1 person

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