Misunderstood (With Apologies to Eric Burdon)


“I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord please don’t let me be misunderstood.”

   That is a line from a song that was popular in the 60’s. It also sums up my thinking.

If you will allow me I’d like to give you my side of the story. I know the papers and television have painted me as a monster, something that should be exterminated at the soonest possible moment. But I did what I did for a very good reason.

It started on that cold day in February two years ago when she walked into my shop. At the time I was a woodworker, a cabinet maker. She was not beautiful, but then again she was not unpleasant to the eye. I can still remember her first words, “Are you Abner Crochet?” Seeing as how that was my name, I answered in the affirmative. My time is limited, they will be coming for me shortly, so I’ll have to leave a much out of my narrative, but the salient facts are as follows.

She said she wanted me to construct an old fashion type wardrobe of maple with cypress shelving. But I ask you, if that is all she wanted why in heaven’s name did she come on to me in such a manner?

What manner was that you may ask. Well, I will tell you.

At our third meeting while I was showing her the plans I had drawn up for her commission, she placed her hand on mine. Yes, I know that does not seem like much, but you did not see the look in her eyes. After that day the relationship grew. She would come by almost daily to check on the progress of the piece, at least that is what she claimed. I knew different, she was falling in love with me as I had fallen in love with her.

Then the day came when my work was done. She was thrilled with the finished product, and over and over again she told me that I was an artist and my work should be in museums. That made me feel good, not because she liked my work: I felt good because she loved me, and I was in love for the first time in my life.

I expected her the next day when the piece was to be picked up. However, I was disappointed. She had sent two workmen in her stead. So I called her, and can you believe it, she pretended that she had not the slightest feelings for me. She said, “I assume you’re calling about the bill. Well, I’ve already sent off the check with a little extra because my fiancé loves it so much. It is to be my wedding present to him.”

What was she talking about? She had not once mentioned a fiancé! She touched my hand for God’s sake! I had to think. I could only mutter a weak thank you, and hung up the phone.

Admittedly, I have not been around women very much. Until she came into my life I don’t think I’d even touched a woman. But I knew she felt towards me as I felt towards her. She placed her hand on top of mine!

“Yes … yes …”

I’m being told I must gather my belongings for the move. But before I do so, I must explain myself. I’ll be brief.

Knowing she loved me as I loved her meant only one thing. She was being forced to marry against her will. And I decided that I would have to intercede on her behalf. That is why I broke into the apartment. I was only going to reason with the man. Tell him of our true, great love.

Then my world, all my hopes and dreams, crumbled before me. When I flicked on the bedroom light … when I flicked on the bedroom light … even now it is hard for me to put into words what I saw. When I flicked on the bedroom light there he was, and there she was. They were lying in the same bed! And neither one of them were decent. It was then that I knew my one true love had betrayed me.

I know I said I went there only to convince my rival that he should bow out of true love’s way, but that does not explain why I brought along the hunting knife. Was I subconsciously planning to do harm to the man? I do not know.

However, it is all academic. When I saw the two—my love and that vile man—intertwined upon the bed, I lost all reason. I did what I had to do to save my love. He just got in the way. I knew she loved me, but now that she was sullied by another, she could never have me. So, the most humane thing I could do was to end her life. I did not want her living a life of regret because she had lost my love. And him? I said he got in the way. He fought, and he fought hard to protect my love, however, it did give me great joy to dispatch him into another world.

So, you see my friends, what I did I did out of love.

They are moving me to the death watch cell now. Soon I will have my hair shaved and the gel placed thereon, for good conductivity you know. Then I’ll get my allotted 50,000 volts. I am happy as I write these words, my true love and I will be together in a very short while.

“I’m just a soul whose intentions where good. Oh Lord please don’t let me be misunderstood.”


A Little Bit of Me Died

Old Man

My momma was the most loving person that I ever knew. My momma deserved better than me.

My name is Jimmy, but my momma always called me James, and I’m here to tell you of her.

The first time I ever saw her cry was when John F. was killed. John F. as in John F. Kennedy.

I could go on and on about my momma. But I will tell you one thing about her that will sum up her life. And to a certain extent . . . my life . . . thanks to her. And what follows is 100% true.

We lived in the South, in an all-white neighborhood. The year was 1968. Then the unthinkable happened. A black family moved in across the street.

The “For Sale” signs appeared immediately up and down the block.

My momma was beset with rheumatoid arthritis. She was bed-ridden and in a lot of pain.

When my momma heard about the family moving into our all-white neighborhood, she got out of bed and baked a cake . . . from scratch. She was in so much pain. I begged her to go back to bed, but she would not.

When the cake was iced, she instructed my eighteen-old self to carry it across the street and welcome our new neighbors to our slice of heaven. She would have gone herself, but baking the cake had taken everything she had.

Shortly thereafter, my momma died.

A little bit of me also died then. But she lives on in me when I show love for my fellow man, regardless of their color.

God bless you, Momma.