1975 Sense And Nonsense
“Did you hear what happened to Johnnie? Somebody tried to kill him!” I overheard these words while grocery shopping this morning.
I know very few Johnnies anymore. It is a name more common to an earlier generation. The Johnnies I know seem to prefer the shortened form of “John” while some of them will only answer to “Jack”. However there are still a few Johnnies around and of those I know of none that would deserve less than a long healthy life. The ladies discussing this near tragedy were in a different aisle from me.
Remembering one empty peanut butter jar at home, I hurriedly steered my cart towards the peanut butter section of the store. It was within earshot of the now hushed voice I had heard a few moments earlier. “Johnnie is fine, thank goodness, but they shot Vic instead.”
“Oh, no! Not Vic, is he going to live?” asked the other lady, a youthful brunette. She obviously was a good friend of the fellow named Vic. Her face was quite pale and there was a twinge of hysteria in her voice.
“I don’t know, but I’m afraid there is not much hope,” was the answer. “Why don’t you come to my house and we’ll find out this afternoon – I’ll have some coffee and cake.” The two ladies seemed to miraculously recover from their initial concern. They were both laughing as they finished their shopping. The colour had returned to the younger woman’s face. She actually joked about the tragedy.
“I’m glad it was Vic and not Johnnie that got it”, she giggled, “Johnnie is better looking!”
The human heart seems so callous, I thought. But these women were in a state of shock. Their minds were unable to accept the terrible tragedy. Their gaiety was a screen to protect themselves from the horror of the situation. I sincerely wished, for both their sakes, that their friend Vic would win his fight against death. I fervently hoped the police would catch the gunman who had done this dastardly deed.
As I reached the checkout counter two other women were discussing the tragedy. Vic had been a real hero. He had thrown himself in front of Johnnie, saving his friend’s life. These women both felt sorry for Johnnie’s wife, Laurie. They weren’t at all sympathetic towards Vic’s wife. Apparently it was her father who had hired the gunman in the first place.
“I wonder if the police know that,” I thought. People are often reluctant to give the police information even if it is helpful to their solving a crime. The girl at the checkout counter added up my groceries. “Have you heard how Vic is?” she asked.
“No, I don’t know too much about it, I answered. Someone said they won’t know until this afternoon.” The girl laughed as she took my money. “They probably won’t let anyone know all week. Then on Friday something will start to happen. I’ll bet no one will know whether Vic lives or dies until Monday.”
“Probably ruin my whole weekend” she complained. “It sounds like you don’t care that much for Vic”, I challenged her, “You’re right, I like Johnnie much better.” she agreed. “I’m sure glad it wasn’t him that was shot. Don’t you think Johnnie is better looking?”
I angrily left the store. “Imagine looks having a place in who deserves to live or die!”
I was beginning to feel terribly sorry for Vic. It seemed to me he had very few real friends. I almost bumped into a friend as she rounded the corner rather fast. “Sorry, guess I am in a bit of a rush”, she apologized. “Don’t you know it’s almost 2:30? Why don’t you come to my house and we’ll find out how Vic is?” I declined her invitation as she added “I’ve got coffee and cake.”
It was exactly 2:30 when I pulled into our driveway. I had reached home in one piece, thank goodness. Our old car was capable of travelling at a good speed. I’d had a bit of a scare on that one corner though. Luckily no one was coming. Hopefully now the television would be working. Lately it had been acting very erratic – probably about to blow a tube.
Oh, no! Vic did die! I wish the people who write those soap operas would have more mercy. Vic was so young and to die in such a way. Oh well, Johnnie is still alive and he is better looking.
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