In The Midnight Of His Heart
By AL BRUNO III
September 2, 1993
John's first stop was the was a store that sold luggage, he bought a briefcase with a combination lock. Next was one of the many banks he had safety deposit boxes in. After some paperwork and other formalities he unloaded the contents of two safety deposit boxes into the briefcase. He wasn't sure exactly how much he had accumulated but a quick count left him in the neighborhood of seventy-thousand dollars. More than enough for what he had to do.
While he had been in the bank it had begun to rain, John decided to splurge and have a cab take him across the river to one of Albany's larger malls. When he got there he shoved a hundred-dollar bill in the cabby’s hand and headed for Macys’s entrance.
He bought furniture, appliances, kitchen utensils, draperies, curtains and even a television set. He paid for delivery. Then he bought a selection of bedspreads and fresh sheets and some towels, he had those delivered as well. It gave him a cruel pleasure to see the salesmen's eyes pop when he opened his briefcase and began to dole out hundreds and twenties. One of the cashiers had balked and called over a manager to check to see if his money was counterfeit, they poured over the bills for what must have been a good fifteen minutes. The manager had asked him if it wasn't a bit foolhardy for an old man to be carrying around so much money in a briefcase. John merely shrugged, “There's plenty more where this came from.”
Frederick's of Hollywood was his next port of call and he was in and out as fast as possible. For a moment he fumbled with the dilemma of what to do with the gaudily-colored bag the salesgirl had stuffed his purchase into. The bag was damned embarrassing but not as embarrassing as the idea of being seen carrying around a pair of padded handcuffs.
Quickly ducking into a drugstore he stocked up on other supplies. He bought baby-wipes, cat liter, liquid soap, Bic razors, Tylenol, peroxide, tampons, bandages, a bedpan, hair dye, rope, toilet paper, sleeping pills and some Vaseline. He concealed the small Frederick's of Hollywood bag in one of the two large plastic bags that held his other purchases. It was just as well that he was nearly finished, carrying the two large bags and his briefcase in one hand was becoming a bit unwieldy.
On the way to his final stop he passed a jewelers and the mad impulse he'd gotten at the house came to its fruition. He walked in and began inquiring about the costs of a specially made necklace, a gold chain with a ruby pendant. The salesman gave some reasonable-sounding quotes and helpful suggestions concerning the design of the necklace. John left the jewelers' without the velvet bag.
Finally, he came to his last stop.
There were three hair salons in the mall. He chose one with more hairdressers than customers to avoid a wait. A fierce-looking man led him to a chair and sat him down. “What'll it be?” he asked as he turned John to face his reflection.
Staring at himself, John ran his fingers through his long gray locks a final time. “Take it all off,” he said.