Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Chapter Seventeen: Risk‑free Territory

A month had passed since Johnny put the first shot of heroin into his arm. In one month he had been fired from his job, and secured another one. This one was selling heroin. After his first hit, he found his friend Lips, and spent every penny he had on some more heroin, then raised money for the next week's supply by making another visit to his dad. He borrowed $500 by lying about wanting to fix his car. When that ran out he became involved in something he never thought he would stoop to--theft.

He picked up his grandfather’s short‑barrelled .38 and drove to a suburb of Dallas.

It was late at night. No one was around as he peered into a liquor store. Johnny sat in the parking lot for over an hour watching an Oriental man undo boxes, and then stack cigarettes and other things onto the shelves. At one stage, there were no customers for more than 40 minutes.

Johnny decided that he would wait until midnight, then rob the store. His hands were shaking as he checked the gun to make sure it was loaded. He removed the safety catch, opened the car door, got out and cased the area. Not a soul in sight. He tucked the gun into his belt and partly zipped up his black leather jacket. Even though he felt terrified at what he was about to do, there was a sense of excitement, both in the robbery itself and in the fact that by morning he would have enough smack in his hands to last him a month.

As he quietly pushed open the door, the man behind the counter greeted him, then carried on stacking his shelves. Johnny nodded and walked to the back of the store as though he was looking for something special.

Minutes later he burst towards the terrified man. Holding the .38 in both hands he yelled,

"I don't want to hurt you! I need money now! Give me everything you have in the cash register and I promise you won't be harmed!" The frightened man moved quickly and gave him everything in the cash register, then, without being told to, put his trembling hands in the air. Johnny then said,

"If you move from here, I will have to come back and shoot you!" As Johnny quickly moved towards the door, he stopped, turned towards the paralyzed man and said,

"I'm sorry . . . "

He felt physically sick as he drove home, partly because he was beginning to withdraw from the heroin, and partly because he couldn't get the image of the man's terrified eyes out of his mind.

When he arrived at his apartment, he pulled the wad of bills from his pocket and counted them. His heart sank as he totaled the cash and found that they were all one-dollar bills with an occasional five, two tens and a twenty. Everything he had gone through that night yielded a mere $86.

To be continued.