“All we like sheep have gone astray.”
Sheep are among the most naturally helpless inhabitants of this planet.
Sheep are poorly equipped for either self-defence or rapid flight. When
they are attacked, startled or frightened they tend to scatter.
Predators love helpless and harmless prey.
The most dangerous predators seek the lost sheep, not to harm them
physically, but to herd them into darkness. Once in the darkness, the
sheep are blind. Because lost sheep are blind, they will follow the
whispered and gentle direction of any voice they feel comfortable with.
The wolves entice them with pleasant and reasonable voices.
A smart predator gives the sheep just enough light, to follow the only
path they can see, but not enough light to see the end of that path, or
to see the traps and pitfalls along the way.
Other wolves will suggest the sheep are evolving into more enlightened
beings; becoming more intelligent, perfect and godlike. Some will
persuade the sheep there is no God, telling them that life is random and
has no meaning whatsoever.
Since the dawn of time, the wolves have been determined to slaughter as
many sheep as possible.
The Shepherds are appointed to stand between the sheep and the wolves.
When I finally stumbled home at midnight, my next door neighbour, Molly
McGovern’s lights were on. After the day I had just lived through, I
was in no mood to put up with a lot of loud music, raucous laughter or
any other form of inconsiderate behaviour.
Like all people everywhere, Molly, was a flawed human being. That was no
reason to abuse her. She was a drunk, sure, but that didn’t mean her
boyfriend had a license to use her as a punching bag.
As I climbed into bed I was only vaguely aware of my neighbors. I was
awakened from a sound sleep by the noise of the beating. Through the
wall of my apartment, I could hear the violence escalating.
I pulled on some pants and a T-shirt and went out on the landing,
I hesitated a moment before knocking.
Maybe I should just call the police again. They would show up in ten or
twenty minutes. They might arrest Alphonsio Patterson again, but Molly
probably wouldn’t press charges, and he’d just go free…again.
We’d all play the same scenario out again and again, just like we’d
been doing for the last seven and a half months. Eventually, he would
either kill her, leave her for another punching bag, or maybe Molly
would kill him in his sleep. The restraining order wasn’t doing
anybody any good.
I pounded on the door.
A moment later, Alphonsio jerked it open. From the surprised look on his
face I could tell he had been expecting the cops. When he recognized me,
he went from startled to belligerent.
“What the F*** you want?”
“I was just wondering if I could borrow a cup of sugar.”
“What? Hey, get the F*** outta here,” he said, as I brushed past him
into the living room.
“Can Molly come out and play?” I asked.
“You one crazy mothaf*****! I’m gonna **** you up.”
I was aware Alphonsio had limited communication skills. Evidently this
was due to a language barrier, based on his inability to express himself
in words he had learned in school.
I ignored him and went into the bedroom. The door was open.
Molly was slumped in the corner, behind the bed. She was wearing green
plaid pajama bottoms and a white tank top. The white tank top was slowly
turning crimson, from the blood flowing out of Molly’s broken nose and
split lips. I went to her and found her semi-conscious and breathing.
The once beautiful blonde woman was drunk and badly beaten.
“Get the f*** away from my girlfriend, mothaf*****!”
I stood up. “No, Al, my name is Tucker. I’m John Wesley Tucker.”
Alphonsio was about my size, maybe a little taller. He was very fit, I
could tell because he had no shirt on. He had several tattoos. Judging
by the subject matter, poor quality of most of the artwork and my
familiarity with his history, some of them were undoubtedly prison tats.
He was wearing oversized blue jean cargo pants that were sagging down,
exposing his boxer shorts. He had on a ball cap, sideways-one of those
with a flat brim. I knew he was in his late twenties. Molly was thirty
two. They were both a bit younger than me, but then again, almost
everyone is a bit younger than me.
I walked back into Molly’s living room, in the apartment she paid the
“Alphonsio, I guess I’m going to have to call the police and an
ambulance…again. Let me use your cell phone.”
“What you say? Hell no. Get the F*** outta here.”
I hit him, very hard and very fast. I hit him with the open heel of my
right hand. I don’t like to use my knuckles. The strike shattered his
nose. I kicked him in the crotch, and followed it up with a left elbow
strike, knocking him to the floor. He started to collect himself
immediately, so I kicked him again. His head bounced off the corner of
the breakfast bar and laid him out, stone cold. He looked to still be
alive, and since he was lying face down, I knew he wouldn’t drown in
his own blood, from the broken nose.
I went over to a lamp that was lying on the floor, where it had been
knocked over in his previous assault on Molly, and stripped the cord
off. I used the cord to tie his hands behind his back.
Now I had a little time to think about what I should do next.
Molly needed medical attention. I would call for an ambulance, shortly.
First, I had to determine what to do with old Al.
The only thing I knew for sure was I didn’t want him to ever touch
It was nearly two in the morning, and nobody was moving outside. My
apartment was second to the last, on the second story of the building.
Molly’s apartment was the last one, on the end, at the top of a
staircase. I wanted to throw Alphonsio over the railing, and see if he
survived the landing in the parking lot.
Maybe he would bounce.
I reminded myself he was some mother’s little boy, her pride and joy.
He was probably somebody’s father. Maybe there was more than one child
who could call him daddy. Above any other consideration, he was made in
the image of God.
It only took me a couple of minutes of searching to find his dope stash.
I knew he would have hidden it pretty quickly, when he thought the cops
were at the door. I put it in his back pants pocket, sort of hanging
out, where it could be seen, like his underwear. Then, I pulled out my
cell phone and dialed 911.
I had just given the address to the dispatcher, when Alphonsio woke up,
so I hung up the phone. He and I needed to chat before the police and
the ambulance arrived on the scene.
I ducked into the kitchen and procured Molly’s biggest cast iron
Alphonsio had managed to sit up with his back against the breakfast bar,
his legs bent in front of him.
He started to strain against the lamp cord, and tried to get up.
“Stop it,” I said, brandishing the frying pan.
He quit squirming and glared at me. He looked kind of foolish, with the
lower half of his face all bloody, like Molly’s. I picked his cap off
the floor, and put it back on his head, sideways, the way he liked to
“Alphonsio, I want you to listen to me for a second. The police are on
the way here. I want you to promise me you will never come back to this
apartment, and you will never see Molly again. OK?”
“F*** you,” He responded.
I hit him in the right knee with the frying pan. I hit him about as hard
as I could. He nearly fainted, and crumpled over. I untied the lamp cord
from around his wrists, and threw it back over in the corner, with the
broken lamp. He was writhing on the floor, whimpering.
“Let’s try this again, Alphonsio. I want you to promise me neither
Molly, nor I, will ever see you again. OK?”
“You broke my knee, you motha…”
I broke his other knee.
He screamed this time, and then resumed writhing and whimpering in pain.
I waited until he seemed to regain his wits.
“Well then, Al, since you appear to be unable to express yourself,
utilizing a normal vocabulary, let me put it to you another way. If I
ever see you again, anytime, anywhere, I’ll end you and send you, to
your final judgment. Nod your head if you understand.”
He nodded vigorously, his whimpers punctuating the motion.
I carried the frying pan into the bedroom, where I handed it to Molly.
She needed a little help getting a good grip on it. She was pretty much
unaware she was holding it.
On my way out of the apartment, I checked on Alphonsio. He was still
whimpering. He appeared somewhat paled and disheartened by the
tribulation he had suffered.
I could hear sirens coming.
I left the apartment door open.
Yeah… I’m flawed, too.
Excerpted from "Angels & Imperfections" by Daniel Roland Banks. Copyright © 2014 by Daniel Roland Banks. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.