A Contrite Heart Doesn’t Mean Much for Gary

“Do you suppose he painted it himself or just found it in a dumpster?” It was Gary we were talking about, although most people called him Bum or Homeless Guy if they called him anything. The ‘it’ he carried was a painting of three red horse rising up a purple mountain. Not too difficult, technically, but the flow of the horses, and the use of colors seemed to evoke an emotion few would ascribe to Gary.

“I don’t know, that frame doesn’t look like something he’d have, or find. Maybe he stole it.” That’s what I wish I hadn’t said. Things escalated from there pretty fast. We stopped Gary, asked him to show us the painting, asked him if it was his, took it from him anyway. Hitting him over the head with it, leaving him there with the frame around his neck, I’ll never forget. Why did we do that? How could I do that?