An old man had been abandoned by his son. This happened years ago. The kid put him in the nursing home and forgot all about him. Moved to Saint Louis, or, Kansas City. Wasn’t sure where he was going. Just getting away from the old man.

He talked nonsense all day long and into the night. Said God was punishing him. Getting back at him for all the sins he’d committed over the years. Drinking, cheating, stealing, lying, just had no moral compass whatsoever . His mom knew this. So did he. And now he wanted everybody to feel sorry for him. Sorry that his wife had died, a mistress passed on, broke, living on social security. These were his crimes. This was his sentence.

The son got a call late one night that the old man had died. Heart failure. The thing finally gave out on him. He had no last words. Died in his sleep.

Well, that’s justice, the son whispered. He didn’t get the last word, he laughed. That’s a nice way to go, he told the nurse on the phone. In silence. He probably didn’t appreciate that.

We don’t have any money, the kid said. Just give him a poor man’s burial. Hell, donate the body to science, he said. Just get rid of it. Will ya?

That was a few years ago. Son doesn’t know where his father is buried. A part of his life cut off. He did not look back.

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