Life In The Fast Lane


After years of name calling,
a man finally finds peace.

A short story
Floyd H. Smith, Jr.

Life In The Fast Lane

Jim knew they had to hurry, but the ride was awfully rough and painful. As the gurney was rushed down the hallway, it seemed that every crack in the floor was like going over a big boulder. He was in a lot of pain, and Jim knew that his injuries were serious.
Suddenly, his life was passing before his eyes. He was five years old and running through the house, hollering, and having fun, as kids will do. His Mother’s boyfriend was laying on the couch. Joe, he thought his name was, but he wasn’t sure. There had been so many. “Hey, you little bastard! Why don’t you go out in the street and play?” Jim didn’t like this man. In fact, he didn’t like any of the men that his mother had over.
In the next scene, he was in the third grade. It was recess, and all the children were in the playground. Some of the kids were in a circle, holding hands, and running around Jim. But it wasn’t “Ring Around the Mulberry Bush” that they were singing. Jim sat on the ground with the circle of kids running around him. “Jimmy’s a bastard, Jimmy’s a bastard,” they were shouting! Jim knew that he was a bastard because his mother had explained it to him, and she didn’t know who was his father. What he didn’t understand was why the other kids always made fun of him.
The years passed, and Jim had gone through most of his childhood being called a bastard. He never understood it, and didn’t like it, but he did learn to live with being called that awful name.
When your life passes before your eyes, it goes by real fast. Jim was now a senior in High School. He was running in a track meet. It was the hundred-yard dash, and he knew that he was the one who was going to break the ribbon. He was giving it all he had, and he could hear the spectators shouting. There was one spectator he heard exceptionally clear. “Look at that bastard run!” the man shouted. After High School, Jim joined the military. Now, he would get some respect.

It was the first day of Boot Camp, and all the recruits were in some sort of formation on the parade ground. There were two men standing in front of, and facing them. The meanest looking one of the two shouted, “I am Sargent Bracket, and this is Sargent Mackay! We will be your mother and your father! And by the way, we are not married! You know what that makes you! That’s right, maggots, you’re all bastards!”
The military wasn’t for him. When his hitch was over, Jim accepted a life as a civilian. He went from town to town, working different jobs. He never married, and was somewhat of a loner. While walking home from work one night, two muggers attacked him from out of the darkness. Laying there on the pavement in semi-consciousness, Jim heard one of the muggers speak. “Let’s kill the bastard,” he said. The sound of approaching sirens had saved his life. With police cars coming to the scene, the two muggers ran off into the darkness.
The scenes from Jim’s life abruptly stopped. The pain he was experiencing was unbearable. He opened his eyes and saw nothing but a bright light. The light wasn’t what he expected, though. He was in an emergency room of a hospital. In great pain, and barely conscious, Jim could hear voices way off in the distance. “If we don’t get this bleeding stopped, this poor bastard’s going to die!”
The pain suddenly stopped, and Jim knew that his time on this earth was over. He smiled. “I’m going home. I won’t be a bastard anymore, and today, I will meet my Father.”

Floyd H. Smith, Jr.

Sept. 25, 2003

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2 Responses to Bastard

  1. Brenda Smith says:

    I really enjoyed this story.


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