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Encounters With Miracles. An Inoculation From Malice

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All of this really happened.

It really pissed me off when they destroyed   my   third sand castle. How would you feel if you were 11 years old and     those teenagers would have destroyed   your work?   When they did it   for   the first time I let it slide. That castle was no good anyway. The second time they ran over my castle I got mad but for a short time: I just came   to the idea of the third one, even better. And now they trampled on my   crown   jewel, my    best creation, the one I wanted to show to my dad?   No way I could leave that   without   punishment. They were to pay. Of course, they were big, mean boys and I was just a nerdy, overweight kid.   The beach was full of people and   castles; nobody gave a damn about   my problem. I was on my own.

It was a gorgeous day, sunny,   but not   humid. Everyone was having   fun; a group of people were playing basketball   right close to me. The teenagers who destroyed my castle scattered around the players; there was a happy commotion and they all      dumped   into the   river   together. I looked at them and    the   desire for revenge filled my heart. Or at least I imagined that.

To   complete my   project I moved away from the   water, closer to the shady woody area. There I   worked   for a while preparing a lot of moist   sand, moving away all the dry sand and gathering   the necessary materiel. Then I dug a huge   pit   in the middle of the lot and   put a lot of harmful stuff   on the   bottom:   sharp stones, sticks, nails and pieces of glass. Then I covered the pit with   a thick layer of branches. And after that I    very carefully erected a magnificent castle   on   those branches- all made of   dripping wet sand. It was a temptation of rare desire; there were gothic towers and even arches- all inviting the mischievous   teenagers   to   jump on them like they did with my previous   ones. Only this time" this time they were up for a surprise.

I worked for a while, even forgot about food. Nobody bothered me; my parents were still at the beach, they could see me from there, so they were not worried. I   could   complete everything   up to the standard. When the castle was finished I   gave it a satisfied look and   moved away from it to arrange for a convenient position   to watch from afar. There   I   quietly sat, waiting.

Nothing happened for a while. Teenagers were still busy at the beach. Adults   passed by, one even made a photo of the castle. I waited patiently. I figured it could take   maybe   an hour   for the brats to come up. That's when I saw him: the toddler.

He was a real gem.   A boy of about    4, neatly dressed with that adorable panama hat, one of those with red spots all around. He   was   barefoot   and those two feet were making     deliberate   steps as if a   big multicolored mushroom was moving promptly and   steadfastly   towards my deadly contraption. I felt nauseated.

At first I tried to distract him. But you know those toddlers; when they   have   a goal in mind nothing can   stop them. The kid continued to advance, visibly curious and maybe even impressed by the beauty of my castle because he was all smiles, although   not saying anything. He sort of brushed aside   all my efforts to   redirect him.    A distance of several feet remained between him and   the trap. I could, of course, scare him away but I was sure the kid would then start   crying   and screaming, the people would    all rush to the scene, discover my   work and that would mean   very   unfortunate consequences. So I decided instead to destroy the   castle   myself if the kid comes too close; I was not that bad a boy to   harm a toddler.

But the kid suddenly stopped. He    surveyed the castle from the distance, then circled it around, sort of   picked up a right    line of sight. Then he   produced   a long plastic toy spade (I swear, I don't know where he got it from) and from a safe distance, meticulously and   methodically destroyed my castle, towers and all. The kid worked with all the due diligence.   When the job was nicely done he put his shovel on the shoulder, turned around and   went   away with the same deliberate pace.   But   for a very short moment it seemed to me that he gave me a look-   a very strange look, really,   just a glance. That was    a wise glance, though,   as   if he knew. Even until now I am not sure   about   that glance; maybe it was a figment of my imagination?

I disarmed my trap, threw away all the branches also bad stuff and   filled the pit with sand.    I felt very tired, empty but   somehow   satisfied, even   in peace. I   did not care for those teenagers anymore; they could not take away   my new skill of building castles and   all-in-all   the castle   is there for beauty and   admiration, not for malice and harm. Malice and harm" those words   came to my head for the first time that day. I felt that I grew up.

This is the first time I tell this   story on paper.   I think I got the message on that day: malice   never works. Malicious intent can only harm the innocent. No matter how insulted you feel, how bitter and how   enraged, you should not succumb to shallow malice, you should not plan the deliberate harm whether to individuals or nations.   You should try to see through it.

In my   life   I   hated a lot of people, disliked a lot of people and   loathed a lot of people. I am not a   saint and I have to admit that many times the idea of   making harm to them   got into my head, especially when   I saw them operating with impunity and getting away   with anything. But   whenever   that happened   an apparition would appear in front of me and   again I   would have been on that beach, alone   and in rage,   saved by the wise glance of the funny moving mushroom with a spade on his shoulder.   Don't know who he was, don't know where he went; may his path be blessed forever. He inoculated me from the deadly disease. Honest fight is a good thing. Malice is   never   an option.


The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

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