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state: first draft
last update: 1999 September 3

Killing Buddha

16. Just Use Your Hands

By Kevin Kelleher

After the group turned their backs on Renzo and devil, Renzo started running.

He ducked into the building's portal, went directly to the courtyard, and took the second set of stairs on the left.

After three flights, the stairs ended, and Renzo found himself in front of a heavy wooden door. There was no name on the bell. He glanced at his watch. Eleven AM exactly. He knocked.

A voice from inside called, "One moment!"

Renzo gasped. At the sound of the voice he completely changed. He suddenly relaxed and stood up straighter. He felt light, pure, free. His jaw was still hanging down when the man opened the door.

The man asked, "What can I do for you? Are you seeking the truth?"

The effect of the voice was less strong the second time, and it was starting to wear off. Renzo pushed past him into the apartment. The man shut the door. They stood looking at each other for a moment.

The man was Italian; his accent southern, probably Sicilian. He was short, about 5'4", but solid and stocky. His hands were large and looked quite strong. His hair was flat, pressed against his head, and was black well mixed with gray. He was dressed in light gray pants and a white short-sleeved shirt open at the neck. He had no jewelry. His skin was well tanned.

This man stood looking at Renzo as if he were reading something written on his face and body. Renzo suppressed the urge to brush whatever it was off his face and chest. He tried to take a step forward but could not. The man face became sad and concerned. He spoke.

"Please don't do this thing, Renzo. It won't help you. It won't help your friends or your world. I have a job to do and I mean to do it. You can help."

"Don't talk," Renzo said with difficulty and took a step toward the man. His feet weighed like lead. The man looked into Renzo's eyes and those eyes drilled into his soul. He spoke again, with a voice that resonated through Renzo's body and soul.

"Renzo, stop. You still have a choice. You can help the world or help yourself. If you stop now, the world will be better tomorrow for everyone. If you kill me, you will kill your own heart. Listen, Renzo, listen."

Renzo realized with anguish that he had no weapon -- no gun, no knife, no club. He glanced around quickly, and seeing nothing, took the man's throat in his hands.

He expected a struggle, but there was none. The man's arms remained at his sides. His body relaxed as his face turned blue. The entire time the man transfixed Renzo with his eyes. I asked Renzo what color they were and he grew abstracted and was unable to tell me.

The man died with his eyes open and aware.

Renzo held the man's throat for some time, until the arteries in the neck stopped pulsing. Trembling, he held a hand under the man's nose, and there was no breath. To be sure, he took each wrist and searched for a pulse. There was none. He put his head to the man's chest and once again held a finger under his nose, but there were no signs of life.

He stumbled to his feet, trembling, feeling weak yet exhilarated.

Renzo looked at his watch. Eleven-oh-five. Only five minutes had elapsed.

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