jaron summers © 2024
I reckon I’ve got myself into a bit of a pickle, financially speaking. It’s getting harder and harder to pursue my unique hobby—not out of a lack of will, mind you, but due to the downright stubborn emptiness of my wallet.
Here I am, nearly sixty, hiding in the heart of a tiny town in Alberta, where the air feels just like it did when I was a spry seven-year-old. It’s home, through and through, though the folks around here don’t rightly know how deep our connections run.
Now, I’ve got to be clever about my… let’s call it my special pastime. Not exactly what you’d call a job, more like a calling, but without the holy overtones. Most folks have this notion, probably from watching too many flicks, that folks in my line of work are swimming in cash. They think we’re all dolled up, jet-setting villains with nary a care besides plotting our next grand exit. Ha! If only they knew the truth of it.
The reality is, I’m about as flush with cash as a dry well in the middle of a drought. This financial pinch has me moonlighting as a janitor, of all things. Can you imagine? There’s a certain irony in cleaning up messes by day and…well, making entirely different sorts of messes by night. But let me tell you, it’s a bit of a juggle, and it sure does take the wind out of your sails when it comes to ridding the world of its more unsavory characters.
You might wonder how I pick ’em. It’s not about their job, their messes, or their successes. No, sir. It’s simpler than that. I’ve got a rule: if they’re mean to kids, they’re on my list. The world’s a smidge better with each one gone. And I’ve dealt with all sorts, from the downright monstrous to the seemingly mild who harbor a streak of cruelty so wide you could drive a wagon through it.
The law and those movie types figured out there’s a serial killer on the loose, sure. But did they ever connect the dots, see the pattern in who I was choosing? Not a chance. There’s a sea of folks out there who’ve got it coming, by my reckoning, for how they treat the little ones.
Take, for example, the sweet-looking grandma I once observed twisting her granddaughter’s ear something fierce. A few days later, she was taking a permanent nap at the bottom of a slough. At her funeral, they all waxed poetic about her love for children. If only they knew.
So, I watch, and I wait. And when someone crosses that line, well…they don’t get a chance to cross it again. I figure if there’s a God out there watching all this, He’s got to understand. And if He doesn’t, well, maybe He’s not the God I thought He was. And don’t even start with me on the idea of God being a woman—that’s a whole different kettle of fish.
In this little corner of the world, I’m something of a shadow, watching over things in my own peculiar way, guided by a moral compass that points squarely at protecting the innocence of childhood, no matter the personal cost. And let me tell you, in this line of work, the personal cost is high—but then again, so are the stakes.