Coat of Vengeance - John Fischer
Clay was a well to do businessman. He had everything he wanted and more. However, the ‘more’ came from disreputable and despicable means. Clay while being a seemingly decent man by day was nothing more than a lying, conniving, underhanded crook. However, no one could ever see that he was made of evil; because he held an influence over those he associated with. He had a way of saying or doing just the right thing to keep his friends smitten and his enemies off-balance.
His family however, knew what he was like and could not stand him. They stayed away from him as much as they possibly could, but they could not avoid the events of one fateful, gray, rainy, November day.
Clay’s uncle was also very wealthy, the difference between the two was that Clay’s uncle was a good, hardworking, decent man. Although the rest of the family hated him, Clay’s uncle did not. He made every attempt to change his nephew’s deplorable ways. He went so far as to bring him to a very special party that he was having. His guests ranged from personal friends, to acquaintances he had made through out his business life.
The party was very elite and upscale, something Clay was accustomed to. It was also something Clay loved, because he could not pass up the opportunity to connive or swindle someone out of their money. Brenda, Clays’ first cousin and his uncles daughter, attempted to dissuade her father from allowing Clay to attend the party, however, he was determined to prove that a man could change.
To herself, Brenda thought that maybe a man could change, but Clay was a vicious, heartless, dirty, animal. Against all of his daughters pleading and reasoning, her father granted Clay access to the party. It was a grandiose affair filled with the rich and powerful whom were not only friends of Clay’s uncle, but who were also his neighbors. Clay was in his glory schmoozing with the elite guests making his subtle attempts at making a connection with the right person. He then came across an old widower who was all by his lonesome.
Clay weighed his options and decided to make his play with the old man. The old man was the founder of a local train and truck transportation and freight company called Espenali R and R. He was the first to establish a company of the sort in his city and state. Because of his keen sense and ideas, and lack of competition, he made it big and became one of the largest commercial shipping and traveling companies. However, he had lost his wife some years ago and had been alone ever since. He attended parties to try to stay active and out of a depressed state, but it did not work.
Clay approached the old man and began conversing with him. He learned about the man’s history and his family. The man’s family was caring, but did not live with him. They had moved out long before his wife ever took ill and because of their jobs and positions in life were never able to move back. Clay knew he had found his target and began to inspect the old man a bit closer.
He noticed that he was wearing a one of a kind Victarelli overcoat. It was one of seven unique coats handmade by Victarelli himself thirty years before. They were designed and tailored for a large men’s fashion exposition in Milan. However, there would never be another one made exactly like them since Giuseppe Victarelli passed away soon after in a tragic accident. It was a “salt and pepper” patterned coat with bright mother of pearl buttons. The collar was charcoal black and made out of the finest velvet. The coat was worth a fortune and Clay knew he had to make it his. After the party he kept in touch with the man paying him visits and brining him treats. He was better to the old man than he was to his own father, all for the sole purpose of acquiring the coat.
The years passed and the old man began to think of Clay like a son. He gave him money and other possessions of his, but would never part with the coat. As he said, the coat would be given to his own son once he had passed away. It was not written in any will, but the man had said it and stuck with his promise since he had first purchased it. Clay was angry, but he bid his time, he would make sure that the coat was his.
As time progressed, the old man’s family learned of Clay and the friendship between him and their father. Eventually though, they began to see Clay for the con artist he was and not as the nice, generous man he pretended to be. They warned their father about him, but he could not get passed Clay’s kind and sympathetic demeanor. To him Clay was almost an angel sent by God to care for and watch over him. Clay knew he was in, but the coat was the one thing that ‘in’ could still not get him. He plotted and planned but no matter what he tried, the coat remained out of reach.
More years passed and the old man took ill. In his final moments as his family raced to see him, he told Clay to make sure that his son got the coat. They were his last words and his upset, despondent, and distressed family reached him moments too late. Clay had his opportunity right in front of him. Now no one knew of the final wish of the old man except him and with that he would be able to take exactly what he had obsessed over for so many years.
While the family mourned, Clay quickly and quietly slipped away up to the man’s bedroom. He located the coat and snatched it from the closet before anyone checked for it. He carefully opened the window and let the coat down onto a low hanging tree branch. He walked downstairs and outside acting as if he was too emotionally distraught to be in the house at that moment. He ran to the tree and took the coat down. He placed it in the trunk of his car and smiled with a twisted glee of excitement, that he had finally gotten exactly what he had wanted.
The man was buried a few days later and a month after that the will was read and every one of the old man’s possessions were distributed to the right people. The only thing that remained unaccounted for was the coat. The man’s only son knew that it was promised to him and desperately wanted it purely as a memory of his father. He had fond memories of walking down the streets with his dad wearing the coat smelling like his old cologne and cigars. Clay claimed to have no knowledge of the location of the coat or even what the coat was. The son could tell Clay was lying, but there was no way to prove it.
Clay had made it away clean with the coat that he had obsessed over for so long. The very next day after he was clear of the past, he decided to go out for a walk. It was a bright, clear blue day, but chilly. He put on the coat and wore it proudly, as if there was a reason to. As he strolled down the street he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. He turned to see what it was, but nothing was there. He thought to himself that it was just a bird or a leaf blowing in the wind. He kept walking as if he was the king of the world.
He heard a noise behind him and turned to see what it was, but he saw nothing and heard nothing more. He began to become a little bit perturbed, but he tried to put it behind him. He continued to strut down the street, but it would not last for long. Slowly he heard and saw more and more things around him that at a second glance were not actually there. Slowly the images and sounds became more vivid and more clear until he saw the horrific images and heard the screams of tormented souls up close and personal.
He was terrified and tried to run, but he could not escape the hell on earth that he was in. He ran and collapsed to his knees on some railroad tracks completely giving up. He clutched his head and waivered back and forth wishing that the visions would go away. In the distance a train approached, but he could not see it. It got closer and blew its horn, but he could not hear it. He did not know the train was there until it was right on top of him. Just before the train hit the images and sounds stopped to allow him to see his imminent doom and ultimate fate. He screamed with horror as it crushed him into the tracks and destroyed the coat.
The train stopped moments after and bystanders called the police and ambulances. They arrived shortly after, but there was nothing that could be done. Clay was pronounced dead at the scene and only the label of the coat was distinguishable. The train happened to be carrying the old man’s family back their homes. They stepped off of the train and recognized the mutilated remains of Clay. The son noticed the label and knew that Clay had in fact stolen the coat and in a quirk of fate was killed while wearing it. It was almost as if he was punished for his dishonesty and underhanded deeds. The son wondered what it was that drove Clay in front of the train and what his last thoughts were just before he was killed. But just like the last words of the old man, the last thoughts of Clay were dead with him. The son would never know that the last thing Clay saw was the name emblazoned across the front of the train, “Espenali R and R.”