I am broken now that she's gone. She’s dead and he’s alive. It's not right. And he keeps infecting others. Yet they follow him like sheep. No more. Today I will make it right.
Roger's thoughts race as he anxiously awaits the moment when he will act. There he stands beneath the weeping willow in the church parking lot. No one can see his eyes darting from side to side; no one can hear his breathing rise and fall with anticipation.
He pulls a newspaper article from his right front pants pocket, reads it and tears up with grief and anger:
An Ohio woman who gave up the chance to keep living in order to give birth to her first child passed away late Friday, a hospital spokesperson said. The hospital staffer indicated that Cheryl Sims died surrounded by family at St. Jude Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
Doctors removed Sims' feeding and breathing tubes on Thursday, a day after she gave birth to her son. Sims declined to undergo treatment for her stomach cancer that had spread aggressively and was determined to be inoperable as she believed it would seriously harm or kill her unborn child.
Sims was adamant about bringing her fetus to term even if that meant sacrificing her own life. She came into St. Jude knowing that as a Catholic hospital it did not do abortions and would honor her wishes to give birth even if it meant her death. The spokesperson explained that the hospital staff did everything it could to save both the mother and the child, but the mother's condition had deteriorated so far that her condition was terminal.
He can read no further. I loved her. When we found out she was pregnant, I felt such joy. Then we found out she had advanced cancer. We were faced with choosing between her and our baby. I argued with her about the choice, and I told her that I choose her over our potential child. We could always make a new one.
But she was not convinced that it was OK to have an abortion. I pleaded, "Why kill the baby slowly with a treatment full of chemicals and radiation when it could be killed quickly and painlessly at the hands of an abortionist?"
Yet, she struggled with what to do. So, we went to see her parish priest, Fr. Tom. Unlike Cheryl I have never been involved with the Church although I did accompany her to services on occasion just to keep her company.
This Tom guy told her that the child she was carrying was a human being made in the "image and likeness of God" just as she was, and that because of this, abortion was always a serious wrong because it was the killing of an unborn human life. But then he complicated matters when he told her that there are some thoughtful Christians who believe that if keeping the fetus would mean the death of the mother, then abortion could be justified as self-defense.
"But my baby is not killing me, Father, my cancer is." Cheryl was so filled with sadness, fear and confusion that her words were mere whispers. "What should I do, Father?"
Cheryl chose Joey over herself. And I am left with grief and anger and a burning need to make things right, to stop this insanity before it infects the rest of the world.
That's why I'm here outside this church. Waiting to punish that priest. Waiting to flush away his poison that has infected these people who have bought his drivel and may spread it beyond this asylum. I don't remember much from the Bible, but I do remember Jesus calling the hypocrites of his time "a brood of vipers" whose corruption spreads to whomever they touch like a cancer. I am the surgeon. I am their true savior. I am the cleansing power who will be thanked for my bravery someday.
Roger turns away from the tree and walks slowly to his van in the church parking lot. He unlocks the back doors, climbs in and shuts the doors behind him. There is an arsenal inside: a semi-automatic rifle fitted with a bump stock with a fully loaded magazine already in it and four handguns also fully loaded. Before he reaches for them, Roger Sims, the onetime husband of Cheryl, the father of a dead son, the soon-to-be martyr, makes sure his duffle bag contains his black ninja clothes and black ski mask. He pulls them out and lays them aside. In their place he carefully lays down his arsenal so that the weapons might be ready at hand when he needs them. Roger then puts his clothing back into the bag and zips it shut. Very soon we will see how this song and food fest will be revealed as "sound and fury signifying nothing."
Roger looks out of the van's windows and watches the sea of people filing into the church. He needs to wait until just the right time, the moment when that priest comes down from behind the altar and sees Roger face-to-face. Roger feels exhilarated yet covered with a deep sense of dread. He has never done anything like this before. But now it is necessary to rid the world of this priest and his contamination. Roger's hands begin to shake, and he takes in quick, shallow breaths. Be still my beating heart. I must be patient. The time will come when I'm sure not to miss.