Johnny unfiltered

I once knew a Vet named Johnny

that is to say

I made his acquaintance

I’d wager no one really knew him

not after the war

he came back different

as many do

he rarely ever spoke

and never about the things he had seen or done

we worked for the same company for a time

though I don’t know what he did there

all I know is that his office was always cloudy with smoke

from his habitually chain smoking unfiltered  Pall Malls

we weren’t friends

in fact I doubt he even knew my name

our encounters were usually limited

to meeting at the office coffee pot

till that one night


that one night

after closing

after everyone had gone

I stopped by the Circle K next door

before starting my walk home

as i was walking by our building

a man from my past

who refused to take no for an answer

stepped out from the shadows

with threats to end my life

we threw obscenities at each other

and he threw a couple punches

but I was holding my own

till he pulled out a crowbar

just as he was raising it above his head to strike

I saw headlights and heard the screech of tires

with the car still running and the door flung wide open

Johnny was out of his car

and in one fluid motion had taken the crowbar away

I looked on in awe and disbelief

as he proceeded to beat him bloody

Johnny never said a word

never broke a sweat

and never dropped the lit Pall Mall

from between his lips

When it was over

all I could say was

“Thank You”

but I’m not sure if he heard

cause he just got back in his car

and drove away







~Melanie Thomason






Filed under Poetry, Stories

8 responses to “Johnny unfiltered

  1. Soughik Kayzakian

    Precious Johnny could not weep for all he had seen, he needed to remain in the fog of Pall Mall smoke as if to numb the memories of images that haunted his very survival. Almost an invisible soul, he kept on inhaling the smoke for oxygen…until that night, the moment of truth presented itself. He needed to be alive for you to have life, and in doing so he found the spark of motion that sprung him into action. JOHNNY “LIVED” ENOUGH AT THAT MOMENT to be alive today. You will hear from him not as a ghost, but a real human angel who was dispatched to guard you and save your life. You both experienced the power of Love! I am grateful for Johnny’s service both to our country and towards you. I am grateful for your life in sharing your truth with the rest of us.

  2. What a wonderful story about a wonderful man. We need so many Johnny’s in our world. Great post. It’s nice to have a happy ending.

  3. nokindofmagic

    And this one made me speechless. Raw, disarming and emotionally gutting.

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