“I Made You a Tape” by Bruce James Bales

The sight of struggle and unrest. He was struggling with his own unrest.


Just as the people who lived in Rock Island, he was falling out of his beliefs, finding new, more concrete substance to live by.


The city was an example of the failed American dream. Beautiful houses and scenery, choked out by civil unrest, violence, and a booming drug economy.


The Victorian homes seemed to be dwarfed by the street corners.


He had decided to begin making cassette tapes with music on them that would make people wake up, become aware, and search for truth.


He was not seen as a savior, but as insane. When really the word insane, to him, meant inside sanity. He was stable as could be, but on the edge, tilting down to look at the drop others have longed cascaded down.


His deliveries were simple. He would approach random civilians and say, “I made you a tape.”


Today was no different, his plan was the same.


On a trek to the gas station, he came across an usual sight, two younger adults sitting on their porch.


He approached them calmly disguising something inside of his tarnished jeans.


The women saw him approaching and tensed up. She slid back in her chair, scared.


He walked up the creaky old steps, eyes full of fire and fight. He gaze sharpened onto the couple, his fists ripe with rage, and his face full of fury.


The woman held back a scream, tightened her grip on the chair, and braced to be shot.


He reached into his pocket for his weapon.


“I made you a tape,” he said as he gave it to her.