The Tempered Angel of Justice

So.  Been writing a revenge scene.  Finished it Thursday evening.

As I mentioned before, it was fun.  I dislike the bad guy,*  love the victim, and was totally behind the character who was exacting the actual revenge.

But . . .

Saturday, my husband and I took the kids to Family Free Day at the art museum a town or two over.  It’s a gorgeous place—I could rhapsodize over the elevator alone, which is large enough to hold ballroom dancing classes—with an amazing mix of collections.  I spent some time with Janie trying to interpret the moderns, before turning the corner and catching my breath in the lush realism of the Mexican Colonial rooms.  Then she wanted to go to the kids’ studios, so I dropped her off with my husband, checked on Sunny—who had conned the high school-aged volunteer into reading her a stack of books in a big blue beanbag**—and went exploring.

There was a display of docent favorites, more or less random and eclectic pieces from dancing penguins, a chalkboard-graffiti-like diner scene, and a statue of a very odd-looking little girl.

I was still grinning over Harold Edgerton’s Bullet & Apple, as you do,*** when I rounded a corner and the Angel of Justice stopped me in my tracks.

Six-plus feet of found metal.  Hand on sword.  Head bent at an angle—it looms over you, examining your motivations, as you realize that justice is both beautiful and intimidating, full of sharp edges and reflective surfaces that reveal your true intent.

You had better be sure when you evoke this Angel—it does not mess around and there is no mercy or warmth in it that you do not provide.

Makes one think.

And what it makes this one think about is about mirror images. Parallels.

About the possibility that a victim who allows a friend to take the type of revenge I thought we wanted  is actually allowing that friend to become the bad guy.  The victim doesn’t want that.  S/he has no right to ask it, and s/he’s smart enough to know it.

There is no vengeance that will work on this bad guy.  Physical pain will not make him regret what he’s done, nor will incarceration, nor retribution.  Nothing will.   But something needs to be done—something that will stop him.

Some rewrites would appear to be in order.


*And am frankly a bit worried that my subconscious is harboring the raw material for someone like him.

**No cameras allowed, darn it

Angel of Justice (Leonard St. Eloi, 2009), Figge Art Museum, Davenport, Iowa.