Saturday, January 8, 2005

feels the same

I’m playing guitar in the bathroom, recording it with a small tape recorder. I finish a song. Sweating, I pick up the recorder and rewind. I hit play.
I didn’t rewind far enough, so I hit stop. It doesn’t stop. I hit stop over and over. The fucking stop button doesn’t work.
God damn it. I feel heat rising in my neck and temples. God fucking damnit you fucking piece of shit.
I stand up and kick the stool from under me. I make a fist, but stop mid-punch and think better. I head for the closet.
I dig around for something heavy. I throw clothes around, realizing there’s nothing. No baseball bats, no golf clubs. Left them behind when I left the old life.
My head is hot. I stomp into the kitchen. On top of the fridge is an old street knife, the kind with brass knuckles. It’s been there for years, an artifact from my old life.
I grab it.
I remember the story. It was late at the bar. Big Man was telling jokes, something about a house robbery where the owner surprised him with a knife.
“Don’t bring a knife to the gunfight motherfucker” he says, making a pistol with his thumb and forefinger. “Cut him with his own godamn blade.”
“That’s funny shit” I say out of my beer glass.
“You know I’ve got it right here” he says.
“No, get the fuck outta here” I say.
He tamps out a cigarette, shifts in his chair and slides a knife out of his back pocket. He clunks it down on the table.
“Get the fuck outta here” I say.
“What, you think I’m gonna leave it sticking in his ass?” he says.
I pick it up and try on the brass knuckles.
“You like it?” he says. “Go ahead, it’s yours. Fucking bad luck in my hands anyway.”
“No shit?” I say, folding it open and closed. “Thanks, bro.”
“Maybe that shit will keep you out of gunfights” he says.
I laugh and clink his glass.
“Two more Henry’s” I call to the bartender.
I fold open the knife and head for the bathroom. The recorder’s on the floor. I feel much more drunk now.
“Thought I was done, huh you fuck?” I say.
I grab a shirt from a laundry pile and wrap it around my hand. The hard knife handle hurts without an insulator. I remember this from before.
“You fucking die motherfucker!”
I drop to my knees and take a full swing. I crush the 6-inch blade through the tape recorder and into the carpet underneath. I swing again, stabbing hard, gripping through the towel. I feel my arm muscles, the strength in my shoulders. The knife crashes and sticks in the floor. I twist it out and swing again and again.
My arm gets tired. I grab the recorder and pitch it against the living room wall. Parts spray.
I relax on my knees and drop the knife. My head is drunk with adrenaline. I look around at the mess and take deep breaths. It’s very quiet.
I stand up slowly, rubbing my shoulder. I walk to the kitchen for a waste can. I carefully collect the parts and put them in the can. I put the can back in the kitchen. I sit down. Everything is in order.
I turn on music. It’s an old Brotha Lynch Hung CD. I listen to the lyrics and think. Not much different from the real thing, I think. Not much, just the mess. Feels the same.
I think for a minute about the weight of a body, how hard that is to deal with, how you need friends for that. Guys who know the wilderness spots. Guys like Big Man.
I pour a fresh whiskey and get ready for bed.
I think about my life now. Gotta pick up dry cleaning. Maybe stop in the office for a few hours. Got a presentation next week.
I think about Big Man’s trial. We haven’t talked since. Police went nuts looking for that knife. Hell of a lucky move giving it to me. Thanks to that he’ll be out in… What is it now? 71 months? Shit, better than never.
I take a big gulp and ice clinks against my nose.
I climb into bed and close my eyes. I wait for sunrise so I can finally sleep, as usual.

* * *

No comments:

Post a Comment