Friday, December 31, 2010


I take a long pull off of my watery beer. Then, as I loosen my necktie, I wordlessly curse my boss and coworkers. There is no music playing on the jukebox. John the bartender just finished hosing off the thick plastic mats from behind the bar and is dragging them back inside from the alleyway.

I stare into my beer and I try to think of someplace I'd rather be, but my thoughts dwell on neighborhood trifles and my pensive outrage toward my draconian employer. I sink into my own lonely helplessness. There is not another person in the bar. To me, John might as well be a robot. We never talk and I don't think he likes me.

I nod to John as I walk outside groping for my pack of Newports. Placing a cigarette in my mouth I notice someone near the alley, leaning against the bar's brownstone facade. She's wearing tight bluejeans and a black sweatshirt with the hood up. Long blond hair pours from the left side of her neck down almost reaching her hips. She plays her fingers through it and I notice a white paper bracelet on her wrist.

I light my cigarette and feigning nonchalance say, "Hello."

She swiftly lifts her head but her startled gaze never seems to focus on me. I hesitate, worrying for a moment I had frightened her until she smiles showing all of her teeth still looking all about. She giggles, "Come here," then she turns into he alleyway. The black sweatshirt flies in a high arc into the street.

I follow eagerly after her. Looking down the dimly lit sidestreet I can see this strange girls head showing over the other side of the dumpster. Her arms stretching up she pulls all her hair behind her. As I step quickly to meet her I toss my freshly lit smoke into a puddle. I come around the side of the dumpster and stop short.

She looks directly at me now and her demeanor has turned angry and searching. She wears a men's white tank-top and her pale skin is speckled black and brown where it is caked with dried blood. Covering her are long lacerations that have only recently been treated. The flesh is pinched up and protruding a little where the deep gashes have been closed. They don't look like stitches so much as staples; identical, in sight, to the staples that we use at the office.

Gawking for several moments, I mutter repeatedly, "Oh, I'm sorry," in a very pathetic whimper.

She lunges toward me, a light flickering on her hand as she thrusts it toward my torso. The knife hesitates an instant against the resistance of my abs, just before slipping into me. The pain is more intense than anything I have felt in my life. In agony and rage I desperately grab her small cranium with both of my hands and I dig my thumbs into each of her eye sockets. She cries out and trying to stab me again, slices my right flank. Still holding her head tight between my palms, I use all my strength to smash her skull against the brick wall behind her. I do it again and I don't stop until she is slack and unconscious. And I stagger out of the alleyway.