Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Not over it

 3 WW
Three words. Write.
Metallic, adjective: of, relating to, or resembling metal or metals, (of sound) resembling that produced by metal objects striking each other; sharp and ringing, (of a person's voice); emanating or as if emanating via an electronic medium, having the sheen or luster of metal; noun: a paint, fiber, fabric, or color with a metallic sheen.
Optimal, adjective: best or most favorable; optimum.
Polished, adjective: shiny as a result of being rubbed, accomplished and skillful, refined, sophisticated, or elegant. 

Not Over It

I’m sitting alone smoking in a back booth of the diner.  I don’t smoke, not under normal circumstances. Smoking is just not something I necessarily like.  I’ve always had bad lungs and I know the dangers, but seriously after the day I had, I think, why not?  Seems like I cheated death today and I may as well continue to roll the dice.  I reach across the table to bring the ashtray closer, and I have to wince.  I think I have some broken ribs, and the left side of my face was repeatedly the contact point for some one’s fist.  I know I look and feel oh, so pretty, but I didn’t bother to get my food to go and sulk away.  I’m not so sure I didn’t deserve the beating I took, I had been hiding for a while, and now since I got the physical message that someone was pissed at me, which I already knew, I could eat out in public and even if I can’t chew without it hurting, I’m giving my haters a big, Fuck you, they didn’t get the best of me, and I’m still here and they will have to deal with it. 

The waitress asked me if I needed help and I just smiled my bloody smile and said, “Beauty is pain and someone thought I could use a make-over.  Tomorrow I might get my nose job!”  I guess that she saw my humor and knew I’d be O.K.  I had not been in a confrontation like this since I was in my 20’s.  I used to run with a rough crowd and I needed to collect some money and the guy thought instead of giving me money, that I would take a beating.  I took it too, but his mistake was having a machete that was within my reach. When I had enough, I swung that long metallic blade in a downward motion. The tip of the blade sliced him from his ear to his chin, he started grabbing at his face to stop the blood and I cursed him and said, “My money or I’ll keep slicing!” He still held the side of his face when he gave me the blood stained stack of money.  I didn’t see him again.  I suspect he went to Mexico or anywhere in South America that he couldn’t be found.  A scar like that is hard to hide. I'm lucky I wasn't the one who got the scar or worse. I don't fight so much anymore.  I'm older now and I know the value of control.

I’ll tell you what happened.  It was one of those rare days when I went around in the daylight.  I stopped in and spoke to Walt, the bartender in a little sliver of a bar downtown where there is only a one way path of space between the bar stools and the wall.  I hate going there in the evening, I will send someone in to have the person I need to talk to come out, just so I avoid the crowd. I had a beer with Walt and he told me stories of his cat and showed me pictures on his phone.  Walt must have 200 of the same exact outfits, because I always see him in the same cotton collared shirt and jeans, but they never have any wear on them.  He also has four cats, not just the one. He never has a fur ball on him or a single hair.  It’s curious that’s all. 

Big Tony came in and he gave me a big Italian hug when he saw me.  I like Big Tony.  He is so genuine when he hugs, it feels like family.  Italians can’t help being affectionate, so it’s a natural thing they do.  I go months sometimes without any physical contact with anyone.  It’s awkward for me, but hey, it’s Big Tony.  Little Tony, his son plays minor league baseball, and sometimes I watch his games on the television.  We talk a bit about Little Tony.  There couldn’t be a father prouder of his son in the whole neighborhood.  Big Tony asked what I was doing now and if it was something he would be interested in.  I shrug him off and say, “nothing to mention, small stuff here and there.”  Of course I’m lying. 

I met Big Tony when I worked in the mall as a teenager at a German deli as a meat slicer.  Big Tony would come in for Rubens and potato salad.  That big Italian man ate more than pasta, go figure.  Big Tony was a shoe salesman and always wore a suit and tie.  I was impressed with him. He was the only guy I knew at the time that kept his shoes polished. I thought of him as a guy who had his shit together, even though he is only about four years older than me.  I liked him and we became friends.  He slipped me a few odd jobs for extra money.  These odd jobs had nothing to do with shoes.  I was loyal and Tony became as impressed with me as I was with him, he once complimented me on how I carried myself.  He said I had a cool, easy, nonchalant attitude, especially when things got “rough.” Some guys feed off that violence, and it overcomes them. I was calculating and if I had to “rough” someone up, I made sure I was quick and painful.  I didn’t like losing or expelling any unnecessary energy.  I was the same way with my words.  I soon got my own business going and stopped working for Big Tony.  It was real respectful and we are cautious of each other, but have never had any overlapping problems. No harm, no foul, that’s our relationship. 

He asked me about a girl named Rosalynn, he said he had not seen her in a while.  I told him I saw her a few weeks back and she had two kids, boys.  “she is living your life, T-ball and baseball, six days a week.  He nodded and said for me to tell her he asked.  I told him a few more stories about her. 

This whole conversation was a farce.   I knew what Big Tony was talking about and Walt didn’t need to know.  It’s a little uncomfortable to know someone so well and talk so intimately about someone and really, you are talking about “something,” without actually directly talking about “the thing.”  That’s the best way I can explain it.  “Rosalynn,” was a situation and now that I knew, I was involved.  Thanks Big Tony.

I said I had some things to do, and bought Big Tony a drink and left.  That’s how it started off. 

After I left Walt's bar I went to see the lamp man.  He is a cool guy that works on anything that can hold a bulb.  He has a lamp shop, but has an arsenal all through his shop.  No one can get near him without a bullet hole, that’s his reputation.  His character is messed up, he has a sick, warped view of the world, with that view, he is a hard man.  He will fight with you about politics, and religion, or the absence of religion.  He said once that he had a big political life. His years of fighting the fight, made him a highly opinionative, angry man. He ratted out some people in the House Committee and it shook up a lot of deals.  He is a man of quiet calamity, I am careful of what I said in our conversations, he could turn on a dime in his emotions, like a woman on her period.  He told me I did not understand the country and how communist held political office, on our nations soil and the idiots had no idea, and I had to be smarter than all of them.  Sometime I feel a great crevasse between us when he talks. He always ends his soap box speeches with, “open your eyes!!  Why can’t you and everyone else see what is clearly in plain view??”  He is probably right and he might sacrifice me, if it is necessary to promote his agenda, so we remain friends.  

Fuck these adventures with extremist;  I feel my insides being punctured, likely from broken bones and busted muscles swelling.  I let out a few groans and light another cigarette, my breathing is shallow but that is optimal I can expect with these broke ribs.  

The neighborhood used to be a safe place.  It was ideal for a long time.  I am a true local, a true insider.  There are a lot of people still local.  I met Bill one night out when we were feeding dollars to the local stripper pole talent.  He said he was new to the area, and asked where to go and what to do. He bitched a lot about the prices of the taxi’s and the weather and other travesties that he felt were directly related to him. He even argued the fact that most of the strippers having small breast were a slap to the face for him, I explained to him these girls were new, they get new tits if they work there for longer than a year.  The owner is generous like that.

Over a few months, Bill seemed to be everywhere I was.  What was odd was, he would be there before me, and talk to me like I was his brother or something.  I didn’t feel like our relationship was an episode of Seinfield, but he did.  He would always talk about what he did since he saw me last, got a haircut with Mickey, had the prime rib at Gabe’s Steakhouse, fished in the river, etc.  I caught on that he wanted me to mirror him and share the same about myself.  It was hard to explain it, because my perception was wholly mine, no one else saw it.  They saw Bill as a friendly, talker. I thought he was a major asshole. 

There is a big difference between someone’s reputation and their character.  The difference between reputation and character is that your reputation is what people say about you; what they think about you. Character is what your actions say about you, it's what you really are.  When there is conflict between the two, people take sides. 

There were some incidents that Bill was involved in and his actions made his reputation questionable.  When these incidents came to the surface, his reputation of being a standup guy, brought up a lot of conflict.  It really shook up the neighborhood.  Allegations were not believed, but that is life in the neighborhood, you walk around shaking hands and kissing babies like a politician, but in the dark you go around busting up their property or working out some deals that result in life or death.  Some things are not ever perceived, but when they surface, they surface like icebergs, small on the surface and deep and wide under.  Perception is how you play the game.  The game is to win.  I don’t feel like I won today.  

 The news report told the story, Bill got involved with a girl, and he shot her in the face while she slept on her couch, then Bill turned the gun on himself and it was ruled a double suicide.  The neighborhood could only conclude that because they were the “perfect couple.” No way Bill could have just boldly shot her.  It was suspected the couple had to have agreed to a suicide pact and told him that she didn’t want to know when it happened.  The chief of police even agreed with this bull shit in his report, he wrote it was a double suicide,  that they must have made a pact, this was not a murder- suicide case.  And even wrote the words, “God bless us all,” at the end of his statement.

That’s not what fucking happened.  He murdered her.  How do I know?  My girl, the woman I love, had been molested by him, and so had nearly every woman on his staff. It wasn't sex, it was groping, or rubbing, or hugging and kissing them in a way that made them uncomfortable. It was also some of the things he said, joking.  They did not laugh.  They filed together a sexual harassment suit against him and it’s been all over the television.  I wanted to take care of the bastard myself, but my girl, well she said this was the right thing for all the women, they wanted to be their own hero’s. They really needed to go forward with the suit as a group if they were to be vindicated.  She told me I couldn’t beat the shit out of him and let that be the end of it, the women had to do it legally. They needed everyone to know what had happened.  This happened to too many women to have it quietly "taken care of."  My girl asked me not to do anything. I would have handled it in my own way,  in an instant, if she said the word.  

I know that psycho, Bill, cold blooded killed his girl. The allegations of molestation were right on top of him and he knew, she didn't know him as a someone filled with such hate. He passed off the accusations as misunderstandings.   He needed her.  I believe they talked about the case and she said she was done; he let himself into her apartment when she fell asleep and shot her. Then like a coward, shot himself. 

I got my ass kicked by Big Tony, because I’ve known for a while about the harassment, and didn’t go all "Arnold as the Terminator," with the boys.  His wife was one of the women molested.  She was ashamed and alone and kept it from him.  I didn't know all the names of the women until it was released to the press, I just found out myself.  

I stood by my girl and told everyone of Bill's character. The Bill I knew, was a psychopath that hated women.  Remember the night at the strip club when I first met Bill?  He didn't know me, he didn't know the dancers or their backgrounds.  But it was in his eyes in the way he looked at them, the girls saw it too, when they would refuse his advances then he would curse them and call them whores and other profanities.  He might have been kicked out of the place that night.  I know what I saw. I know what I heard. I know that man hated women. I know.

Big Tony had to kick my ass.  He lost all his reasoning when he found out his old lady kept this from him.  He had no other outlet for his anger, except to kick my ass. He came looking for me and to my bad luck, he found me.  I might have done the same, if the shoe was on the other foot. Damn, he let me have it.  I'm not mad, Sometimes when two people throw down hard, they bounce back tall.  I hope that happens with me and Big Tony.

The waitress brings me a raw steak, "put this on your face lift, beauty queen. I can't look at you like that."  I take the steak and ease it on the side of my face.   


  1. Powerful writing; quite remarkable...

  2. Love your details. Enough but they never become distracting from the story. Could see this evolve into something longer if you wanted.