I put both hands on the side of the mailbox and pushed. The red metal was flat, cold, and resistant to my touch, but with enough force it yeilded, and toppled over with a crash onto the sidewalk. On its way down it grazed a blue newspaper box pressing down on it just enough to shatter the glass door. The noise was affirming, satisfying, and disturbing.It was unlike me to do such things, and as I watched it all happen I wondered why I was doing it. At the same time it felt good. It felt powerful, and it gave me the sense of control I was needing. People were watching, glancing eyes fearful of engaging with me. People forcing themselves to not look, but paralyzed by having to focus their will to not stare, or look at me with judgement, and curiosity.
I was a little upset at how little impact the act had created. After the mailbox found its spot on the sidewalk it appeared as though it could have been there for weeks. It was like I had just happened upon it. I pushed my hands into my pockets forcing the waist of my jeans to pull down and press onto my hip bones as I walked no where in particular with my eyes at my feet.
I walked for an hour or so and ended up at a small park. There was a picnic table and a garbage can. Dog shit wafted up and around in the breeze, and the grass was spongy under the bottom of my running shoes. I sat on the picnic table with my feet on the bench and my ass on the table top, the way most people sat on a picnic table when they weren’t picnicking.
For a few minutes after walking aimlessly I was nervous someone would follow me, or the police would catch up and pull me out of my self loathing, and arrest me. No one followed.
I sat there, pulled a crushed pack of cigarettes out of my pocket, stratightend one out and lit it with the tiny pink Bic lighter I had stolen from a convenience store a day earlier. As I lit the dry tobacco I felt satisfied with myself that I had stolen the lighter. It made me feel powerful and smart. I felt like I had earned it more by stealing it rather than paying for it.
“Hey buddy you got a smoke for me?”
I looked up and met eyes with a man that looks like he just stepped off a Spanish maurader or pirate ship. He grinned at me with broken brown teeth and his cured leather face looked like crumpled oilcloth with two turquoise blue jewels resting neatly in its upper half. There was a welcoming air about him, and as sodden and greasy as he was he did not revolt me.
“Sure, Mack, here have a fucken smoke on me. Why the fuck not, right?”
I handed him the crumpled pack of cigarettes and he took it with cockroach like fingers, opened the pack, sorted through the three that were left and chose one like they were each very different.
“You got a light?”
I had the lighter lit before he could finish asking and I lit the crooked ciggarette for him. His face crunched together as he pulled in the smoke and it looked as if he was going to pull his face right into his caved in mouth as he operated the cigarette.
“Ah, thanks buddy. Thanks.”
He wore a large trench coat that appeared to have once been a steel blue color. The sun had faded the shoulders and it looked like it had been stolen from a garden scarecrow. A white grey t-shirt with faded oranges on it with a matching orange collar draped over his corpse-like rib cage and professed the words: “I got juiced in Florida!”
I laughed out loud when I read it and it caused me to wretch on my smoke.
“What’s the joke buddy? You laughing at me?”
His nature darkened like a fast moving storm cloud and I met his eyes before I was able to compose myself and was off my guard.
“No, no, not laughing at you. Laughing at your shirt. Where did you get that? It’s great.”
He crunched his face at me and I could almost hear it closing in on itself. Leaning in a little too close, and with zombie grace he hooked his claws at me. His eyes opened wide and for a second it looked like he might be dying, or having a stroke. The pause was a little too long and it ramped up the drama, but that was not his intent, it was like his internal hard drive was searching for information, his eyes the spinning beach ball on a computer screen.
“Where the fuck do you think I got it? Florida. It says Florida on it no?”
“When were you in Florida?”
I asked quickly as I leaned back and away from him. The condition of the shirt would indicate he may have had it on for a year or two, or that he had pulled it out of an automechanic’s rag bin.
“I just got back ass hole, yup, just got off the plane, and my butler just dropped me off here to get some air.”
I held back the urge to laugh again and I asked him a few questions to try and settle him down. I knew that I could have easily just punched him in the face and he would of toppled over. He was weak on his feet. I thought about pushing him, but I wasn’t really interested in touching him. I was even resistant to take back my cigarettes, almost as resistant as he was to give tthem to me for wanting to keep them.
“Wow, a butler huh, you mean like Alfred, Batman’s butler?”
He spit this time when he spoke and some of it landed on the back of my hand. If felt cold when it hit and I rubbed it off on my pants.
“Jesus dude, fucking relax. What the fuck?”
He started laughing, slowly at first and then it worked up into something that was almost uncontrollable. He was bouncing as he did and began to waver around in a state of hysteria. He looked like one of those dogs people used to put in the back window of their cars with the bouncy heads. His laser-blue eyes were wild with abandonment and he looked like he was on the verge of exploding.
“Hey buddy wanna see something fucked up? Wanna see something you’ve never seen before. It’s gonna blow your fucken mind!”
He pulls out a fifth of vodka and takes a swig. It seemed like he had it in his trench coat pocket with the lid off as he just reached for it and started swigging. He pushed it out at me, but pulled it back for another swig before I had a chance to accept or deny it.
At once the fifth was buried back in his coat and his hands were fishing through a large tote bag that he had originally kept slung behind his back. he dug and rifled through what seemed to be just garbage, finally revealing a small cardboard box with a removable lid. He unstrung three rubber bands that were holding the lid on, one snapped in the process, but he ignored it. He put the two still in tact over his hand, and onto his wrist, which revealed a large mass of rubber bands he had in reserve.
“Check this shit out you little fucker! This is what’s left of the other needle dick that was making fun of me.”
With the lid off he pushed the box close enough and at an angle for me to see the contents. It contained what looked like two plump human fingers and a section of an ear. The fingers were rolling around in the box like tiny sausages or wrapped penny candy. I gagged and the sight and scent of the box contents and jumped up, and off of the picnic table.
“What the fuck man? What the fuck?”
I took a few steps back and turned to get as far away from him as fast as I could.
“Where you going you little fucker? I saw you knock over that mailbox. I saw you punch that girl. I’ve been watching you for a while now you little shit. I’ve been watching you all right. You think you’r pretty smart huh. You think you’re pretty fucken tuff. Come back here you little shit. Come back!”
I started walking pretty fast and didn’t look back. I didn’t want to see him. I was terrified to even think about looking at him again. I walked fast, and just hoped that he wasn’t silently following me. A few minutes passed I didn’t think much about anything. I just kept walking, and wondering when I would get back to facing what it was that was behind me, and ahead of me. I just wanted to stay exactly where I was as long as I could. I just wanted to not have to face anything anymore. I realized that I was crying. I wiped the tears from my face in embarrassment, but no one was around.
“Fuck! Fuck my life is Fucked!”
I looked down as I continued walking and saw the cuts on my hand, cuts from where my fist had hit her teeth. It made me wretch with guilt and fear. It made me want to die.
The sun was heavy on me and I was tired, and light headed from all the cigarettes. I would hang out somewhere for a few hours and then I would head back and see if I could pick up the pieces. I would see if there was anything left of her, but right then and there I didn’t have the courage to do anything but keep to myself. I needed more time.
In the distance I could hear him. In the distance I sensed something impending and terrifying. Then I heard him I heard him clearly but very faintly.
“Hey you fucken weasel I’m coming for you. You won’t get away. I coming for you you little fuck.”
I turned and ran, I never looked back.