01 March 2017

And The Violent Take It By Force

My brain feels like it is being slammed from one side of my skull to the other. I press my forehead against the window. Eleven more hours. That's all it's down to, eleven hours. Then I will be reborn. Eight thousand two hundred fifty four days, and now it's down to just eleven hours. Well, add on the time it takes to get there from the station. Eleven hours and whatever.

The cold glass of the window don't really help the aching in my head. It's psychological. I learned that. I need to calm down. I can't get ahead of myself.

He'll be an old man. And I will be the age he was. So I was never me.

It's like my brain is trying to run away from its thoughts—but it's trapped inside the skull.  It's crashing from one side of the skull to the other, trying to bust out.  I made it almost twenty-three years, I can't let my head crack open now.

The bus pulls out.  Except for the brakes, it's quiet.  It's a quiet bus.  Not a lot of engine noises.  Or mechanical sounds.  Like screws are loose and metal pieces are rattling around.  There aren't any sounds like that.

I'm leaving Marquette behind.  I felt nothing going in there, and I feel nothing leaving.  It meant nothing to me.  Just waiting.  Headaches and waiting.

**

We pull into the station at Gladstone.  No, it's not even a bus station.  Just a gas station.  A Shell station.  These little hick towns. That's all we'll pass through.  Little hick towns.  Nothing towns.  Greyhound don't even come through here.  I'm on an Indian Trails bus.  Indian Trails, like this is the wilderness or some shit.  It's just hick.  It's just nothing towns.  It'll be the same in Clare.  I'll get off at the gas station at the truck stop on 127.  

Nobody gets off here, except the driver.  A fat nigger.  He puts his coat on and gets off the bus.  Where's that nigger going?  Looks like the fat nigger is just standing there, smoking a cigarette.  His cigarette smoke looks thick in the cold air.

Niggers like menthol cigarettes.

It wouldn't be a bad job, being a bus driver.  Maybe I'll look into it.  That's stupid, though.  I don't even know how to drive a car.  Stupid.  What kind of job am I going to get?  Cleaning shitters somewhere?  Nigger work.

Who's that nigger talking to?  Is that a white girl?  Shit, we even had us a nigger President, and now a pissant nigger bus driver gets white women.  No, but it's been that way for years and years now.  All the nigger footballers get white women.  They can even kill them and nobody does shit about it.

The nigger driver gets back on the bus.  The white girl gets on, too.  She's a passenger. 

**

My eyelids get heavy.  And then, kind of fuzzy and cross-eyed, I see that white girl who was talking to the nigger bus driver.  She gets out of her seat and walks back this way.  She's going to the shitter.  She's about to open the shitter door, but she looks over at me.  She stares at me for a second, then goes into the shitter.  I hear her latch the door.  I hear the toilet seat bang down.  A couple minutes later I hear the toilet paper rolling, then a moment later I hear the toilet flush.  The water from the sink.  Then the paper towel dispenser.  Then the latch.  The door opens and the white girl comes out.  Some of the stink she made in the shitter follows her.

She sits in the aisle seat in my row.  There is one empty seat between us.

"Hi," she says.

I take a long look at it.  

Then I look out the window.

I saw that its skin looked a little rough.  And it had a zit at the corner of its nose.  Like a miniature white balloon.  Like if a white balloon had been miniaturized by some kind of scientific shrinking device.  Shrunk down to the size of a popcorn kernel.  Popcorn balloon zit.  Its body was between average and fat, hard to be more exact with all its winter gear covering it.

"Betcha I know where you got on," it says.

Its reflection is in the window.

"Marquette," it says.

My brain is getting upset, again.

"Know how I know?" it says.

"Your clothes.  Brand new Dickies.  State bought them for you, didn't they?"

I don't look at it.  I look out the window, through its reflection.  It keeps talking.

"I had a man in Marquette.  And when he come out, he was wearing Dickies, just like you.  But he wasn't a man, no more.  They shot him so full of prolixin, he was just a zombie.  Always chewing, and nothing in his mouth.  Poor baby.  Wonder whatever happened to him?"

"Move on," I say to it, still looking out the window.

"I know you don't really mean that, sweetie," it says. 

Then it whispers:

"I'll give you an Indian Trails wedding night for forty.  I know you got to have at least forty on you."

I can still smell a little bit of its stink from the shitter.

"Move on, now.  That would be the best thing."

"You know what an Indian Trails wedding night is, don'tcha, sweetie?" it says, still whispering.  Then it moves closer.  "I'll snuggle tight against ya and stick my tongue in your ear and my hand down your brand new Dickies.  Thirty-five, just cuz you're so sweet."

I can't let this dirty whore crack my head open.

"Let me see your hands," I say.

It puts one of its hands on my thigh and starts rubbing, real light.

"Don't that feel good?  When's the last time you had a woman touch you?"

I remember exactly the last time a woman touched me.  It didn't end well.  Fat old piece of shit thought it could drag me into the blackness of Hell.  No.  No, sir.  No.  Nobody's sending me to Hell.

"You're dirty," I say to it.

"You bet I'm dirty," it whispers.

"You got dirt under your fingernails."

It stops rubbing my leg.  

"That's probably shit under your nails.  You were just in the shitter, wiping your shit ass.  You got shit under your nails."

It turns red.  It starts to open its mouth.  It probably wants to say something angry.  I shake my head.  It hurts to do it, but I do it.

"Don't you say a God damned word," I tell it.  "Or I'll laugh real loud and tell everyone on this God damned bus you're nothing but a dirty shit-hand whore."

It glares at me.  I can see the thoughts raging behind its eyes, crashing back and forth in its head.  Its trying to find something in its brain to fire back at me.  But there's nothing. No.  No, sir.  No.  There can be nothing.

I laugh.

"No weapon formed against me shall prosper," I tell it.

I'm done with it.  I look out the window.  I see its reflection as it gets up and walks to another seat.



**

I open my eyes.   Out the window I can see a mangled deer on the side of 127.  Robbie would be sad.  She liked animals more than people.  Maybe that's why we were almost friends.

**

The bus pulls into the Marathon station at Cid's Truck Stop.  Clare.  Home again.  I got to keep my brain in check just a little longer.

I think about walking by Robbie's house, but that would be stupid.  First, she wouldn't be there.  Everybody leaves Clare.  Second, she's had a whole life.  So even if she were still around, she'd be used up, by now.

I thought maybe she might send me a letter—stupid.

I never did learn how to properly relate with other people.

But I was able to talk to Robbie.  I maybe talked to her three times in the 11th grade.  I saw her once at lunch time, outside.  A little baby bird had fallen out of its nest, and she was trying to help it.  "Just step on it and be done with it," I says.  "You're ignorant," she says.  And then she told me a long story how animals were better than people.  Maybe a month later I stole this little keychain that had a rabbit's foot on it.  I gave it to her in the hallway at her locker.  "Here," I says, "I know you like animals."  She didn't say anything.  Maybe a month later I stole this feather necklace from the Indian store.  "Here," I says to her, "I know you like animals."  "You're weird," she says.  She ran her fingertips along the edge of the feather.  Real gentle.  "Is this a real eagle's feather?" she says.  "I don't know," I says.  I can still remember her pretty, clean hands, her slender fingers very gently touching the edge of the feather.  I never talked to her again.

**

It's four miles from the truck stop to the house.

Clare hasn't changed too much.  I can find my way, no problem.  There is a Subway now at the truck stop.  They sell sandwiches.  There are some other new stores in town, and some of the old ones look different.  The street signs look different, but they say the same things.  The houses are the same, but some of them look even more beat-up.  

Cars drive by, I see people looking at me.  They don't know who I am.  In a hick town like this, you never see a new face.  Well, there might be a few left who could maybe recognize me.  Maybe.  It doesn't matter.  I won't be here long.

**

The cold doesn't bother me.  I'm warmer out here in this cheap jacket with a little sun hitting me than I was up in my cell in Marquette.

**

There it is.  Home.

I stand out front and look at it.  The place never was much.  It's worse, now.  The front porch sags.  The paint is cracked.  Shingles missing from the roof.  Gutter torn loose at one end.  This is where I come from.  Shabby.  I come from a shabby place.  I guess it fits.  

I walk up to the storm door.  The glass isn't it.  Still got the screen in.  I grab the handle and pull.  It's locked.  I bang my fist on the bottom of the door, the aluminum part.  That makes a nasty sound, that cheap metal rattling, bouncing around.

I stand there, waiting for him to open the front door.  I won't have to bang on the storm door again.  He'll look to see if whoever it was is gone.  That's how he is.  I used to watch him peeking out.  That's his nature.  Too timid to just open the fucking door.  He'll peek, and then he'll see me.

I stand at the door.  I'm in no hurry.  Time no longer matters.  The eight thousand two hundred fifty four days is gone.  There is only eternity, now.

I look in the mailbox—nothing in it but rust.

I look around at the old neighborhood—there's nothing to see.

I look at the sky.  It's gray.

This is freedom: looking at a gray sky.

The door opens.  There he is.  My brain tries to leap out at him.

An old man.  White hair, too long.  White stubble on his face.  Dirty t-shirt.  

"I knew this day was coming," he says.  There's not much left to his voice.  A tired old man in a dirty t-shirt.

Some people believe the whole world is an accident, but accidents would never produce anything so raggedy.  No.  No, sir.  No.  When you look at a worn-out old man like this, you see the work of God.

"Open up," I say.

"This won't help you," he says.

There are some crusty stains on his shirt, like maybe he blew his nose on it.

"What won't help?" I say.

He looks over my shoulder.  There's no one he can call to.

"What won't help?" I repeat.

"Whatever it is you're planning."

"What am I planning?"

He tries to look me in the eye, but I just shake my head, and then he's studying his feet.

"What am I planning?"

"I don't know."

"Then how can you know if it will help or not?"

I pull the storm door.

"Open it."

"I can't do that," he says.

"You know I'm coming in there.  Why have a broken door?"

"I'll call the police," he says.

"You know the cord will be wrapped around your neck before you can say 'help.'"

He stands there, thinking.  Trying to think of some way to escape the next few minutes.

"You need to believe me.  This will not hurt you.  This will not hurt you, physically.  Let me in.  Do what I ask.  It will all be over in ten minutes.  And you can go back to your life, whatever that is."

"You promise?" he says.

Promise?  What is that in this world?  You would think people would be used to being knocked around.  You would think they could take a step without worrying that anything can happen.

"I promise."

"You promise?"

"I promise."

He looks at me, trying to weigh my character.

"You promise?"

"I promise."

He unlocks the door.  I step inside.  The television is different.  Thinner.  One of those thin ones.  Everything else is the same.  The same as the old man.  Worn by time.  Everything in here was cheap when it was kinda new twenty-five years ago.  Now it's all worn out, too.  Old, cheap shit.  The crap life.

"I don't have any money," he says.

My brain seizes up.

"I know that.  And what the fuck would money mean to me?"

"I don't know.  I don't know what you want.  What do you want?"

I remember when they took me out of here.  My hands were swollen and bruised, hurt like Hell.  Hell.  But my head hurt worse than my hands.  I caught sight of the old man as they walked me out.  He was standing, all shriveled-looking.  More shriveled than usual.  Shriveled up in a corner.  I knew right then it had to be a double cure to get rid of my headaches.  Fuck.  I began waiting right then and there.  Eight thousand two hundred fifty four days.

"What do you want?"

"All you got to do is come over here, kneel down, suck me."

He doesn't say anything.  A little noise comes out of his mouth.  Not a word, just a little sound.  Like a puff of breath or something.  Like a quiet little fart come out of his mouth.  His eyes are wide.  He shakes his head. I see him look at the little shitty table by the hall that runs to the kitchen.  There's a telephone on it.  I walk over.  It's one of them new phones.  All one piece.  No cords or nothing.  I throw it hard against the far wall, and it comes flying apart.  

"You're gonna have to suck me," I tell him.

"I. . .I can't. . .I can't do. . .that."

"I WILL shoot in your mouth.  I will.  It's only a matter of whether you are alive or dead when the come shoots out."

He has a coughing fit.  I take off my jacket and throw it on the couch.  The old lady used to lay her fat ass on that thing and watch her programs. That couch has took a lot of hurt.

"I can't do that," he says, whisper-like.

"Sure you can.  Men do it all the time.  It's easy.  I seen it done by probably a hundred guys in Marquette.  They didn't think nothing about it.  Shit, seemed like they liked it, even."

"I won't," whisper-like.

I walk over.  Hit him on the side of his head, right above the ear.  Hit him hard, but not too hard.  He gasps and buckles to the floor.  He lays in a little ball.

"Alive or dead."

He rubs the spot where I hit him.  Looks like he could cry.

"Why you doing this to me?"

I shake my head.  It hurts real bad, now.

"My brain has been killing me since I was six years old.  And you let her do her dirty business.  You got to finish the cure."

"I didn't know anything about it," he whimpers.

"You God damned liar.  You get on your God damned knees right now and suck, or I will pound your God damned head in.  I will drive your God damned skull into your brain, just like I did her."

He wobbles up onto his knees.

"Get my pants down."

He fiddles around with the button, my headache splitting my brain.  I knock his hands out of the way, push my pants and underwear down.  My limp cock hangs right in front of his nose.  Are you picturing this?  Picture it.  No accident could produce such a vision.  It is as the Book says it is.  The violent take it by force.  So I feel no guilt.  No guilt at all.

"Suck it."

He's crying.  Quiet crying.

"SUCK."

I pound him on the other side of the head, with my left hand.  He falls over. Now the crying is loud.  Shit, I never cried.  I grab a handful of his long white hair and yank him to his knees.

"GET ON IT."

He's got some tears, now.  And a little snot drip.  He opens his mouth, sort of blubbers.  

"Suck it or I'll hit you for real.  Like I hit her.  You seen it.  You want your skull like that, in pieces?"

He leans forward.  He takes my cock like he's getting a drink from a water fountain, his head kind of tilted to the side, his mouth underneath it, then he just sort of laps at it.  I grab two fistfuls of his hair and pull him all the way on it.  I start to go at it.  He tries to resist, gagging and crying, spluttering, but he ain't strong enough to break my grip.  I go at it for a bit, but my cock ain't really hard.  My head hurts too bad.


**

She'd stopped for a few years.  I'd gotten bigger.  I always knew it was wrong.  Her dirty business.  It stank down there.  She was fat, and her hole down there stank.  She'd close her legs around my head and start writhing.  Like a demon was in her.  A snake demon.  Writhing her legs with my head on her stinking hole.  Writhing, shaking my head.  My head rolling on her hole, my brain rolling.  It was black, her legs wrapped around me so tight I couldn't see, my head would start to hurt real bad and her hole stank.  That hole was the entrance to Hell.  

Six years old.  Seven years old.  Eight years old.  Nine years old.  Ten years old.  Maybe around ten years old she wondered if I could get in her hole, too.  If she could get my cock in her hole.  She tried lots of times to get me in her hole, but it wouldn't work.  It took me another year maybe to get strong enough to push her fat ass off.  Then it quit for a long while.  And then one day when I was seventeen, she come up to me and put her hand on my pants and said "you must get hard by now."

The newspaper said I gave her a "savage beating."

I told the police and all the court people my story.  Not looking for any favor, just out of respect for the truth. But the old man did not back me.  Didn't want the shadow of it falling on him.

Anyway, when they walked me out of there, and I seen him shriveled in the corner, I knew he was partly to blame.  He had part blame in my headaches.  He'd have to take his part of a double cure for my brain hurting so God damn bad.  But his sin was less than hers.  His skull didn't have to be broken into pieces.  I could shoot in his mouth, and the pain would be done with.  His sin was less than hers.  His sin was less, like Pilate.  Pilate, from the Bible.  You should read the Bible.

**

I feel a little bad for the old man, struggling over my limp cock.  I need to help him through this.  We both can be cured, then.  

There's Robbie.  With her pretty hands.  Her slender fingers.  Gently touching the edge of the eagle feather.  I see myself holding her hand.  Her clean hand.  Her hand touching my hand, the way God planned it.  

There's Robbie.  With her pretty hands.  Her slender fingers.  Gently touching the edge of the eagle feather.  I see myself holding her hand.  Her clean hand.  Her hand touching my hand, the way God planned it.

There's Robbie.  With her pretty hands.  Her slender fingers.  Gently touching the edge of the eagle feather.  I see myself holding her hand.  Her clean hand.  Her hand touching my hand, the way God planned it.

I'm nearly choking the old man, he's trying to get loose of it, but there's Robbie.  With her pretty hands.  Her slender fingers.  Gently touching the edge of the eagle feather.  I see myself holding her hand.  Her clean hand.  Her hand touching my hand, the way God planned it.

I shoot it.  

I let go of the old man.  I got clumps of his white hair in my hands.  He's choking and spitting out the mess.  His face is fire red.

I wait.  

I count to ten.  Then twenty.  Then thirty.  My brain don't hurt.  It's all settled down.

"You go clean yourself," I tell the old man.  "You did right."

**

As he's washing himself in the bathroom, I get to thinking:

It ain't so bad here.  Maybe I could get a little job cleaning shitters at the truck stop.  I learned how to clean shitters in Marquette.  Maybe I could clean shitters at the Subway.  Make a little money.  Help the old man fix up the place.  Clean it up.  Paint it.  Do some repairs or what not.  We're square now, the old man and me.  We could start again.  Start all over from zero.  It's not much, but what is much in this world?

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