A Vignette of Violence

A woman with two children spills a glass of water at a family restaurant.

She turns around and tells her husband “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” He shakes his head.

The little girl says “mommy is the best cleaner in the world!”

The Loser: Part 2

My pace was slow at first, but then the anxiety grew as the cars passed by, and I thought about how I wanted to be at peace. I wished I had the chance to leave this city. To leave mother behind, and have the opportunity to smile and look back and be glad that I overcame the quicksand that was that life.
But everyday was no different than any other, except that I sank further. At least I had my secret friend. So I turned the corner and by then I was jogging. As breathing got harder I remembered the face of my long lost father. I wondered if that was what he really looked like, or if it had been so many years that what I had imagined was only imaginary. A person that never really existed.
I fished out my key as soon as I was a few doors down and slowed to a walk to catch my breath. My face was getting hot and I knew it was red. Not just from being out of shape, but a symptom from drinking during the day. I finally caught my breath on the stoop of the row-home that had been owned by Pops before he passed away.
I opened the door to find that the place had been torn apart. Breaking and entering never crossed my mind because I knew that a robber already lived here. I could hear her upstairs. I stumbled up, not out of drunkenness, but because my nerves were cracking apart. The lock to my bedroom door was broken, my mother was on all fours, throwing my things aside in search of something. I yelled at her to get out. She looked up at me in my disheveled state with hypocritical contempt. She was sneering on the inside.
You wasted little piece of shit. You stole my money to go boozing over there with that loser fag.
Even though I knew it was a waste of time, I explained to her as calmly as I could that I only spent the money I had earned at work in order to forget I had such a horrible mother. But she wasn’t my mother. She was a fiend. She needed money to get high, and lied to herself that I stole the money that she didn’t have in order to feel better about herself. She did this on a regular basis, except today was different, she went too far.
That woman pulled a kitchen knife from underneath my mattress that hadn’t been there before. That’s how I knew this was all premeditated. As I stood there frozen in my drunken stupor she grabbed him, I don’t know how she found him, and she stabbed him in the neck. She tore his insides out into the air in slow motion. I lunged at that fiend holding a knife and grabbed the blade as I tried to save him.
It was too late. In the moments that I tried to wrestle the knife out of her hand, she had ripped his head off and stabbed him until he was unrecognizable. I felt like I had played a part in it. My hand was on the weapon as I tried to stop her. I did not hide him well enough. That woman destroyed the one thing that could console me. I lost him. And so I lost all reason.
By the time I got the knife out of her hand I couldn’t think anymore. I was no longer human, just like her. And so I turned the blade on her. It would have ended there, if it wasn’t for the way she reacted. The cut was not that deep, because she taunted me without much trouble.
Come on little faggot, you fucking loser. That all you got? You’re a drunken dropout just like Arnie and your dad.
In a fit of rage I dove forward with the knife pointed outward. I pierced her heart, the organ she used only for pumping blood. I do not know how many times I stabbed her after that. And I do not know how long I sat there with the still fluffy, formerly white but now crimson-stained stuffed animal insides in my hands. I grabbed as much as I could hold, and I wept. I sobbed silently and loudly, every which way, until I was drained. I felt no remorse, only hatred, as I stared at that fiend’s twisted corpse.
I sat there staring. I picked up the knife and tried stabbing myself. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, because the adrenaline was all gone. I could only make small incisions into my stomach.
The ride to the station was long. They were silent and so was I. They put me in a cell by myself, which is good. It gives me space. But it also gives me time to think. Uncle will visit, and nothing will be said. They will not kill me, but I wish they would. Even though I’m underage, they will try me as an adult. I will not plead insanity, because I’m just like any other. Except that the one thing I loved was taken away from me. And that my mother never cared for me.
All that I can think about is his crooked brown eyes and his soft sadness that was meant to give me comfort and joy. His eyes were human. He was lonely because I put him in dark places when I was gone. But he always forgave me when I came back. I can hear his voice now.
I knew you’d come back. I was stuffed in there all day, but I never lost hope. Let’s get some rest and be happy, even if it is only for a little while.
And now I’m stuffed in the darkness instead of him. With his stained cotton stuffing strewn about this cell. It won’t go away. One of his eyes rolls by across the cement floor. I reach out to grab it and nothing is there. I’m surrounded by walls of memory and longing. Then the din of fabric tearing. His body on my heart. His stubby little arms draped around my neck once again. But instead of fuzzy, brown him, it is coarse, white linen.

The Loser: Part 1

Pops was a bartender here back in the 80′s. He was the father of four. Three of them drug addicts, the other being Arnie, my uncle, who is now The Loser’s lone bartender.
One day, a beer bottle broke over his head while he was working and a piece of glass cut him good. He would get around in spite of his eye.
Sometimes an unknowing family ventured into The Loser. They’d think it’s quaint or something, strutting into a dive bar with a kid “on break” from college. They’d ruin the very atmosphere they’re attracted towards.
So they sat next to me of course. Uncle Arnie ignored them. The suburban-brat-child tried ordering an “abortion.” The cheeky father laughed and asked for the same. Uncle Arnie turned around from his imaginary business.
Get the fuck out.
As the duo shuffled out the door yelping about how “no one on the internet” will ever see a good review of this place, I started getting an awful headache. That wanna-be edgy middle-aged father mentioned the internet in such an unfamiliar way, with the kind of tone that implied a successful wielding of power.
Uncle Arnie knew the antidote to my ailment. A pint of lager in a glass which has never been washed. A special glass saved just for me. The dirt minerals or the unknown whatever stained within did something to dull the pain.
It still wasn’t enough. I sat there, at the edge of my stool, waiting for nothing. It was noon, as I could hear those church bells chime their extra tolls only a block away.
My uncle and I would get along because we both don’t talk much. We never really needed to communicate with words.
I often lied to myself. The only one I never lied to was the only one I could trust. A stuffed animal in the form of a bear, under a broken floorboard beneath my unmade mattress back at home. I had to hide him from Arnie’s pill-head sister who gave birth to me.
I lit up a cigarette. I looked around inside The Loser and realized that life could be worse. I could picture him with his crooked, soft brown eyes, his pudgy belly, and his stubby arms. Even though my relationship with him was a secret, it wasn’t because I was ashamed. I kept him secret in order to protect him from this grimy world. And he protected me from myself.
As I took my final drag, Arnie gave me a foreboding look. I thought he was angry about me smoking in the bar. Sometimes he would get upset about it and blame it on the owner noticing the smell. I knew he wasn’t mad because it was against the rules, but because he was worried about my habits. One time when he was really drunk, he told me that drinking had a purpose, but that tobacco was a pointless, overly addictive drug. I knew it was really the smoke I exhaled that was bothering him. The sight of smoke around a relative reminded him of the 80′s, when he witnessed his brothers succumb to the crack epidemic.
He said nothing that time about me smoking a cigarette. I looked at him as he stood there silently. As soon as I opened my mouth he spoke.
Your mom called.
He didn’t have to say anything else. Without a word, I left cash on the dusty bar and walked out the door.

Luck Meant Nothing

Tina was in a tattoo shop all fucked up and shit. The stench that emanated throughout that dirty old parlor resembled the odor of feces. The oxies were flowing through her and she was underwater. Tina felt those familiar sensations pulsing; the sharks were swimming through her bloodstream. Those tiny instances of pain were underlying. They were not physical.

How are yah?

In walked a salty and bloated obese lady with freckles, pseudo-polynesian and celtic shoulder designs who blurted out nonsense that Tina did not give a shit about.

blah blah blah.

Flubbery noises seeped through Tina’s mind. She was trapped under ice with frost chipped bones.

Fuck that bitch. Fuck that cunt.

Apparently she had not only thought those words.

What the fuck yah say?

The fat lady attempted to have an intimidating demeanor, leaning over the counter with her pudgy knuckles against the rotting wood. Tina gave her a blank stare from behind the front desk.

This is how yah treat your customers?

Tina was only concerned with treating her invisible wounds. An “under the table” employee, she was in actuality, the only worker present at the moment. All the artists had taken off to the dive bar down the street hours before.

Hello?

Holy shit, that bitch was still there.

Name?

The word was automatic.

Shannon, I came and talked to Marty yesterday.

Well he isn’t here, come back tomorrow.

That’s what that teenage tramp told me last week.

Shannon had pushed her luck. Tina was no longer dazing off as the fat woman’s words had a peculiar effect on her. She knew that the bitch was talking about her daughter.

The room was barren, except for the palpable air of Tina’s virulent thoughts. She did not perceive them as thoughts however, more like uncontrollable impulses. She grabbed the woman’s wire-like hair from behind the desk, and yanked the head connected. Her face smashed against wood.

Wait right here please.

Although those words were unnecessary, as the woman’s body had slumped to the floor. Tina returned from the back of the store after a couple of minutes with an unassuming cardboard box. Blood was oozing from the gash on the motionless woman’s forehead. The mess aggravated Tina even more so.

Tina pulled used needles from the box and went to work displaying her art for the first time in her life. It was beautiful.

After an hour of diligent work, the semi-conscious woman was covered in blood and black. The ink had been gone over multiple times and was buried deep in the pale skin. The designs she drew were as arbitrary as the poorly done tattoos on the woman’s shoulders, and yet it carried meaning.

Once Tina had finished her piece, she went out back for a smoke. Each drag ushered in a more coherent state of mind, and the reasoning began. She knew she had to clean up the mess and dispose of the tangled lump of flesh.

Tina was the kind of woman that adhered to blind faith. She worshipped the concept of luck- rabbit tail and all. It was a remedy to the kind of chaos experienced growing up with a lack of guardians.

A ruckus in the building. She did not pay attention. Keep on puffing. More and more she regretted the failure of her original, poorly conceived plan. Tina meant to infect the hefty woman with Hep, then dope her up and place a fake receipt to another ink shop in her purse.

The boys were back from the bar. Everything was over for Tina. They laughed.

You really out-did yourself on this one Tina.

I think I’ll have to turn you in for doing such a shitty ink job.

She ran out, insulted, she cried from the humiliation. Her aspirations for being an artist were crushed. Her daughter would be abandoned like she once was. And it all ended with lightning strikes and a rope in a motel closet.

First Thought, Last Breath

So, I’m getting out of work. I walk toward Debbie. There is a loaf and a half stuffed precariously in between my left arm and torso. With a bag of small rolls in my left hand, and books in my right, I have my hands real full. I cautiously walk to Debbie.

I have her keys wrapped around my fingers and thumb. My old phone is in the palm of the same hand. This is my right hand, and I gently rotate the wrist. The key is stuck. I wiggle it. It won’t work.

Without much grace, and with some effort, I somehow get my books from underneath my right arm and place them on top of  Debbie. It’s a good thing there was no rain, because I forgot to close the sunroof again.

I flashback to that time covered with rain, where my lips touched hers. In one fluid act, our tongues mixed saliva with the rainwater that seeped into our mouths. It felt good.

I earned eight dollars in tips at work today. I put the cash in between the two ends of my beaten flip phone. Enough to buy a new pack of cigarettes and pay my friend back for buying me lunch earlier. A processed chicken square in the middle of two bleached buns -a staple product of  the high school cafeteria. It’s all I ate today. Which was some time before noon, and my remedy for the plastic taste was to drench the chicken square in hot sauce. Now, it is only a few minutes after ten.

So there, my aged flip phone is up there with my books and the money is securely stashed within. Once again I insert the key into Debbie -a broken memory of a future once taken for granted, but now permanently lost.

No. She is just a car. A sedan i inherited, yet I still had to pay for. I worked hard to acquire her, and I nearly depleted my bank account fixing her. I used to have a few thousand saved up, not anymore.

I finally enter Debbie. Swing the door open with my left hand. Lift my right leg and climb on into her. That’s what I like to feel.

I turn the music up. Take my pack out of the center console. Lucky is the only one left. So I check the mirror and put Lucky in my mouth. Insert it until the filter is halfway passed my lips.

The final time our lips touched. That was good. You never think it’s the last, although I asked her for one last kiss. It was probably our best, yet there were so many times that I don’t really remember all that well. We were both crying. Our tears slid down our cheeks. Dripped into our cavernous mouths.

Okay, check the mirror, I’m parked parallel. Turn the steering wheel all the way to the left and quickly jolt her back about halfway. Light Lucky, and I’m off.

The pedal is touching the floor. I don’t know. All I know is I want to get away. I’m not far down the street when I notice some pedestrians staring at me. I stop abruptly, and then pull into reverse a bit, then park in the middle of the street. I jump out of her.

The money is scattered all across the street, while my phone and books are flipped open in the middle of the road. The binding is ripped on one of them. The phone is still alive.

I can’t find all the money for a few seconds but then I do. Meanwhile, a lady in a black dress is staring at me. So I stand there for a good two and a half seconds while I take a drag of Lucky, and stare back at her.

Hop into my Debbie once more. Now there is a car behind me. They think I made an ass out of myself.

So I get out of there real fast. Nobody can drive her like me, and I’d be upset if they did. While turning right, I begin to notice a noise. Something rolling with the turn. There is a bowl in the backseat. I can see it in the corner of my eye.

It’s been rolling back and forth, like a pendulum in accordance to Debbie’s movements. The spoon is laid bare in the open. A foreign object, all alone. At times the bowl rolls over the solitary utensil, reminding it of where it longs to be, but never letting it achieve former happiness. I take a long drag of Lucky, and I drive.

I’m exhausted. Another day of school and work. I can’t wait to collapse onto my bed and dream. Never wanting dawn to come.

I run up stairs and into my room, falling so gracefully. It’s only fifteen minutes after ten, I don’t care.

I just want to dream, so I start off with fantasies, and then let it all drift. I can never tell when I switch between states of being. I can only tell when I am fully immersed, since it’s all too good to be true, and yet I trick myself every time.

I know this now, because instead of haunting me like it did during daylight, the bowl is reunited with the spoon. The utensil is in my hand, while my fingers force it to twirl the broth in her.

I look up and stare into her eyes. Those sunflowers resting against the azure sky. I don’t ever want it to go away. It is only my mind, sitting in this ambiguous, empty setting with her.

That doesn’t really matter. Nothing else matters at this exact moment. This moment that barely exists. This fleeting, arbitrary space, a cafe’ perhaps, but one I’ve certainly never been to in my actual existence.

It’s so empty.

This is how I’m asserting my values. This is the meaning of my existence currently: something I had once taken for granted, and now can only dream about.

Dawn is here, and so I wake up, and start it all over again.