Spectator

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As magnetic as a devastating car crash, with bodies flung about the road and crumpled up cars like an aluminum soda can crushed into round clump of metal under your foot, the fight drew my gaze. A large brown steak of a man was charging, fists pin-wheeling, feet relentlessly stuttering forward, striking a man half his height and width who was sprawling backwards in an effort to keep his balance. He failed in this regard and fell on his a** into an ankle deep puddle of grey, murky water more than likely filled with acidic rain, trash and sewage from the hordes of winged rats that manipulated the city. His jeans soaked through too his underpants, ruining his khakis and blood smeared his face from the blows received from his attacker.

I moved from the center of the sidewalk and leaned against the window of an antique store, keen too see the events before me unfold. The defeated man had fallen off the sidewalk and into this puddle and remained, shocked, starring at the lumbering boulder that plagued him with violence. How lucky had I become, front row seats too a fight night I didn’t have to pay for or cram against other stinking individuals screaming their encouragement in my ears. I lit up a cigarette and watched.

The meaty boulder, the ugly swine advanced on his nemesis, hands shaking with adrenaline he reached into his pocket and withdrew a long, slender knife with a chain hanging from the end that slinked out of his pocket and fell too the ground at his feet. What a sudden turn this had taken, was I about to witness a murder? I must not get my hopes up for the deflation was always unbearable.

“Now listen” said the Boulder, brandishing the knife like a mother wagging their finger at a child.

“I don’t want to hurt you anymore. I am a nice guy at heart, I promise. Here I’ll help you onto your feet,” He extended his arm downwards at the injured individual below him. The smaller man surveyed the hand with uneasiness, no doubt thinking this was a plot too gain leverage and momentum and hurl him through the nearest window. After a moment of thought, he searched up and took the man’s hand that pulled him up to his feet and dusted him off with big paws of hands.

“Now listen,” he began again pushing the knife closer and closer too the man’s chest. “There’s only one important thing in this world. Do you know what that is?” It was an obvious rhetorical because he kept speaking without a pause, “Money of course. Nothing happens without the Paper. Some say women, love, happiness. Truth is they can all be purchased. You go to a brothel, you get laid, and without the constant nagging to shave and dinner dates mind you. You have a big fancy house and weekly trips to the Bahamas; you get the love of as many girls as you wish to put up with. The happiness, well, that can be self-induced or external. You buy a pill or a drink, next minute your laughing and everything is so fresh, so new. I can buy an airplane to make me happy, then I pay a pilot so I can jump out with a parachute attached to my back. All these things are accomplished with a little, green square of paper.”

The rambling man gazed at his student as if expecting a retort of brilliant substance. After a moment of silence the man continued.

“Point is, well I think you see where I’m getting at, I am in need. In simpler words: Give me your wallet dude.”

A mugging? Well that makes much more sense of the brief altercation I had just witnessed. I sincerely hoped we were left alone so this could unfold. I wished the smaller one would resist and be pummeled into the depths of that puddle or ran through with that threatening knife. I hoped for a meteor to fall. Randomly, blessedly through the sky and strike us all down, buildings and all, into a heap of smoldering rubble. Contradictory to my previous wish I prayed the police would come and shoot them both. I could be the witness and testify. Explain the gory fight to the death and determination of these individuals to murder. Our world is better to be rid of them. May they rot in the ground. These random tangents, these visualizations, sometimes they made me miss things that were going on right in front of my face. I’ll come back to reality and life has skipped a beat, like when your reading your self help books or guide to better sex and the pages get stuck together and you realize you missed some information of a modern Kangaroo position of crucial importance.


I must have missed at least three of four pages in the memoir of my vile, dull life. The brown Boulder was now strangling the smaller man with the chain that fell from the end of his weapon. He stood, both feet firmly planted on either side, behind the purple-faced, spittle flinging man, hoisting him up off the ground so his legs kicked and bucked like a horse. The muscles in his arms strained and glistened with sweat as the Boulder lifted him higher so that his legs kicked at about waist level. I feared for the Boulder’s groin. The strangling man’s hands were groping at the chain in a desperate attempt to provide room for air. Around his neck the chain linked metal looked like a choke chain people wear too be fashionable. When his lips began too turn blue and the kicking legs began to lose their enthusiasm, right when I was sure I was going to witness a murder, the man was dropped back into his puddle with a splash. Tears streamed from his eyes as he gasped and choked for breathe in ragged, sharp inhales that gave me the feeling somebody was gargling mouth wash nearby. The Boulder surveyed his work from the dry edge of the sidewalk. A malicious snarl was spread across his face his upper lip drew back over his teeth as if he wished to bite someone.

“Now listen,” he said in a polite tone, “As I said before I don’t want to hurt you. Just give me your bloody wallet and you’ll get out of this without a scratch. You’ll be able to return to mommy and daddy with a pitiful story of how you were abused. You’ll be the new interest, your family’s main concern being to pamper and nurture you back to health and make sure everything is A okay with their little, baby boy. Now wouldn’t that be nice?”

I’m not sure what the Boulder got out of preaching so much. The whimpering man had already delivered the wallet over as Boulder said ‘listen’. His way of taunting, of teaching. And why couldn’t he? He possessed an immense power over this individual. Power was the ability to inflict pain on another and have them at your mercy, your disposal. It became his right to mock, tease, praise or educate. Boulder flipped through the man’s wallet with steady hands.

“Lance Freedman,” he read holding a small, plastic card in front of his face. “Well Lance, it was nice to have met you.” He opened the main pocket of the wallet and withdrew a few damp bills. He had an irritated look on his face, he crunched it together the way you would if you smelled bad cheese or watched someone give birth.

“Eight ****ing dollars,” he said and threw the wallet back at the whimpering man, now in a fetal position rocking himself back and forth. For the first time he looked around, observing his surroundings and his gaze fell upon me. I could feel the radiating heat the eyes seared into my chest. He stared in bewilderment which was enough to make the Boulder turn his head.

At first I was afraid he would come at me with that ugly knife and chain, angry and aggravated that he went through all the trouble for not enough money too buy himself a cheap bottle of booze. Then his eyes dilated with fear and off he went. Sprinting down the sidewalk as if I was going to do something about it. I shifted my gaze down too the collapsed man still crying but now taking out his phone, definitely calling the police. I fled the scene before they arrived and started asking too many questions.

Part 2

It was a cool summer night, the wind pleasant against my calm face but also carrying the smell of smog, gasoline, cigarette smoke. God’s greatest gift is oxygen. Without it we couldn’t survive. Pollution. The holy gift defiled, raped, pillaged by carelessness. I lit a cigarette, took a deep long drag and blew into the sky. If you can’t be part of the solution be part of the problem. At least you have a role, not straddling some middle ground suspended in limbo with indecisiveness.

I found my way to a convenient store where I had parked my car the night before last on a midnight excursion where I was too drunk to drive. I decided to grab a Mickey’s at the store, planning to have another night spitting and yelling at people from the safety of my balcony. A catchy tune I’ve heard occasionally throughout my life played on the overhead speaker. I found myself singing bits of it as the bottles of beer clanked together upon leaving their frozen cage.

“Bye, Bye miss American pie pull my Chevy to the levy… Drinking whiskey and wine singing this will be the day that I die. This will be the day that I die.”

I got in line behind a blonde woman. I peered at her more closely and saw a mole, purple and shaped like Afgahnistan on the back of her neck. Skin cancer is the leading cause of death in fair skinned, blonde females. This random fact tumbled into my mind and startled me. A mole is never just a mole. Discoloration, Disfiguration, frayed edges and the absence of hair are all sure signs of cancer and possible future death. The woman probably looked in the mirror every morning and saw a beautiful face under the layer of makeup she applied. She would get into her car, drive too work completely unaware that death was lurking right behind her ready to stab her in the back. I wondered if she was loved, if she had kids. I thought about telling her about that sneaky bastard of death hiding under her hairline. But what would she say to that? Thanks for ruining my evening you assh-.

“Sir I’m ready for you,” said a slightly irritated voice. I must have spaced out again, probably only missing a couple paragraphs this time. The blonde woman was long gone all that stood in front of me was the brown cashier drumming his fingers on the counter. A jab, like the stab of a knife, impaled into my back. I turned around to see a black man in a dark hoody with fur lining the inside of the hood which hung low over his eyes, almost concealing his face. I smelled an odor of sweat and body stink. I looked towards the cashier and bought my alcohol paying with crumpled up ones I had stolen from a tip jar in Jamba Juice. Hey, everyone has to make a living.

I turned to walk out to my car and got halfway out the door when I heard a scream. I looked behind me to see the sweating man shoving a gun into the face of the cashier. Another show! Why was I always so lucky to come across these interesting altercations with a front row seat? Or was this city just full of criminals and a robbery or a mugging was a normalcy? Either way, I lit another cigarette and leaned against my car door to watch the events take place.
I jangled my car keys in my hand, eager to get home and start the night of public disturbance but also wanted to see the live action in the process of occurring.

The cashier seemed to be cooperating because there was no earsplitting blast of the sonic boom a bullet makes as it escapes the barrel. Within moments the man was gathering cash and stuffing it into his coat pocket. He came blasting through the door and skidded to a halt. He twisted his head to the right, looked to his left, then his eyes settled right on me. Before I could utter a sound he was approaching, gun drawn, the stench of body odor already reaching my nostrils.
“I need your car,” he murmured. I barely heard him but the gun in my face and his outstretched hand got the message across alright.

A sudden surge of bravery swelled inside me, defiance bubbled up in my stomach and possessed my body. Or maybe it was stupidity.
“I’m not giving you a damn thing. With that smell you’ll definitely stain my interior,” I said with too much ease.

I popped the cap off one of my beers and took a long swig.

“What, did you think I was going to return it?” he retorted in a much louder tone. The gun peered into my face like an eye starring, penetrating into my soul.

“Look,” he added in an undertone, “I don’t want to hurt anybody. Just let me get out of here before the cops roll up.” He even said a faint please at the end of this. What was he a street thug or a ****ing gentleman? At that moment I was disgusted. I took another swig of beer, held the foam in my mouth then launched it into the gentleman’s bewildered face. Bad idea.
A steel hammer swung into my chest, concaving and making a massive hole where my right nipple should be. My beer bottles smashed on the concrete and my car keys fell in the muck of beer and glass. My assaulter picked up the keys, shoved me too the ground and sped away. Blood was trickling through the fingers that clutched at the hole in my chest. My breathing came out in rugged gurgles as I tried to fill what was left of my lungs with air. I remembered hearing that sound before but could not remember where. The white shirt I was wearing was dyed completely red. I started to feel delirious and my breathing slowed. I became tranquil, accepting, calm as a Hindu Cow. The lights flickered around me. I let my hands flop to the ground like dead fish. I was fading and a part of me rejoiced, found peace. And the other part was scared shitless.
Right when I thought it was all over, the lights were gone and it seemed to be all blackness I heard the flick of a lighter. Flame illuminated a silhouette on my right and as he drew the fire near, his facial features came into view. I realized I recognized the man. The last time I had seen him was in a sniveling mess fumbling with his phone in the depths of a puddle. It occurred to me that he had been there all along.





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This article has 5 comments. Post your own now!

karen said...
Oct. 7, 2011 at 12:07 am
Very talented writer. 
 
P8ntr said...
Sept. 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm
I can see this as an episode , on "The Outer Limits" , or a similar type. I enjoyed the originality and first person perspective of this tale. I do believe with work , your story will mature and grow into something spactacular. Keep at it. You have a mind worth moulding into the writters craft.
 
Ramona said...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 2:34 pm
You have a great use of adjectives which kept me enticed. However some parts were rather too descriptive and I found myself drifting of and skimming for the next climax. The ending revealed a great truth. Your cynical approach gathered my focus quickly. Don't change that aspect. It is becoming of you.
 
woodchuck said...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 2:35 am
WOW!!! Great ending jackel, I love that movie fight club. keep writing you have a authenticity. Maybe a little on the morbid side, but i love that. once again good stuff, MR Jackel
 
dawnbird said...
Sept. 12, 2011 at 2:19 am
Wow Ty you never cease to amaze me! "Spectator" is the epitome of mans subconscience self centeredness. The character is self absorbed, yet intrigued by his surroundings.  Through his indifference to the cruel nature of man, he comes to learn that compassion always prevails.
 
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