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Sweating! Not just breaking a sweat, dripping sweat. This man knew what he wanted to do and how he was going to do it. The man’s adrenaline was low, yet the wheels were in motion.
After the two older children moved out, it all went downhill. I’m not surprised; it was a stressful time for him and for me too. I am his son, but so are Matthew and David. (Matthew moved out, getting a permanent teaching job in Red Hook. David, after a big fight with his parents, moved to New Paltz, at first.) Then shortly after, he got married and moved across the country to fulfill his dream of being a big screenwriter. The man with a history of health problems hadn’t suffered anything serious, yet. Everyone wanted to help, but he always refused.
Total heartbreak, but not for me. The man loved David and never wanted him to leave like that. I’ve got my own room, and I had peace in the house. When the children came over to visit, they were dreadful and the man sweated. He was nervous and always had been. He wanted one thing more than anything, something he could always remember from his life. But now it was gone, sitting in California with the middle child. The man never really liked his middle son. He always had better connections with Matthew and me.
The man had a scheme, a scheme that could not fail. He wanted it back so badly, even though it wasn’t his. The man planned a trip to California, which he then bought three tickets for, without asking his wife. The wife went on a tantrum, seemingly nothing could stop her. Dishes crashed to the floor, spatulas were forced to bend in direction like never before, and the most scary part was a pitch fork lodged in the dining room wall. The man planned the trip to the last second and there was no stone uncovered.
The man replied to all the bickering, “I don’t just want to see him, I need to see him; it’s the difference between life and death!” The wife was concerned after cooling down for an hour, but she expected the same thing as usual. He forgot to check the back of it. He checked the back of things to make sure we didn’t write something private, but what could be on the back of a lamp?
We all caught a plane to California, to see David, and to get what the man wanted so badly. The ride was dreadful. Sticky stuff, god knows what it was. Mechanical smells, like the plane would just collapse, like a basketball dropping from a hoop. Halfway there, my cell phone rang and I answered it. On the other side, it was Matthew in Red Hook. He was coming over for a visit, like he said on the telephone earlier. The wife went off on her similar tangents again and again. She started to scream on the airplane which was extremely awkward to have nearly two-hundred people staring at you to see what was going on. It looked like she was going to stop the plane single handily with her animalistic roar.
That’s all I heard on the way to California. “Because of your phobias now Matthew isn’t going to come over anymore! You stupid, stupid, man!” The man just sat there thinking, a red balloon floating away.
We landed in California and the man’s nervous face turned to an immense smile. We then exited the airport and boarded a taxi.
The wife was confused and asked, “Wait, why are we here again?” The man didn’t answer. The wife would never refuse a visit to any of her children. The man never liked visiting the relatives. The man had his reasons, and I knew why, and what he wanted. He wanted the lamp, a bear lamp, one he bought in White Plains for Matthew. Shortly after Matthew used it, David used it the most. It sat in the room I shared with him until the year came when David got up and moved in with his girl. He took it and did so very discreetly. Just took the lamp and mixed it in with his clothes and other belongings. The man with the slow thinking process just realized it a few days ago.
After we paid the taxi driver, we entered the path to David’s house and we knocked, standing at the door was David’s wife. It seemed like she had just finished washing dishes. I was glad because I hated eating with them. It’s just way too awkward. They don’t make conversation or even talk like normal human beings. They seem uncomfortable just as much as I am. She allowed us in and David was in the master bedroom, listening to Eric Clapton. The song “Promises” invaded the house. Sitting on the dresser was the lamp.
The man turned red and started to sweat. It was not the room, but the lamp, the taunting lamp.
David’s wife started, “O, it’s beautiful, thank you so much for letting us have it. We are greatly appreciative!” The man’s assumption was now confirmed; he knew David took it without telling anyone. No one replied. After a couple of seconds, still nothing. I realized it wasn’t going to be easy to have a sliver of peace between these walls. They all sat down at the table but me. The lamp - there was something about it.
After dinner we all sat in the family room. The man was the first to get up. He didn’t just get up, but he exploded out of his chair. And so I followed. As I crept past the door hinges, there, standing with the lamp, was the man with it pressed against his chest. I then saw him stick his right hand in his pocket; he was holding something. The object must have been wrapped, as all I could see was a three by three cardboard box in his pocket.
Everyone shortly followed me and the man said, “You broke it you idiot! You can’t take care of anything, that’s why you’re here!” David’s facial expression whispered, hit him, hit him. David maintained control and exited the room. The wife helped the man back to the kitchen for some water.
David’s wife approached me and asked, “What’s the matter with him?” I replied, “He’s not well, he needs help, but he’s been dodging it for over seven years. He won’t go.”
She walked back to put the lamp where it belonged, on their dresser. The night was young and I wasn’t surprised.
As David and his wife slept, I was up, alone with the man. The man started to talk to me about the Yankees. I hate the Yankees, I‘m a Red Sox fan, but at least he was acting calm and normal.
After a surprisingly calm night, I went to sleep around midnight and the man said one last thing, “No matter what David or Matthew say, you can overcome it. Guns and poison can kill you, but words only hurt on the inside!” I didn’t take it to heart; he usually said things that have no hidden meanings behind them. So I went to bed after spending time with my father. An hour later, I was jolted awake to the sound of police sirens. I got up, scared for a split second, got a drink of water, which calmed me, and headed back to bed. Next time I awoke, not police sirens, but my father.
My father, with the lamp; he grabbed me and told me to help him. I replied, “I’m not you, now go to bed!” The man was angry and pulled out his box and I was carrying the lamp out to the car.
As he put the gun to my head, I didn’t try to p*** him off or even make a sarcastic comment. I knew he wasn’t playing; his eyes were piercing red and he had a possessed look like never before. He knew if I ever had a reason to kick the s*** out of him, I would do it, not holding back! He demanded where to put it outside. He dragged me back to my room and closed the door. I knew if I made any move towards him I would be the one looking bad. What could I do? After hours of staring at the walls, I fell asleep.
As we awoke at 8 am, we all got ready to go. I knew what I was going to do. The man packed the lamp in a black bag, it seemed simple. The housewife gave the black bag to David, like an act of faith. As we arrived at the airport, before we left David’s house, I took along a kitchen knife (unfortunately I didn’t have it on me last night to scare him away.)
I ripped it out and said to him, “What’s wrong with you! You make one move towards it, it’s your arm!”
I was thinking, I would never slit a body part, maybe a minor cut. He answered, “I’m sick and tired of him! That’s mine, not his!”
“You need help, and you’re going to get it,” I replied. I handed the knife to my mom and took the gun. With hesitation, he gave it, knowing his wife would leave him if he did anything. I put the gun in a mailbox located in the main lobby of the airport. At least it was away from him. I thought to myself, I saved all of us. But the man wasn’t stupid; he was intelligent, yet he had a lot of hostility. We sat down in exhaustion.
The man sat there with a smile. A creepy smile and the sweat seemed to have moved to me. I asked, “What’s with the smile?” He kept his smile and opened his suitcase, no clothes, just the bear lamp. He said, “You don’t think I would have left it where you saw it last, HA HA!”
The creepy laugh of the man startled me. No weapons on the plane. The man was happy until he felt something. Something that got stronger as he got up and moved to the center of the plane. Something that felt like a second heartbeat. We were half way there.
I felt manipulated; I wanted to put a gun to his head just like he did to me. But I couldn’t, there were witnesses here, plus I placed the gun out of sight. The man got up quickly and ran to the pilot.
He said, “Stop the plane we’re all going to die! I have important luggage!” The pilot called for security. After a bit of struggling from the man, they put him in the only other seat in the plane - directly in the middle. They strapped him with a belt that couldn’t unbuckle. He squirmed and squirmed. Next the guards put a piece of duct tape over his mouth. When I saw that, I thought, “Damn it, why didn’t I think of that!” Beneath the man’s new seat, he heard something ticking, as he managed to bend over, he saw a clock ticking down. The man’s problems ceased. He knew his fate. From beneath the massive wad of silver tape, the man murmured, “mmhuumam.” Unable to alert the rest of the passengers of the bomb, he was the first to go along with the other two-hundred people in the plane along with the bear lamp.