A Night In Denver:
He lunged. I watched him as if he were a figure on a television screen. Any move would be suicidal. The knife was coming at me - there was nothing I could do to stop it, plenty I could do to make the situation worse.
I read him closely. What did I read there? Something told me that this knife-slashing stuff was an act. He was working himself up to it, but he wasn't really quite homicidal, not yet. Something a bit too controlled in his slashing? Something in his manner. He was testing me, still playing with me.
But he saw that - he saw that in my eyes, that sudden recognition, that understanding. He saw I was reading him, he saw I understood that this was a game, and that threw him into another rage, "Oh, Yeah?... (slash!)."
He leapt at me with the blade, cutting within inches of my nose, lunging at my eyes. Slash! close, too close. I leaned backward and felt the wind of the blade past my face.
He seemed tot take that as some form of capitulation. He backed off triumphantly.
"Made ya flinch."
"Got kinda close there," I managed to say.
"Good thing you moved. I'da cut your nose in half."
He laughed. Now we were two friends sharing a bit of rough-housing.
I let him make a couple more jokes.
And then he gets a sudden gleam. My consecutive memory is not so clear here. This is just an extremely strong memory, the exact place in the chronology of events I can't recall. I am sitting on the sofa bed. He is stalking, ranting, then stops. He gets an idea. I see it pass through his face. He crouches before me, his hands shaking. He fumbles with my belt buckle. The knife is on the floor beside him.
Nausea. Sick nausea in my throat. Something similar to the fear of drowning. That gagging sensation in the throat. My throat is swollen. I am choking. He unbuckles the belt, starts to unfasten my pants, an obscene leer on his face. Nothing. No words in my mind, just a dead sensation. His fingers on my zipper.
At last I manage to choke out a single word, "Don't."
My voice is husky, choking with nausea, sickness. In the dead silence of that room only the single word, `Don't'. It is not a plea, not a threat. It comes out as a statement.
He looks to my face. My face is rigid, the flesh tight. Clenching my jaw? Yes, I am clenching it hard.
A tremor of uncertainty passes through his expression. He stares at me for a long, torturous moment. He leans backwards, pulls away. Gives me another long. torturous look. A deep breath then he picks himself up from the floor. He moves toward the kitchenette. His back is to me. I quickly re-fasten my pants, my belt. He turns, begins speaking, just as if nothing has happened. And so that passes.
Soon we're back to ranting and raving again, but now he has not quite the spirit he had before. There is a bit of self-consciousness to it. The edge seems to have been pissed out of him.
And after an hour, he slowed down. All that morning we went through an agonizing see-saw battle. I tried to leave. He raged. I placated him, got him quiet, then tried to leave again. Another explosion.
It was during one of these early morning explosions he told me he never mailed my postcards. He threw them out then walked around the building to watch me from his kitchen window.
"I was testing you," he said. "I wanted to see if you were going to rip me off. I was ready for you."
(Lady Death leaned close when he told me that. I felt her cold breath on my neck when she whispered in my ear `Next time, Baby.")
What caused that last frenzy? He had been going on about women, rant, rant, scream, scream. I was fed up and let him see it, made some remarks, "Look, man. If you got a problem, just stay away from them."
"I saw the way you looked at those bitches last night!"
"Those whores outside! I saw you looking at them!"
"Fuck you, asshole! Bet you wanted to fuck them them, didn't you? Well, sorry to spoil your evening!"
"Mind your own business," I said.
"FUCK YOU SHIT HEAD!!"
He began storming around again, pacing like a psychopath in a cell. Again, for the umpteenth time, he grabbed the knife. Again he was slashing it about. I got fed up and let it show.
"Time for me to go." (Wrong)
His face turned purple red, his eyes suddenly deadly. He stopped ranting. He had a purpose on his face. Pupils misaligned, but his eyes were focused wild on me. He came at me in silence. A murder was about to happen. This guy had spent the whole morning making up his mind. Now he wasted no moves.
If I moved that knife would go straight into my belly, my chest, my side. I knew that. My body tingled. My penis withered. Shrunk, retreated. I held my breath. What I felt was fatal fatalism. This is it.
Psychoid held the knife in his right hand. He grabbed my chin in his left. He needed something from me, he needed panic, he needed fear. He needed me to cry, to fly, to flee, to fight. He shoved the knife under my chin, at the angle of my throat, punctured the skin (my skin still tingles when I think of this - I carried the scab from that scratch for weeks). His spittle on my face, he was absolutely insane now, shouting.
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A Night In Denver ęGreg Bryant 1998 All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction of this material is prohibited. Unless authorization is given via Knighmayor Productions.