It happened in the Alcazar. We were one of the first to arrive. Melvin sat on a couch and rose to greet us. I lied and said it was nice to meet him. His handshake wasn’t firm, but then neither was mine. He broke into the usual chit chat with Kat. I slid out of my coat and dropped it on a green chair. I reached out and shook the chair. It wasn’t something I normally did. I couldn’t tell you why I did it either. I moved it. I looked. I saw. My mind slipped down a rung.
He slumped in the chair the weight of the world ready to push down on his shoulders. As he sat his gray suit bulging at his stomach more than he remembered. With a sigh he pulled his hat off and hoped this night would end soon. The door barely made a sound but he heard it open nonetheless. The hat fell to the floor a distant memory. He spun out of his chair producing a small pistol as he did. Pop. Pop. He did all this without thinking. The man hardly out of the door way crumpled. Slowly he walked over. Carefully he toed the man’s gun away. He was dead. He knew this but checked anyway. It was time to go. Gunshots aren’t the sort of things you stick around after but he needed to say it. He needed to send this man off properly and with the reverence he deserved. Straightening up he glanced out the door and then he spoke in a hushed tone.
“Do you need anything young man?” he said in a shaky old lady voice.
Son of a bitch.
I looked up and sure enough I had wandered a little too close to the help desk. There was an older woman waiting for my answer. There was a younger man (which younger really wasn’t too hard to be) in the back office and he was staring at me. I matched their looks and then smiled. I lifted my notebook up allowing it once again to be my shield.
“Oh no I’m just looking and writing. I’m just waiting for the rest of the group.”
I fixed my ninja turtle stocking cap. Raphael met them head on. They’d be no match and I held back a laugh. I watched as he jumped over the desk and planted her with a kick to the stomach and a sai to the chest. Before the young guy had a chance to move he was downed with a sai tossed into his forehead.
I moved on. The lobby was warm and well lit. A couple of old ladies sat on one of the vintage looking couches. The décor was a mixture of wood pieces and thrift store chairs. The walls were a white faded brick. I circled the lobby. I walked past the couches and the bathrooms. I stopped at the rack with brochures with things to do in and around town. I searched for any sign of the man from earlier. I would take either one of the men—dead or alive—but they were gone. I fingered a community paper from last month. I hoped to find a headline that would catch his eye. I shoved the paper in his pocket but his coat was just a ghost like he was.
They were watching me now. Not necessarily with the eyes of hawk’s or any suspicion but more with a confused wonder. I touched the sign that told us all visitors had to check in at the desk. To the left was a table with a pot of water for coffee and some blueberry muffins. I wondered if he was hungry.
No of course not don’t be stupid. I looked to my right and there was an old work desk. Above it there were books and papers, and a puzzle box. On the desk sat a puzzle half made. I crossed the room. There was a pile of the pieces waiting to be used.
He remembered begging. It was often a part of death. He kneeled next to the dead man who he didn’t know. For a brief instance he thought about looking for his wallet. He wanted to say his name to commit his name to memory, but that wouldn’t help anyone. Softly he closed the eyes of man he just killed. This wasn’t helping. He stood and whispered.
“vaya usted con Dios.”
Then he did the sign of the cross. He checked outside one last time and then picked up his hat. As he crossed the lobby a large black man entered the room. His voice boomed. “What is up everybody? What are all of you doing here?’ There was laughter and once again the man in the gray suit faded.
However the large black man did have a name. It was Oatman or Michael. Which one depended on where you stood on the first or last name debate. He smiled and greeted everyone personally. The night was ready to begin. We sat down first in the lobby and then headed into another room. We sat around a giant conference table. Mints and water made their rounds. There was laughter. There was seriousness. Discussions were had. Ideas were floated. Everything was chummy. I sat in the background watching. Everyone was relaxed.
The violence that came did so swiftly from left field.
I said something. Nobody heard it. I said it a little louder this time standing up. The eyes of everyone fixed on me as I pushed forward. My target on the other side of the room and I was on him before he could react. I kicked him in his large gut. He toppled over. The rest of the group just watched.
One slap. He cried out.
Another slap. He mumbled and struggled. I kicked him. Hard.
A third slap produced a trickle of blood from his mouth.
He looked around but there was no help to be had. I kicked him some more and with a hand that didn’t feel like my own pulled out a sharp knife. He flailed and begged. His eyes locked with the group’s leader. I looked that way myself. One large black fist rose up and came back down as thumbs down.
I kicked him hard one more time just for the fun of it and then slit his throat in one long quick motion. It slurped and sucked and blood sprayed up. He chocked and fell silent. I pulled back blood on my face and neck. The knife fell from my hand. I was his executioner and I didn’t even know his name.
“Vaya usted con Dios.” I whispered.
Just then a lady came into the conference room. She was slim and aging. Her glasses hung around her neck. She asked something. The group startled and mumbled at her. Oatman asked her for two more minutes.
The play reading was about to start. The actors and playwright quickly scribbled in new additions and well one big cut. The blood of that cut was on my hands. I had spoken up. I spoke honestly and from the point of view of another playwright. The body in the corner was that of the psychiatrist and meant its actor would have 1 paragraph of dialogue at the end of the play. When I say the end of the play I mean it literally. It is on the last page. They are the last words heard.
All in all it was an interesting experience. The reading was well received. I always enjoy seeing the wife do theatre stuff. There isn’t a time where she seems happier than when doing stuff like that. She is never as beautiful as when her passion flows like that.
Danger Will Robinson. Danger! Wow that was sappy huh?
It’s my blog and I can be sappy if I want to. Sappy if I want to. You would be too if it—
I know. I know.