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Have I ever mentioned how much I hate Chicago transit?
Well get ready buddy, because here it is.
I get on, and this immediate stench hits me, this smell of rot and human sweat. It’s a crowded cart, filled with sitting people, standing people, people who are old and sagging, people who look scared. It takes me back to the farm days in Indiana, back on the farm when I was little, and my mother, a fat, screaming red-neck, would bellow at me to go get her some corn chips. Scared, I would oblige, and when she got the chips, she would reach out her chubby sausages and-
I’m jolted out of the rather unpleasant memory by some douche-bag bumping into me, headphones blasting that Kanye-trash. He’s a twenty-somethin’ kid, looks like he could barely afford a low-fee college tuition.
I glare at the back of his bobbing head and try to avoid touching a bunch of sweaty, tired commuters who’re probably coming back from their office jobs too.
It’s not like this everyday, mind you, with me. Just this morning I tried to wake up as early as I could, as I have been doing for this past two months. As I’m getting ready to head out the door, I hear laughter. Outside, a group of four teenagers are sitting on the hood of my car, smoking and hawking loogies at passerby. I scream at them, getting them to scatter in mock fear as my unkempt shirt-tail flies out from pants. What happened to today’s youth? They used to be so energetic, but in a good way. It is almost as if-
Again, I am jolted out of the miserable reverie by the headphones guy. He’s bumping into me, reading a text on his flip-phone. I’m about to smile and say 'excuse me’ as politely as I can, but then he pulls out a breath freshener, and without even looking where he’s spraying, gets some into my eye. I’m partially blinded now, not enough to be serious but enough that my eye is gonna’ be red for another half hour. I’m muttering under my breath, ticked that this ignorant prick has me like this. He’s not even attractive.
The train suddenly jolts to a stop. The sheep around me look up, gazing around as if someone on the train has the answer to our sudden halt.
"Attention passengers," the voice echoes down the narrow tunnel.
"We are currently delayed to maintenance on the track ahead. We are due to move shortly."
There are a few audible groans. Then Mr. Headphones, oh the irony, turns to me and says-
“Ey man, you got a buck I can borrow?” I shake my head at him. He snorts.
“Well, fuck you too, dog..”
Then a flood of memories comes back to me as the train starts moving again.
Sitting in an office chair, a few days ago.
"Hey, Mr. Rodriguez. I have something for you to do." My rotund boss flings some large, text-filled papers at me.
“Why don’t ya’ do something right for once in your miserable life?”
He hobbles over to my co-worker, also my fiancée.
“Like Miss Jackie over here,” he chortles.
Then I watch as he furtively sneaks out his hand and gives her bottom as smack, making her jump. She’s looking at me now, a slumped mess at my even messier desk, looking at me like,
"Just let it go, I’m sorry, let it go, we’ll talk at home-"
And to what does this series of unfortunate encounters add up to? It only strengthens a cowardly man’s resolve when he finally reaches a breaking point.
And that’s just what I do when I reach into my pocket and bring out the tazer. Bringing it to Headphones Guy’s throat was much more pleasurable. He yelps, then lays still. Perfect. The darkness of the flickering lights and the sleepiness of the commuters provided my perfect plan escape. Nobody asks me about the apparent drunkard in my arms as I drag him out of the cart and into the street. Behind a dark, covert alleyway.
He awakens only long enough to see me standing there, triumphant in my self-righteous punishment that I was about to inflict.
“What-who, who are you dog, man, Ima’ call the cops-!”
“Call while you can, then.”
He only gets so far before screaming in primal pain. I’ve flung my hand out so fast like lightening, and jammed my pen into his right eye. I jiggle it around, covering his screams as I dig deeper and deeper into the corneas. I keep on rotating the pen until I hear satisfying pop. Blood gushes from his eye, blanketing my hand and suit in sweet red.
Nobody’s seen me yet. Good. Gives me time.
I take out my box cutter, which I use mostly for the packaging jobs at my employment. I kneel in front of the kid, who is whimpering and leaking a viscous clear fluid from his eye. Then I jam the cutter into his chest, right in the center of his ribcage. He’s grunting and yelping as I jam it deeper and deeper, making the wound larger as I commit to the work. My, cutting does work up a sweat! When the cut is wide enough, I jam both my hands into his chest, widening the gap until it’s a pulsating, gushing crevice. So good. All this blood, the guy has to feel pain. He must feel what I am feeling.
I lean in and whisper,
“Are we having a good time?” He sounds like he’s about to pass out.
So I splash some street water in his face and start on the fingernails, digging under them and slowly lifting them up until you can see every individual strand of flesh. With every ounce of strength he can spare, he whispers, blood spurting from his face ad chest,
I lean in again and whisper back, “Because."
That’s when I start beating his face in. One punch, then two, then three, and his body is lost in a flail of blows. I am free, as free as any man. I think I will quit my job when I get home. My wife and I will have a nice dinner, not be bothered by anyone, because the world will have stood back and finally respected my work and might. I am a man, and I deserve this.
But sadly, the dream ends when I look up, and there is an officer shouting down at me, telling me to drop my hands and get on the ground.
I look up and smile at him, gesturing down at my work.
He screams at me to get down. I tell him,
“But look what we have made together. The world is my muse, and this is what inspired me.”
I want to reach out and touch him to let him see why my emotions make sense, but his hand quivers and my shoulder is heavy all of a sudden. As I hit the ground and enter the black, I think to myself,
How greatly tired do men seem at a party, until its revealed how truly weary we are after the building burns down, or the dog gets shot. Then people wonder why we seemed fine in the first place.