So, tell me,” I initiated a conversation, “Where did you spend last night?”
“Why? You want to set the police on me?” he laughed, “No thanks,” he added.
I raised a glass to swallow a few gulps of water and pondered. Someone should really shove politeness down his throat! No manners! Something about kids of this generation. Or maybe it’s something of Mike about sexism. Damn him! And damn me! Why the hell didn’t I report him? Nothing good can come out of a kid like that. In fact, he is a danger to other kids. And other human beings; I pondered. Little did I know that those words will come back to bite me in the ass.
I looked him straight in the eye and responded, “What makes you think that I am going to set the cops on you? What, you think that people are monsters so you live by detaching yourself from them?”
“And you think that since you are 20 years older than I am, you know the world better than I do?” he shot back, “Please, I have lived with people, and yes, they are monsters.”
“Haha! So much for monsters who invite you for lunch! If you lived with people you’d be grateful and stop whining.”
“Seriously? I am whining? Do you see me complaining about how little salt you put in this lasagna? Or what a bad quality the tomatoes are?” he declared calmly as if I was some kind of a wife. A sister. A little one. Crap!
I stared at him with my mouth partly open.
He added with a smirk, “FYI, you’re the one who is whining.”
“Well, I see it now. You really lived with monsters; otherwise you’d know proper language. And the fact that I am old enough to be your mother. Good thing she’s not here to see how great you turned out!” I returned the mockery.
T he ceiling lamp shook slightly from the sound of the doorbell.
Mike’s eyes grew wide with shock that he half jumped half stood up, snatching his bag from the kitchen table and wearing it on his shoulder. Through his agitation, he uttered furiously, “I can’t believe you actually called the cops to take me right after you fed me! Did you plan this before I got here or you did that when I subtly confided my fears to you?”
“Calm down jumpy, it’s just Bob! My friend. Not the police,” I declared standing up and moving towards the front entrance.
As I held the door open the scent of his cologne wafted on me. The skin on his cheeks attached on his facial bones as if no flesh separated them both.
“T’s up Megan?” he greeted nodding his head, chewing gum as he leaned his hand on the wall beside the door.
“Hi Bob,” I said brightly, “Loose the gum, you sound ridiculous,” I added dimly.
“Come on in,” I stepped aside to let him in.
So,” he started, “who’s this brat you want me to-AAAAAAAAAAAH!!”
I stopped bolting the door and swirled around for a man’s screaming voice reached my ear.
I beheld Bob lying facedown on the floor, and Mike balancing a baseball bat in his right hand. A small one. Mike lifted his eyes up to me with a look I’d never seen before. The funny weird thing is that it wasn’t an angry one; it was a very satisfied look.
“If you’d been attentive yesterday, you’d have known not to mess with me,” said Mike measuring the sentence word for word like a president taking his time while delivering a speech. He picked his backpack up from the couch back to his shoulders.
My lips were sealed. Or rather, my tongue ignored the summons from my brain that I needed to say something.
And then there is Bob. A grown-ass man lying on the ground in front of a kid. Bob’s anger was on fire; he stood up fast and threw a punch so heavy that it elevated Mike off the ground and landed him on the other side of the couch down in a thud.
“Mess with you, huh! What are you? ‘The invincible’?” thundered Bob at Mike.
“Boooob!” I yelled, “What’s the matter with you? Can’t you see that he’s a chil—woooo! Hold up buddy” I exclaimed with my hands in the air. That is; Mike, whose nose was then bleeding had a gun pointed at me and Bob; positioned like some sort of a boy soldier.
“You got a gun now? Why in the world did you bring that thing here?” I asked Mike “With a gun silencer on it?” I ended.
“Well, he’s a crazy piece of shit this one,” observed Bob.
“You don’t plan to shoot again, do you?” I asked as fear started to creep up my soul. Mike resembled a bomb that could go off any minute, which Bob did not notice, so he approached him to take it from his hand like I did the previous day.
Before I could forbid him, Mike started “Megan, I thought I could trust you but you just unleashed the beast, setting your boyfriend on me,” and he roared in a child’s high pitch voice, “STAY WHERE YOU ARE BOB! TELL HIM MEGAN OR I’LL SHOOT!” he cocked the gun.
“Stay where you are Bob. Please!” I begged.
Mike, a troubled 10 year old who resolved to violence. For the first time, my mind really craved for the knowledge of who gave birth to him and what turned him into whatever he was. What could have set him off? Kids are born with such innocence. Well, it condenses with time, but he was too young to turn that evil so young. Domestic abuse? Very likely.
I oddly wanted to go take the gun away from Mike and hug him. Maybe show him the love he never felt as a child. Which he still was.
Bob stood but he was laughing at the absurdity of it all, “What’s with you kid? Why are you acting all psycho?”
“Better question: why are you here ‘Bob’? You want to lock me up or something?” demanded Mike still holding the weapon.
“I can’t believe you’re actually afraid of this brat, Meg. Women are really softhearted,” joked Bob moving towards Mike once more.
The boy pulled the trigger.
“NOOOOO,” I screamed while rushing to push Bob out of the way. The bullet caught me in the shoulder while I was at it and I fell back on Bob. As he held me and laid me down gently, I saw his facial muscles tighten.
“Bob, just calm down,” I whispered.
He didn’t. He flew at the boy who released another shot to Bob’s thigh without hesitating.
“Aaaaah!” yelped Bob, “What garbage did you get this one out of?” he remarked through gritted teeth.
He went down clutching on his wound as I clutched on mine. Blood was flowing on our hands, staining the f loor and giving me a little feeling of nausea. We were seated just in front of the stairs that lead upstairs, in the area that separated the kitchen and the living room. Mike pulled a chair from the kitchen table and eased himself into it, facing us.
The ten year old sat pointing the gun at us while we moaned from the pain motionlessly. Well, a little bit of motion.
“Help me understand! Why did you call him, Meg?” asked Mike with a bemused look.
“I – er …,” I can’t believe I stammered. What a shame!
“Just admit it! You wanted to lock me up or have me locked up,”
“Not really. I wanted to help you, Mike. I really don’t have much of an understanding of what made you like that and how one can fix it. Whatever happened to you? How did you turn out like this?”
“I seem to recall a moment when you said that I turned out great,” he mocked.
“Come on, we were having a fight, I was being sarcastic. Aah!” the pain charged again, “Look at what you’ve done! Now it’s your turn to explain how you’re going to remove Bob’s bullet without him cutting off your hands with his bare teeth,” I told him trying to be calm.
“Why the hell would I go to such lengths?” he laughed a little more, “I am not his doctor,” and added, “plus he deserved it,” as if it was the most normal punishment.
“Well! If that’s what you really mean then maybe you should be locked up. Maybe I should have called the cops,” I sighed dizzily.
No, no. I can’t sleep right now. I have to figure out a way out of this before Mike leaves. But the pain is too much! Uuuh! Imagine if he leaves? People will find me and Bob covered in blood. Then I may get arrested for not reporting a troubled young boy. Even if it turns out alright and that doesn’t happen, how will I fix him? I wonder what happened? Ooh! It’s a relief he’s not a peverted mad kid. An asylum, maybe! Only if there was a way to get that gun out of his grasp.
“So,” I started again, “what do you want?”
“I am glad you asked,” Mike exclaimed, “I want to leave this hellhole, I dislike the smell of your blood. But, I don’t trust Bob. He maybe in pain but he can jump at me anytime; that’s what that wolf look means. And I know because I have been in his position before,” Bob eyed him. Mike locked eyes with him and told him, “Helpless, a gun pointed at you, without the use of you legs?” Bob broke the gaze, his eyes red, and his Adam’s apple dancing, “Yeaaah, that’s what I thought.” He turned to me once more, “Megan, I want you to tie Bob’s arms. Now.” He hurled a rope from his backpack to me.
Wow! Unbelievable! I thought for a while. “You see Mike, I ain’t doing that. If you want Bob tied up, you’re gonna have to do it yourself.” I prayed for his ego to make him listen to me.
“Ooooh, sweet little Megan! Just because we shared a meal, it doesn’t mean that we are friends,” he mocked, “So stop talking to me as if I’m your little nephew,” he added in a serious tone.
He addressed Bob, “Put your bloody hands up, man.” Bob did not move. “NOW!” roared Mike. Then Bob’s hands went up sluggishly.
“Megan,” continued Mike, “Once again, you should have said what you meant.”
My eyes were starting to view things in a haze, and through it I saw Mike direct the hand that held the gun to Bob. I shook myself awake as he released another shot to Bob’s right arm. The shot made a quiet sound that sounded like ‘pew.’ My eyes grew wide once more as I watched blood tickling down Bob’s arm. He fell back in a slow motion and I heaved myself up to sustain him before he hit the ground.
“Wow! It’s always my greatest pleasure to make grown up men squirm! They think that since they are grown, everybody else is under their feet,” he announced as merriment sparkled his face.
Tears rolled down my face as I saw Bob heading to the state of passing out.
“That bastard is making you cry?” asked Mike with disbelief, “Oh, isn’t this just great and adorable!”
Frustration rose like a bile inside my throat and the only words that echoed in my mind were “NEVER SAY DIE” that turned into words “IT’S DO OR DIE!!”
I pushed Bob off me, and I flew at Mike swiftly with a force that knocked down the chair and him with it; the gun slided under the kitchen table over to the other side, but between the kitchen cabinet and the kitchen table. I started to go get it, but Mike got hold of my leg, pulled and knocked me down. He pressed his thumb and forefinger onto my shoulder wound and I cried out for the excruciating pain but he stuffed something deep in my mouth.
Bob, who had been woken by the push, was crawling to get the gun, blood trailing behind him. Mike decided to leave me suddenly when I shut my eyes tightly thinking that he was going to throttle me. Between Bob and Mike, the distance was about ten feet and Bob was positioned about a foot away from the gun.
For some reason, Mike decided not to run and reached for his backpack. I struggled a bit to get the cloth out of my mouth, as Mike extracted a knife from his bag. Uh oh! I pushed and pulled it out fast to warn Bob, but I couldn’t because I was choking, holding my neck, tears streaming down from the watering of my eyes.
When I did, I shouted “Booob, watch out!”
For the first time during this struggle, Bob heeded me. But alas, it was the wrong time to heed my words as he didn’t know exactly what to watch out for. He turned his head to face me as Mike flung the knife across the kitchen and it landed right in the middle of Bob’s chest!
My best friend. The one who makes most of my days for his sense of humor. The look on his face that night still haunts me in my dreams. I never knew him to be afraid. And I certainly didn’t think I led him into a deathtrap when I asked for his help. He was always so good at solving puzzles. Games and real life problems. Our eyes locked for 2 seconds. I didn’t scream out, I couldn’t say out loud words I wanted to say either. I wasn’t even sure what those were. ‘I am sorry?’ ‘Forgive me?’ How do you talk to a person who is choking on his blood because of you? ‘Please don’t die?’ Ironically, I found myself yelling at Mike, “DO SOMETHING! Your knife is killing him!” Mike looked at me with mockery once more and responded, “He won’t be the first one.” He yanked his knife from my best friend’s chest, took a napkin off the table and wiped it chuckling, “And he possibly won’t be my last kill! Oops!”
I ran for Bob, held him, pressed my hand on his chest, weeping. It didn’t occur to me to call the police or to call the neighbours for help.
The gun, the rope, the knife, the small baseball bat, were all thrown back inside Mike’s backpack. He headed for the door, opened it, stepped out and closed it again.