Ever have one of those dreams where a train is comin’ down the tracks and you can’t move?
That’s how I felt. Trouble was, this was no dream.
However, I was rooted to the spot.
All I could do is stare helplessly as the guy in the black leather jacket moved up the stairs. I seem to recall there was something wrong with his mustache. It was like he was having it trimmed when he had to leave in a hurry.
There was no mistaking the look in his eyes though. He had seen the small paring knife in my hand and he wanted to hurt me.
I don’t why I had even brought it. I mean, the only thing I ever used it for was apples.
My dad, he used to eat an apple with great big bites. But, me, I liked to savor ’em. One slice at a time. So when it came time to pack up, I guess I just threw in the paring knife for good measure.
“Over here, over here” said little Danny. He had a crazy gleam in his eye. I guessed he was stoned.
Danny was one of a dozen boarders I inherited when I rented the place several weeks ago with money I was saving to pay off my student loan. Turned out it was the city’s most notorious crash pad.
When I arrived that first night there was guys sleeping all over the place … on the floor, under the table in the kitchen, like I said, everywhere. Oh, and one teenage girl.
Went downstairs one night and when I saw her again a few days later she looked about ten years older.
“Over here, over here,” Danny giggled. That broke the spell. I looked at the door to my apartment and saw him beckon to the kitchen.
I looked at the scene below, a tangled mass of leather, bodies and hair and what looked like arterial spray splashed across the “landlord yellow” walls.
I didn’t bother to look any closer. I dropped the paring knife and started to run.
I followed Danny through the kitchen, jumped out the second floor and hobbled off into the alley.
I seem to recall the backyard was plowed up. Someone was actually planning on planting potatoes.
Yeah, believe it or not, there was actually a man, his wife and a couple of kids, trying to live a normal life.
Maybe it was plowed. Maybe not. I mean, it was a long time ago.
All I know is, I woke up in the middle of the night and my foot was the size of a small watermelon.
After the police and the ambulance had left, there was the sound of splintering wood downstairs.
I thought we had nailed over the front door so no one could get in. (Nobody in the house had apparently given a thought about how we would get out.)
The gang, whoever they were, had come back.
They’d broken down the door. They were looking for the guy with the knife.
Never underestimate a group of men with a mission.