Friday, May 13, 2005


In Which Walter Mitty Has Nothing On Me...

"Hey you! Get your damn hands off her!" I bellowed.

The back porch grew silent. Every head turned to watch my swift transit across the porch.

Joe's glassy, drunken eyes suddenly grew wide in alarm and fear.

"What-?" was all he had time to say. And then he couldn't talk. Because his mouth was full. Of loose teeth.

I followed up my right cross with a jab that flattened his nose in the most satisfying way. He staggered back against the porch rail. I grabbed him by one shoe and helped him over. With a piteous wail, he plummeted into the darkness of the alley below, then was silent.

I felt a slim arm around my waist and turned to behold the face of Her Lovely Self, shining with gratitude.

"My hero," she said, and brought her lips to mine...

I'm usually down with my man Plato when he says things like "The unexamined life is not worth living." But if I could amend that statement, I'd probably add "...just do your examining AFTER you've beat the shit out the guy who's got his hands on the woman of your dreams."

I was halfway across the porch, but already whatever had snapped in my mind was snapping back into place. Reason was taking hold. Even as my mind conjured perfect fantasy scenarios for this situation, some other part of me was thinking about serious injury (almost certainly my own) and lawsuits and the reaction of Her Lovely Self when I lost control.

It was that reaction that really settled on me. I had promised myself that I wouldn't be an ass at the party (Joe was obviously operating under no such restriction), and so I figured that meant I would spend the evening avoiding Her Lovely Self and her slobbery date. But my mom raised me to be a gentleman, and last time I checked, gentlemen don't suffer grabbing, pawing, disrespectful assholes gladly. So here's me striding purposefully across the back porch of the apartment building where Her Lovely Self lived, heading for Joe, not quite certain what I'd do once I got there.

But when I arrived, I realized that gentlemen also don't go to parties without saying hello to the hostess. So I forced myself to smile and hoped it didn't look like I was simply baring my teeth.

"Hi!" I said, a little too brightly, giving Her Lovely Self a quick hug, as one would give any friend.

Joe swayed diffidently. "Who're you?" he demanded.

"Men call me the Magazine Man. What women call me is something else entirely. But you, you frog's testicle, you will simply know me as...YOUR DOOM!"

And with a loud cry, I drew my sword, a famous blade known by many names: Ass Hammer, Drunken Tongue Cleaver, Bane of Feel Coppers. Joe would have called it The End. Had he lived long enough to name it.

The blade sliced through the humid air. Joe had just enough time for one scream...

I introduced myself and stuck out my hand. I had no desire to shake hands with this guy. But I figured it would at least get his filthy hand off Her Lovely Self's chest for a few seconds. Now watch, I thought, as he finally lifted his hand. He's going to squeeze my hand as hard as he can. Which of course he did.

"Nice to meetcha!" I bellowed with forced good humor. His grip tightened, crossing my pain threshhold. I wasn't going to play this game, so with my free hand I slapped his arm in a jocular way that also unfortunately caused him to slop his beer on himself. Aw too bad, I thought.

"Whafuck?" he bellowed. "S'matter with ya?"

"Nothing, my friend," I said mildly. "But soon I think something will be wrong with you." And with that, I narrowed my eyes and concentrated, feeling the familiar buzz at the base of my skull.

For none, not even Her Lovely Self, knew my secret: That I am a mutant. Blessed or cursed (depending on your point of view) with metahuman abilities. Some of my kind have extraordinary powers: the ability to shoot devastating beams of force from their eyes; the power to transform into a being composed of organic steel; absolute control over the very weather of the planet. That sort of thing.

Me? Well, I'm the best there is at what I do. And what I do is...wield the power to inflict obscure medical conditions on any foe!

"Testicular torsion," I muttered.

With a sudden gasp, Joe clutched his crotch and collapsed to the floor, writhing in terrible agony.

That should have been enough. But the power coursed through me like a fever. I couldn't resist its siren call.

"Hyperemesis gravidarum," I said. Joe began convulsing, and with a gurgling scream, he brought up the half-keg of beer he'd consumed--along with a good portion of his esophageal lining.

"Sorry!" I said, never sounding more unapologetic in my life. "Come on, I'll get you another." Anything to get you away from her, I thought.

It was probably the lure of beer that did it, but Joe actually detached himself from her and followed me, his soaked shirt dripping beer. I looked back and gave Her Lovely Self a cheery wink. She smiled and silently mouthed the words "thank you" at me. Yes!

I poured Joe the longest possible beer ever. Gosh darn it, it just took me forever to get a grip on the slippery dispenser, and then of course I had to pour a little, then wait a little while the foam in the beer settled. While I did this, I kept talking inane bullshit at Joe.

"So what do you do?" I asked.

He looked at me as if I hadn't spoken at all. "See her?" he said, pointing in the general direction of Her Lovely Self. "I'monna get me a piece of that tonight."

I continued pouring, and while Joe was undressing Her Lovely Self with his unworthy eyes, I palmed the cyanide capsule and silently slipped it into the foam of his drink.

"Cheers!" I said, handing it to him.

He took an enormous gulp, then sniffed at the glass. "Huh. Is this flavored beer? Smells a little like almonds."

"The bitterest almonds you ever smelled," I said, as Joe suddenly dropped like a stone. "Also the last."

Eventually, I handed him the glass and he began his slow, swaying way back to Her Lovely Self, who had managed to become full engrossed in a conversation with four of her girlfriends, who had more or less formed a cordon around her. One of them--her roommate, actually--saw Joe coming and looked him up and down.

"Dude, what happened to your shirt? You pee on it?"

All the girls giggled and Joe looked down, troubled. He tried to wring his shirt, but neglected to put down the glass of beer he was holding in order to do this. Now he was soaked, and the girls were guffawing at him.

"I got a clean tee shirt in my gym bag," he said irritably, fishing in his pocket for his car keys. He stared at Her Lovely Self for a lingering moment. "Don't go nowhere. I'll be back and we can go to your room."

Over my dead body, I thought. Or yours. Either way.

He started down the steps of the back porch, heading for the alley leading to the street. Without knowing quite what I was doing, I followed him.

Joe had late model Buick sedan. Nothing flashy, but it was a sizeable car. He had parked it by a Dumpster just off the street where Her Lovely Self lived. It was a relatively secluded spot. Secluded enough that Joe felt perfectly free to unzip his fly and relieve himself against the Dumpster. He hadn't seen me walking slowly up the darkened alley.

What WAS I planning to do? I honestly have no idea. I certainly didn't intend the guy any harm. Well, not any lasting harm. Well, not anything fatal, at least. Mostly I just wanted him gone from the party, wanted him away from Her Lovely Self.

His back was to me now, as he opened his trunk and began to fish around inside for his gym bag. It was a big trunk and he bent down, reaching in further and further. He leaned in so far, only one foot was touching the ground...

And I stepped up, grabbed an ankle, flipped him into the trunk and closed the lid. Then, just because I could, I unscrewed the gas cap on his car and peed into the tank.

And then, before I could stop myself I REALLY DID step up, grab his ankle and flip him into the trunk. I heard a muffled grunt just before I slammed the lid shut.

I did NOT pee in his gas tank. Instead, I ran like hell back to the party.

I know, I know. I'm so ashamed.

The guy could have suffocated, could have passed out and choked on his own vomit. Someone could have seen me and I'd have been in deep shit.

It was a stupid, stupid thing to do and I'm still wrought with guilt over it.

Well, not really.

Because nothing happened. Well, except for the fact that Joe did indeed pass out and spent an uneventful--but hopefully cramped and uncomfortable--night in the trunk of his car. In the morning, he was discovered by a resident of the building as she was throwing her trash in the Dumpster and heard the thumping and swearing from the trunk. It took some doing to get Joe out apparently, because the keys were in the trunk with him and he couldn't manage to release the catch from the inside, nor batter down his own back seats to get out. He became famous among his circle of friends as the guy who got so drunk he locked himself in the trunk of his own car, which he apparently never lived down.

What amazes me now, looking back, is how absolutely justified I felt that night. I went back to the party and whooped it up. After a few hours, when Joe failed to return and everyone assumed he’d gone off to Rush Street early, Her Lovely Self gravitated to me. I was in heaven for the rest of the evening.

By morning, though, I was astounded at what I had done. Her Lovely Self would kill me if she ever found out (and no, she still doesn't know. And as long as you keep quiet, she never will. It's not like she reads this thing every day). But before I could allow myself to be wracked with guilt, I summoned up that one burning image of Joe with his sweaty paw on her right boob, whispering drunken come-ons into her ear. Just like that, I felt that awesome surge of jealousy well up and the guilt evaporated. A scary thing, jealousy. Amazing how it completely short-circuits your common sense. I learned a valuable lesson that night. And I'm glad Joe was there to help me learn it.

I wandered over to HLS's apartment later that morning, partly to see if Joe's car was still there (it was gone, though it was days before I learned what had happened) but mostly to bring bagels and coffee to Her Lovely Self and her roommate and to offer to help clean up after party.

HLS accepted the coffee gratefully. "You're such a nice guy," she said, but the kiss she gave me when I showed up was not the peck on the cheek we Nice Guys normally get, no indeed.

"Can you believe that Joe?" she said later. "What a jerk. He just vanished last night. After making such a big deal about being my date."

I'm not much of a blusher, but I felt my cheeks get hot. "Yeah, boy, he WAS an ass. And his hands were all over you," I muttered.

She gave me a coy look. "Were you jealous?" she asked.

"Maybe I was," I allowed. "But I managed to keep a lid on it."

And then I laughed because I thought I'd made a great little pun. Her Lovely Self asked what was so funny.

I thought, I really should tell her. She won't mind.

And in my head another voice replied, In your dreams, buddy. In your dreams.

From Somewhere on the Masthead

That. Was. Awesome.

Great piece of writing.
Reading the latest great post by MM, had to say... when guys I really do not like, shake my hand and squeeze really hard to "prove" their point, I always counter with..
"Whoa their, you trying to prove your not gay."
That generally shakes them, and makes them stand there like a dolt trying to come up with a comeback... usually it is I'm rubber your glue....
Damn, Sharfa beat me to the first post.
I really enjoyed that. Nice to see a nice guy (who pushes drunk guys into trunks of cars) finish first.

Okay, just ONE guy, I know....
OMG I can't believe you did that! It's like MM's evil twin came to life... which is what you'd have told the police I'm sure, LOL.

You are SO lucky on this one but I guess you know that.

Having said all that, of course the instinct was, well, sweet.

I also can't believe you think your wife is never going to read it.

I just hope ol' Joe never finds your blog. :)
Batonga: Great comeback for the too firm handshake! I love that.

As for beating you to the first post: Nah ni na ni na na! :P
So what are you going to do when she does read this? *g*

I for one think you did an awesome thing!

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