Monday, June 27, 2011

Album 3: Let's Dance

Like weeds on a rock face waiting for the scythe,
Ricochet, ricochet.
The world is on a corner waiting for jobs,
Ricochet, ricochet.
Turn the holy pictures so they face the wall.
And who can bear to be forgotten?
And who can bear to be forgotten?

- David Bowie, Let’s Dance, 1983

People look better from far away and with clothes on.

From a distance everyone has the chance to look beautiful. But the closer you get, the more you see. My wife and child are on the other side of death’s fence and they are as gorgeous as cartoon characters. Outlined with ink and memory. Blemishes and bodily excretions blurred into bright technicolor slapsticks. Every argument and tantrum has long been exhumed, carved out of the mud and pus and filled in with Tiger Tail and spumoni ice creams. Happy dandelion fluffs suspended in a sky of misery.

This is what I think as I pull out a box-cutter and slash off Mercurio’s clothes. The hairs on his body were all black and coarse, kith and kin to their pubic cousins. The grey shadow of stubble punching through his cheeks and chin. Where he sits most often, on his fish belly white ass, errant red rosettes of pimples. His subcutaneous fat jiggling with the palsy of his blubbering and begging. From 20 feet away, with his clothes on, he probably picks up pretty regularly.

As I hack off his underwear, he begins blathering about the safe in his den and its combination.

He smiles because that stops me. Nodding like a retarded bobble-head. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll show you.”

I follow his mooning buttocks up the stairs. Forty years of shit eventually stain your crack no matter how well you wipe.

I have vague recall of shag rugs and overwrought oil paintings. The flash of a bedroom that even a pervert would call over-the-top. But his home office was Spartan and functional. Almost admirable.

Desk: all IKEA powder-coated aluminum and birch veneer. Probably called MUMBL or EFICENT or some other pig-English. Chair: the extra-ergonomic mesh weave that fools you into believing your ass isn’t slowly spreading into a shitting pancake. Shelves: lined stem to stern with the orange-beige volumes of Canadian law, and right up to date with the all the addenda. And then the real gold: 4 solid filing cabinets on wheels.

“Roll that one out,” , still hand-cuffed, he chin pecks at one of the cabinets. Keeping my eye on him, I pull the one forward. It moves as easily as a new-born Porsche.

“You can barely see it, but there’s a panel in the floor. Press down on any two corners.”

I do so. The panel whispers up an inch. I pull it out the rest of the way. Underneath, the eye of a combination lock stares up at me. The small safe nestles between floor beams. He gives me the combo. Very eagerly.

When I don’t start twisting the dial, he tries not to panic. When you’re naked, it’s harder to hide that you’re lying. On him, I noticed that his dick actually crawled further into his body.

He tempts me. “I got almost 50k in cash in there. Some coke. Plane tickets and hey, a few passports.” My hand goes to the filing cabinets. “There’s even a couple real special pornos. Imported from Cambodia. Stuff that goes all the way.” He tries to laugh, like you would with a buddy who’s looking at the waitress’ tits too.

The safe also might contain a silent alarm. I put in the wrong combination, and the cops, especially for this snotty neighbourhood, are here at the speed of light.

I turn the mask down at him. Time for it to speak.

I knock on the top of the filing cabinet. The mask says, “Who’s buried in here?”

With the audio-modulator that I wired into the mask, my voice hisses out of two 1-inch speakers in my helmet. I went for a cross between Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet and Darth Vader in an underground garage. A resistor on one speaker causes a split second delay so it almost sounds like there are two voices. I smelled Mercurio start to lose control of his asshole.

I knock the cabinet again. Harder.

“Juh… juh… just clients. The good stuff is in the safe, man.”
I put one hand on the handle of the cabinet. The other on the corner. I start to pull.

He manages a laugh. “They’re locked. They won’t open.” I can’t hear him. The muscles, the anterior deltoids, the trapezius where it grabs my skull, behind the ear. They’re making too much noise as they bunch up. Like a bale of straw compacting, rustling against its own fibres.

As the lock on the cabinet pops, Mercurio’s breath escapes him. “Oh fu…”

For the next four hours, I’m going through files. Mercurio’s certainly got the lungs for lawyering. Despite his incessant nattering, I learn how to go for the liver of each client file. Find the charges. Any that mention racketeering, gang-related offenses, extortion, loan-sharking, high-level trafficking, ownership of buildings that have been implicated in prostitution or human trafficking, all that good shit. The stack is half as tall as me.

Four hours of office work. The adrenalin has long worn off. The crick in my neck hurts worse because of the weight of the mask and helmet.

I turn it on to Mercurio again. “Up,” hisses Darth Hopper. Merc moves, moaning about how he’s had to piss for the past two hours. I lift the 30 pounds of files and shoulder him back downstairs to his gigantic living area.

He watches me empty his gym bag and stuff the files in it. Maybe it was just the dawn sun starting to trickle in his tinted windows, but he looked like he was turning a bit green. His worried “What’re you gonna do with those?” gets shut up, when I force him to “Show me your kitchen.”

“Why?” He tries humour. “You getting hungry? Heh.”

“No,” I breathe, “This box cutter’s too sharp.”

In his granite countered, monolithically-applianced kitchen, I find a thick, short knife. He probably pares guavas with it.

“Whattya need with that?” My answer is to shove him back to the grand plains of his living room. I sit him in what I judge is the middle.

He flops down on his back. “God, I’m so fucking tired.” I yank him by his hair back into a sitting position. “What?” he groans, like he’s gotten used to all this.

“I need your balls on the floor, motherfucker.”

Now he’s awake all over again. A gibbering rubber-lipped lawyer.
“Spread your fucking legs.” He mouths off more. I put the tip of the paring knife half an inch up his left nostril. “Or I could just kill you instead.”

He slowly spreads his legs. The shudder and stutter over the hard wood. His cock has climbed nearly completely into his pelvis. A purple turtle head barely poking out of its shell. All that extra skin that he probably describes as 8 inches of heat-seeking moisture missile has to go somewhere; and so his scrotum sags all the way to the red oak flooring.

I need time to hop his fence and scramble through the ravine back to my car. But I want him alive so he can tell his shit-hole clients that somebody’s got all their files… their addresses.

I raise the knife. 

“Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus.” He chants. I ram the knife down between his legs, straight through his nut sack and 3 inches into the floor.

I managed not to hit a testicle. He can pull himself away from it. He’ll only have to slice through about an inch of scrotal skin.

When his 10 second scream peters out, I jam the mask in his face.
“Tell them. All of them. That I’m coming.”

As I leave, I notice he finally took that piss.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Enough About Him, What About Me?

You’ll have to forgive my fascination with superheroes. If I was into the therapy, I’d probably be diagnosed with an obsessive neurosis about vigilantes in star-spangled costumes.

But if I did join the ever expanding ranks of the “mentally ill”, I suspect I’d learn that a fetishist’s love of patterned granny panties or a cutter’s desire for the sting of bloody release stems from simple things.

Me, I don’t feel any pain.

No, really. There are only about 30 of us in the world. It’s called Congenital Indifference to Pain with Anhidrosis or CIPA. For those who care, Wikipedia’s pretty on top of the physical side of things:

For those who prefer life to be an unending cavalcade of summaries, let’s say that my nervous system has formed or malformed in such a way that I don’t feel pinches, burns, impacts, bites… anything that the other 7.6 billion humans would consider painful.

Hey, wow, eh? Many of you are probably now leaping-in-a-single-bound to the conclusion that I would make the perfect superhero. I’ve got my first power: immunity to pain. Sorry to disappoint, but the inability to feel a knife in your guts simply means you’ll bleed to death because you don’t know there’s a blade tickling your duodenum.

This is probably a better example. When I cut my first tooth as a toddler, I was in emergency six times in a week. Blood would spontaneously start pouring from cuts in my lips or on my tongue. It was a simple conclusion that I was biting myself; but I never cried about it. There would suddenly be a gory patch of fresh blood on my Scooby-Doo bib. My mother would gasp like a tire imploding, and little me would laugh and giggle at the funny face my horrified mom was making.

She told me later that one intelligent – read "sadistic" – doctor poked my pudgy cherubic heels with lancets. Each time, a pill of blood would bulge out, but I would continue to suck on the tongue depressor the nice man in the bright white coat had given me.

The diagnosis: CIPA. The treatment: like a leper, I had to be watched constantly. If I swallowed a safety pin, I’d die of internal bleeding. External cuts go unnoticed, infect, and I could die of advanced sepsis.

My first five years of life were spent on the inside of windows looking at kids on bikes and in swings and falling out of tree-houses. Carelessly they skinned their knees, were stung by bees, and whined about tiny splinters in their neurologically perfect finger-tips.

I went from the prison of a padded crib, to wearing knee pads and leather mittens on the rare instances that I went outside.

After twelve years of living with the learned fear of injury, surely my teenage years became a riotous release of rebellious extroversion, right?

Briefly, yes. For three months of my fourteenth year, I said fuck-it and did everything all the other kids were doing. With predictable results.

I went to the high-school dance and woke up the next morning with grapes of swelling around the knuckles of two toes which I had dislocated. My wrist had locked up around the bone-chips that I had knocked loose. Must have been the slam dancing.

I learned to drive a car. Slammed the door on a thumb, crushing it flat. Hilariously I simply tried to yank it out, like you might do when your coat or seat belt gets caught in there.

And, here’s some intimate honesty for you, I ruptured a testicle losing my cherry to Amy Rooks. She seemed to really enjoy when I slammed hard into her hole. That wet smack-smack-smack sound made her chin jut up and even virgin-balled me knew it felt really good to her. So I increased the speed and the impact. We both came. And a half-hour later my left nut was the size of a lemon. I didn’t fuck anybody again until I was twenty-two.

Amy helped re-institute my isolation by telling everybody about my self-induced testicular gigantism. I withdrew to the library during spares, lest I hear the chant of “Coconut”.

And that’s when I forged my relationship with that gallant tribe of people known as super-heroes. We had something in common: physical pain was unknown to us. Comic books were a world where I could belong.

It was natural then that I started to draw. As long as you stay away from exacto-knives, it’s really hard to hurt yourself in art class. Poking yourself with a sharpened pencil or a pen nib is manageable. It was another link, a wider, more intimate entry way into super-hero-land.

I was now creating the over-sized bosoms of the wonderful women and the mountainous biceps of the marvelous men who were my mentors and confidantes.

So, that’s what I do. If you were at a party and you needed to label me, you’d ask that: “So what do you do?” I’m a freelance graphic artist. Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, all the way down to the stone-age tools of pen, ink and paints.

And that’s why I really want this guy to be a superhero. Record-man. Diary-dude. The Masked Diary Writer. Maladaptive Coping Strategy Man. I’m forcing the issue, I know. I truly want it to be true.

Or so his sister Rebecca, the estate salesperson, told me when she called me back this past weekend and asked me out for coffee.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Album 2: Rock & Roll Machine

And we don't need the lady
Cryin' 'cause the story's sad.
Rocky mountain way
Is better than the way we had.
Yeah, yeah, yeah…
- Rocky Mountain Way, Triumph, 1977

No, I don’t feel guilty.
I’ll feel guilty when the suits on Bay St. stop smirking over their human shaped stepping stones. When the corporations stop trumpeting their billions of dollars of profits off the back of millions of dollar-a-day third world slaves. When religious zealots of all stripes stop putting guns or righteousness into the hands or heads of their brainwashed children.

It’s a long line before it’s my turn to feel the guilt I deserve.

As far as I had researched, Mercurio Palsemetti* had no family-shaped vacuum in his life. I’d have to let him know what that’s like. Maybe we’d have time to chat about denying our guilt too.

From what I’ve been able to glean so far, the organized criminals in Ontario have been able to keep to themselves through an unspoken geography of territories. The two minute ejaculation of violent stupidity that brought me into this was an exception. But it’s not just their “business is business” attitude that keeps things quiescent. There’s a criminal buffer between the larger groups. A cartilage that prevents the bones from scraping together. The sinovial fluid gang, if you will.

Mercurio is their lawyer. Yes, somebody has to represent them, but does he have to be so flagrantly rich about it? From the number of quotes this guy has in the Star and the Sun, you’d think he has his thumb on their publishers.

Palsemetti’s digs were north of Toronto, blessed with a wonderful ravine view and sequestered behind a twelve foot iron and masonry wall. The main house was over 4000 square feet. The coach house housed an indoor pool. Lucky coach. I knew the layout because I obtained the blueprints for fifty dollars at a municipal government office; rich folk have contractors renovating their places so often, they get tired of asking for ID and permit numbers.
I assumed he had a security system, and the movie action stars might be able to “tap” into the security cameras or snip the green wire, but this ex-I.T. professional for a large medical lab firm can’t even hotwire a kid’s tricycle.

So while my ribs and cheek bone reformed their relationships with the rest of my body, I sat in a car, following, stalking, getting to know all about Mercurio. Now every time I see the sculpted nasal bone of a BMW Roadster, I get that little hormonal jazz under my diaphragm.

His schedule was a nightmare. Completely unpredictable. Sometimes he’d come home at 8 p.m. Other times long after midnight. So I parked three miles away, nearly broke an ankle climbing down into the ravine and got into my evening wear. Kevlar is the new black.

That day before all this, I watched my wife sob so deeply she gagged on her own vomit. Since the day she left, I’ve added fifty pounds of muscle. I was never out of shape, but I never imagined I’d be able to bench press over 500 pounds. As I nearly hurled myself over that fence, the shrunken balls, the bacne and that new ache in my liver became completely worth it.

I hunkered in the back corner of his yard, nervous about motion detectors, and watched his football field long driveway for those blinding Roadster halogen headlights. How many accidents have those arrogant fucking things caused? Why aren’t they illegal? I told myself that if I didn’t get what I wanted from him, I’d smash those damn floodlights on my way out.

Finally a car turns in. Automatic gate opens without a squeak. Half way down the drive I hear one of the 3 garage doors start to open, automatically. Automatically, I sprint for the back of his house. As his car/penis slides into his house/vagina, I roll in behind. I’m this S.O.B’s new S.T.D.

Mercurio hauls his ass and a gym bag out of the car. This guy is in half-decent shape. But all he has to bench-press right then is the alarm code beside the door that leads from the garage into the house.

As the last digit of the code is in, I charge. My shoulder rams him in the lumbar/kidney area. For the next month, he’ll piss pink and think of me.

Our combined weight cracks the door in half. About ten seconds later, he’s in hand-cuffs and I’ve tasered him twice in the throat. Just for the pure fuck-with-him of it.

It’s May --, 199-. Approximately 11:30 p.m. He’s got a long night ahead of him.

  • Bloggist’s note: Not his real name obviously, but he needs a moniker because he comes back later.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Paranoia Sets In

The second after I put up the last entry, I looked at it with a mental squint. I had been looking at these hand-written documents as being fundamentally true. My therapist said that despite my background, I was an "idealist romantic". Or maybe it was romantic idealist. Whatever.

What if these damn papers were just the oozings of a unpublished bi-polar who happened to die of booze and anti-depressants?

I took a day’s worth of spare-time and travelled on-line and through microfiched newspapers. Nothing about a multiple murder in any alley of the Greater Toronto Area. Not on the day that it supposedly happened and not the days around it.

(Note: There was a very significant gun related incident in Toronto day that day. It's so unique that I'm making no mention of it, because the instant that I do, even Google drop-outs would be able to pin down the exact date. I'm not exactly sure how, but I worry that single thread might lead them to being able to trick out a street name or, worse, a person's.)

The light of my super-hero fantasy was dimming rapidly. It had only one person and one place of contact left.

I sat and thought for half a day, determining a plan of attack and deciding how far I was willing to go. That set, it was a simple matter to research the ownership of the estate sale house, and, because of a pretty unique last name, calling twelve numbers (out of a possible twenty-seven) and asking the potentially morbid question, “Are you related to a Ted P-----?”

Six apologies, 4 hang-ups and a “No, but I could be anyone you want for 50 bucks” later, I recognized the voice of the woman on the other end even before asking the question. And the pause before she answered was familiar too.

“Who is this?” Her voice was the underside of a rotted log. Tired, sad, a lone centipede of thin anger.

“The estate sale a few days ago. I was your ‘first customer of the day’. I bought the record collection.”

“Right, Mr. Twenty-bucks.” Again a pause, which is only an absence of sound, everything else is still there. “We don’t do returns,” she said trying to keep it light.

“Oh no,” I returned with a laugh in my voice, “No problem with the product... or the service.” Remember the plan. “I’ve been listening to the albums,” I lied, “and I realized that Ted must have been a pretty young guy to…”

“… to be dead,” she finished mercifully.

“Yeah. I thought it might be appropriate... I was wondering if I could make a donation to whatever health problem he had... Y'know?”

“Health? Oh, you mean like the Heart and Stroke Foundation or muscular dystrophy or something.”

“Yes, exactly.”

“That’s really nice of you, but I don’t think…” Nervous breath-laugh up over the bone in her throat. “It’s just that they don’t know what killed him.”

I pushed it a bit. “Oh, ‘natural causes’.”

She leaned over the emotional fence and said, “There wasn’t a body.”


“But there was too much blood for him to have survived.”

The distance between us grew so fast right then, I could almost feel the air rushing by my ears. She was hearing me go. She must have witnessed that in other peoples’ voices, in other peoples’ eyes, a dozen or more times, every time she explained what happened to her brother, cousin, whatever he was to her.

My grandma had a cataract, frozen milk that had poured in over a beautiful teriyaki brown. It kept her safe and smiling. Through funerals and cancers, and from seeing a once-spotless house peeling down around her. It excused her from caring about anybody or anything.

Two good eyes and I was no different.

“That’s terrible. Sorry to bother you.”

“No, it’s okay.” Yeah, she had watched a few cataracts grow in her time.

“Thanks for your time.”

“No problem.”

“Bye now.”


I’m no super-hero.