Monday, July 11, 2011

Album 4: Wild & Crazy Guy

Many people come to me and the say hey Steve, what do you look for in a girl? And I tell them, I want a girl with no neck. That way, when she enters a room… every head turns. Except hers! She has no neck!
- Steve Martin, Wild and Crazy Guy, 1978

It’s over. There is no fucking afterlife. I quit.

My first day home after an all OHIP expenses paid 12 day vacation in the beautiful, recently refurbished St. Michael’s Hospital.
During my stay there, Dr. Weintraub told me that between the loss of blood and the unique way in which I managed to slash my own neck, caused my heart to stop four times. Once for as long as 3 and a half minutes. “Remarkably”, he quoth around a pen which he had mistook for a popsicle, “We don’t see any signs of brain damage.

I disagree, doc. I’m a fucking retard. Because I thought “Razor” was only a stupid machismoed nickname.

Let me go back 13 days, cue the wishy-washy flashback effect. Or is slamming, blasting light dipping to black more de rigueur?

Size does matter. I got back home and read all of Mercurio’s files in 48 hours. No sleep. I rocketed through them, cocaine up a movie star’s nose kind of speed. Every page, every mug shot, kept me tripping on to the next one. And in the end, the guy with the thickest case file had to be the guy who knew both sides the best. Knew what I had to know.

The centre of his deal was a nightclub. It had changed names several times over the past decade – Shangri La, West Enders, Serious (yeah, I’m serious), The Corporation, and most recently Righteousness. The guy who owned the place was also the owner of the throbbingly thick file. Most of his charges stemmed from, were committed at or around, or were linked to his possession of Righteousness.

I didn’t even get a chance to ask him.

I drank far too much Nigerian Dark at the Starbuck’s across on the other side of Righteousness watching various folks enter the two-storey, one-time warehouse. The aforementioned owner of the nickname “Razor” was sporadic in his appearances there. Every time I did see him though, I remember joking to myself that he had to pick a tough moniker like that because his real name was Dimitry Cokkov [Bloggist Note: to preserve the humor, the name has been changed, but the genitalia reference is still there.]

I learned differently the night I chose to go in. Night, because Mr. Cokkov’s daytime appearances may have been intermittent, but the eastern Bloc work ethic forced him there every night.

I bought shiniest, blackest clothing and shoes for the excursion. (Checked myself out in the mirror before I left; it was freakish. I remember that face. But it’s attached to the body of some troglodyte with veins on his biceps and a neck as thick as a truck tire.) I loaded up my giant duffle with my gear and layered in some old vinyl records on top. My cover song.

I parked the car around the corner. $20?! Because they knew some young, dumb, full-of-come night clubber from the ‘burbs would pay it.

I walked past the line of radiantly undressed youngsters who were all waiting to fuck, be fucked, or get hammered and live lives unfettered by hang-overs, aging and responsibility.

Straight to the seven foot tall 400 pound bouncer who was checking me out, because I was actually thicker than him.
The noise, sorry, "music" was oozing out of the cracks in the building. I shouted over the din, “The DJ forgot some of his shit!” Mr. Seven Footer cocked a neanderthallic eyebrow at me. I unzipped my duffle part way, enough to reveal a few discs. “His records! The fucking idiot forgot some of his records,” I acted (I hope) like I was pissed off at a prima donna, “Can you believe that shit?”

Apparently he could believe that shit, because he smirked and opened the door for me.

I think there were more woofers and tweeters in the place than there were people and there were a lot people. A tired looking shooter girl saved me a lot of looking. She asked if she could get me anything. “Dimitry!” I screamed. She couldn’t quite make out what I was saying. “Where’s RAY-ZOR?” I hefted the duffle again, this time with the zipper shut. “I got his shit!”

“Oh, he’s up in the office,” I lip read from her gigantic glossy pout. She pointed up through the smoke and mirrors and seizure-inducing light show.

It took three minutes for me and my duffle-shaped dance partner to squeeze through the grind stoned human beings and to get to the door marked “Employees Only”.

I ducked into a bathroom to do my Superman in a Phone Booth routine. I wound up in the handicapped stall (more room there) listening to a couple of “employees” in the next stall. Either they were fucking their brains out, or they really enjoyed watching each other use the toilet.

Even with parts of the outfit on underneath my civvies, it still takes about 12 minutes to suit up. The duffle and my clothes are disposable; no I.D. and as DNA empty as I can make them. (I’ll be caught eventually. In fact, it might be the only way to finish what I’d started.)

Athletes talk about a switch that goes on when they play. And those over-paid boobs are only selling themselves for money. My switch is the lowering of the helmet and mask. The infra-red goes on, the mini-hyperbolics start feeding my ears everything from mice farts on up. It’s not my heart that pops first. It feels deeper, somewhere underneath my kidneys. Lower than a vomit precursor, but it bubbles up the same way. Rippling up through my diaphragm, kick-starting the heart, playing soccer with my larynx. Shuddering into the deepest chords of the muscles of my limbs. Sudden dog-panting heat.

I can’t help but smash the stall door open. It popped off as easy as Cheerios in a kid’s mouth.

Two people saw me in the hall on the way to the door at the end. Even high on E or drunk, their hesitant smiles – I’m in a Halloween costume for fuck’s sake – drip off their faces. Maybe it’s the way I walk. Maybe they’re sad cuz the skeleton-faced man won’t do a happy jig. They flatten against the hall walls. My shoulders feel ten-miles wide.

The door was reinforced aluminum but the frame was wood. I planted a boot right next to the door knob. At a hundred miles an hour, cheap cedar exploded. The door cracked off the back of a black fellow’s ass and skull. I jammed a G-10 under his ear – I don’t remember unsheathing it – and pulling down hard. I felt his liquids soaked through my chromium knuckled gloves.

A ridiculously stubbled lackey on a leather couch actually got his six-shooter out. The G-10’s aren’t made for throwing, but he flinched as it whirled in his direction. His big brother must have picked on him when he was little. With my empty hand, I grabbed his gun hand; the ex-KGB guy who runs a place north of Scarborough spent three solid days teaching me that when you pull on somebody, their instinct is to pull back. So you use that. Give them what they want.

I gave him his own gun muzzle under his rib cage… Squeezed his hand and made him shoot himself, twice. One of the bullets must have ricocheted off a back rib; it blazed up behind his clavicle and punched him in the jaw. I heard his neck snap; a thick wet pop muffled in jello.

I finally got to set eyes on Dimitry “Razor” Cokkov. Him I need to be able to talk.

He’s a lanky squid. Long and pale. His big Russian forehead made even more bulbous because he’s got his greasy dark hair pulled back in a pony-tail. But his most distinctive fashion faux-pas are the thick, long leather bracelets, Conan the barbarian style. Thin, cheesy metal striping on each.

His body guards dead or bleeding out, Razor cuts for the door.
I dive into his knees. I think one of them momentarily bent the wrong way. He goes down like Crumplestiltskin and I’m sitting on his gut. Just like my Brazilian Jiu Jitsu instructor instructed. Ready for the ground and pound.

Or in my case, ready for the mask to dip down and begin the interrogation.

That’s when I learn why he’s called Razor.

It’s not that he’s a sharp dresser. Or excessively quick witted. It’s those Conan forearm bracers. Those thin strips of metal weren’t decoration.

They were actually razor blades mounted into the leather.

Me, idiot that I am, hovering over him, giving him a shot, or a slice, at my most vulnerable spot. My neck. He doesn’t punch. He’s been here before. He hammers his elbow into my throat and then pulls back.

My body is telling me something’s wrong, even before I feel the heat of blood being where it’s not supposed to.

Then I see it. The blood actually jetting, as far as a 16 year old’s ejaculate, in triple time. In time to my heart beat.

And even over the deafening heartbeat of the music below, I can hear it. My own juice hitting the wall, the floor, in such amounts… spattering like pregnant rain drops. A pre-tornado downpour hitting the moss-eaten roof of my grand-father’s farm.

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