Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NaNoWriMo: 1,516 words.

It is the word that hits his cell.

He gets a new word everyday. Pops up on his email and the cell titters off a pleasant, ping ping.

Some days it’s like the words are psychic. Other times they are smirkingly gloating, as if to say, look what we got you into.

Today, right now, this morning, the word is just descriptive.

He’s in bed.

A bed.
It isn’t his bed, but it is luxurious and he is luxuriating in it.

Egyptian cotton sheets with a threat count higher than he can count and that feeling of everything right now if just fine and dandy and don’t you dare think about getting up coming up from every little bit of his body.

His body, under the sheets, is thin, naked and purged of all intensity.

He is still on his back, holding the cell over him and looking at the word:

intr.v. lux•u•ri•at•ed, lux•u•ri•at•ing, lux•u•ri•ates
1. To take luxurious pleasure; indulge oneself.
2. To proliferate.
3. To grow profusely; thrive.

He grins a little, with just the corners of his mouth.

Then there is a knock at the door. Sudden, hard, demanding, accusatory.

He’s up, out of bed, naked, leaping off the bed – startled – through the air just a little, landing near his pants, which he is one leg into by the time the second shuttering of knocking comes. It is only knock-knock-knock but sounds like THUNDER!-BOOM!-TERROR!

This is not his room. Not technically. Technically it belongs to the guy whose credit card’s magnetic strip slipped gracefully and inoffensively through the card reader at the front desk the night before. That guy’s name is Connor Bright and his credit score is impeccable, better than an anal retentive’s bathroom. Cleaner than the cafeteria at the CDC.

The guy sticking his other leg into his black slacks right and shoving his boxers in his pocket, this is not Connor Bright. This is Theroux.

More knocking, sounds like CLANG-SHATTER-DEATH.

“Just a MINUTE!” He hollers back, his voice an octave too high.

Theroux is usually much cooler than this.

He looks straight down at the coffee table and the gun setting on it. Cool, deliberate plastic and porcelain. Squareish and always a bit too reserved. He sighs and picks it up with his hand; his fingers always feel like they’re trespassing, like it’s the skin of a sleeping woman who doesn’t like him.

Steps to the hotel phone on the nightstand. He carefully unclips the cord from the backside of it. Sets the phone on the bed. Tucks the pistol into his pocket.

More knocking, angry now FIRE! BRIMSTONE! DAMNATION!

Theroux grabs the desk chair. It is made of something like wood. He picks it up by the back, steps back and then charges forward with a wide swing at the window. The square legs collide with the glass and there’s a shattering and a crack. The legs splinter and explode and a wide spider web of broken blooms out across the thick glass.

He drops the shattered chair and looks at the only-partially-shattered window.

“Well fuck me,” he says.

There is no knocking on the door anymore, because the security suits have given up and plugged a master key card into the slot. The door bangs open against the wishbone-shaped bar lock

“Security . . !” One of them bellows and you can tell that he always wanted to be a SWAT cop and bellow SWAT! into the air just before battering ramming a door to splinters.

Theroux grabs the unhooked phone and hops up on the bed. He clutches the phone to his chest. “You’ll never take me alive!” he shouts for fun. He levels the gun at the window, thumbs the safety and pulls the trigger, three times BLAST! BLAST! BLAST!
The window glass blows outward, a million tiny shards of shimmering sharp danger flittering out and then down.

The security suits get to do what they have always wanted to do, and burst through the door, ripping the lock off of the frame. The three suits barrel into the room in one solid mass, their tazers and telescoping truncheons at the ready. They charge first at the window to peer out, and only then do they turn to see him on the bed above them, gun staring them down like an angry Old Testament god.

“Gentleman,” Theroux says, “I will simply and plainly murder each of you. So right now toss your weapons and walkies and cell phones out the window. Right now please.”

They are big and begrudging but not bulletproof.

Theroux knods toward the window and they huff and puff but step toward it.

“Yes yes, right out the window.”

Out go the truncheons and tazers and radios and earpieces and cell phones.

Theroux is pleased with how well this is going. “Now your pants please. All of you. Followed by your jackets and then everything else that you’re wearing.”

The security suits look at each other.

“Yes yes,” Theroux says, “now now.”

The three of them simply do not want to, so Theroux tilts the gun down and fires one into the coffee table, which cracks and shakes.

Belt buckles are quickly undone. Out the window go jackets, pants, shoes, shirts, socks, regrettable underwear, until there are three totally nude men in Connor Bright’s hotel room.

“Good work!” Theroux yells. He hops down off the bed, still holding the phone to his body and holding the gun level at them and holding his elbow against his chest like a noir gangster. “Now if you try to follow me I will blast you, you hear?”

Part of his brain is telling him that he isn’t supposed to enjoy this quite so much. He calls that part of his brain Winston. Winston is all, what the fuck are you doing? Winston is his internal guardian angel, Winston gets like that a lot.

Theroux takes a moment to survey the scene:

- 3 naked, hairy, embarrassed men covering their junk with their hands
- A bullet blown-out window
- A cracked and aching coffee table
- A delicious bed that he will never sleep in again

And then Theroux is gone. Pivoting. Through the broken door. Into the hall. Down the hallway. Yanking the fire alarm as he tears by. The siren starts to wail all shrill and the elevators start returning to the lobby automatically. He hits the stairwell, running and skipping.

My name is Theroux and we are meeting during a very strange time in my life. You should know that. I want to be honest about it upfront. Winston thinks I’m on a self-destructive bender. I really don’t have any idea. Or plan.

My cat died, my girlfriend left me, the collections agents are blowing up my phone. I’m running low on everything that a person can have: nickels, dimes, dollars, quarters, hope. I have literally and simply run out of the desire to live any of the lives that are available to me, preprogrammed, planned, comfortable, anticipated, fulfilling or otherwise. So let’s find a new one, a new life, a new option, a new way. Let’s burn a new path. Let’s clear-cut a vast and bleak and smoky horizon across this florid jungle of bullshit. And yes, ‘florid’ is a word that was emailed to me and no, I’m not entirely sure what exactly it means, but I like the way it sounds.

I am angry. And I am tired of being self-hating and self-deferring and selfless. I’m tired of being good. I’m tired of being decent. I want to be a disease. I wanta be a tragedy. I am white phosphorus on skin. I am gangrene in the heart. I am Agent Orange. I am motherfucking Shiva wearing a black hole. I am making bad decisions – and I know it - but I am making them on my own and for myself and with virtually no respect for consequences. So this should be fun. Or at the very least, interesting.


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