Harry slept badly that night, and what little of his dreams he could remember was polluted with leisure suits, flat beer, snakes that dressed like Spiro Agnew and hissed out Steely Dan lyrics. So much raw horror. How was one supposed to sift through it all and reach some safe zone of dignity? It seemed a fool’s errand.
Harry woke to the sound of two boys fighting outside his window. He looked out. One boy was forcing what looked to be a handful of worms into his smaller, weaker foe’s mouth. “Just like on tv!” shouted the victor as he pried and tore at his victim’s mouth, which was emitting a cocktail of blood and drool. Across the street, two old women stood with rapt attention, practically glowing. “Get that skinny cocksucker!” they croaked. “Choke him the fuck out!”
It was the way of things. Some organisms were just born to attract hostility no matter how low a profile they kept. And those ladies were the widows of big Union men, guys who hung up portraits of Lyndon Johnson in the den and kept bricks in the trunk for all the non-compliant shops. Miniature Jimmy Hoffa’s. What little was left of these women moistened at such displays of capable dominance.
That boy would make a fine husband and father someday.
Harry turned away from the window, content in the knowledge of how things would play out. He grabbed his cigarettes and groped under the bed for a lighter or some matches. Suddenly, from outside came a crash of thin metal followed by screams.
“NO, NO, NOOOOOO!!!!
He looked out again, this time to see the bloodied loser slamming a garbage can lid over worm boy’s curl-laden, fat head. Again and again the metal descended, forming a lullabye of dull thuds as it impacted lard and bone.
It was beautiful.
“Somebody do something!”shrieked the old biddies. “He’s an animal!”
Harry thrust his head out the window. “Most impressive! Keep at it boy, don’t give up!” He pointed an accusatory finger at the rancid seniors. “And fuck you old bitches! Your dead husbands are roasting like weenies in the fucking lake of fire!”
It was settled then. The morning was really shaping up.