“But it is not you. It is them.” He sat at the end of my bed and quietly sipped a cup of coffee and smoked a cigarette. There was nothing remarkable about him. Just a dude with a couple of days growth on his face wearing jeans, work boots, and a “Frank Zappa for President” t-shirt like the one I was sleeping in. I sat up in bed and asked him what he was talking about. It did not occur to me to ask him who he was and how he had to audacity to be in my house and drinking my coffee when I had no earthly idea who the fuck he was
“It’s true, you know. You have been wondering for days why people act the way they do when you show up anywhere. It seems as if you are an interruption in their ordinary everyday ordinariness and it is an imposition for you to even be breathing.” He blew some smoke rings and looked at me.
“What in the Holy Good Christ are you talking about?” I asked even though I knew perfectly well what he was saying.
“Oh, don’t be coy now. I am just telling you that it is not your fault. All those fuckers out there are just jealous of you and treat you as if you are an intrusion for just being there. Even that dumbshit smiling guy at the Stop N’ Shop gas station who you never talk to because you use your card at the pump and never even walk the hell inside thinks you’re weird. He waves at you and you wave back, but he is secretly counting the minutes you are even out front of his store. He thinks you are peculiar even though he is just a stupid son of a bitch who works there because he dropped out of high school and cannot get a better job.” More smoke rings drift to the ceiling.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. That guy always smiles at me and besides, that’s the cheapest gas in town.” I swing my legs over and sit on the side of the bed. “Go away, I have to pray and then piss before I get my coffee. Did you leave any in the pot?” I look at his cup which seems really immense.
“I’ll make a fresh pot. See you in the living room. I know how you take it.” He gets up and pads out the door. I noticed he had slipped out of his work boots and was walking in bare feet. This deepened my resentment. Who the shit not only invades a guy’s bedroom but has the impudence to feel comfortable enough to walk around without shoes?
I read my books, and say my prayers before heading to the toilet. I have my t-shirt and boxers on from sleeping and toss on my bathrobe, leaving it open as I walk. I go to the can and then walk to the living room. I stop and take a detour to get my slippers in order to make the right statement to my barefooted home invader. I get back to my chair and find a piping hot cup of Joe on the table next to it where I keep the remote and whatever book I am currently reading. The bold burglar is nowhere to be found. Getting the first sip down I catch him peering, headfirst, from the kitchen with a spatula in his hand asking me how I like my eggs. He tells me to watch the news while I drank my coffee and that breakfast will be finished in a jiffy.
The level of confusion over this bizarre incident begins to grow and I start thinking it might be better to just listen and go along. I finish the coffee, get up, and walk into the kitchen. I am greeted with a properly set table with an azalea bloom in a long stemmed vase. There are plates, silverware, and glasses of what had to be fresh squeezed orange juice (The oranges I put in the bowl on the kitchen counter are gone) and milk. My intruder motions for me to sit down and when I did he sets before me a plate of bacon and eggs and another with three pancakes. He goes to the refrigerator bringing the butter dish and the jelly. How does he know that I eat my pancakes with jelly? The final touch is a plate of buttermilk pancakes and a bowl of sausage gravy. He sits down and, bowing his head, asks me if I wanted to say grace.
After clearing the dishes for him and loading the dishwasher, I ask him to explain himself. He waves for me to follow him out the back door and sits down at the edge of the patio overlooking the back yard. It is my favorite spot and he appears right at home in the empty chair that I have placed next to mine with a table in between. This was, in my mind, God’s chair and he has some nerve sitting there. He waves for me to sit and I do…grudgingly.
“You see, you got off on the wrong foot when you started writing that damn book. Nobody wants to read a book that tells them that they cannot or should not do something that they just love to do.” He lights another cigarette and sits back crossing his legs. “I have a real problem with it, hell I told everyone that they should not do it a long damn time ago. Hell, fucking commanded them not to.”
“You are not trying to convince me that you are God! That would be totally absurd! I mean, how could everyone even be mad at me when I have not done anything but write the damn thing and never even tried to publish it? All it was supposed to be was something to make me feel better after those folks died in New York!” I could feel my blood pressure starting to spike and my chest get tight.
“I know, I know. People are weird. They think who the fuck they are. That whole freedom of choice gig was a major faux pas dude. I’ve been regretting it ever since I let it happen. Hell, look what it has brought us to!”
“Man, I am not having this conversation! You are going to tell me who the shitting hell you are or I am going to call the police…RIGHT NOW!” I grabbed his pack of cigarettes and lit one. The first puff reminded me why I had given them up.
When I looked back at him, and he’s gone, vanished into the clear air. All that remains is the pack of cigarettes and the empty coffee cup he had been drinking from. I sit staring at the chair for a while and finally surrendering, walk back in the house. I find my computer and, opening the word processing program, begin to type. I realize that the book about killing is not done. I’ve let it languish for several years while I went out and found other things to do. I do feel odd when I walked out in public. I am not paranoid. I do feel that many people treat me as if they have bitterness toward me, but it does not bother me. I just did not care. Or is it, that I did not think that there anything to be done about it? Could there really be a world where killing was just something that people liked? Dreamed of and pursued like it was the answer to all their problems?
No. It cannot be. It must not be! Let him come and make me breakfast if he must, I WILL finish and publish that book!