Man in picture. Here we go.

I open my eyes and there he is. He chuckles softly and sucks back some drool. He holds out a cheap plastic chess pawn. I can’t help but take it.

I see he’s wearing overalls with players from Hee Haw all over them. Buck Owens. Roy Clark. Minnie Pearl. Big titty country blonds.

With the same hand he punches me hard in the center of my face.

Whoohooooo! Where you been boy!?

My nose is erupting. Gotta breathe through my fucking mouth.

I kick as hard with my right heel as I can and actually land on solid meat underneath his pigeon fucking sternum. The smack sounds wet.

I may have his attention.

I’ve no fucking idea.

His pigs squeal a cacophony of lust. They smell my blood and think they can taste it. Dark and greasy tonight with red eyes and they scare me bad. They adore the violence about to occur.

I’m spooked enough to shit myself, I can’t help it. I shit myself.

He comes back to the bed and He’s pissed and confused. I swing hard at his facefull of tombstones.

Big mistake. His teeth lacerate my right fist, the venom they wear stings and infects me.

Twice though, I’ve knocked him back. Real flesh. Meat and teeth.

I think about the lumber on the other side of the bed.

I’m on my back in my own shit and I can smell it.

My fucking hand is throbbing.

Then I think, I want to live somewhere else. In the midwest. A small town next to a big town. I can’t help but imagine this. Not far from St. Louis I guess. Some place different. Maybe Portland. I see a window box filled with bright tulips outside a brick apartment on a city street under a very blue sky.

A cart full of flowers in all colors passes.

He’s bouncing around my bed. Crashing around my bedroom. He’s giggling. He twirls into the bathroom and spins the toilet paper roll. He says, Fuckin A. Over and over.

He moves to the kitchen counting in 3/4, pirouettes along the way. He’s humming a polka as he opens the freezer.

He slides the ice trays out one by one and ends every fourth bar with an Uh Huh. It’s three syllables. The same way The Romantics woould sing it.

The door clicks behind him and I hear his key turning the lock.

I’m so very tired but I’m screaming at myself to remember to understand something.

He pulled the sheet to my neck before he left. Sticky with my blood.

My right hand is screeching at me.

I wake up with the pawn in my right fist.

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