Even Close to Equal.
The night time is the right time. It's the time of day when degenerates of all kinds emerge from their holes, caves, rocks, parents' basements, library attics, coffins, and coffee houses to do one of three things: stumble home drunk, go from the coffee house to Denny's, or commit some crime against an unsuspecting non-degenerate who happens to be out only because his pregnant mother sent him out to get ice cream--"And you'd better make sure you get pickles too, because Rocky Road doesn't taste good without pickles, so help me God"--and just happened to have the misfortune to cross paths with aforementioned degenerate, thereby ending up on Page Eight of the local paper that nobody read, and damn wasn't it just sad that his mom never got her ice cream.
Night was the time of lovers. Kids with hormones raging in their bodies like a thousand jihads practiced professional wrestling moves upon other kids with hormones raging like a thousand and one jihads in the backseats of their Volkswagon Golf, contorting their bodies to angles only seen in your ninth grade geometry class, but without the proof to back it up, trying to perform more actions simultaneously with more parts of their bodies than they used total in any given day, all for the most anticlimactic (ha) two minutes of their lives.
Night was also what had allowed me to be captured.
I couldn't remember all the details, my battered mind foggier than the streets of London, hazier than a college dorm room. I remember a post-apocalyptic landscape straight out of a Jerry Bruckheimer flick, I remember joking to....somebody....I can't recall. I remember dipping my head to light a cigarette and, as so often happens when one lights up a cigarette in a place cloaked in darkness, a face appeared right next to mine, illuminated only by the hotel matches I'd found in my bullet-ridden coat.
The next thing I remember, I was here, bound to this chair, head aching more than a woman's black eyes who'd already been told twice, nose bleeding as if it thought the word 'nose' meant 'uterus', one eye more swollen than Bubba Gump's bottom lip. And what was the first thought that crossed my mind upon waking?
Who the fuck took my hat?
I tried looking around the room, but it was dark, as rooms often were when it was dark outside and there were no lights within.
"Yo!" I said, my voice sounding suspiciously raspy as if I'd been shouting for my two-year-old to please stop flushing the Dead Sea Scrolls down the toilet, which was odd because I don't recall screaming, nor do I remember ever being in possession of a child, much less the Dead Sea Scrolls.
What the hell had happened?
I tried to recall, but it was no use. In a mind as vast as mine, there were too many roads, too much information crammed too closely together, like a fat man having to buy two seats on an airplane to still spill over his rotunda onto your thigh. With an intellect so vastly superior....
There was nothing. No slap, no jab with an elbow that more than likely left an elbow-shaped imprint permenantly on my rib, no threat of death. They really weren't here. I was alone. Now I knew what Franklin felt like.
A brief memory floated like a corpse in the East river up to the forefront of my mind. It was something about a girl--Tango, I think her name was, but as a general rule, when you think a girl shares a name with a dance from an Al Pacino movie, you're usually wrong--and a hot tub. While memories of girls in hot tubs ordinarily pleased me before I pleased myself, this one seemed more irrelevant to my current situation than the price of a medium rare steak at the Steak/Strip Club interstate stop.
Irritated, I rocked the chair, a little ditty popping into my head like a quarter into the jukebox of my mind.
"Rock the chair," I sang quietly to myself. "Rock the chair, don't rock the chair baby, rock the chair, don't tip the chair OVER! Oof!"
I tipped the chair over. I banged my head against the floor, jarring something loose, though if I had to guess I would say brain matter. Now, instead of darkness, I could see darkness at a photoshop rotated angle. I really had to pee.
Suddenly a single light came on in the darkness, which wasn't surprising considering that in these situations it was either a single light in the darkness to increase suspense or every single light at once to frighten the captive at his impending doom; no one ever turns on two lights in the darkness or brings the lights up just enough to make it more homey in here.
Speaking of homies. "What the hell? Chrissy?! Is that you?"
"Yeah. 'S been a while, Fax. Just testing out my 'net legs, if you will."
"But you ain't got no legs, Lt. Dan!" I said, and it was true, not because I spake it, but because this girl I had known once upon a time was nothing more than a floating torso; her legs were nowhere to be found and, despite my current predicament and my mind's cloudy state, I distinctly remember Chrissy having legs upon our last encounter.
"I know you can see my legs, Fax," said the Floating Disembodied Torso of Chrissy Spence.
"No, I really can't!" I said, clenching my teeth to permit the giggle from escaping like a convict and turning me into a police force that didn't take kindly to bound faux-detectives. Too late. The giggle emerged and my cover was blown, very much unlike other parts of me. "Fine, I can. But seriously.....camo pants?!"
Chrissy stepped forward with this lanthorn, her lanthorn, this thornbush, her thornbush, this dog, her dog, bringing the light a little closer, illuminating her camo pants that might have been useful were she in the military in 'Nam or perhaps some other deeply forested setting rather than a dark warehouse, though the black shirt and elbow length black gloves she wore seemed to be better suited for the atmosphere. That or a crazy fusion of Avril Lavigne and Evanescence. Avrilescence it would be called.
"Come on, Chrissy. Wake me up, wake me up inside!" I said, giggling like a school girl who didn't realize when her daddy complimented her skirt, he wasn't just being nice.
She sighed, brushing some of the dark curly hair that matched perfectly with the excess of black eyeliner she'd surely wear at her concerts, bending down with a small knife, hopefully to cut my bonds, not to stick me like a pig.
"Why do you have to go and make things so complicated, Fax?" she said. "I mean, seriously. When did this detective thing start for you? I see you acting like you're somebody else and, to be honest with you, it gets me frustrated."
Snip, snip and I was free. I rolled onto my back, then to my feet. I felt the sudden urge to dive for cover, but that seemed to be just muscle memory.
"Chill out. Whatcha yellin' for?" I said, then suddenly breaking into a coughing fit worthy only of those with advanced emphysema or girls with a gag reflex. I stumbled to my knees, oddly enough something also characteristic of girls with gag reflexes.
"Lay back," said Chrissy, putting her hand to my forehead and lowering me onto my back. "This has all been done before." She pulled a medkit--which I hadn't seen up to this point because it, too, was painted with camo--from her pants and began to bandage some of my more superficial cuts, the cuts which cared more about how they looked than the feelings of my other, less popular cuts.
"Well, the way I see it," I said, staring at the dark ceiling above while Chrissy applied the bandages, "Is that life's like this: you fall and you crawl and you break and you take what you get.......wait a sec."
I sat up. "Did we ever have sex, Chrissy?" It was another memory I couldn't recall, but it was one that I was determined to fabricate whether or not it actually happened.
"No, Fax, we didn't."
"Ah." I laid back down. "Well, if we ever do, promise me I'm never gonna find you fake it."
She set the medkit down on my stomach, sending a whirling blade of pain and powdered swords swirling through my belly up to my neck and chest.
"Jesus Christ, that fucking hurts!!!" I was afraid to look down, in fear that there might be blood oozing from whatever the hell it was she'd set the medkit down on.
Sure enough, Chrissy lifted the medkit and there was blood, oozing out of whatever she'd set the medkit down on. She sighed again.
"Alright, take off all your preppy clothes."
"I didn't mean right now, Chrissy," I said, chuckling, an act which my body interpreted as 'cause pain in my stomach and spread more blood to my shirt', a pain further intensified by Chrissy's thumb which I discovered was now pressed into the wound in my belly.
"You know, you're not fooling anyone," she said.
"Owowowowoowowowowoowowowowowow!!!!" I shrieked. "Fine, fine!!! But these clothes aren't preppy, AC Slater." I lifted my shirt, revealing a nice nickel-sized bullet hole in my gut.
"Wow, that sucks," I said, growing faint.
Chrissy nodded and dumped half a bottle of camoflauged antiseptic on the wound. It burned like cancer.
"Could you refrain from the burning like cancer, please?" I asked, not really sure where I was anymore, even though I didn't know where I was to begin with, so I guess it really wasn't all that bad.
"You know, Fax, I know you're trying to be cool, but you look like a fool to me. So fucking sit still."
I did what I was bade. Hell, dominant women had always given me my jollies. But then the room lit up with muzzle flares as more than one gun went off.