Two bottles of Bud Light and I am overwhelmed with the urge to spit in them, but I don’t. It’s a full moon and the air is thick with sand dust and dissent…
A table with two middle aged white men sits in the center of the room. They raise their bottlenecks to congratulate each other on what had come before they arrived here. An argument between co-workers. And argument between black, and white.
The pair fluffed their feathers and indulged in a self-righteousness, stolen. Resentment comes in all shades and it’s a race to own first place. These pellets had polluted their minds and found solace in blame, and retribution. Every word had a film of vitriolic playback. A putrid home built on a splintered foundation, with a vengeance. A blood line in a gutter that holds the leftovers of molested pride.
I walk to the table and put the beers down. The little stubby one looks up at me, he feels interrupted by my bringing his order. His eyes are heavy, sleepy, and slow. The bottle necks are getting the best of him.
He doesn’t like me. He doesn’t like my brown hair, or my brown, almond shaped eyes. He doesn’t like that I stand so tall, or, that I put the beer on the table without waiting for him to stop speaking.
Maybe I remind him of a girl he used to know, a girl who turned him down once, in high school. Maybe I remind him of his x girlfriend, or a girl that used to live near him a long time ago.
“What are you?” He says…
Or, maybe he’s just a misogynistic, racist, fuck. I don’t respond, I study his face instead.
He mimes a sad face, then says…
Time slows down and I breathe, deeply…
One word, “Smile.” My heart explodes into pounding, relentless, Olympic pounding. A switch, a word switch. This word, “Smile” fills me with rage. A direction of expression, a demand, a need to ignore the weight of her face, without it. “Smile” Do we command any other facial expression? And does he direct that towards the men in his life? When was the last time he looked at the man next to him and said…
“Smile Gary. You’re so handsome when you smile.”
I ignore his smarmy “Smile” jam, and the world speeds back up.
“Six fifty please.”
His head bobbles, his neck, worn out supporting the stupidity tank above it.
“Not until you smile!”
I feign a smile and repeat myself.
“Six fifty please.”
He looks at his sidecar passenger, then back at me. He bursts out laughing and twirls his finger in the air.
“Not good enough. Try again,”
A heat begins filling my face, and my heart, my heart wants out of my chest. I am officially, angry.
“Look dude, I don’t know what your fucking problem is, I’m not a circus monkey, I just need six fifty for the beer.”
The laughter stops and he glares at me. The animal in him noticing the animal in me, but pronouncing it, unnatural. He grabs one of the fresh beers he has yet to pay for, and raises it up, cheersing me…
“It’s cunts like you that give men a reason to beat women.”
He turns to toast his friend, celebrating his insight. I interrupt the applause grabbing hold of the bottle to pull it away from him. He pulls it back.
“You’re not getting this fucking beer bitch!”
My whole-body floods with rage and welcomes the fight. Perspective, presumption, and the heritage of violence.
Let the games begin…
I lean in close to him, and whisper.
“Such big words for such a tiny man. No wonder your wife doesn’t fuck you anymore. Does she like rap music by chance?”
I come out to see his eyes a little less sleepy. The crack of a whip from what’s known as a pet has found him awake. And he’s furious. He has to take the bait, he’s blind, and starving.
“Do what you do best, and show me your pussy.”
He laughs, reaches down, and grabs a fistful of what belongs to me, and I punch him.
The sound of his nose breaking inside his head echoing, as he falls back off his stool, confused. His sidecar buddie stands up, also confused, he steps back. I push the table out of the way and straddle my friend on the floor. He wipes his nose and looks at the blood on his hands. I reach down and grab a fist full of his hair, pull his head back, and start kicking his face.
“You wanna see up my skirt mother fucker? Well here’s a birds eye view.”
A bubble of yelling. I can hear my name, or, her name. But it’s in the distance, and I don’t care.
He coils around between my legs trying to cover his face. Lifting his knees up returning to the womb, and, trying to squirm out. The whole time I am moving, just slightly. Constantly re adjusting and finding spaces, finding gaps, to kick him again. I want to break every bone in his body, one by one.
I could feel the heat in my thigh. My leg kicking him, repeatedly. In the face, in the back of his head, in his back, ribs, and in his kidneys. I see flashes of red in the overflow of body parts, and I also aim a fist at that color, over, and over again.
The room is muffled. I can’t hear anything but the sound of my breathing. And all I see is him. My job, is to kick his face as many times as I can. Until it turns in on itself and he becomes unrecognizable.
I scream this at him, like a rabid dog, it brings me joy. A feeling of relief that’s indescribable. I can hear things inside his body breaking, and I like it.
My boots are covered in little metal hooks to hook my shoelaces in. And they run up my legs to the knees. I can feel the hooks pushing into my foot, and into my shin bone, bending deeper into the shoe with each kick.
“You racist piece of shit! So much big boy talk! You’re a fucking parasite!!!”
I can see movement coming towards me, over my shoulder. It’s another customer. He grabs my arm and tries to pull me away, tries to take control of the situation. But I’m in another place, and I have a job to do. This man is caged between my legs, his blond hair in my fingers, entwined, in my fist. And, unless someone cuts my hand off, I’m not letting go.
He just makes sounds now, instead of words. Confusion, fear, physical pain, and more confusion.
I kick him again, and he falls limp. With his head in my hands, I spit at him. Then, I let him go.
Hair and blood are gripped in my boot hooks, I’m sweaty, and I feel accomplished. I look up and the sound of the bar comes rushing back. The air is brittle and the remaining customers are just staring at me. One man covers his mouth and laughs.
Others stare in horror. Seeing the back-end explosion from a stripper, a woman, that fights like a man. It’s a honey flavored pleasure for a woman to watch deserving men be scared of her. To watch a man, feel like a woman, in the face of a man, possessed.
I can still feel his hand between my legs…
Maybe this racist fuck will think twice next time he throws darts at a color wheel and tries to take more of what’s not his to take.
Maybe next time, he won’t be so sleepy, and so blindly convinced he is king.
Because maybe, just maybe, all his anger, hurt and shame is nothing next to hers. Maybe her rage is a beast he will be made to cower beneath. And maybe he and the skin he lives in is a symbol to her. A symbol of oppression, of theft, and something that needs to be destroyed. Maybe he represents everything in her life that can be blamed for what she sees as suffering.
We are all someone’s burden. But, the greatest burden is ourselves.
How could he have known that a “Smile” would be granted. But only in the face of him being bloody.
I turn and walk towards his friend who stands like a possum, shaking his head and waving his hands close to his body.
“I’m sorry, we just had a little too much to drink is all.”
I stopped and looked at him.
“You’re not fucking sorry. You’re a piece of shit coward who hides behind the mask of being a man. And, you owe me six fifty, please.”