Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I could smell that pie as soon as I got to Watershed Heights. All the lights were out, but not being able to see was made up for by the glorious smell of apple pie. I thought about going to grab a slice to bring back to Homer as a surprise. I crossed the street, almost past the Vietnamese Restaurant, when my arm was enclosed in this incredibly forceful grasp. Now Homer can pull my arm hard sometimes, or at least he used to when he could keep up with me, but this grasp was so firm it hurt. I turned to see who it was, maybe that pushy Vivian Mooney. But it wasn't. It was a tall figure dressed in corduroy pants and a button down shirt. His eyes were the kind of piercing blue that stops women in their tracks and makes them stare. They did the same to me. I froze in that moment and the only thing I could see were those bright blue eyes, like the color of hot, blue fire. I suppose that's why I didn't notice the knife he was holding, how it came closer and closer to my throat until I could feel the blade pressed against my flesh, drawing blood the further he pressed. Nothing was said, but the arm and the blade guided me farther into the alley between the restaurant and the convenience store. Kids around the neighborhood tended to call it the "Stab n Grab" as opposed to its rightful name as the "Stop n Shop."
"Don't say nothing or I'll slit that throat of yers," he said, pressing me up against the alley wall. I nodded silently, lips pressed together, one arm clutching my bag, the other at an odd angle due to the way he was grabbing me. "Gimme yer bag lady, do it now." He wanted my bag, of course he wanted it.
Slowly, with the knife still pressed firmly to my throat, I released my hold on the handbag, slipped it off my shoulder, and stretched my arm in his direction. He dropped the arm grabbing me and snatched the bag from my grasp.
He dropped the knife from my throat just then, and I thought "thank you Lord, thank you for sparing me. Thank you so much. It's finally over." But then his arm cocked back, and his fist came to my face with a force that would have knocked a man flat out in those old boxing matches I used to watch as a child.
Now on the ground, his kicks hit me too, and all I could think was how strong he was and how he must get tired soon from kicking so hard.
Then there was a foot coming at my face, and nothing.

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