NIGHT (PART 1)
He slept next to a hammer every night. The man’s bedroom was on the ground floor next to the type of alley where sick howls and bins crashing were commonplace, so he found it only proper to arm himself with the crudest weapon he could find in his apartment.
When someone finally decided to dive head-first through the glass window to the left of his bed, he imagined he would be ready for a scrap.
At the very least, he would get in one or two errant swings before the aggressor(s) beat and/or raped him into submission. After the beating and/or rape, he would hold on to life just long enough to see his HDTV get passed through the shattered window, and feel the unreasonably cold evening wash into his room.
The next day, his roommate would stand in the doorway and try to find an appropriate posture for the moment. The roommate was glad it wasn’t his window, and that was only natural. A Cop would break the moribund atmosphere. “The hammer was obviously used in defense. His wounds don’t correlate with the type of wounds a hammer would leave. The kid put up a fight…” His red-faced Cop partner, sitting on the end of the man’s bed, would smack his gum and point at the indifferent and half-naked corpse on the wood-paneled floor and say, “Not much of a fight! And for fucks’ sake, what kind of loony tune sleeps next to a god damn hammer?”
These were the kind of happenings that ran through the man’s head at night. He tried to fight these sordid thoughts with breathing exercises and positive thinking. He even wrote down things he was grateful for on a legal pad before he shut the lights off for good. His psychiatrist told him such routines would “ease his mind” and “help tremendously with such irrational and disturbing imaginings.” But the list ended up being little more than a compilation of hollow generalizations like “family” and “friends” and “job,” and an assortment of random commodities. Only “Clonopins,” “Srircha,” and “Uncle Ronnie’s Jet Ski” were written down with any particular assurance or zeal.
The list-making didn’t last more than two weeks. The legal pad sat underneath the hammer on his night stand most of the time.
For the rest of the winter, he would lie on his side in the darkness, eye-to-eye with a Radioshack alarm clock, and watch the minutes fall away to the sounds of the city he found unkind.