On my knees, an elbow wrapped around my throat, a hand pushing my head down: "Don't look up," she shouted, "don't look up."
They couldn't have been more than 15, and I had not minded when they had bumped against me at the street corner a block before,(more) not realizing they were testing me before the isolated block by the parking lot.
A girl in a blue parka stood in front of me, did the talking, told me to empty my pockets. Thirty dollars and a MetroCard spilled onto the sidewalk, and I shakingly pleaded that they leave my ID, knowing I'd be fucked trying to get on a plane the next week without it. A third girl scooped up the cards and papers, pulled the transit fare and cash out, stuck the rest of the junk back in my pockets. Grateful, I began to look up to thank Blue Parka, but the elbow pulled back against my throat, my face pushed down harder.
Blue Parka apologized, "Sorry. I know you're scared. We're scared too. It's our first time." She told me to stand, and I was lifted from my knees, still choking.
"Give me a hug," said Blue Parka. I still couldn't see her face, and my head was pulled into her chest in a tender teen-aged girl embrace. Blue Parka instructed my keeper to let go of me, not to hurt me. Instead I was spun around and a fist launched into my eye. I dropped to my knees for a moment before springing and running.
Blue Parka screamed, "You bitch! I told you not to hurt her!"
Central Park was dark across the street; street lamp artifice lied about the night. (less)
He liked small things: clean glass in the windows, untouched snow in undulations, neatly clipped toenails, curled eyelashes, dry veins.
Maybe that last wasn't so small. It was hard to keep perspective anymore.
She also liked small things: freshly vacuumed carpets, warm bagels with peanut butter, cold(more) beer, skin that smelled of disinfectant, dry eyes, curled fingers.
Maybe some of that was slightly off, sort of strange. But she was pretty sure she had it in perspective.
Small is small, after all.
He pulled out of his driveway at 7:45 am, sharp, every morning. She pulled out at 8:00 and admired the neat cut of his tire tracks in the snow - straight back, not curving until they were faint in the plowed mush on the street.
She added to her list, after skin, before eyes: straight tracks through driveway snow.
She entered her house at 6:00 pm, sharp, every evening. He entered his at 6:20 and admired the light from inside her house showing purple through her blue curtains.
He added to his list, after eyelashes, before veins: purple light (artificial) at sunset.
They lived for two years and four months, making observations, noting, amending. They had novels in neat lists, in longhand. "Pens" appeared on both lists, in different rankings, as did "knuckles" and "cold tire irons."
Two years, four months, and 13 days before they both went out for the mail, at the same time, treading slowly to make boot-holes in the snow evenly-spaced and clean-edged. They stared at each other ("hot showers in the afternoon" "black doormats, front porch" "cracked lips").
She spoke first, being the loneliest. "On your list, do you have "cinnamon applesauce"?
He paused, thought better of the lie, shook his head. "Do you have "bare feet"?
It was 1985, and Mikey's first air plane ride. The three-year-old watched out the window as they climbed above the clouds. In the quietude of the take off, he yelled at his mother, "All right, where's Jesus?"
(more) Twenty years later, Michael still looks out the window.(less)
The negotiator picked up the phone. "What is it you want?"
"I want a helicopter," said the man in the office building across the street.
(more) "OK," the negotiator replied. "Anything else?" He had to be careful. The six hostages were depending on him.
"I don't... I don't think we can do that."
"Because you can't demand love, no more than you can demand the sunrise to hold off for awhile, or for my ex-wife Becky to shut her pie-hole already."
"Why don't you just shut it for her?"
"HEY DON'T YOU TALK ABOUT MY WIFE THAT WAY!"
And that's when the bullets started flying.
No, the terrorist did not get his love. Steve, noble Steve, did not get a raise that year after those six people were scraped off of the walls, their blood rinsed into the street by a careless janitor named Pepe. No, Steve was not in any position to get a raise, much like how the terrorist was in no position to demand an intangible, possibly non-existent emotion. Who would love a terrorist? Well, not this terrorist. He blew his brains out before the police could get to him, but his brains were no match for Pepe's hose.
"Pepe!" the office manager yelled.
"Make sure you get all the bone chips out of the carpet. I don't wanna get a piece of Linda stuck in my show heel."
"I don't speak Spanish, and neither does the guy writing this."
"Yes, this... this... strange tale of... unmet demands." He said these last two words with a steely, forward gaze, as if addressing the audience (aka you.)
Meanwhile at Casa Steve...
"And another thing, why are you always coming home late? Why can't we go somewhere--"
2. A room of my own,
3. A staff of cooks, housekeepers, and chauffeurs,
4. A masseuse,
5. A publicity specialist,
6. An agent,
(more) 7. An editor....
No? No modern Medicis, waiting around the corner to sponsor me? You mean I have to have a go at this with a desk in the corner and a household to care for and a 45 hour-a-week job? And I can still write novels? Even when my consciousness has been subsumed by small children and turned into pure desire for television? Even when I have a stupid sinus bug I can't shake? Even when I should be doing a thousand other things, I can still write?
Here's the deal, motherfuckers, you do what I say, you live. You scream like a little bitch, you get shot. Now, can somebody point me to the president?
Random Hostage: H-H-H-He's out on-on b-b-business.
Ain't that a bitch. See, people are going to have to die toda(more)y because this motherfucker is out on business, another business trip to fuck people over just like this place fucked me over. And I see that I will have to deal with more unmet demands, but this guy, this fucking president, fucking pussy, is gonna have some blood on his hands.
(Field Reporter) I'm standing outside of the largest insurance company in the state where a man has taken an entire floor hostage. We have not identified the suspect, but inside sources tell us he is disgruntled with, I mean, has a previous disagreement with this particular floor. As of now nobody has been shot, everyone is safe. Calls have been pouring in from family members and we regret to inform you we have nothing to report of any significance. Dale, back to you.
Dale (in studi0): Thanks, Marina. Folks, we will keep you updated as much as we can. This even will likely interrupt any scheduled programming.
(inside building) Now, who's going to die first. Let's see, who's in charge of taking claims over $5,000? That's how much my claim was worth, you're going first.
SOMEBODY TELL ME WHO THE FUCK TAKES CARE OF CLAIMS OVER FIVE GRAND? (gun shot to the ceiling, loud shrieks from hostages)
Random Hostage: Alex Turner. Alexturnertakescareofallof theseclaims.
Fuck, thank you. Alex Turner, raise your hand, you're going to die. Matter of fact, stand the fuck up.
Before I fucking shoot you, I want you to call your family and apologize for ruining my life. (less)