The Second Time I knew I would Be Murdered

One time in the north I was listening to Leonard Cohen above the bite and bark of my housemate telling me what a homo I was. I was sitting on the bench top drinking cans of beer when the phone rang. I picked up the receiver and heard Delve on the other end. He told me the situation and asked what I thought he should do.
“Listen, Delve,” I said. “When you ring this house it takes me all my damn time to find this telephone under the beer cans. I don’t want a part in this life shit.”
Meanwhile I had my own Jesse Jo staring me down in the room, waiting to continue his speech on my lack of manliness.
“I know, I know,” said Delve. “And I’m real sore to bother you, but I wouldn’t get you involved if I didn’t think you could help.”
I drank from my beer can and concentrated on Cohen. “Look here, Delve, you dumb bastard, I can’t help you. I have no idea what to do. You’re just gunna have to talk to them.”
It took another twenty minutes or so but finally Delve got the hint that I wouldn’t be helping him. All the while I sat drinking beer.
I got off the phone and back into the sounds of Cohen and my housemate.
“Well, you know that Frank thinks you’re a fag.”
“Does he?” I asked.
This is how it went on for an hour or two. I drank beer and listened to this fat fool tell me my problems. He was right about one thing; I didn’t like to fight. In fact, I was scared of hurting my nose.
I was living in a house with this guy and his wife and their kid. The wife was a real looker and whenever the husband wasn’t around I’d move onto the couch with her and rub her feet. She’d talk to me about books, even though I didn’t care for them. She worked as a waitress and she had these great athletic legs. I didn’t have much of anything going for me.
Anyway, there he is fucking about how smooth I think I am and how the town people don’t think I’m all that smart. If only they knew how I felt. The wife comes out from the television room and tells him to settle down. But he keeps on- “You know it too honey,” he says. “You know that little Sherry would take him on if only he’d act like a fucking man every so often.”

Finally, I’d had enough. I had four beers left and enough for a glass or two of whiskey, and I knew I had to put a stop to things. I walked across to the fridge and took out the rest of my beer, all the time this motherfucker had his eyes pointed in at me. I’d seen the fat bastard fight before, but I’d never seen any courage from him.
My idea was that fighting should be left to those who wanted it, but that in fighting, a man should show some courage and fight with the style and poise of a man laying down words or songs. Without courage in his chosen pursuit, a man had nothing.
Walking to my room I said, just loud enough for the wife to hear, “Why don’t you read a book sometime?”
He knew what I meant.
He caught me a good one at the back of the head and as I turned he got me another below the eye. I fell back onto the bed- hurting, weak, afraid. I blocked the best that he had. I was too afraid to throw a punch. He picked me up and pushed me against the wall. I fell against it and held myself, ready for the blow.
I looked at him, my eyes squinting, ready for the impact. Just as he threw it the only courage I had came out of me by fluke.
‘Don’t let him hit you,’ it said.
And I didn’t. I bent my neck so that my head touched my right shoulder and his punch flew across my face into the wall.
‘It’s over,’ I thought, and I fell towards my bed. Then his wife came in and pulled him off me.
“What are you doing?” she screamed.
They left the room. I lay prone on the bed a while then I got my book and began writing a poem about numbers. It didn’t matter much because he had won. He owned a courage that I could never own. A courage that would always win.
Later in the night when I had ran out of liquor I decided to leave. I woke up his wife, who was no longer sleeping with him, and told her my decision.

I packed my belongings the next morning. Before I left the wife showed me a lot of good leg, but it was too late. I could not be with a woman that loved a thug.
On the bus to Sydney I promised myself that when he died I would piss on his grave.

The Second Time I knew I would Be Murdered

Martin Lost

South Yarra, Australia

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