Counting Destiny

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
An academic takes a walk on the wild side only to find his life and outlook forever changed by a young dancer and a lie.

Submitted: February 04, 2017

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Submitted: February 04, 2017

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Counting Destiny:

 

Robert Brasseur

 

Looking back at my life, I know I am better off things happened the way they did.  Moreover, had I not been exposed to the events that put me here, I would not be able to speak with confidence about the general and specific complexities which comprise deviation from organized society’s rules.  Indeed, only a felon can understand felony and the remorse, indifference, and self-punishment that its consequences bring.  In case you’re wondering, I am a felon.  I live in a rather dusty little room constructed of brick and iron within the sanctity of a maximum-security prison.  I have nothing left of my life before prison.  All that I have now are terribly large inmates who frighten me and, at the same time, provide a quasi-civilization within my punishment.  However, I am convinced that I am better off for it.

You may not understand this, but the experiences that put me here created a freer man.  A man whose liberties became more intoxicating only after I pushed their limits.  It was once written that the essence of human nature is one of appetites and aversions.  Human existence is simply a tireless pursuit of these appetites from birth to death.  Outside of a social compact, liberty is infinite in these pursuits.  Yet, I had never lived or breathed liberty of this nature until one day in 2011 when I found freedom at my fingertips with more intensity than my sheltered mind could possibly rationalize.  On this day, I found felony.  I will be using numerous pseudonyms to relate the story. 

The reader must understand that I was never a man without scruples.  In fact, if one analyzed my life before 2011, he or she would find that I loyally walked the chalk line of morality without stumbling.  I never allowed even one toe to fall within the penumbra that skirted the edge of moral codes.  I lived forever in a life without hazy boundaries.  Indeed, I worked, I spent time with my family, and I slept.  But, I never faltered from a responsible loyalty to the American ideal.  Finally, if you are to best understand this felon’s manifesto, you must know that I was a well-respected, tenured professor with more publishing credits than I can possibly detail here.  I was adored by my students, held in high regard by my peers, and deeply loved by my children and my wife.  Indeed, before April 5, 2011, I successfully conformed to the sort of life that conservative politicians label Family Values.

The events leading up to my fall from social grace were not really events at all.  More specifically, they were consistent failures on my part to hold together the fabric of what I had always believed to be the most important part of my life, my family.  Yet, I know the most profound failure in those troubled days was my marriage.  As it happens, the small-town university in which I taught was not to Daisey’s liking.  More specifically, the town itself and region was completely outside our plans when we married.  I met Daisey when she was an undergrad at the University of Illinois and I was in my third year of graduate studies.  I was teaching an undergraduate composition course and Daisey was one of my students.  The extent to which this could be considered ethical, I do not know, but we fell in love and love always has a way of provoking anarchy within one’s ethics.  So anyway, we were married shortly after my fourth year.  Daisey’s long term plans for a healthy marriage were to have two children, treat each other with unfaltering respect, and move to a southern state where I would teach English.  She never liked the cold and I agreed at the time that a university in Florida would be nice.  I guess I should remark that I never really cared for cold winters myself, but neither did I despise them.  In any case, after grad school I found academia plagued by the adjunct problem.  Indeed, many universities were experiencing heavy budget cuts and adjunct professors were cheaper and easier to release when enrollment was down.  Therefore, finding a tenure track position wasn’t an easy task, especially since my Ph.D. wasn’t achieved at an elite institution.  So when The University of Comfort offered me a tenure track position in its English department, I took it.  I was eager to move north and prove myself a scholar.  Obviously, my wife was less thrilled about the prospect, but she agreed to move as long as I continued to pursue a position in Florida.  Finally, in 2011, we had been in Hope, Michigan for twelve years and I had long since abandoned any pursuit toward other employment.

Therefore, the family problems I discussed earlier became a paramount difficulty in my life during the early years of the 21st century.  Daisy invented arguments consistently that always succeeded in making torture the central theme of our marriage.  If it wasn’t the kids needing greater discipline, it was the weather, or the house, or the appliances, or the time I spent working.  The arguments would begin in the morning, sustain themselves throughout the day, and we would go to sleep without closure every night.  The marriage counselor quickly determined that Daisey’s animosity toward me stemmed from her dissatisfaction with our marriage.  Indeed, according to Mr. Thompson, she was unhappy with her life in Michigan; therefore, she found subconscious issues to divert her attention from the real problem and created a marriage full of rocky days and nights.  I found myself forever dreading going home. 

Yet, with everything else, I was comfortable.  I had grown to accept and sometimes even appreciate the bitter cold of northern winters.  I loved my job and the people with whom I worked.  I had found a place which was mine; a circle in which I belonged.  Therefore, my last intention was to trade all this for balmy, sunny days in a different state.  So I persevered through the continuous hazing at home and believed at some point she would learn an important, necessary truth: we were not going anywhere.  As one can imagine, my stubborn comfort coupled with her intense dissatisfaction culminated in constant and continuous marital strife.  But we lagged on.

It is important to note here that I adored my wife.  She was the epitome of everything I found irresistible in women.  She was intelligent, assertive, kind and compassionate (even in her hostility), and for these things—alongside all her annoying idiosyncrasies—I loved her wholly.  Additionally, I found in my children a peace.  The kids were my future and my past.  They were everything that a strong-willed, intellectual needs to feed his constant yearning to understand life.  Their innocence and constant exploration and discovery answered any questions I had once held about life, death, and reason.  Therefore, as I have said, I persevered through Daisey’s dismay and maintained my happiness through my children and my job.  This could not last forever.

In the spring of 2011, Daisey and I began fighting more often and with greater ferocity than in the past.  I suddenly found myself unable to balance the joyless marriage with the joys of which I’ve previously spoken.  I became more determined to find other avenues for my own chaotic emotions.  The reader must remember that, throughout my life, I had never fallen off the imaginative road of the prototypical, well-rounded American.  I never did those things so common to people when faced with the disaster of a crumbling life foundation.  So instead of reaching for a bottle or escaping into the nightly decadence that comprised the town in which we lived, I worked.  In fact, I spent so much time at school that my colleagues determined I was a workaholic.  Indeed, I could be found morning, noon, or night in the library researching a new paper or in my office revising one syllabus or another.  I was the first person to volunteer to teach extra courses and the last person to leave at the end of a day.  Daisey didn’t like this, but if I wasn’t at home, she couldn’t tell me in her thoroughly practiced way.

I now hope the reader can visualize the image of a hopeless, morally upright man teetering on the edge of life’s common precipice, because it was during this teetering that I sat in my office one evening at 8:30 struggling over the terrible prose of a student essay when I began the descent (or ascent) into liberty.  A professor from the philosophy department approached my open door.  We had encountered each other in the halls quite often since I began working later in the evenings.  Wendell apparently taught night classes at the university and worked at some obscure human service agency during the day.  During my endless trips to the library and vending machines, he and I had taken to short, casual conversations in the hallways.  Wendell was not an academic in my understanding or pretentious acceptance of the term, but I found him interesting and, although I had few strong impressions on his personality, I expected him to be an upstanding person.  On that particular evening he stormed into my office with a peculiar grin and demanded I meet him at a local bar when I finished my work.  His casual enthusiasm was, at first, hard to refuse, but when he told me what kind of bar he had in mind, I refused immediately.  He wanted me to join him at an adult entertainment club where I could experience my primitive side.  I apologized and explained a promise made to my son to help with his homework when I got home.  Being the kind of person who hates finality, he said if I changed my mind I should come up around Ten o’clock.  I mumbled “okay” and he left my office with as much intensity as he had come.

The telephone rang as I imagined myself sitting within the mysterious building I so often drove past.  In a drifting nonchalance I answered the ringing to discover Daisey in yet another rage.  My daughter, the younger of our two children, had come home from school with a note stating she was falling behind in class.  As always, if I was a better father, these things would not happen and I should come home right away and give the little girl a long talk.  I often allowed the blame for things to fall on me with indifference, but as I mentioned earlier, her unreasonable outbursts were beginning to weigh on me.  I informed her, with impunity, that she was just as capable of helping our children with their homework; nevertheless, Daisey rarely saw things my way, so I suffered a tirade of profanity that debased me and everything I held dear.  Needless to say, my temper produced silly ad hominems of my own and I proceeded to demand that she never call me at work again.  This, of course, resulted in an endless discussion on quality time since if you’re always at work and I can’t call you there, how the fuck am I supposed to let you know what is going on in our children’s lives.  Even though the conversation lasted another ten minutes, I can’t say that I heard too much of it.  Instead, my mind floated over a student essay in which the rather slow thinking junior argued that, if Hera had been such an incorrigible and nagging wife, her husband Zeus, the most powerful of all gods, should have just killed her with a lightning bolt.  I hung up the telephone with a choking desire to cry, but instead of tears I grabbed my papers, locked up the office, and headed for “Appetite for Pleasure”.

As I drove into Pleasure’s parking lot, I had a strange feeling of release.  The last time I had done anything involving strange, naked women, I had been 19 and at a relative’s bachelor party.  I remembered the party with an intense distaste; nevertheless, as I approached the door of Pleasure I felt a calming heat envelop me.  Inside, I found that I was not at all warmed by the environment, but instead, rather uneasy.  Girls in tight skirts were serving drinks while girls dressed in threads were gallivanting around with breasts bobbing and buttocks shaking.  Don’t mistake discontent for disgust, these women were beautiful, but my impression of aesthetics never moved me to consider universal beauty found in sticky g-strings or what some may perceive as valueless women.  Nevertheless, I was determined to rest my aching rage in exchange for mindless company so I searched through the dim, electric pulse of treated lighting and found my colleague sitting by the stage with two shabbily dressed companions.  I approached the table and took a seat directly facing the stage where a woman with an immense chest danced provocatively in only a stringy thong.  I nervously ordered a beer from the rather appalling waitress when the dancer’s buttocks came up in the air revealing too much of her underside.  I was astounded, but immediately intrigued.  Wendell screamed across the table through the roar of Mrs. Buttock’s music, “What made you change your mind?”

“Thought I’d come by and have a drink with you since you were kind enough to invite me.” 

“Good for you.  Have you been here before?”

“No.  I don’t recall ever being in one of these bars.”  I remember being embarrassed with the admission and continued, “I guess I’ve lived a sheltered life.”

“Are you religious or something?”  Wendell seemed surprised by my admission and wanted explanation.  “Come on, there’s nothing wrong with men going out and enjoying their primitive side!”

“Is that what this is?”  I was confused by his boyish innocence.  Considering his occupation, it seemed he’d have stronger feelings on the exploitation of women.  “You teach ethics, right?”

“Yep.  The philosophy of trying to figure out why everyone is wrong and only a select few have ever been right.  Why, you don’t think this is ethical?”

“Well, I was hoping you might enlighten me.” 

“Listen, this place is bursting with positive hedons!  The women are all happy because their making money and it should be obvious why the men are happy; therefore, this place is an ethical paradise, so why don’t we just drink a beer and forget about morality.  The feature act is up in a couple of minutes.”  He pointed toward the stage, saluted me with his beer and grinned mischievously.  I sat apprehensively questioning my very presence in such a strange place, but dreading Daisey and her exhaustive complaints, I drank my beer and continued to assess my surroundings with sheepish and embarrassed glances.

A few moments later, the DJ announced that Destiny was on her way to the stage.  She was from Dallas and had to her credit a recent pictorial in Hustler magazine along with several other seedy magazines of which I’d never heard.  Additionally, she was the feature of the year in 2010.  I wondered what association or group decided this.  I couldn’t imagine a profession that judged a woman’s worth by her breasts, butt, and ability to show them to strangers; nevertheless, I was interested in seeing this apparent star of the underworld circuit.  When she came out, I immediately surmised that she was just a kid; indeed, a poor, misguided beauty without the means or knowledge to make money any other way.  I made justifications for her, thinking she was simply putting herself through school, but realized that this was impossible with the obvious travel being a feature demanded.  Therefore, instead of pursuing dignified higher learning, she danced on stage with eager energy and I found myself less concerned about her degradation and more interested with the artistry of her act.  In fact, for what it’s worth, I decided I liked her because she seemed more interested in displaying some aspect of creative expression than simply gratifying her male audience’s desire for nudity.  I guess I should also make clear that she was attractive in a trashy, secret kind of way.  She had ample breasts that were obvious implants, a short, very nicely shaped frame, and perfect limbs.  Of course, I was attracted to her in a strictly primal sense. 

Wendell noticed that I was allotting the little Lolita all my attention and he offered me a five-dollar bill.  I looked at him ignorantly as he placed the five dollars in my hand.  Why is he giving me money?  I felt even more ignorant when he explained the purpose.  I hope the reader doesn’t consider me a buffoon of some sort, but I honestly didn’t realize what the money was for.  Indeed, I had seen it done in movies or heard about it through friends, yet at the precise moment he handed it to me, I could not even recall my own name.  I was entranced within the parody of a man committed to higher order thinking and well-thought values contrasted against the risqué bar and its inhabitants.  Wendell helped me through my trance by telling me to go to the stage and tip the girl.  He yelled across the table crowded with beer and money, “Let your hair down and just do it!”  Therefore, with a pulsating fear and the commercial slogan repeating in my head, I did it.

I approached the stage shyly while she danced on the other side to some Broadway show-tune I vaguely remember hearing.  My head began nodding hypnotically to the movement of her shoulders and hips as I watched the muscles in her stomach twitch with every movement of her body.  Each graceful turn of her head and roll of her hips displayed another well-constructed feature of her tightened frame and I found myself in an utterly desperate moment of desire.  Startled and at the same time tortured, I distinctly remember how she turned in my direction and seductively sauntered over to where I waited with the sweaty bill hanging from my fingers.  One might not believe this, but I never noticed her body during her endless approach toward me.  Instead, everything seemed suspended by the unwavering contact we made with our eyes.  The look we exchanged can never be repeated in a million lifetimes of lust and it was this look that sent my life spinning into the events that made me what I am today. 

She bent down without ever moving her gaze from mine and I hesitated in placing the bill in her underwear.  I didn’t want her eyes to leave mine and I knew the moment she had her payment, she would glide off to another patron or another side of her stage world.  But, as moments always do, this one ended with my trembling fingers sliding the five dollars into her g-string and feeling the electric shock of her taut, hot skin on the back of my fingers.  Jesus, to this day I still remember the liberation and sultry freedom of those two seconds of touch.  However, that little liberation could never replace the memory of crime that occurred after.

When I returned to the table, Wendell delighted himself by coaxing me into another beer and began saluting me with envy.  Indeed, he made a big show with his friends about how the dancer had looked at me and how her eyes followed my movement back to where we were sitting.  He continued by pointing out various moments when the dancer would look over to our table to make sure you’re still here, stud!  But I gave his comments little thought until her act was finished.  She climbed off stage and approached our table, sitting down in the chair directly next to mine.  She introduced herself while slowly, deliberately I think, putting her skimpy clothes back on.  In mortal fear of her presence, I convinced myself she was under the impression I was going to give her a lot of money.  Yet, this calming thought ended abruptly when Wendell asked if he could buy her a drink and she responded, “No, but I am going to buy your friend one.”  I was astonished, but at the same time slightly gratified as I realized the impossible.  Indeed, I was sitting next to the most attractive act in the club and she was buying me a drink!  I was shocked, exhilarated, confused, and so full of adrenaline that my heart could have won an auto race.  And my wife was a vague, clouded memory.

I doubt the reader needs to hear about the tiring three hours I spent in the bar after this.  All one needs to be aware of is that Destiny never left my side and, although I ignored her many times during the night, she remained loyal to me while other men in the bar looked on in jealousy.  I think I enjoyed the jealousy almost as much as the eroticism.  I vaguely remember Wendell and Destiny exchanging numbers or e-mail addresses during one of those periods in which I ignored her, but her attention, for the most part, remained in my indifferent control.  However, as I often do when thinking back on those weak moments in the club, my mind treacherously spans details that have little relevance to the bigger picture.  Therefore, I will move on toward the disaster or liberation to come.

Shortly before one o’clock, Destiny announced that she was tired and needed to gather her things and go back to the hotel.  With a furtive glance in my direction, she stated off-hand that she wasn’t too thrilled over the bouncer driving her home and wished someone a little more interesting would run her back.  Wendell immediately caught her coy hint and proclaimed that I would be more than happy to oblige her.  Stunned and perturbed at the insolent manner in which he volunteered me, I insisted that I had to go home to my wife and did not have the time.  She was unmoved by my claim of loyal husbandry and insisted to the contrary.  All the while, Wendell sat by my side convincing me with boyish enthusiasm that my wife wouldn’t care if I came home even later since it was so late already.  Of course, Destiny continued to push me in her direction.  Allow me to digress for a moment to make something clear.  I was a 42-year-old man at the time and take complete responsibility for my actions.  In fact, I am honest enough to concede that my inner voice was urging me to accept, but I did attempt refusal several times.  Nonetheless, out of drunken lust, my inner voice came out victorious as I found I wanted to be alone with her even if that only meant a ride in my car.  I agreed to take her back and, within a few moments, Destiny was leading to a place I had never been.

The drive to the hotel was uneventful.  We spoke very little.  I was literally too frightened to utter even a minor vowel and Destiny had plans that needed little voice to take effect.  Consequently, when we arrived at the door to her room she turned to me with her key in hand and afforded herself a little giggle as she demanded that I come in.  I’ll admit I must have been an amusing sight.  I was standing at the threshold of her door with perfect posture, subdued and holding her bags dutifully in hand.  I must have appeared to be waiting for a tip.  Instead, I got something else entirely. 

Once in her room, Destiny carelessly strolled to the window and closed the thick drapes, pulled off her loose clothing and put on even looser sweatpants and tee shirt.  I can’t explain why I was so amazed at her immodesty.  It stands to reason that she would have little problem changing clothes in my presence when she just finished dancing naked for a room full of strangers.  But wasn’t I still a stranger?  Other than rudimentary details about my work and education, we hadn’t really talked enough to say that we knew each other, but there I was in her room watching her shameless display and complete comfort with her body.  I knew at that moment I had to leave.

Destiny knew nothing of the same.  In fact, she grabbed my arm and pulled me to her bedside.  I struggled dutifully against her insisting caresses.  Moreover, the image of Daisey sitting at home watching the clock created an infallible fear that actually drew me defiantly from Destiny’s grip.  She was an expert at what I deem now to be unconcealed seduction and Daisey faded away like so much a display photo in a new frame.  And then we fucked.

We groped around the bed for what seemed hours of insatiable exploration and discovery.  Destiny demanded more of me than I knew I could offer.  Her angry kisses and tight grip found virtually every inch of my body and we continually exploded in another wave of intercourse, fellatio, or cunnilingus.  I refuse to call anything during those hours romance.  What we did had nothing to do with anything even neighboring on intimacy.  Indeed, we were mindless mammals existing solely on a physical plane for the duration of those disastrous, remarkable, unforgettable thrusts of time.  Yet, when it was finally over I was no longer pure animal.  I was again someone with the capacity for thought, for reason, for guilt.  I remember resting by her side void of further energy and watching as she comfortably, exhaustively stretched out along the bed.  My mind evaluated her without the earlier respect for creativity or grace.  At the same time, I was stunned by her depravity as well as my own.  I wanted to flee like a hunted rabbit escapes the frightening howl of a beagle.  Little did I know that I would only find myself circling to the hunter’s gun.

I got out of bed with quiet, exhausted pain as Destiny turned at me in accusation.  “You’re not going to leave yet are you?”

“I am sorry, but I have an early class tomorrow so I must be going.”  I tried to sound as polite and professional as I could as if we had just completed some routine business transaction.  However, my words were not her problem.  She scrambled up from bed and attacked my neck with hugs and kisses, begging me to stay the remaining hours of the night, but each kiss made me nauseous and her hands froze me in desperation to escape.  I knew I had no other choice but end everything and make the preceding events a mere memory.  “Destiny, I enjoyed what we just did and I’ll admit that there was something about you that drew me here, but the underlying fact of the matter is that I am married and have two wonderful children and I must go home to them.  Will you please let me leave?”

Let you leave?  Who the fuck has you under lock and key?  No one forced you here!  And where the fuck was your wife twenty minutes ago?”  Destiny yelled at first, but immediately followed with pouting cries about being lonely and something about me making her feel normal or regular or something of that sort.  I was struck dumb as I found nothing normal in what we had just accomplished.  In fact, all I could get out of it was regret.  Nonetheless, Destiny had found something else in our intercourse that I had not imagined; she found love.  Indeed, she demanded she had.  She ranted for awhile about ridiculous notions of love at first sight and apparently confirmed them by love at first copulation.  And I could do nothing else but sit down on the edge of her unclean bed, defeated.  More specifically, I felt consuming remorse for the emotionally challenged girl with all her delusions and tragic misrepresentations.  However, I put on my clothes as she sobbed pathetically while beating her fists mercilessly against her thighs.  In fact, for a brief moment, I feared she was going to seriously harm herself as her fists pounded the soft flesh of her inner thighs.  Finally, I walked over to where she was sitting.  I tried to comfort her with a clumsy attempt to wrap her in my arms for a final physical consolation, yet she had nothing to do with it.  In fact, she suddenly jerked away and all her tears magically metamorphosed into feigned cheer as she politely showed me to the door and said goodnight.

Returning home early that morning wasn’t at all as cataclysmic as one might believe.  In fact, my unusual display of independence or defiance must have frightened Daisey, because she expressed only concern and happiness that I was safe.  We spoke little about my whereabouts or activities and the day went on like normal except for my profound exhaustion.  Several students who had taken my classes before were very interested in my uncharacteristic lack of preparation and some of my colleagues commented on my lagging gate.However, the night before was over and the day was refreshing even through my sleepless eyes.  I had gotten away with it and that actually felt better than the act itself! 

At home that night and during the following weeks, Daisey began to approach her discontent with a greater respect for my feelings than she had in the past.  Indeed, she approached me with open-minded hope and found that, after I listened to her reasonable arguments, I was more eager to hear what she said.  Consequently, our marriage became more tolerable and decisions became easier.  To say that everything immediately worked itself out would be oversimplification and that wasn’t the case, but we began to move in positive directions and I began to consider, tentatively, a resurgence of the old job search.  My infidelity was forgotten after several weeks.  However, I had forgotten something terribly important.

If you recall, I vaguely remembered Wendell exchanging information with Destiny while at the strip club.  As it turned out, they had exchanged e-mail addresses.  Why Wendell wanted to correspond with her was beyond me; however, I ran into Wendell one night when I was reluctantly working late and found that they had indeed been corresponding.  Moreover, Wendell was flustered as he grabbed me and aggressively led me by the arm to his office where he shut the door firmly and asked me to sit down.  “She says you raped her.”

“Excuse me, what are you talking about?”

“Destiny wrote me an e-mail shortly after that night and claimed you raped her six times!  She told me you beat her up, too.  What the hell happened?”

As you can imagine, I was dumbfounded by the information.  I was equally on edge by the accusing way in which Wendell relayed the girl’s story.  “I did no such thing to that girl.  She was agreeable to….No, I take that back.  She wasn’t only agreeable, but she initiated every single thing we did!”  With genuine surprise and concern, I told Wendell everything that occurred in the hotel room including her psychotic claim to love and sat quietly as Wendell considered my side of the story.  However, I couldn’t stay mute for too long.  I wanted to know what took my colleague so damned long to let me in on Destiny’s deranged fantasy.

“I flew out there to see her and try to come to terms with the whole situation.  I simply couldn’t condemn you without hearing her tell the story in person.”

“Well, are you condemning me now?”

“I have to be honest with you, she has Polaroid’s of bruises on her thighs and as I understand it, she went to the hospital that night for the rape.”

“What!  Were the police notified?”  I couldn’t breathe and it took everything to simply spit out the questions.

“Yes they were, but she wouldn’t tell them anything about you.  She didn’t give them a description, a location, anything.  She just had the basic examination and, I’m sorry, but it confirmed that she had been raped.”  Wendell folded his hands and placed them under his chin waiting for me to say something, but I just sat and choked on my astonishment.  I suddenly began to see what Destiny was up to and knew I could make sense out of the whole situation.

“I promise you that everything that took place in that room occurred with both our consent, but if you only knew what kind of night that was you’d understand how things could look the way they do.  I mean, God damn it, the whole night was violent.  We were destroying the room with every move we made.  Of course she was going to show signs of rape when you consider the things she asked me to do like bite her neck.  I’ve tried to forget about it, but….it defies description.  I didn’t rape her!”  I nearly fell off the chair as I reached for him to force him to make eye contact.  “I didn’t do it.”

“Well, how do you explain the fist size bruises on her thighs?”

“I don’t know.  I simply don’t know.”

“Oh come on, man.  Do you really expect me to listen to ‘I don’t know’?  You’re going to have to do better than that…..she told me yesterday that she is going to press charges now.”  Wendell paused so that his brutal message reached home, entirely.  “She says she isn’t scared anymore and I convinced her that she should do whatever makes the whole thing easier for her.”

“You did what?  Why in the hell would you encourage that lying bitch to do anything?”  I stood up in rage and wanted to hit the pompous philosopher against his head, but instead, I accused him.  “You’re the son of a bitch that got me into this fucking mess!  Had I not listened to you or allowed you to manipulate me into such a position, this whole fiction wouldn’t exist!  Yet, you turn around and encourage her to ruin my fucking…..”

“Hold on a minute.  I had nothing to do with your decisions after you left the bar and, furthermore, you hold a doctorate…are you trying to tell me you can’t think for yourself?  The fact of the matter is you went with her to that damn room and now you have to answer for what happened!”  Wendell never blinked an eye.  Instead, he continued to sit calmly in his high back chair with his hands folded glaring at me in judgment.  Innocence screamed through my thoughts, but was interrupted by the image of Daisey, my children, and my work.  Everything was just starting to go right again.  I wasn’t educated on the law, but my weakened state clouded over the pictures of my family with haunting portraits of prison, how long I’d rot there, and the fact that I would probably never teach again if Destiny had her way.  I sank back down into my seat and put my head in my shaking hands.  It wasn’t at all easy but I managed to gather my thoughts enough to recall more details about that night.

“I know where the bruises came from.  She was upset that I was leaving and began beating her fists into her thighs.  I left moments later.”  I looked up to find Wendell looking at me apathetically.

“Really?  This just come to you or have you been working on it for a while?”  He was grunting more than speaking.

“Never mind, it’s obvious you’ve made your decisions, so I’ll spare you my explanations.  Just tell me how I can get a hold of her, please.  I need to find out why she is doing this?”

“I am not giving you any avenue for scaring that young girl anymore than you already have.  You’ll just have to face the music.” 

“Can you tell her to contact me?  If she doesn’t want to, she won’t.  But at the very least, let her make the decision.”  It was degrading giving the little bastard so much power, but I was desperate, so I implored him to give me one chance to make things right.  In self-righteous form, he agreed to talk to her about it and then asked me to leave.  Affronted, but beaten, I stood up and walked out of his office without a backward glance.  Within my own office, several hours later, with dreams of my family sifting through my head, the phone rang.  I uneasily lifted the receiver and uttered a tortured hello.  It was she and her voice seemed as desperate as mine.  We talked for twenty minutes while I laboriously held back fits of rage in order to find some sense in her behavior.  She demanded that she was telling the truth and I had been drunk.  Of course, I countered by insisting that two beers sipped over a period of three hours could hardly make anyone drunk, least of all myself.  But she insisted and I insisted and we were not getting anywhere; therefore, I pleaded that she leave things as is.  Finally, as the beagle brought me full circle, she gave me my only opportunity to save my life.

She flew into the airport three days later and I was to meet her the following day at the same hotel in the very same room where the alleged rape took place.  I couldn’t reason through being alone with her another time only to leave myself open to more accusations, but I had little choice.  Wendell had removed himself from the problem as quickly as he had instigated it and I refused to ask him for further help.  I realize he was only behaving rationally—after all, the evidence proved me guilty—but I was angry with him for his role in this whole affair.  So, alone, I waited on the rendezvous that she selected with helplessness and anxiety.  Indeed, following our phone conversation, I saw all my routines vanish into smaller, less significant habits.  I cared nothing for my classes and reported a fabricated illness to my department chair.  I did not spend any significant time at home, either. 

Instead, I floated around the city and explored with dreamlike consciousness the routines of the inhabitants.  Indeed, their foolish trips to the grocery store to buy hot dogs or prime rib, depending on their checkbooks.  The incessant traffic at rush hour as lemmings followed the herd from one respectable role to another.  The children as they gobbled up the socialization which was spoon-fed them one way or another.  Each tiny gesture a universal thorn in my diluted, delusional mind.  Volvos and Yugos each demonstrating the different degrees to which we are all raped.  Each of us Caliban, taking orders from a cruel master.  Fools and clowns, slaves and masters…the distinction became so foggy.  I considered Wendell and his beloved Bentham and utility.  But even then I couldn’t see any purpose to hedons or the reasonable measure of happiness or suffering.  I thought of Nietsche’s good and evil; yet, I failed to identify anyone from history or my own lifetime for whom master morality could be served.  I only saw the Leviathan and my fellow man……I saw consumers of what anyone could sell and the rare pirates who controlled them.  I saw myself within the long, lonely game. 

I stopped in some of the most depressed, decaying neighborhoods and watched the meager habits of that rare breed, the industrious poor as they survived on the scraps  of rich and the middle class.  I then lost track of time altogether.  Even the rising and falling of the sun denied me the concept of time.  Everything was dark.  A man approached my car without any teeth and asked if I wanted something.  I remember asking with brutal sarcasm what he was selling.  He looked me over to determine if I was a police officer.  I must have been a hell of a sight, because he replied that he had anything I wanted.  I laughed incredulously.  Anything I wanted!  I asked for a gun.

Don’t make the mistake that I had reached some obscure level of insanity, because that is hardly the case.  Moreover, I had reached a spiritual plateau on which all things began to make perfect sense.  Indeed, the prior conformity of my life had been replaced by a Kafkaesque cartoonish reality.  One where reason does not need exist.  Where life is “nasty, brutish, and short”.  One where the limits of freedom cannot be restrained by the boundaries of others.  I dismissed the majority; a majority with twisted shackles and preconceived fate.  I gained an existence achieved only when Destiny, through her own demented blindness, provoked me into a beautiful and powerful rage.  Unlike Destiny, I escaped blindness through the fear of losing something that had seemed so important only days ago.  In fact, these fears had only given birth to a new, more religious man.  I now had faith in my humanity in its most natural form and with this faith, I entered the hotel where Destiny awaited.  A brand new man on his way to deflower the fucked innocence of a deceptive child.

I count the days on the wall with tiny, crooked scratches like everyone else in this place, but I am probably the only one on my cell-block who can actually count.  Moreover, each scratch means something different to me.  I refrain from the hope of another new day, an appeal, a parole, or anything resembling a pardon.  Moreover, I would hate getting out.  I achieved freedom with a distorted lump of soft lead and for that freedom, I paid a price.  The scratches on my wall, while resembling everyone else’s, do not count days.  They count and recount the seconds, minutes, and hours before and after I shot the stripper between her manufactured breasts.  From her startled cry for help to the heat in my hand after the gun discharged its bullet.  A vase of wild-flowers next to her bed, a bottle of wine chilling on the nightstand, and the crimson flow from her chest.  Each scratch another weak breath from her painted lips and surreal smile from her dying eyes.  Each scratch another thrust of her stained hands groping for my gun and another haunting laugh as I pull it from her reach just enough to keep her struggling.  A cigar perhaps while waiting for the arrest and a scratch for every match my rapid breathing expelled.  I’ll never count days again.

I now teach remedial English to other convicted libertarians lacking even the most fundamental of academic skills.  I destroy their papers with scratches and rape their confidence.  For this affirmation, I am happy to sit on a brown mattress within my off-white walls and reflect on the new green of parks, the blue reflection of the sky in one of Michigan’s majestic lakes, and the soft pink in my wife’s smile.  These images are only lost to the man I am no longer.  Not the free man I am now.


© Copyright 2017 Robert Brasseur. All rights reserved.

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