I do this crazy thing when I drive. I pretend whatever song I’m playing is part of the closing shot of a movie I’m in. My favorite is the Beatles’ “Two of Us,” with its refrain, “on our way home.”
In the movie I’m battered and dirty because I’ve just rescued my sixteen-year-old daughter from thugs who abused her after she ran away from home. She’s asleep next to me on the passenger seat and I sneak glances at her, my eyes misting.
I’d ridiculed her music—this song in particular—and so she bolted. The movie has this comforting irony because I’m taking her home with a renewed reverence for her music and her life. It’s just the two of us.
Sometimes I fantasize about being a superhero. I call myself The Fury, after the snaky-haired avengers from mythology who doled out murderous justice for those with no one to avenge them. In my fantasy, I scan the newspapers for crazy crimes, like moms who murder their own kids and pretend someone else did it, until the evidence piles up and they start blubbering about voices inside their heads.
Then The Fury swings into action. I jump into the Chariot o’ Fire and roar off. I abduct the guilty and convey them blindfolded to my lair where I duct-tape them to a chair. When they awake, I peel the tape off their eyes and confront them with clippings of their horrible crimes. I lay the instruments of justice on the table. Sharp and shiny, the knives are only for effect. Sure, I heft them against the necks of the accused. Sometimes I draw blood.
When they start choking on their own spit, I rip the tape off their mouths and let them squeal for mercy. It can get pretty intense before I let them go. It’s okay. It’s just the two of us.
The only thing I don’t like about driving is pulling into the garage of my ramshackle house. The movie’s over. I’m not an avenger. I’m just some middle-aged guy with financial problems and no social life.
I get out of the car and go into the house. In the kitchen, everything looks okay. But I left the basement door ajar. I hear scratching down there. It’s not rats.
I pluck a rusty carving knife from the sink and nudge open the door. I flip on the light.
He’s tipped the chair over and lies on his side squirming, struggling to break the tape on his wrists by rubbing it against the floor. He sees me and starts groaning. The little red ball in his mouth strains against the leather straps of the harness. His eyes bulge crazily. I focus on the dried blood stains on the back of his white briefs.
“Don’t fuss,” I say softly, starting down the stairs. “It’s just the two of us.”
"Two of Us"
Copyright: © 2009 Robert MeadeRobert Meade is a Boston native now transplanted in Mohegan Lake, in Westchester County, NY, with his wife and three children. He teaches at Loyola School in Manhattan. He won the Wordweaving Award for Excellence for his book, Daily Bread: Seven Days to a Healthier Soul. A published author of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, his recent work has appeared in Angels on Earth magazine and online at Guideposts and Apollo’s Lyre.