This Guy Tried to Mug Me the Other Day

This guy tried to mug me the other day. I'm curled in a ball, and the kicks are coming quicker and harder, I can feel ribs breaking, can hear the sound of them doing so. I stop screaming and only cry, sobbing harder than I have since I was a child, I swear, my sobs mixing with the breaking ribs to form the soundtrack for tonight.

My whimpers reverberate off buildings and down alleys and suddenly get louder and I realize the kicking has stopped. I look up. Through my tears I can see he's no longer angry-- he looks disgusted. He shakes his head and tosses my watch back on my chest. "You're pathetic," he says, and walks away.

My chest still heaves, but the crying stops. I wipe my nose on my sleeve and watch him walk away, and can't help but be envious. He's all of eighteen years old, twenty tops, and carries himself as a man. I'm forty and can't walk down empty streets at night without my heart racing and my head darting from side to side. He's a punk. And, apparently, a punk who would have respected me had I been more receptive to his kicks. I don't know why, but the lack of respect hurts worse than the missing teeth and shards of bone protruding from my skin.

Pride grabs me by the shirt collar and lifts me to my feet, my heart jumping and pounding and threatening to leap out of my chest and run down the street to play percussion in a marching band.

"Hey fuck-face, I wasn't finished with you," I say, spitting out another tooth and tossing the watch toward him (I throw like a girl so it lands three feet to the left of him). He turns around slowly and I immediately regret saying anything.

He gets right up to me, nose to nose. He looks madder, as if I'm keeping him from another mugging. He gets close enough so I can smell his breath, which, surprisingly, smells wonderful and minty, like he must take especially good care of his teeth. A new breed of mugger, perhaps. That's when he knifes me in the stomach. I scream at such a high pitch windows break and dogs howl. I fall to the ground in a heap. He grabs me by the hair and pulls my face up to his. "You scream like my little sister!" He shakes his head in disgust again.

Jeez, I really hate that.

I hold my stomach and watch blood sneak between my fingers. I get to my feet. I toss a shoe that, for the first time in recorded history, hits its target. He turns, annoyed-- more annoyed than ever. He takes one step and pulls out a pistol and shoots me in the arm. The impact throws me back three feet and I land on my tailbone. My tailbone crumbles like the front end of a Pinto. Which, fortunately, keeps my mind off the little hole in the front of my shoulder and the huge exit wound in back.

"Stay down, old man," he snarls.

"Eat me, pansy. It's gonna take more than that," I say, as I watch smoke snake up and over my shoulder. He lets out a deep breath, then lights a firecracker and shoves it down the front of my pants. It explodes (and with it any concerns I have of supporting another child). I look down and watch a bright red flower bloom on my jeans, and then I look at him: "Now what's your mommy gonna suck on?"

He leans in close and pokes me in the eyes. They water. "Good one, Curly," I say.

Steam shoots from his ears. He pulls out a record player and plays a record of Indian chants. I writhe in pain and cover my ears. He laughs maniacally. I dig deep down, find a reserve of strength. "Eat your government cheese, you bum."

He pulls out two tickets for David Hasselhoff's Broadway play and shoves them into my lifeless right hand. Fortunately, I shake them out. He steams brussel sprouts and forces them down my throat. "Oh, yummy, full of vitamins," I say, trying to imagine pizza and candy as I chew.

He pulls out pictures of me in 4th grade, reminding me of the unfortunate fashion decisions I made at the time. It's almost too much to bear. I try to laugh but when I open my mouth blood spills down in waves. It sounds like I'm gargling. He drops the pictures, exhausted. "You're not worth it," he says, and turns away once again.

He takes a step and slips on a pool of blood, his feet coming out from under him and his head slamming into the cement so hard it flattens the back of his skull like a pancake. Blood forms around it like syrup. He doesn't move.

I smile. As my eyes close. And I think-- joke's on you, guy who tried to mug me.

About the author:

Chuck lives in Chicago, Illinois. He has published nothing of note. Ho-hum.