It’s called paranoia. It’s part of social anxiety.
It’s part of lunacy, they say, but I call it life. . .
Delirium slips in under the wire, like a surprise visitor, and it dwells as a voice in your head. Can you hear it?
I know I can.
First, the craziness comes in like a slow and subtle storm. And you start to second guess yourself. You wonder things like, “Is anything really worth it?”
You wonder if it will pay off and when.
“When is my turn,” you wonder, and then the storm picks up speed. Imagine a drizzle the begins, but rapid;y picks up to an all-out downpour. That’s what happens when the craziness comes
The voice inside you keeps talking and questioning everything. And next, you’re overthinking. Everything is complicated, everyone is suspect, and you become raw.
You’re raw to the touch, sound, and taste of anything around you.
You’re irritated. You’re quick to respond and overreact. Nothing fits together and no one makes sense. Everyone lies and everyone has an agenda.
The war room in your mind is on heightened alert. The generals in your make believe armies deploy troops and dispose missiles to detonate like tiny character assassinations to slit the throats of those around you and keep you safe amongst the casualties.
The wheel turns inside the mind and cranks out a thousand different scenarios as you prepare for each one of them. And then you’re done. You’ve lost your way and it’s too hard to see clearly. The craziness has overcome you like a wave overcomes the shoreline. All one can do now is wait for the impact to hit and hope the wave washes away the blood.
Worst is the thoughts that linger on like a bad relative who came to town and refuses to leave. You can’t get rid of them. You can’t silence them—you can only placate them for a minute. Liquor helps. Pills do too. Put them together, and sometimes, you wake up someplace like say, on a bench in Central Park with mysterious bloodstains on your clothes that belong to someone else. You wake up, look around, and wonder who saw you last and where you were that evening.
“You’re a social leper,” you tell yourself.
“You’re a regular pariah.”
And you start to wonder where you fit in.
Who can you talk to and where can you turn?
Friends become liabilities and enemies are all that make you feel comfortable. And of course enemies make you feel comfortable. At least you know their intentions . . .
You start thinking to yourself, “What if I’m the last one to laugh?”
“What if everyone else laughs—only, I don’t get the joke?”
You ask yourself, “What’s the punchline anyway?”
Then the worst question comes. “What if I’m the punchline? What do I do then?”
Then the walls close in around you. You’re claustrophobic in wide-opened spaces. You start to panic because the questions churn like a factory and nothing, no matter how you try will stop the war machine inside your head..
Everyone’s in on it.
Everyone has a handle or an angle, and your worst fear is being a victim. You worst concern is looking like a fool—so you guard yourself. You bite back before you feel the sting of being bitten. You match insults and volley them back and forth with the crowd. You pretend none of this bothers you, but deep down, you know it does.
You put on a brave face and shrug off the pain while acting as if. You act as if none of this matters. You act as if you never cared to begin with; as if you’re not insulted, as if you’re not afraid, and as if nothing hurts you.
But everything hurts you.
“Why bother,” you ask yourself.
You say to yourself, “Tomorrow is gonna come and it’s just going to be more of the same.”
“What’s the difference?”
In the end, you fail to realize that you are the answer to your own equation. When you do realize, the rage had come to an explosive point and detonates above all and every target imaginable.
Revenge is all you can think of.
Your mind plays tricks on you and nothing is as you think it seems.
Nothing . . .
It’s all a lie built up in your head
Then you start to second guess yourself again.
“Maybe I’m all right?”
“Maybe I’ll be okay?”
And the cycle goes on from there.
You run hot and cold.
One minute you’re on and the next, you’re off. One minute you’re calm and the next minute, the entire world is about to fall from under you. You go from zero to hero and hero to zero in a matter of seconds.
It spins like this
I used to spin myself into a wild cycle. Then the anger came in like the sound of a brick that smashes through a plate glass window. This is the sound I associated my anger with. After the impact of the brick, I could literally hear the tingling sound of broken pieces of glass falling through the air. To put it accurately, the smashing glass was the sound of my rage. Afterwards, the sound of falling pieces of broken glass was the sound of my aftermath. Depending upon the casualty, the noisy aftermath was either the sound of revenge, or it was the sound of collateral damage.
The voices took me away. The noise was too much and the storm, which I compare my psychosis to was in full swing.
My teeth clenched and my eyes closed to half-massed rage. I was too angry to be reasonable. I was too afraid, too frustrated, and too consumed with my own mental illness.
And there she was . . .
She was standing in the front of an office building on Broadway without a care in the world. She was able to smile and greet people hello. She did this as if nothing had passed between us; as if yesterday never happened, and she never smiled at me in the morning. “It’s like she never eve knew me,” I whispered to myself.
Solomon was an older wealthy man with a decent sized clothing company in 1407 Broadway. He was well known in the fashion industry and well know by the street merchants for his kind generosity.
Solomon dressed too young for his age. He had a bad comb-over, but his money made up for his lack of appearance. In fact, his wealth landed him a very special girl. For Solomon, it landed him my girl. Marie!
I followed Marie home after work. She arrived at a restaurant down by Varick Street. This was strange because her hair was different and so was her clothing. She changed the color of her lipstick to something more delicious and red.
If I didn’t know better, I would have thought she was wearing a disguise to throw me off her trail.
The Downtown restaurant had a maroon colored awning with two-seat club chairs lined on the New York City sidewalk. The crowd was pretty and young. Marie sat at an outside table and waited patiently for someone to sit across from her.
Marie sat closest to the curb, smiling in thought, as if something that made her so undeniably happy.
I sat there watching. . .
Stalking and spying on Marie as if she was a female prey and I was the hungry, alpha predator, I noticed everyone and anyone that passed her, my girl, Marie..
“How dare her,” I thought to myself.
“How could she sit there and be happy while I sat there, painfully miserable, and lurking across the street as I watched her with a broken heart?”
Moments after a pale-faced, big-breasted waitress in a white buttoned-down shirt with a black vest over it, black pants, black shoes, and curly black hair pulled back behind her head with a blue hair clip delivered a drink to Marie, a tall, well-dressed man approached her table. This was not Solomon. This was a different man.
Marie smiled at him. Her eyes began to glisten in the early evening light. The sun had yet to fall, but the end of day was on its way. Soon enough, the night would come, and eventually, Marie would have to walk home . . . alone. That’s when I would get her.
I watched Marie the entire time. She sat with this tall man. He was older, but handsome. His golden wrist watch seemed to pick up the glitter from the nearby streetlamps. Occasionally, the slick son of a bitch reached across the table, placing his hand over Marie’s.
Each time this man touched Marie, I could hear the glass breaking. Every time this man touched Marie, I could literally hear and feel a brick smashing through glass.
I watched them for an entire meal. I watched as they drank their coffee. Marie finished her tall drink with a little umbrella poking out from the top of the glass.
Then teasingly, Marie ate the alcohol-soaked fruit while flashing her eyes at her date. This was no mistake. This was her inviting this man in for more.
“Well,” I supposed.
“If she wants more, I’ll be sure to give her more!”
I whispered to myself, “I’ll give her something she never thought possible!”
It was clear to me—right then, and at that very moment. Someone had to die, and die slowly. Someone had to die painfully so that the visions left behind in the eyes of the survivor would forever remain terrifying and horrendous.
I would have to impose myself in the most messily, and bloodthirsty way. Then they would know. Then they would know they took me too far.
I knew what to do. I knew where Marie lived and how to get into her building. I knew about the super of the building and how he liked to drink with the street bums. I knew how the superintendent had a fetish for homeless women, and with the right persuasion, I knew the superintendent well enough to know that if I slid small package of cocaine in front of him with one of the street girls; good cocaine or not, and whether the girl was pretty or not; I knew the superintendent would go for it.
I knew all about him. I knew everything down to his fat, miserable, and horrid looking wife
I knew how the superintendent looked at Marie. I also knew how he used to key himself into Marie’s 2nd Floor apartment.
That dirty son of a bitch used to go through her drawers and smell her clothes—especially Marie’s undergarments. His last name was Russo. I knew this because Russo’s name was sewn upon the chest of his superintendent’s uniform..
“Russo,” I thought to myself.
“He’ll have to pay too.”
“That’s fine,” I swore to myself.
“I’ll start with him.”
“I’ll kill Russo and then I’ll get to his keys and key myself into Marie’s apartment.”
Each displeasing thought of Russo and his crimes against my Marie led to another sound of breaking glass. Eventually, I knew what needed to be done. I would give her one last choice.
“It’s me . . . or it’s them!”
(50 minutes later)
Russo walked downstairs to grab a smoke in front of the tall residential building on Horatio Street near West End Avenue.
The building was well designed, new, and very expensive. The area was up and coming, but come nightfall, the seediest of woman scoured through the streets, seeking someone to pay for the privilege to touch them beneath their short dresses.
In some cases, not all of these women were actually women. However, this meant little to Russo.
Upstairs, Russo’s wife waited in the kitchen. She spoke mostly in Italian. She was dark-haired,baggy-eyed, wrinkled, and heavyset with a black mole on the left side of her face. The mole was unsightly with black hairs sticking out from the center.
Russo, on the other hand, was no prize himself. He smelled from cigarettes and alcohol. His teeth were brownish yellow and his fingernails were yellow as well. He had old hands that were tough as cement and a mouth that was as nasty as any could hear in New York City. His bloodshot eyes were beady and scheming; he was distasteful and disgusting, unkempt, and slovenly dressed.
The tenants did not like Russo. Neither did the managers of the building. However, no one could fire Russo—not with his connections.
Truth be told, I didn’t care about Russo’s connections.
I didn’t like him either.
Standing in the mild summer heat, Russo lit up a cigarette near the side service entrance of his upscale building. The streets here were mostly quiet and mostly filed with the artsy, downtown types.
Russo was not looking for the artsy type. He was looking to find a street walker and offer her a pay for play proposition. Russo was cheap and not much to look at.
His offers were always low and always accompanied with promises of drugs and alcohol. He asked any woman and every woman that passed by until someone decided to take his offer.
Russo was too trapped in the idea of cheap sex and drugs to notice me as I slipped behind him. I stood in the darkened doorway of the service entrance. The streetlamps glowed down on Russo as he exhaled his last drag of smoke.
I made a slight noise to catch his attention. Russo peered over his shoulder, looking at the dark entryway with squinted eyes. He could tell there was someone standing in the entryway—but he couldn’t tell it was me and Russo surely could not tell what I had waiting for him.
“Who is that,” asked Russo.
Assuming it was his wife spying on him, Russo screamed, “Get back upstairs you fat bitch!”
Then Russo spit on the ground as if he was spitting at his ugly wife. He returned to his attention back to his search. The night was still too young for many of the real street walkers. At this point, Russo was only trolling to see what he could catch. He knew the real action would not pick up until midnight passed.
“No one will miss him,” I thought to myself
Making another noise, Russo turned back towards the service entryway. He slanted his head down from his neck, looking sideways.
“Philomena,” Russo asked in Italian.
Then Russo charged towards the entryway doors, assuming someone was hiding behind the entrance. As soon as Russo sprung through the door, the full New York City moonlight moved through the doorway with him. And no sooner did Russo open his mouth did I hear the sound of breaking glass.
With all my hate and all my strength, my knife plunged through the front of Russo’s throat. When the door swung open I heard the brick smashing through glass again, so to relieve myself, I shoved the point of my blade through the point of Russo’s Adam’s apple. Wide-eyed and petrified, Russo could not speak. He only had time to mouth one simple word. As he died, Russo mouthed the word that most men say on their deathbed.
He mouthed the word, “Momma.”
I could see Russo’s blood running from his convulsing body and filling a round pool around Russo’s head. Russo continued to witch until his body became totally lifeless.
As I recall, The puddle of blood looked almost purple as it spread out and slowly emptied from Russo’s body.
Then, finally, the smashing brick through glass stopped. Instead, I heard the sound of broken pieces of glass tingling through the air.
When I waited for Marie, the cops overran the service entrance and found me hiding with a bloodied knife in my hand and Russo’s blood all over me.
I was quickly handcuffed without a struggle.
I went peacefully.
“Why’d you do it,” they asked me.
“Because he needed to die,” I told the group of officers.
“Says who?” asked one of the cops.
“Says me,” I fired back.
Once more, I heard the sound of glass breaking. If I were not in cuffs, I could have killed at least one or two of them. Maybe I could have swiped one of their guns and killed each and every one of them. I heard the rage intensify as I imagined a brick smashing through a plate of glass.
The officer’s told me it was all in my head. When I explained my motivation to kill, the detectives explained that no one named Marie lived at that building and that I, a homeless man who talked to himself, was nothing more than a crazy stalker.
According to them, there was no such person as Marie and no one named Solomon that fit my description at 1407 Broadway.
It was all in my head they told me
All in my head . . .
Before taking me away, the desk detective asked with a concerned face, “Why would you hurt a woman if you believed you loved her?”
He seemed to pity me.
As I heard the glass break in my mind, my jaw clenched and my eyes closed to a half-massed rage.
“Does that make you feel bad,” I asked
“Yeah, that makes me feel bad,” said the detective.
“Too bad for you,” I told him, “Because there are not tits in pity!”
And then the glass broke again . . .