Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Streak - 76

I get in the elevator and there's a man inside. I sense an undue reaction to my appearance, his body stiffening from shock. He can't be starstruck. When people are they can't stand still, their nervousness expressed in superfluous motions. Arms crossing and uncrossing. Restless steps. This is different. The man stands prone and hides under his cap.

I examine what I can see of his face. His chin has an unnerving familiarity. He's trying to look away but I keep staring until he gives me a furtive, frightened glance.

I know who he is.

"Hey!" I shout.

He turns to me and frowns, trying to seem offended. "What?"

I can't think of what. "Who are you?" I say finally.

He gives no answer but looks up at the lighted numbers, jaw clenched, waiting for the ride to end.

"Are you fucking pretending to be me?"

After a moment we arrive and the doors open. He strides out quickly and cuts through the lobby to the right. I follow him into a hallway.

"Hey! Come here!"

He quickens his pace – he's running by the time he turns the corner. I run too, and catch him at the cul-de-sac as he's about to open the door to the stairwell.

"Stay there!" I command.

Then something very strange happens. Something I did not expect. He lunges at me and takes a powerful swing at my face, landing a punch that knocks me on my ass. His fake World Series ring gouges my lip. I think my nose is broken.

He's standing over me now. "You wanna know who the fuck I am?" he rages. "I'm fucking Evan Benjaminson, you cocksucker!"

In my outrage and injury I strain to stand up and answer his assertion. He kicks me in the chest with the heel of his shoe.

"Did you hear me? I'm Evan Benjaminson!"

"What the fuck? Fuck you! I'm Evan Benjaminson!" I shout. But my words sound hollow even to me. The dubious protest of a desperate, defeated man.

"You're not fucking Evan Benjaminson," he continues in a tone of righteous venom. "You can't fucking hit. You can't fucking field. You can't fucking win."

"But..."

"You're not a husband to your wife. You're not a father to your son."

"Fuck you!"

"Fuck that, fuck you. I'm you now, motherfucker." With that he spits on my face, steps over me and walks serenely back from where we came.

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