I just knocked this out in a jiffy, so don’t think too hard into it. It’s a strange idea and I’ve adopted a “go with it” attitude toward writing. Enjoy…
There are times you wish you were a eunuch. Not often, but sometimes. Me getting kicked in the balls seven times by this crooked cop is one of these times. Rare. But it happens to somebody with a special kind of luck.
Buddhists and Taoists believe in emptiness as a spiritual concept. I believe in it as well. I am painfully aware of the empty space around us. I feel like it’s going to suck us in. The dumpsters, the whole alley. It doesn’t.
Instead two bangers hold me still, one on each of my arms. I keep trying to raise my leg, but every time I do they take turns stomping on my one grounded foot. At first I hopped about like that while Mr. Shitty-badge laughed and I had my feet crushed in. I couldn’t keep it up. I couldn’t stand hardly anymore.
I slumped, held up by bangers, being laughed at by a sad cop and a tortured by bangers. I wasn’t a cop, or a banger. I wasn’t a family man, not a thief. I wasn’t dressed like I had cash, and I wasn’t strapped.
Emptiness… a nonexistence of the self. A void where one-ness is established. That’s what I was thinking when Mr. Shitty-badge kicked me in the gonads the first time. I don’t know if there is a better word than ‘gonads’, but that’s not the point really. He kicked me while standing to the side, not facing me, like a karate man. It wasn’t a very good kick, but it hit me above the knees and below the waist.
I pulled myself up with my arms, bending upward against the locking grip of the bangers on each side. I didn’t see colors or flashes, but closed my eyes and exhaled for a long time, straining to pull myself up, suspended in the fetal position.
Oof. That is the sound I made when the bangers dropped me. They picked me back up and I was limp. Kick number two came before I had reoriented myself and my legs were spread wide looking for balance. It landed like a football kicker punting an octopus.
Ooohoooof. I gasped just like that. Black eddied across my vision and I felt a wave of vertigo. I was hovering over the precipice of a cliff. In my mind I saw a rollercoaster and felt the rush of wind past the plummeting carts. A surge of hot air swept over me and I saw an oven being opened in front of me, nothing in it but a glowing, red-hot coil. None of those tings were real, but the sensations passed through me one by one, and somewhere in my head a rational part of my mind thought oh, like this… this feels like this…
But it wasn’t close. I vomited onto my shoes, which dangled below me with swollen feet inside them. This wasn’t like a view from a cliff, or a ride on a rollercoaster, or an oven warming up to bake. Sickness from bodily injury is hard to relate to any one thing. Pain translates into fatigue, headache, symptoms of the flu. The body reacts with it’s defenses in a panic, trying to find the perpetrator by sending out its army of cells or whatever.
Cells or whatever… is what I thought just as that evil, wannabe-movie criminal cop jerkface Mr. Shitty-badge kicked me again. I thought I heard him say something this time, maybe saw something, but it was blurry. Everything was blurry. That was number three. I don’t even know if I tried to protect myself. What was I thinking about? Cells? Why cells?
I could see if I opened my eyes, which were filled with tears and transmitting data to an overloaded, fuzzy brain. Mr. Crooked Cop was crouching… stretching… not stretching– another kick, like a missile driving home. My eyes were wide open, and there it was behind Mr. Evil greedy cop, a giant number. FOUR.
That was number four, I could hear him saying. I heard him shouting numbers, words, vaguely audible over the blood-rushing pumping of my heart in my head.
FOUR. FOUR. FOUR. I could see the number emblazoned in the night sky over us, street lamps lighting the blocky monument. I remembered I threw up on my shoes, gross, I’m gross… and felt my feet scrape the ground. I was standing again. My mind was reeling more after each blow, and here it was without much sense. I leaned against the banger on my right. He patted me on the back. I looked up at him confused and he smiled, one arm around me.
Five and six came in quick succession. WHOP – WHOP! Like a boxer throwing the bag a left, right combo with his thick padded gloves. A bag of cement hitting the ground. A heavy pillow that knocks people down in pillow fights, nearly knocks them right out cold. WHOP – WHOP!
I saw the numbers when the kicks landed, too. FIVE! SIX! And the lids every trash can seemed to shake and rattled, vibrating from the shock of the blow to my loins. That’s such a soft word, like rotten fruit, like spilling milk, like making a baby cry, or a clock being too loud for the room, or the room being too quiet for the clock… The whole alley filled with the lights that sprang in front of my eyes. Flashes, colors, lights and sounds like a carnival going off in front of my eyes making me go cross-eyed. Trails of red and blue fireworks, yellow and green smoke and orange burning cinders. But only at the edge of my vision.
The full embodiment of this carnival, which I knew for a mask, distracting me from the moment of distress, bloomed upon the arrival of the seventh kick. I had stumbled to a wall, assumed the position as they say, my palms flat against the brick. Right then I had a vision. I saw the golden number before the kick landed and knew my pain was soon to end. It made perfect sense. Seven times is the perfect number of times to kick any one man in the balls if he steals your wife.
SEVEN. Lit up in the sky like the grand opening of the new downtown theater. The kick landed and the lids to every trash can exploded into the sky, propelled by fireworks that elaborated the spectrum of visible color. Angels sang in my head, rich, heady choruses of long, overblown notes. Trumpets blared and banners unraveled, and SEVEN emblazoned in the sky.
That’s probably more beautiful than the other numbers… I thought stupidly as I slid down the wall. Of course it was more beautiful. It was the most beautiful goddamn thing I’d ever seen other than that cops wife in her morning robe, watching morning television with an omelette I’d just pan-fried. Who is the bad guy? Who strays most from the path here?
Well, with our cast here, and me sliding down the wall… I can’t tell you. You can make anyone the center of this story. I’m just the guy who got kicked in the balls seven times. Then again, to someone else I’m the guy that slept with their wife. To someone else that wife is a prized trophy. To herself, she’s an innocent caught up in passions that exceed her will. You can tell it from any angle. Maybe I’m just a sideshow to the real plot. It feels awfully conclusive, awfully final and constructed to me, right now. I think my part in all of this just ended. Mr. Cheese-eating-grin dirty cop pulls out a gun. I’m a wreck, huddled against the side of a building. He laughs and walks away. I live, and my part in this is ended.