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And the old man looked, stared, somewhat glary-eyed, look intently at Muse as if he was a religious man of some kind, you know a convinced assurance this was not the end of this tribulation, almost a remorseless gleam in his eyes, something strange to me, I continued however to keep a careful distance away from this occurrence. I kind of knew now, what my uncle was trying to tell me, his look steadily grew more solid and distinct, till at last I could trace that monstrous outline with an uncomfortable ease in his face. Muse saw nothing, just wanted to show off, and he ended up doing a good job of it.
The police (there were two, one standing back a foot or two, hands on his holster, where his pistol was) were both dumbfounded, and thought the old man a bit wacky, but walked away nonetheless, shaking their heads as if they wanted to mangle Muse for supper. Muse thought for a moment he scared the old man, scared him into a fear that should he not get Muse out of this situation, he'd come back later and finish the job; until the old man's explanation came forth:
The old man pulled out a butcher's knife, one for slicing bacon backs, and cutting the tendons in the back of a pigs foot, hanging from-and coming down from, the convener belts at a slaughterhouse, he had worked there once; in addition, he had used it to cut out the infected parts deep embedded inside the ham pieces of the fleshly pigs, used at the stockyards in South Saint Paul (sometimes he was even told to leave the infectious part in, if they noticed him cutting too much out; and he'd laugh, not at what they said, but at what might happen to the person eating that old boil left inside the ham).
Once in the store Muse looked about, took some potato chips and started to eat them without paying; the old man looked a Muse about ready to say how much he owed, I think, and Muse kicked the potato chip stand so hard the potato chip bags, they all went flying, onto the floor. Muse was two hundred and eighty pounds, perhaps six-foot seven inches tall; the old man, five-foot eight, probably 175 pounds; next Muse opened up a bottle of Coke and started drinking it down, without breathing in one long gulp. Again the old man was about to say something, but Muse yelled,
It kind of struck Muse a bit, as if he was inquisitive why he was so tolerant, but he didn't put two and two together-not yet anyhow. Like my uncle warned me, the evil eye picks its time and place, it has patience, tolerance, restraint -, I figured he didn't survive all those battles in war for nothing, one has to keep a clear candle in your mind, and that is what old man Beck was doing.
Tangled, entwined, unable to move inside his own body and not able to unfasten his muscles to save himself, he looked into those eyes of Mr. Beck, he must have, the very ones in the picture; but the old man had no intentions of killing him, yet that would be the only mercy he was granted, if that indeed can be called mercy: for the ugly part had not yet taken place.
I stopped short of responding, I really didn't want anything to do with old man Beck. My Uncle Jeffery told me that the old man was dangerous, that he may not look or act it, but he had kind of one of those-so he called, 'evil eyes,' so I figured my uncle knew something. Oddly I thought it was-for my uncle to regard someone in this fashion-but he knew Muse, and the gang I hung around with was troublesome, and they liked to bully folks about, and Old Man Beck he was the new guy on the block, sort of speaking, so he got the treatment from the gang I suppose you could say; my uncle got along with him quite well for some peculiar reason though, it baffled me at first. He came from Chicago I heard-and at one time worked in the Stockyards in South Saint Paul (Minnesota), some twenty years before he moved here, and bought the store down the block, a small store, grocery store. I guess his wife died-she was from Chicago too, and he had met her when he was in the Army, some time ago, and when he got out of the Army, he moved with her to Chicago. My uncle saw a plaque on the wall someplace in the store once, depicting a scene from WWII, I guess he was a war veteran, and told me to take heed of that. But that was a long time ago, it was 1965 now, I mean, that was twenty years ago when that picture was taken-someplace over in the jungles in Indonesia. I even heard he fought over in Europe someplace also. So my uncle says, thus fighting on both sides of the world, or better put, on the Pacific side as well as the Atlantic side.
"F*ck the old man Frankie, I'm going to pound the shit out of him, get out of my way.!" and he grabbed the old man and slapped him several times across the face, but he'd not fight back, nor did he blink an eye, or shed a tear, it was like he needed to get mad, if not madder, before he could do anything, and I waited to see the old man do something but he did nothing, other than, taking the pain and punishment, that was being dished out, he was something else, I got hit by muse before, and it hurt, it hurt a lot, I shivered at the sound of the attack Muse administered to Mr. Beck, it was surely more pain than I could take, and pain is not a lightly thing to overlook.
Muse confused said, "Let you know what, write what?"
We all were together playing cards at Muse's house now, simple as that, but somehow I had a chilly feeling, an overheated heart saying this is not the end to this situation, it can't end up being as simply in the long run as Muse hinted it would be, fate was estrange to us, this grayish moment would get grayer I do believe, the hue would be a dark gray. Traditional facts of my uncle's awareness took on new and doubtful aspects; it would be, whatever would be, perhaps a surprising addendum to our history in days to come.
"Mr. Beck, I'm sorry," I said quickly, remembering what my uncle said, looking at his war picture he had on the wall-glancing at it over and over, he had some colorful medals by them, not sure what they meant; a star and a heart shaped medal.
"Don't open your mouth old man, or I'll shut it for you."
The old man had moved out of the store, and everything was quiet for a long time, perhaps three months. Then various things took place. In the bedrooms of Muse, Sammy and Amble, there were hand writings on their bedroom walls. Rambling descriptions of torments to be, pictures of decapitations; Muse tried to pretend he was not scared, but he was, we all were. He knew it was that old man, but didn't know how he had gotten into his house, and then his bedroom. Amble was scared to death and called the police, but the old man was far away, in another state, and the police could do nothing to lower her fear; and Sammy, who never said much about these mysterious happenings, quivered all the time now.
I even got a funny feeling, watching the old man through the window day after day, a feeling that he was creating a plan, unfolding it, reworking it, as if he was in war, a POW, unfolding it until he got the correct rightful sequence, nothing imperfect, an idea that would transform into arrangements. I kind of wanted to disappear.
The soldiers behind him were Japanese; enemy soldiers, with American Uniforms on. Funny I thought, then I looked closer, and there were soldiers behind them, holding the others up, the Japanese soldiers up, they were dead, all dead. Then I looked by their helmets, you could see round holes in their heads, all three of them. Funny I never saw that before, so I told myself, but then I only glanced at the picture upward at a distance, and it was behind the counter up a ways, blocked a bit by other items or merchandise. I had to take a second look, yes, yes, holes in their heads, and not a bit of remorse from his face, from the old man's face-cool as a cucumber. But why was he not holding them, why the other guys? So I asked myself. I looked closer at his rank: hay- I said, yes, he was the commanding officer, that's got to be it, he was a captain, two bars, that's captain rank all right. Then I noticed along side his belt, attached to his belt, on a chain hooked onto his belt, he had ears hanging. I had seen them before but not so many, I quickly looked at the soldiers: my gosh, oh my gosh.I must have said it one -hundred times, ".my gosh.they have no ears!"
This one day, I just kind of strolled by the old man's store, now vacant, peeked through the window to see if he was there, knowing he wasn't really, and took a quick look at that old picture on the wall, looked at that hard face, his eyes, that rifle, his solid stance, with the other soldiers. Then I noticed something I had never noticed before, but couldn't see it clear, the faces on the men by him were strange, but I couldn't pin point it, the strangeness to them. What was it, I mean, nothing alarming, just different, and something that didn't belong. You ever get those feelings, something is wrong, but just what it is, is not clear, I was getting one of those feelings. So I opened the window, it wasn't hard, it was just old paint holding it tightly into place, and once in I examined the picture closer.
Various moments in my life I remember, and I do remember this one quite clear: nowadays (now that this is in the past) it is like a bell that rings, when triggered by some undisputed moment, happening in my life by someone else, this old moment comes up, up with a few others, like life cracking through thin ice, and all of a sudden sinking into cold water: Muse went to hit the old man, and the police were across the street, Muse had not seen them, and therefore, threw a direct heavy punch at the old man's face, and the old man didn't move, I think he could have but he didn't. He now had dark windowless eyes. He took the punch, his face now bleeding; he wiped his lips, with the side of his hand, looked at the blood, and tasted it: yes, yes, yes, I didn't stutter, he tasted it and smiled, I'll be hogtied, he liked seeing the blood.
I stood aghast. The old man looked at me, a smirk came to his face, and again I was the only one that saw it. His voice alternately hummed in a groan like fashion, utterances more than words. Yet in spite of this, he was calm, too calm for my liking; I looked at that picture my uncle told me about, the one of him, it seemed to flash at me, beckon me to look, like his clam eyes, he was calm in the picture also, with a damn rifle in his hands, and a closed mouth, hard looking face, piercing eyes, eyes like at this very moment. On his belt he had ears, and teeth hanging on a chain, and hair, as if he had scalped his prey, and pulled their teeth out of their heads, and cut their ears off for souvenirs.
The man just walked away, waving his hands, nodded his head, brushed against the door as he walked inside his store.
Threats of hellfire came from his eyes, his grinding of his teeth, his forehead even turned a slight green, but Muse and Amble and Sammy didn't' see it that way, they saw it as without clear motivation on the old man's part. I saw tremendous tessellated pools of anger, inexplicable rage, one that said- vengeance is my outlet.
It was in July of 1966 when it happened, when it all took place. And it happened so quickly, so abruptly, it took a while to put it together. Mr. Beck had climbed up Muse's tree somehow, someway, along side of his house, and opened his second story window, which led into his bedroom, he had cut the whole glass window right out of its frame. He was not a big man Mr. Beck, so he went through it easily. He injected something into Muse's arm and stepped back as Muse jumped out of bed, and fell right back onto it paralyzed, like a big sequoia tree falling I picture it. Then the two-toned colored (green and black) charcoal face man-which looked similar to a leather mask tightly absorbed into his fleshy skin, his face, and neck, who we assumed at the time, to be Mr. Beck, had also a black bandanna covering his forehead, silently paced the room, paced it calmly, and then abruptly, climbed upon the bed, like a scorpion, next to the huge Muse he bent his body to face him: head to head, eye to eye, the downed sequoia now had tears, moans coming out of Muse's eye lids and mouth.
-The physical way old man looked now was pathetically cold, his skin pale from the beating he took from Muse, horror-filled the core of my heart, he voluntarily took all Muse gave out, a live portrait of a broken man compared to the picture on the wall-when we left I expected to hear from the police, we all did, and Muse had a story for us to tell them, that we'd say to them if they questioned us. But that never happened, and Muse took that as a sign of repertory suppressed fear,
Everyone seemed to know who done it, especially the victims and their parents, but the old man simply said it was a mirage on their behalf, he had left well enough alone, plus, there was no proof to that anyhow, only cleaver guesses, although guesses that were pretty right on, you could not win in court, so the county attorney said. This is not the end of the story, no, the old man sent flowers to the hospitals they were both at, Muse and his girlfriend, like throwing salt on a wound. The parents of the kids even hired guards to sit outside the hospitals rooms.
"Write and let me know how you're doing," the old man said.
The old man diligently started to put things back on the shelves, and a few tables he had in the store, he picked back up, but most of his foods were uneatable, cans dented, and it all was really too much, he stopped and leaned against a pole in the middle of the store.
Written April, 2004 (620) 3555 Words; A short story: revised, version: 2006, and again in August, 2008.
-The old man then sent Muse a letter asking him how he was, how the gang was doing, hoping all was well with them. He even gave his new address so Muse, the big ox, so he could write back if he wished, and now Muse handed it over to the police, but the old man was back in Chicago, and Muse, well he and us in Minnesota, what could anyone do?
I knew a man once, a fighter, my uncle really knew him, I just saw him fight, my uncle took me to the fights, and he let the other man hit him until he bled, and then fought the man like crazy. I do believe that man after he looked at his blood, felt the pain, could not be beat with a bullet in his head; and he did win the fight, hands down, I mean he beat the man forkful, no mercy, no pity. This was one of those moments. Harmless you might think, but it shook up Muse. He went to hit him again, and the police came running over, and the potential attack was over.
I started to walk towards the store, and all three of my buddies, started to applause me, as if it was a bribe they had to give to enhance my loyalty.
The old man nodded to the police, as if all was ok, the policeman grabbing big Muse, his club in his hand ready for resistance, so says Beck:
One might be saying, this was overkill for a nasty deed done to an old man, and I'd agree with it, except, it might get back to the old man, and he'd come after me, so I'm just saying: justice was done, and my uncle was right.
A gray substance drooled out of the old man's mouth. His looks though harmless, horrified me even more than what my friends were doing to his place. What was the purpose of this I really didn't know?
For two weeks I walked past that store, you could see through the windows, the old man just sat in the store looking at the destruction, not fixing this and that anymore, there laid a little bit of everything all over the place, as continued staring, and musing. He kept the door locked so no business could come in. Then a few more weeks went by, it was over a month now since the vicious attack on him and his store occurred, and the old man took no pains in fixing anything still, he just seemingly toyed with this and that in the store as if he wanted to see what he was seeing, and wanted to lock it into his mind, thus, making whatever would happen in the future devoted, to his cause.
-Evidently he never got tinkering about fixing whatever, but it was on a Monday morning we all saw him come out of his store and put up a 'For Sale', sign; funny how you can't miss something like that; I mean you got all these things in the world to do, and you spot this immediately. It could have been anyway at any time, but it was just then, at that moment. Why did he not put up the sign when I was sleeping? Anyhow, Muse, unimaginative, started to walk over to the old man, across the street, but the old man just kept to himself, nailed the sign up on the store door.
I hesitated, but the other two, Sammy and Amble, Muse's girlfriend, all insisted. I liked Amble, she was genuine romance material, from the word go. When Muse (who was always thinking, or looked like he was thinking, more at conniving) was out of town with his dad fishing, she'd put out for both me and Sammy; she liked sex more than drinking or food, or so she give the impression.
Now the old man grabbed the youth's hand, the one he had been hit with, slapped with, his right wrist was now being severed, and in the clap of an eye, he had cut it completely off with a sweep. Muse's eyes almost popped out of his sockets. Then he cut out his tongue out, and when he left as quickly as he had come in, he had two ears dangling from his belt, along side of his belt, on an old army chain.
Sammy did go on his own looking for the old man, bought a gun also, and never returned back to Minnesota. No one ever found a trace of him. The police questioned the old man, but all he said was: they had destroyed his property, and yes, Sammy came around, but he kept his doors locked, and would not allow him in, in fear of what might happen, and that was the last he knew of him. And once his story was checked out-for all knew the story back in Minnesota-the police left well enough alone, I mean, beyond that, what more checking could they do. But what bothered Muse was, the old man's letters kept coming, and they were cheerful. No revenge talk, no alarming words; nothing at all to indicate uneasiness, agitation, or apprehension. The disappearance of Sammy did not set well with his parents, but again, what could be done about it? Not a thing.
-That very same night, the night he left Muse's house, he snuck over to Amble's house, into her bedroom akin to the way he got into Muse's house, he knew he'd have to complete his mission all at once: this very evening to be exact, lest the cops catch him, and perchance the mission would have to be aborted because of other extenuating circumstances, thus, it was this evening it had to be done, if done at all; thus, there he stood, there in the melting dark room, looking at her, peering down upon her, like a devil with a long tail, wondering what she was dreaming of, and when she wake up what her response would be: would she think she woke up in hell? Or perhaps this was a bad dream. He looked at her ears, her nose, her everything; he told himself this had to be done quickly, no time for waiting, he took out a drawer from her dresser, and threw the cloths on the floor, now he had it in the air, when she opened her eyes, he hit her, smashed her in the head with it, clubbed her over the head with it like the butt of a riffle, then cut her foot off as if she might try to chase him, then he kicked her cloths around like she had kicked his food around, the very way she kicked all the food about, and onto his floor in his store. She was out like a light, and off came her ears, and out the window he was, four ears flopping against his thigh.
Sammy asked Muse, or better put, made a suggestion we all go to Chicago and do the old man in. But Muse was too scared, and I was not being tormented by him, it was they, so I refused (I figured better left alone, they did the dirty deeds they can pay the price, plus it was only a little scare tactic by the old man, for the moment). This consolingly established my belief that he had formed a whole terrible scientifically planned war game for us; one we were not specialized in, but one he was.
With their feet kicking above their knees and hands swaying every which way, they tore the old man's place apart, everything was on the floor: bread, tin goods, everything all over the place, short of actually taking money out of the register, the place was robbed of its potential to make a source of revenue for the old man, it was a disaster.
"I thank you but no need for your assistance, we can settle this quietly."
England v West Indies: live
Commentary of day four of the third Test between England and West Indies at Edgbaston.
Deciding between biking helmets-Giro Ionos or Bell Sweep R?
Hello, Need some some advice on the type of helmet to purchase, the difference is cost and looks. The Giro Ionos, I can probably get for $175 (retails for $225), and the Bell Sweep R I can get for $100 (retails for $130). I must say that the Giro Ionos looks sleeker and probably more desirable. What are your guys' thoughts? Giro Ionos: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/road-bikes/product-apparel/2008-giro-ionos-helmet-4336_10_TRUE.html Bell Sweep R: http://www.competitivecyclist.com/road-bikes/product-apparel/2008-bell-sweep-r-helmet-4542_10_TRUE.html
As far as looks go I always tend to like Giro helmets better. Funny thing is they are owned by and now made by the same people (Bell and Giro).
Bell Sweep Race Looking for a sweet performance road bike This baby is one of the most popular and winning bike helmets on both the road. Already one of the most popular and winning helmets on both the road and mountain bike circuits, the Sweep now features Bell's Twin Axis Gear (TAG) fit system. Sweep $139.99. Bell Sweep add to wishlist. Average Customer Rating: Recent Reviews | Submit a Review Weight: 295 g. (Med, w/o visor). Sweep replacement pads for helmet. Product Details. Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies); ASIN: B001LUN7B2; Average Customer.
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