I grasped the cold steel of the pistol grip. It was kind of sweaty but it was freezing outside. Of course that can be expected. Its New York during the winter, and if you know winter in New York then you know the cold. I pointed the weapon at the man in front of me, who, in my current state of mind, looked like a silhouette. A silhouette that wanted to kill me.
The night was infinite. Everything from today was completely gone; I forgot it all in lieu of this ever-progressing film noir, except this was no film noir. You cant taste blood in your mouth if youre just watching it. I forgot why I was there, and even more surprised that I had a gun in my hand pointed at some mobster- pardon me, regular businessman- I hardly know. Or did I know him? For all I know (at least in this moment of ambiguity) we could have been lifelong companions, or bitter enemies. But I couldnt tell. By then, my adrenaline was pumping so hard I couldnt tell an associate from a homeless drunkard.
I forget how Im even writing this now. Snow kept falling around the scenery, cars and horns could be heard everywhere. Exactly where I was, I hadnt a damn clue. Some seedy back alley slipped out of the way of a gentlemans or a ladys nightly doings. As to exactly why I was in such a place, I hadnt a damn clue either. I just didnt want to be there anymore, I knew that for sure. I dont think I fit the profile of someone whod be caught dead in these parts, or in this shirt. Especially this red shirt I was wearing. Wait, or was it white? I cant even remember.
I cant even remember why I cant remember. You know somethings terribly wrong when you cant remember why youre in a life-or-death standoff with a shady character who’s most definitely involved in some organized crime scene of the dodgy vices of New York City behind the scenes.
My frame still poised, my gun was still pointed and aimed with what I thought was precision, somewhere vaguely lined up upon the guys chest. I bit my lip. I felt it, alright, and reconfirmed my suspicions that this wasnt just a film noir. Moreover, my hand felt frozen to the steel of my gun. I could kind of feel the bite of my sweat freezing to my hand and the pistol. I should have worn gloves tonight, but I had a feeling I wouldnt need them in about thirty seconds.
I was also kind of alarmed about the fact that, throughout this crystal clear selection of seconds, this man who I was about to kill (or was about to kill me) had to have been just as armed as I was. I couldnt make out the shape of a gun in his shadow-like hands but I couldve sworn I saw the moonlight shine off of a knife blade. How could I be so stupid? If I was sitting there and wrote all this psychological nonsense to you, he could have disemboweled me if he wanted. Maybe he is the fool.
Throughout this secondly ordeal, I tried my hardest to remain calm. I would have liked to just pause life right there and have a cigarette. Thats impossible, though. Im just a mortal, which means I live and die like the rest of us. Anyhow, I shouldnt speculate, I should just get this over with and give you my message.
Ah, who am I fooling? I shouldnt be noting all these trivial details. Instead I should just bring myself to smoke the guy and this would all be over. In real life, its as easy as one, two, three. Nowadays all it takes to end a mans life is a point and click, then hes lying on the ground with a hole in him and leaking out his fluids. Charming, isnt it? However, even though this account is quite true, youre reading a piece of literature, and literature isnt that shallow. Think about it: if I didnt take the time to acknowledge all this epic, suspenseful rubbish, and if you didnt take the time to read it, then you might be out robbing banks or shooting heroin (or just doing chores like good little boys and girls). Ill spoil it for you now, as a matter of fact. This story isnt going to be pretty. No good pieces of literature end pretty.
Thats what I learned from a certain has-been actor turned teacher back in high school. He was in his mid-fifties, the kind of guy that would sleep with a female student if she wanted a better grade. He played favorites. If you werent a pretty young thing or a kissass, you wind up with a C or worse. We all knew he lived in his car for about a decade in Venice Beach during his twenties trying to make it as a Hollywood actor. But of course, like all college dropouts and beatnik stoners, he didnt quite make the cut. But he had a Masters degree so his opinion of literature is better than yours.
But I digress. I think I trailed off somewhere around the part where I was pointing a gun at a guy and I forgot why. I apologize. I hope I didnt detract from this dynamic mood I was setting. Lets get back to the story, shall we?
My hands were kind of shaky and my heart wasnt quite racing but it was moving for sure. My breath transformed into a smoky ghost against the nightscape, or should I say, the crime scene. Some snow fell onto my eyes. I blinked to get it out of my eyes, and felt my breath get a little heavier. It got shorter.
For some reason I could feel my blood vessels contract. I was starting to get really worried about that silhouette in front of me. I was really scared. I heard him mutter some kind of harassment in his Italian dialect. He stumbled toward me but my vision flickered. What the hell was happening to me? My hands experienced a slight spasm. My heart was officially racing. My chest kind of hurt. Then and there I had a memory lapse. These kinds of things happen to cocaine addicts.
Then I remembered the back room of the casino earlier tonight.