Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pavlov's Puppies

It's the dinner bell ringing, making him drool from chops. The amps and equipment stood right there before the large picture window, the bar's second space used for live bands. Flimsy door. He shouldn't have any problems getting inside. Nobody expects to be robbed when their business is located along the main street. It's too busy, what with traffic and pedestrians.

But not at 2:30am. He has it all planned and gets inside quickly. He gets the hot items sold quickly. The $1100 rustles inside an inner pocket on his jacket. He goes home reluctantly to his wife, as he takes a moment to peek in through the drapes of the neighbor's slightly open window. She must be asleep. He knows she sleeps during this time, keeping track of her movements, watching her shaking hips like two dinner bells calling to a starving mutt. Ding! Ding!

He hears the complaint the moment he enters the apartment. His wife Envy complains about not having enough gas in her car. Whiny bitch. But he raises his voice a little, punches a few walls, and she cowers back into place. "Don't drool for my attention! This ring on my finger isn't your leash. I'm the master and you're the wife. Be glad I'm not with one of my other babies' mamas."

They head off to bed at 6:00 a.m. It was a busy night for the both of them. She had his sixth child a few weeks ago, not that this mattered much to him. His babies were his cars. His responsibility was for his rides, not for the mounting bills on the table. A $183 Direct TV bill. Behind on two months rent. His wife filed for welfare while he slept during the day and ducked out on his responsibilities at night. But this was his life. Some things rang more in his mind, calling out irresistibly. His cars and his control over people mattered more.

He goes to bed, thinking of the woman next door. She was always on his mind. Perhaps he'll get up early to watch her, listening for the front door to open, popping his head out to see if she'll sit out on her stoop or head to the grocery store. He liked coming around the corner in his ride, parking as she made her way back to her apartment. He would sit there, doing nothing in particular, but keeping an eye on her, trying to make her nervous, loving the way he can cause any reaction from her...

... wanting her to know who was in control.

Late afternoon arrives when he finally gets out of bed. He glances around the blanket hanging over the window and sees police officers marching down the street. A shiver runs through him, making him wait inside longer than normal. This was his time to be out, marching along the sidewalk, marking his territory with his authoritative slouch, hands in pockets, braided hair hidden under a doo-rag.

A door opens and shuts. The neighbor is out. He opens it a little and glances out, noticing the two eviction notices on his door. He takes them down and sees two people along the street. They glance his way before whispering to themselves. One person raises a hand and punches their other palm while miming shouting.

Bastards! He slams the door. His wife asks what is going on and he tells her. Envy doesn't argue. She knows how to behave as she packs bags and her cousin picks her up thirty minutes later. He sits in the apartment alone, staring at the busted walls, his mind rolling around like a caged beast. The police were out, but his neighbor was out too. His knee bounced rapidly, showing his agitation.

Things weren't supposed to be like this. He hears police sirens wail as paranoia starts to set in. Why were the cops around his block, his neighborhood? Why was the neighbor out now? The woman should be too scared to go out her door. She should know he was hers to control. Did she have something to do with the police?

"FUCK HER!" His shout erupts through the apartment, realizing too late what people along the sidewalk might think after seeing his wife leave with their baby and now his angered shouts. He should have never let her leave. He should have dragged her from the car like he has done before. She should have asked for permission on when to leave.

The day slowly turns to night, but he leaves the lights off. He doesn't want it to look like anybody is home. In the dark, in the quiet, he thinks about his wife and the neighbor and the police. He never notices the bit of white spittle at the corners of his mouth, like foam from a raging dog who feels the collar tighten around his neck, reacting to his paranoia at the sound of sirens.

photos from Wikipedia: Ivan Pavlov


  1. Great emotionally charged writing.

  2. Spooky. I know this man; he used to date my daughter. . .

  3. Yes! Great writing, Michelle!

  4. Wow, this is powerful stuff, Michelle. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  5. Aubrie: Thanks. Something different to write this time.

    Craig: Too many people like this in the world. Perhaps some will realize how they really are before hurting anybody.

    Brenda: Thanks, Brenda. Stretching my writing feet with this short piece.

    Eric: Glad you liked it. Maybe I'll expand on something similar at a later time. Perhaps...

  6. yeah, i've seen too many like capture it all eerily well.


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