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Steak and Eggs for Breakfast
Helen the Ready: Part Two: Your Trojan Whorse
Once, about 10 years ago I went out of town for a weekend with two married women. I was supposedly their bodyguard, and had cut my hair for the job. It did disconcert me somewhat that they bought me steak for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and I began wondering if I was intended for the sacrifice at some wench’s coven. But that is another tale.
Today I finish the story of Helen the Ready, the tall, husky-voiced buxom barracuda that had tried to get me drunk so that she could bed me, when I was only interested in interviewing her about her sordid past. Rather, I was interested in a lot more, but had sworn myself to celibacy, in the hopes that, six months into my retirement, such discipline would return to me my lost fighting edge and help me grow as a writer.
We spoke at work and once on the phone. She even e-mailed me about her sexual preferences, and I think left such a comment on one of my early articles, which Charles thankfully scrubbed for me.
We scheduled a date to do something other than drink—play ping pong, I think—and she stood me up. I had a book to write so was not pissed, and she seemed taken aback by my lack of anger. We then decided that she would meet me at Jim Frederick’s karate school and we would go across the street to the Bel Loc Diner and have breakfast. I was in my own neck of the woods and she would be visiting her mother in the neighborhood afterward. So, if either of us thought things were going badly no one would feel trapped. In our first date she had intentionally taken me by confusing side roads into a rural area I had never been while engaging me in conversation in order to increase the likelihood that I would spend the night with her.
She came into the school while Charles and I were still beating each other up, had some conversation, and then left with me. She had dressed in big breast slut mode and was very effusive with the student, and mother there, and with Charles. While Charles and I were changing in the men’s locker room he said, “With those big titties on display and the way she runs over you in conversation, and didn’t let me get a word in edgewise while discussing the site, I can’t wait to hear how this goes.”
Helen and I went over to the diner in the neighborhood we had both grown up in and were now getting to know one another. She made it clear that she was interested in learning all about me, and that she had been intrigued by the stick fighting. Once seated, I told her it was on me and that she should order. She already knew that I only made about $160 per week, so this was my chance to find out what a heartless man-user she was.
She ordered herself a veggie omelet and I a steak and egg breakfast, declaring, “You don’t treat yourself well enough. I’m not looking to get married. But if you lived with me, you would have no bills and your money would be all yours to spend. Besides, that writing might come in for you one day. I’m tired of sleeping alone and, well, you didn’t just fuck me right out of that gate even though you wanted to, so I thought it could be something more than sex—maybe even love, eventually. No pressure. I’ll be making plenty of money in two weeks, got the job. I’m an excellent waitress and make big tips.”
I just looked at her while I chewed, looked down at her big tanned breasts, looked back up into her I’m-going-to-eat-you-alive eyes, and nodded in a noncommittal fashion.
She continued, mostly going on about how she felt so naked having told me so much about herself and having learned nothing about me, other than that I did not take advantage of drunk horny women, and that I apparently beat people with sticks for fun. She asked about drug use, and when I told her that I never got high, and used no drugs she became nervous.
She already knew I wasn’t a big drinker from our first date, and I could tell she was trying to figure out how this non-addicted intelligent guy was only making $160 per week and was renting a single room from a karate instructor. I was somehow husband material and not husband material and she wanted to know if she might salvage a useful mate for herself out of the wreckage of a dozen other women’s hopes.
I had told her about my childhood in this area, and that my father moved us to Pittsburg when I was 13. She wanted more and began the inquiry. “Why did you move back to Baltimore?”
“I had just beat a double felony charge because the ‘victim’ wanted to sue me instead of see me doing fifteen years. I needed to get out of town or get raped in civil court, so came here where I had family.”
“What were the charges?” she asked as she rubbed her hands together beneath narrow asking eyes.
“Attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon,” I said as I sliced into my steak and added hot sauce.
“Really,” she said, with big eyes. “What kind of weapon?”
“A blade; a big, homemade blade.”
“What did you do with it?”
“Do you really want to know?”
“Yes,” she said, with her eyes big and her hands working together as her lips half-pouted in anticipation.
“I tried to cut his head off, but he blocked it, thank God. You know that karate rising block really works, even against a blade.”
The hipster couple next to us were moving to another table and Helen was kind of frozen in fear. But I was in the tactical zone expounding on stuff I like to talk about and just decided that I’d be honest with her and finish spewing the stream of consciousness she had tapped.
“You know, when you practice on sheet metal targets, wooden posts and hanging meat—even ham shanks—and you feel that blade bight deep, you still don’t prepare yourself for how surreal the cut is going to feel on a man.”
I was, by this time, shoving steak into my mouth with gusto, chewing the piece, and considering my next deduction as she sat wide-eyed and dumb-struck.
“It felt like hitting a car tire with a stick—the last thing I would have expected. The live bone has some bounce to it, especially on a big man like that. The blade cleaved the ulna bone in two and then crushed the radial—thumb-side—bone. That is when it bounced, off the second bone. Then it got stuck. The blade had been made from a quarter inch thick steel fence post and bent flat with a sledge over an open coal fire—made it when I was fourteen and proud of it. But it was a crude weapon with a fuller—groove—on one side and a riser on the other. The ulna bone collapsed around the riser and it got stuck. I had to depress my wrist and drag it out. When I did so there was this sound I’ll never forget, this “kerplap,” sound when the thick arterial blood hit the cheap paneling of the wall.”
She seemed to hiccup for a moment as I cut another slice of steak, placed her hand to her mouth, and then said with a soft timid voice, “You do not still have anger issues, do you?”
“No, I do not. Anger is largely an alien notion to me.”
“How did you get past your anger, to get to this place then?”
“I never really had any anger issues, was less angry by far than my brother was for being adopted, my other friends were for being wimps, or this guy was, for being an angry sin-hating Christian who just had to beat up my little brother for listening to AC/DC Back in Black the week it came out—that’s when this happened.”
She was getting back into a conversational mode and asked, “Then how could you try and kill someone if you were not angry?”
“I argue the attempted murder charge, as I had no desire to kill Howard, but rather delivered the Number One cut that was most imbedded into my muscle memory. As to the act of cutting him down, there was zero emotional requirement. I did what needed to be done. I liked the guy, in fact, and eventually shook his hand again.”
“I see,” she said, before changing the topic to the delicious greasy steak and her substandard omelet. She now saw me for what I was, and saw me as such through the prism of her criminal experience from the 1980s when she took over her sugar daddy’s drug operation and had to rely on certain types of men to take care of certain other types of men. The reason she had gotten out of that business was that the guys who you needed to take care of business when “shit got real” were not people that a person crossed. And, as an attractive, aggressive woman, Helen’s skill set was essentially about manipulating men, which meant she eventually crossed them. She could only fathom enough of me from her criminal perspective to understand that I was as dangerous as the men she had called upon to settle scores.
By introducing myself as a writer she had thought that I would be the artistic type—such as the musicians she had dated. She was now plainly disconcerted by what I was, thinking that I was a ruthless killer when I was in reality just an honorably violent man. But this she was ill-equipped to perceive, thankfully for me and my writing soul, because after sparing and eating red meat, as I looked across the table I knew that I was beyond the point of resistance where she was concerned and, if she wanted, I’d be waking up with her on the morrow’s unholy Sunday morning.
Thankfully she excused herself to call her daughter about something.
I finished my steak and potatoes—the toast even.
I ordered another juice and enjoyed her half-burned omelet, even ate her white bread with the free jelly provided in the small plastic bowl.
I left a $5 tip for the babe with the nice smile, looked at the uncomfortable male half of the couple that had moved away from Helen and I, checked out his woman’s nice figure, looked back into his eyes, nodded, and walked up to the counter and paid the ancient hostess the tab that would have bought me two weeks of groceries, but had bought me life instead.
I then stepped out onto the stairs facing the Holiday Inn across the busy Loch Raven Boulevard approach to I-695 west, and looked down to where Helen’ small crowded car had been parked. There was, on the asphalt lot, a heap of goods surrounding my book bag, an indication that Helen had been so thoroughly terrified by my eating steak and discussing the hacking apart of another man’s arm, that she had not only dumped my bag out of her car, but various other items as well.
I stood on the steps and made two fists as I screamed into the sky that crowns the world I hate, “Yes!”
The bag felt good when I hefted it onto my back, and started for the 8 mile hike home, having spent all my bus fare on rewarding the cute waitress, who had been wise enough not to ask what a man was, but to just fill up his glass and go on her pretty way.
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winter of a fighting life
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your trojan whorse
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