See You in the Bahamas: A Short Story
See You in the Bahamas
Victor sits across from me at their dining room table wearing his linen napkin as a bib. A few times, I sat on that same chair. Between us is a carved pork roast atop a wood slab accompanied by very large butcher knife. His glass of cabernet was positioned precisely at two o’clock and with each mouthful of chewed up food, he takes a healthy swig mechanically. I too had a plateful and a glass of my own but wasn’t very hungry. I’m what others would call a nibbler. I look at their cherry wood grandfather clock that stands behind him: It was already a quarter to eight. Glass in hand, he leans in and smiles.
“Is there someplace you need to be?” Victor asks.
“In a little while,” I say, doing my best to sound modest.
He forces out a laugh then dabs at his lips with his napkin leaving a blemish like lipstick against the field of white linen. He then goes back to slicing his pork with his steak knife; the veins in his hand protruding out further and further with each slice.
“Beautiful, isn’t she?” He says as I’m coming back around again. He’s holding a portrait of Jessica with one arm swung around the top of his chair. She’s smiling widely at the camera and wearing a white string bikini; her healthy gold-brown hair flowing effortlessly in the Caribbean breeze. Behind her, a crystal-blue ocean stretches for miles towards the horizon. She couldn’t have looked happier. Victor’s glass of cabernet was now empty and so was his plate. “This was taken when we were in the Bahamas a year ago…She loved the Bahamas.” Yes, the Bahamas. I remember.
I look across from me and the time, according to their grandfather clock, is a quarter past eight. My eyes roll to the left to the place where Victor was sitting but now vacant. I think I’ve been drugged, but I’m not sure. I look at my glass of cabernet and wonder about this for a moment just as something cuts the air and strikes my head, just above my right ear. An explosion of pain overcomes me and I’m lying atop their smooth mahogany floor sideways. Lying next to me is Jessica—her portrait that is—the same one only moments earlier Victor was holding onto so admiringly. The brass frame was now bent and bits of broken glass are embedded in my cheek. Even now, she’s smiling at me.
“How was that backhand?” Victor says while standing over me, gripping tightly Jessica’s five-hundred dollar birthday present from me. “You like that, asshole?” And again with Jessica’s present, same side. This time Victor teed off. I thought my head was going to take flight with the follow-through. I was going numb, not feeling a thing. I was past the point of feeling any more pain. Victor steps over me, where he was going, I didn’t know.
I’m sitting up now but not under my own power. My head is matted with blood and Victor’s got a fistful of my hair. He twists it around so I’m facing him.
“YOU DID THIS!” He screams in my face, spittle flying. “YOU DID THIS TO YOURSELF!” Victor looks disappointed and so a single tear falls down his cheek but I don’t think he notices it. He steers me with his hand again and this time my eyes find Jessica lying on the floor again, still smiling at me.
Now he’s got me in a lover’s embrace from behind: With one hand he’s holding a handful of my hair and with the other, he’s holding the large butcher knife. I can see myself in the shiny blade.
“Fuck you,” Victor whispers into my ear like a lover. His knife was at the ready. The door to the kitchen suddenly bursts open and it’s her in the flesh. Her dangling Gucci bag slides off her shoulder and falls to the floor as she runs towards us.
“VICTOR! NO!” Jessica screams after him. “NO, VICTOR NO!” Too late. I feel the cold steel against my sticky neck, just underneath my Adam’s apple, and then God it’s so quick, so fast. At one time we were good friends, Victor and I, and this was how I repaid him. Dammit. It was a game none of us would have won, a game none of us could win…With both my hands I reach out to her, My Jessica, so maybe, just maybe, I can touch her one last time.
Copyright © 2009. All Rights Reserved.
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