A Killer’s Respect

(This is a story from memory.)

Day One

I just effortlessly convinced this girl to have sex with me. 

Of course, I acted as if we knew each other. Made sure she got a good deal on her crack as we sat in my studio apartment with one couch, no knives, but nevertheless a huge problem in the sink. 

A problem I tried to solve by offering a homeless girl a place to stay if she tidied up for me. We ended up having more sex than any work getting done. The sink had been full of water, plates and food since she left. 

But there I was, slapping a big black ass back and forth on the carpet when a different dealer walks in through the door he unlocked with what else but the key he had coerced me to give to him. It was the only one. One time the police knocked my door down, it was just so I could get in my own door… safely.

You can only guess my cowardice when he asked me, who by this time held the title of “the house” who got dealt whatever was passed through the place – unless it was money – so I was high on crack alot. But when he asked me if my friend had any money, I was speechless.

We hadn’t (or I hadn’t) finished.

Caught with my pants down, he robbed her in front of my face. Brutally. To this day I am nothing but pure cowardice in her eyes.

I had space to breathe when they were both gone. The dealer left to conduct more “business” (he was ‘trapping’ in my stairwell, I was first door), and the girl finally stopped crying and left my balls the bluest they’d ever been.

It wasn’t long before someone was at my door. It was the man who sold and was addicted to my true drug, meth. He shot it, I smoked it. It was a happy deal. But it started with this occasion, on this day, and with a fight over access to my apartment.

I found out he brought a knife, that he was looking for the first person I had ever let into that address, a prostitute who I thought could benefit from a warm place to rest out of the cold winter snow. She and I never slept together, she was always more trouble or in trouble than pleasure.

Thing is, the lady was married. All the prostitutes on that road were married. 

But the knife guy, who all call Spiderman, wouldn’t take no for an answer. I let him in when he came back and asked nicely, but that was after I suffered hemorrhaging from the knife wound in – guess…- my right middle finger. 

I had fought well. But I laid there passing out in the aftermath from the blood loss. And I would be remiss if I didn’t note that I wrote a song title on a paper towel in all my suffering that remains the most beautiful song of all time, made even more beautiful by my agony. It was “Agnus Dei” by Rufus Wainwright. I had written Agnus Dei so large that I had no room for anything else but a glyph I had picked up from high school I had always obsessed about.

When I awoke, I walked half a mile to the nearest clinic and got fixed up. A few stitches later I was walking back home from the hospital.

I don’t remember sleeping, I could have, it matters little.

Day Two

Late in the day, I got a knock on the door from a girl I had somehow convinced to lay with me a week or two before. She showed up with three young children. She looked at me expectantly and I misread every second of it.

I immediately expressed that it was unsafe to have children in my apartment. The one I don’t have the key to. The one where dealers are bound to enter at any time with any amount of shady, shaking customers and there’s no telling what their attitude towards children were.

I decided they all had to leave. If she expected sex in my bathroom while her children played in the main room, she was mistaken. I had no intention of children overhearing me plow their mother. Find someone else to traumatize them if the throb within you cannot be satisfied in healthier ways.

That’s how unsafe my apartment was. 

“No children allowed.”

The sink alone would make them sick if they stayed too long.

But it was dangerous. And I didn’t know it was about to ratchet up a level that evening. Until the staircase dealer’s competition in the neighborhood (and along the road) who actually drove a car came over with some friends.

He pulled me aside once people were drinking, and unveiled a gun from a motel towel. And stared at me. His arms started to move as if a communion plate full of small cups of grape juice was in his hands, they were all for me, and he was trying not to spill any. 

A loaded gun.

I hesitated. Because I knew who I’d have to use this on if I accepted it. But murder is a heavy charge to go to prison for, if you ever get out. Murder weighs heavy on your conscience. Murder is what splits your soul in pieces right? Murder don’t make a friend out of this cowboy. Not this time around.

I told myself long ago that the only reason I would kill would be for my homeland. For America. Not to become apart of a crew, gang, or whatever I was being offered by this competitor and his friends.

And I refused the pistol.

And later, when the two men had fought each other in hand to hand combat. A fight I would have got off my ass to see if someone had bought the news. Instead I found out when the staircase dealer crawled back to my place with blood covering his body, his lips destroyed, hardly able to speak and hemorrhaging from his face, obviously weak, do you know what I did?

I let him find his way to the seldom used mattress on the floor. And a few days later he recovered.

While he bled, wept, and regained his strength, he had at least 3 tears already on his face. Put there by tattoo artists who found the same respect I had for him when I met him.

A killer’s respect.