Man in picture. Fire in the hole.

“You’re a reckless man, perhaps stupid”, he says.

I tell him confronting him was liberating and I knew he couldn’t get in.

“How?” he asks. “How did you know that?”

It seemed pretty obvious I tell him.

“It seemed obvious that you were protected? That you were safe?”, he asks.

I begin to understand.

“Did you think I slept while you taunted your nemesis?”

I can only apologize. I am tired and doing my best. I meant no disrespect and regret if I took advantage. I tell him his hospitality has been abundant and kind. I tell him I’m very sorry.

“You are callow and shallow”, he says. “I hope I am here to help you because of your potential and not who you are now.”

He points me to the table and tells me to sit. “You are my guest”, he says.

“Breakfast” he claps twice and he is smiling.

Sliced heirloom tomatos, avacados and mild cheeses with fresh lox, capers and thick fresh cooked polenta. Grapefruit juice just squeezed and champagne in a bucket. Steaming mugs of the world’s best coffee.

He tells me half way through breakfast that he is disappionted that I did not think of him. “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”, he says. “Your actions were costing you nothing. Who did you imagine was paying for them?”

I have learned a valuable lesson I tell him.

He smiles without teeth and says, “You must be new.”

I am, I tell him.

I wonder aloud what to do, and that maybe I should go back to the ship.

“We are not yet finished”, he says.

I tell him I like it here.

“Of course, you feel safe. You are not, however. Not for long”.

It happens slowly. Surreal.

Blood rushes to my face. Anger and frustration and fear and exhaustion and I can’t stand it anymore. I pound the table and stomp. I can’t breathe. I sweep breakfast from the table and trip to the door hitting it hard with my head. I fall outside onto the deck.

It is humid and warm and I realize I’m sobbing and laughing and rocking with my forehead in my hands. My head bleeds. The ship is going down in the open ocean. No place to go. I’m going to drown. I hate helpless and that’s what I am. Who the fuck is this guy who bleeds everywhere and why me?

He is dressed in khakis, brown sturdy boots and a button up collared shirt striped blue vertical. A wide straw hat and hands on his hips, he walks slowly from the garden up the path towards me and the steps. “Tantrum over?” As he comes up the steps he reaches for my hand. “I’ll need for you to clean up your mess this time”, he walks me in the door to witness plates, food and broken glass on a slate floor.

I tell him I’m sorry.

“I’ll get you a mop and broom”, he says.

I’m thoroughly ashamed after my little fugue. I try to be as deliberate and meticulous cleaning up as I possibly can. Mr. Tarcisi vanishes for a time. I am thankful.

It was probably instinct that didn’t allow me to wipe the champagne in it’s bucket off the table with the rest. I’ve long since finished dispatching my mess and settled down with a book Carlo has left open faced down on the table beside the couch.

The Art of War, chapter six, Weaknesses and Strengths. Motes bob in sun flowing through windows. I sip champagne from a flute.

The sun seems to gush and Carlo bursts through the front door bringing more noise and bustle with him than I would have imagined him capable of. He is full on grinning like a jack-o’-lantern.

“Hope you had a fine day. I see you found that book. I went wine tasting. Feeling better? My God you should see my tomatos.”

Mr. Tarcisi is hammered.

I tell him to point me around the kitchen and I’ll make dinner. I assure him I can cook and after he directs me towards certain vegetables, soup stock and a slab of sirloin he points at with drunken conviction, I decide on a stew.

The kitchen windows face north but I’m able to enjoy the sunset to the left while I chop, cube, braise, boil and sear.

Carlo supplies a jammy rose’ for us to drink and soon joins me in the process.

He’s trying to make my stew into soup. It’s Summer he tells me. It’s Spring I tell him. He sighs when I spy cornstarch in his pantry.

I tell him to go fry something and that we’ll need a big ass zinfandel for this meal. He asks if I’m familiar with Turley. Fucking-A I tell him.

We eat on the deck with the wind blowing. Hurricane lanterns all around. My stew is delicious. Carlo has sauteed green beans and slivered almonds in olive oil and garlic and dressed them with lemon and an exotic mustard. The wine is an early two thousand Turley Zinfandel and it’s all plum, cedar and smoke.

Another day and no closer to what to do. I don’t mind.

I ask him how much longer I’ll be safe here. “Not after tomorrow night”, he says.

He touches me on the arm and says, “Understand, he is primitive in a way. He cannot see you if you do not move.” “He is here, sit still.” and his eyes lock with mine.

Richie runs along side the deck screaming and laughing wearing what looks like a goddamn cape that is on fire.

Running so fast I can’t see his face.

I take care to move only my eyes as I watch him run into the darkness, smelling his burning cape and the screeching pigs that gallop behind him.

I can’t believe this shit. Someone, somewhere, must be fucking kidding.

“Now”, says Carlo, “Into the house”.

I point to the wine and run for the front door.

One Response to “Man in picture. Fire in the hole.”

  • psychotic red rainbow:

    Mikey Dude, you so need to share what information you garnish from this book, The Art of War. I mean, I’d purchased it in about 1995, then as any political prophet would, I gave it away to this neighbor toy solder boy.
    My reasoning was simple; I already know all. So I never read any of the book. Oddly I was thinking about this two nights ago. What I have concluded on my own though, is never underestimate the enemy no matter what your opinion may be of them, The fact that they are on the radar screen,in itself can be extremely dangerous. Presently I identify,all that is within my scope of vision, then just keep a sharp eye, on all their movements. I allow them as much freedom to roam about, and only move to eliminate, the most severe threats. With the opinion, all out there are oxygen thieves.
    Usually I monitor my heart beats, with the precision of a scientist, I study my brain as a lab technician studying alien chemical fusions. My strength is that I am able to recognize, that all is alien to me.
    Therefor I expect unpredictable results, as I map out the unfamiliar experiments, for a said, desired result. .
    I’m re-entering the cool blue planet earths atmosphere. There is plenty of water down here, so fires only have so much destructive capacity. I guess this is where I belong for now. I took a trip, because I needed a vacation, keep us posted on yours. o.k.?

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