A man knocked on my door, a man who looked just like me though his hair was longer and he hadn’t shaved in some time. At first I thought it was my paranoia acting up again, the same dementia that had chased Carly off and left me stranded.
I said, “Hello.” I asked what he wanted. I asked why he looked like me. He said he didn’t want anything. He said he didn’t look like me at all.
I told him he did.
He disagreed a second time.
We started to quarrel. His spittle hit my lashes as he shouted. His lips quivered the way mine did when I was angry.
I told him this was ridiculous, that he should go away and stop pestering me.
He said that was the thing, he wasn’t pestering me at all.
I slammed the door, but he kept knocking and ringing the doorbell frantically so that Mr. Bojangles, my cat, went nutty and started ripping up the sofa.
I got a knife from the butcher block and flung the door open.
“What’re you going to do with that thing?” he asked, laughing a stutter-chuckle that was identical to my own when I knew I had the upper hand.
I lashed at him a few times, but he was smooth and agile.
I pointed skyward and said, “What’s that?” When he looked, I caught him in the ribs, the chest and gut.
Blood spurted across the stairs, some splashing on Mr. Bojangles’s fur. The pain was a bonfire. It felt as if my innards had imploded. My shirt was shredded and soaking crimson. If that wasn’t bad enough, sirens blared as a squad car squealed to a stop at the curb.
Two officers leapt out pointing pistols, told me to drop the weapon down, put my hands in the air.
I screamed for them to find the intruder who’d done this, that he was here just a minute ago, that he couldn’t have gone far.
They said, “Last chance. Put the knife down.”
They didn’t understand. Why didn’t people understand?
The bullet that hit my leg made me fall on bended knee. The police were on me in seconds.
When I protested, said, “The guy was here seconds ago. He looked just like me. You have to find him,” they said, “Sure, buddy, sure,” and clamped cuffs on me.
The EMT’s who came wouldn’t believe me either. The head guy resembled the intruder who resembled me. He kept smiling at me, the same sinister kind of smile I use whenever I master a new video game. His hands came at my throat and started choking me in the back of the ambulance until one of the others strapped my arms down on the gurney.
At the hospital, the doctor resembled the intruder who resembled the EMT who resembled me. It was insane. I’d had enough and so I did the only reasonable thing—while he turned away, I gouged my eyes out.
published 30 January 2013