Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.
May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others
and a love within recall that alters you.
Alex put in the last screw of the new lock. Switching the front door to a punch code punch would keep Linda out. He’d told his tenant on the first floor not to admit her. He tossed down the screw driver to answer his phone. Linda had called repeatedly, hanging up when he did answer or to leave messages to the effect that he could go fuck himself for all she cared. Now she was calling from a friend’s phone.
“Whose phone are you using now Linda.”
“Alex? This isn’t Linda.”
“Harris? Sorry I was …”
“Yeah, well, we had a big blow-out this morning. I had to block her calls.”
“Sounds rough. I was just wondering what you were up to?”
“Other than changing a few locks. Nothing. Where you at?”
“Can we meet for a coffee or something.”
“Yeah, I guess so.” So Harris had come around. He wasn’t sure he’d hear from him after the mess he’d made of things the other day. “Any place in mind?”
“That Mug Thuggs near Sherbourne.”
“Sure. I can be there in, say, half-an-hour.”
“See you then.”
He hung up. Enough time to wash his face and hands. Should he change his clothes. Nah. Let sweat do the trick that fresh rain hadn’t done. He changed out his tee-shirt and put on one of the KD dojo tank tops. Snug around his pecs.
If he’d had more time he would have jogged from his place but got on the subway at the Broadview. They could spend time getting to know each other instead of sitting half-naked on a sofa. If it went well enough he’d get Harris to walk over to his place. The guy certainly could use exercise and pudgies always responded well to training, especially if it started out light.
He got there little early to be there when Harris arrived. He went to Harris, now Harris was coming to him. He got an ice cap and sat in the window where he could watch.
Harris crossed the street and waved. He waved back. Harris looked actually happy to see him.
A van pulled and veered over to curb. The driver jumped out and ran to the sidewalk. Alex couldn’t see what was going on. Had the driver hit Harris? When he got there he saw the driver had Harris by the arm, trying to force him into the van.
“Let him go.” He pulled the driver away. “I said let him go.”
The driver was taller than him. Pretty hefty, muscular, with tats on his arm and on his neck.
“Who the hell are you?” The guy pushed Harris toward the van.
“None of your business.” Alex slipped off his shoes and moved into a defensive posture.
“Butt out buddy, This is between this guy and me. See.”
Alex spun Dave around. “Not any more.”
In a blur one Alex’s feet shot out and knocked the guy over. The driver fell, reached out and gabbed Alex by the knees.
“So the midget thinks he has skills, eh?” The tall guy head butted Alex
Harris was pulling at his shoulders. “I’m fine Alex.”
“Yeah, listen to your boyfriend.”
While he was distracted the tall guy punched Alex in the stomach. Alex barely felt it. He gabbed the tall guy by the front of his shirt with hand and pulled his fist back for a quick jab. One is all it would take to set this idiot on his ass for awhile.
“That’s not the way.” Harris shouted. “That’s not the way, Alex.”
He released his grip on the shirt and let the tall guy sag back to the sidewalk. The fear in his eyes was enough.
A young woman with a bandana on her head got out of the van.
“Dave. Dave. We can’t block traffic like this. I’m sorry this is all my fault.” She explained to Alex.
“You’re Frances.” Harris spoke to her.
“Yeah. But this isn’t the place …”
“Look. Park your van and meet us here.” Harris pointed at the patio. “Okay.”
The couple got back in the van and drove away.
“Thanks.” Alex looked Harris in the eye. “I might’ve done serious damage.”
They sat at a table on the patio.
“Sorry about that Alex. My life isn’t usually this exiting.”
“It’s not everyday I see a guy I know gettin’ dragged into a truck. Ya know those people.”
“Know, isn’t what I’d call it. It’s a long story. Let’s wait till they get here and we’ll see if we can make sense it. And thanks.”
“For coming to my rescue. You were like Spiderman dropping out of the sky to save me.”
“Yeah. Professional hazard. Next time let me finish my ice cap first.”
He looked Harris in the eyes. Why did I risk that to rescue this schlub.
“I’ll get you another one.” Harris went into the cafe. While the barista prepared a couple of iced lattes he looked out at Alex. He was amazed that anyone like this had fallen into his life. He recalled the Alex from the other afternoon. he could visualize his naked body except for the cock. What might be between Alex’s legs was like a flesh colored super-hero’s crotch, a few lines sketched in to indicate what might be there but not enough to give a hint of size.
He brought the drinks out to Alex.
“You do have some skills.”
“I teach.” Alex plucked at the logo on his tank-top. “Kick boxing.”
“Aren’t you supposed to warn people, like, these feet are considered deadly weapons or something like that.”
“Only in movies.” Alex laughed. “But I do have to be careful. The dojo frowns on us getting too rowdy in public.”
Dave and Kate arrived.
“You go get us a couple of cool drinks.” Kate sent Dave into the cafe and pulled two chairs over to their table. “I hope he didn’t hurt you?” she glanced quickly at the two of them
“Startled for sure, not hurt.” Harris replied. “As you saw my friend, Alex, can take care of himself.”
“Do you remember what happened between us. Last week I mean?” Kate asked. “Like how your picture ended up on my Facebook page?”
“No. I …” telling her about the curse seemed like more work that it was worth. “The police showed me the security camera footage of us outside the subway station.”
“Police?” she asked.
“They only did that because the subway assulter killed a man who bushed us while we were talking. That’s how I knew it was you when you got out of the van. Of course you had long hair in the footage.”
“What the fuck?” Alex said.
“I warned you my world has been more exiting than usual these past few weeks.”
“Let me get this straight.” Kate leaned in. “You don’t remember what we spoke about? At all.”
“Not at all. The footage showed you asking me for directions.”
“To the reception hall. That makes sense.”
“You got your your cellphone and I guess that’s when you took that picture of me.”
“I don’t remember doing that at all.”
“Dave saw that picture, recognized me and …”
“That’s when he assaulted you?” Her eyes widened.
Dave brought coffees for him and Kate and sat glowering at them.
“Listen,” Harris began, “I’m sorry if I screwed up things for you two.”
“So am I.” Dave grunted.
“Well, I’m not,” Kate sipped her coffee. “Whatever it was it made me think about what I was doing. Not that I didn’t want to get married.” she patted Dave on the hand. “I was caught up in things people were expecting of me. I hadn’t been well for awhile, physically, and believed I wasn’t strong enough to think for myself. Now I’m shaking that off. Finding out what I really want.”
“Sounds like you’re a bit of a Spiderman yourself, Harris.” Alex said. “Dropping into people’s lives to save them from themselves.”
“Spiderman is aware of what he’s doing. I’m not.”
“Whatever.” Dave pushed his chair back. “I guess I was bit quick there with you and your boyfriend.”
“He is not my boyfriend.” Alex snarled. “If he was I’d have one of these.” He pointed to a knot tattoo on the back of Dave’s hand. “A little memento of special times inside?”
“You …” Dave stood and knocked his chair over.
“Enough, Dave.” Kate took his hand. “We gotta get going. When I saw you I knew I had to talk to you. But I didn’t expect there’d be this much trouble. Come on Dave. Time to hit the road.”
“You better call the police though. They’ll want to talk to you about what neither of us remember.”
“What was that business about his tats?” Harris asked.
“A stab in the dark. I’ve trained with guys who’ve done real time, in prison. They get these tats in there that mean certain things. Maybe his mean nothin’ ”
Harris checked him cell for the time. “Cripes it’s getting I late. I have work in the morning. It’s my turn to apologize.”
“It’s not that late.” Alex was crestfallen.
“Maybe not for you.” He stood. “Thanks again though, for swooping down like that. Dave was on me so fast I didn’t have time to think.”
“I get that but who are they? You guys talked as if I knew what was goin’ on. It’s part of this curse business, right?”
“Yeah.” He quickly ran through Dave’s first assault, talking to the police who showed him the security footage. Enough to fill him in. “I hope this the last I see of them.”
“I’m beginning to understand this curse. I can see how a chick like her had no …. ability to resist it … but I’m not weak like she was. Emotionally or physically. Why me?”
“Why ‘us’ is more like it. I’m caught up in it too.”
“Sorry, I can be self-centered. One of things Linda always disliked about me.”
“Sounds human. When someone gets hit by a car all the consider is their injury not of how hitting someone makes the driver of the car feel.”
“That’s heavy man.”
“Yeah Alex. I’ve been hitting people with a car for years now and not knowing it. Now that I know, it it feels like shit.”
“Sounds like they didn’t even know they’d been hit though.”
“Till you I didn’t remember her. I do remember you..” Harris was ready to go down the stairs to the subway. “Don’t worry Alex, this isn’t hit and run. But I have to run.” He reached out shake Alex’s hand.
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