Treasure Island

Manny Furious

Ode to My Friend Blade and to my Wondering Whether His Behavior Was Due to PTSD or Drugs

Very few of us
Had seen "Blade" in several years
Since high school really
Monique brought him by the apartment
One night.
He looked the same,
Shaved head, black sunglasses
Even at night
Leather jacket
Thin enough to pass
For a distance runner.
We shook hands and hugged.
"It's been too long"
We agreed.
But something was different.
Things went well for a while.
We drank brewskis
And laughed.
Occasionally Blade
would go to the bathroom to
snort coke or
horse tranquilizer,
I don't remember.
I do remember
We talked about high school
And how Blade had joined the army.
We had a drunken pushup
Then laughed some more.
After the seventh or eight beer
Blade stopped laughing.
He sat by himself
Even though he was in the middle of the room with
The rest of us.
He stopped talking for several minutes.
Finally I looked over at him,
And he hollered
"Excuse me, " I asked.
He began crying and challenged
Everyone to a fight.
It felt like we were living through a Dave Chappelle skit.
Only Lone Wolf accepted the challenge
Not because he's tough
Or violent.
But because he's an idiot.
They both went outside,
Blade tried to jump off of the balcony
But we stopped him.
Then he sat on the concrete steps
And cried with Monique all night.
Frost began clutching the edge of
The windows to my apartment.

Monique came in to use the restroom.
She giggled because she said he was stationed
In Georgia, and didn't know what he was talking about.
That he had never been to war.

Five years later, I saw Blade inside of JC Penny.
He looked at me as if he wanted to jab
Me in the throat
With a rusty screwdriver.
But I told him "What's up? " anyway.
He nodded and shook my hand
And told me the government
Was "after" him
Because he
"knew too much."

Submitted: Monday, July 14, 2014

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