Glimpses of Hate (excerpt from Sketches, a work in progress)

Walking toward the elevator I heard two orderlies joking about the girl's predicament. One, a tall redhead with bad skin, reveled in her misfortune, mocking her family and the tears they were now shedding. I thought about grabbing the fire extinguisher from the wall and hitting him in the back of the head. I could see the red splatter of his blood on the pale institutional-green tiles that lined the walls and the look on his buddy's face as that fucking red mop hit the floor. I heard them laughing heartily even after the elevator doors had closed.

Jake grabbed him by his tie intending to pull the man's egg-like head onto his knee. But the silk piece turned out to be a clip-on which broke off, knocking them both off balance and sending Jake several steps back. A thick black furry object landed next to his foot. In one swift movement the egg-headed man had lost his tie and his toupee'. Jake stepped on the rug and threw the tie back at the man, who sat in a half-crouch.

The room was spinning now. Hector looked up just in time to see the glint of the 45's chrome butt as it crashed for a second time onto his left temple. A dull peaceful darkness descended, like the downing of theater lights before a show: Whoosh...An image of his mother smiling from behind a white lace veil -- The sound of buzzing bees and humming fluorescent overheads -- Hector was brought back to consciousness by the sharp pull of a clenched fist around his pony tail. Someone wanted him on his feet. Staggering, he lifted himself onto one knee, then two, and finally managed to balance on a foot in a crouched position. He heard a muffled voice, like someone screaming at him from a moving train and felt hot breath on the back of his neck. All the while the hand pulled harder on his dark locks.

The bitch and her lover often sat in the back corner, near the banquet room, consumed by some devious mechanization. They spoke quietly, their eyes darting around them to see who might be approaching before resuming their gossip.

The bitch was not very old, maybe 22; her lover was several years older though it was obvious which of them held the reins in their dalliance. She was dark in complexion with big brown eyes that made you want to trust her. Her jet black curls were tied in a ribbon behind her neck like a hangman's noose. She smiled occasionally in that false sort of way that women who are unhappy with their looks often do. But the leash she held around her lover's penis was surely worth every masquerade she could muster, for the eyes and the smile were her only assets.

They worked together, the bitch and her lover, a team so to speak, though he did most of the work, truly. So it was that they came into the front barroom where I sat, reading a book and awaiting my first table, to have a look at the reservation book. The bitch glanced at me with her usual air of scorn and contempt and spoke quietly into her lover's ear. He smiled and turned to me, nodding. They buried their heads in the large black book.

Sitting on the end of the bar was a large mahogany pepper-mill which we used occasionally to season a guest's salad. An assortment of colored liquor bottles glowed under the bistro's spotlights, casting a psychedelic aura over the bitch, her lover, and the wooden mill. I hardly noticed rising before the club was in my hand. They hardly knew what hit them.


- Chris Moraff