Wolves hunting rabbits. Fucking rabbit’s zigging and zagging all over the place, right under the jaws of that wolf. Somebody’s always fucking dinner. That’s one of the things I picked up from watching all those shows since Matty’s been gone.
Something else I learned is that it don’t always work that way.
Sometimes that rabbit puts all he’s got into it. Don’t bother looking back, don’t bother waiting to see if that fucking wolf’s coming. He just runs on pure instinct. Pure drive. Sometimes that’s enough and that fucking wolf is left walking away in the snow, huffing and beat.
For a long time I thought I was a wolf. Like what guy wants to come out and say he’s just a fucking rabbit, right? No guy wants to say that shit but at least for me, it’s true. I might be a big fucking rabbit but it’s what I am.
I look over at Rita curled up on her side with her boy held close to her. He’s not crying anymore and I think he might even be sleeping. Exhaustion.
Rita’s a rabbit too. She sure as I’m lying here isn’t no wolf. Just a matter of whether or not she gets caught or not, ends up as somebody’s dinner. That part’s up to me.
She’s awake but not watching the TV. She’s watching me. Carefully. I get that. Sure, I said I wasn’t going to hurt her but I bet she’s heard that shit before. I know I’ve said that to people, that I wasn’t gonna hurt them. Mostly to get them to do something I needed them to do, say something they needed to say. So I know that sometimes it’s a lie.
She’s looking at me, watching me, like she’s not sure she’s ready to believe I’m not lying to her. I wonder for a split second whether anyone’s hit her and then I’m backing away from that thought as fast as I can. It’s a road I don’t want to go down. I can’t afford to care about it.
Get comfortable as much as I can and try to ignore them in the other bed. It should be pretty easy. She’s still not saying shit to me.
Watch a few more rabbits and try to let it just turn into background noise but I can’t quite get to the point of closing my eyes and going to sleep. Had trouble with that for a few years now, just dropping off to sleep. I used to be able to close my eyes for a few minutes and I’d be out. Sometimes only for a few minutes but I could depend on it. Now? Fuck, I’m lucky if I can get four hours a night.
I hear shit all the time. Cars going by out on the road, people walking by, anything. I hear that shit and I’m wide awake again, listening. After Matty was gone, every fucking sound and I was reaching for a gun until I thought I was losing my fucking mind. Probably was. Rabbits.
Rita tightens up when I swing my legs over the side of the bed, rubbing my hands over my eyes. I’m fucking exhausted but she’s not much better. Gotta piss. I hold my hands out as I stand. Telling her she’s still safe isn’t gonna do shit. Maybe wake up the kid, that’s about it. At least one of us is sleeping.
The bathroom floor’s fucking freezing cold and it takes forever to take a piss. I keep an eye on Rita through the open bathroom door, in the reflection of the little mirror over the sink. She’s watching the door carefully the whole time.
Show’s different when I get back to the bed. Alligators. That’s something I understand. Fucking dinosaurs. Deal with those fucking predators every damned day. I’d change the channel but I don’t think there’s fuck all on that I want to watch. Definitely not with a woman and a kid around anyway. Close my eyes and just do the best I can with it.
The narrator drones on but it’s quiet, just background shit. I count out the time in half-hour installments between one show and the next, dozing off every once in a while.
Rita’s not doing much better than me. Falls asleep for a few minutes and wakes up a few minutes later and then she’s looking at me.
“You never did say what the deal was with the kid’s name.”
It’s out before I even know what I’m asking. Then again, it’s been bugging me all fucking day, that kid’s name. It’s hard to stay quiet for that long. Fuck, I don’t even know why I asked it and I didn’t expect her to say shit all about it anyway but I can’t sleep and neither can she. We can sit here and not talk, trying’ta watch the fucking TV, or we can talk.
“Christopher D’Angelo is Tony D’Angelo’s father. I guess once he knew that Tony had a son, he insisted on the name Chris. I wasn’t exactly asked how I felt about it.”
She goes quiet after like maybe she didn’t expect to be talking out loud either.
In my head, one question led to the next. “Were you with him when you had Matty?”
I still don’t know why the fuck I couldn’t just leave the questions in my head. Not that it’d give me any peace there either but I don’t fucking need to know this shit. Knowing it is a problem. Trouble. I know that but I’m still asking.
I get that she’s probably wondering the same thing. Wary, like she’s not sure why I want to know. I don’t even know why the fuck I want to know. It could just be us passing the time but neither of us is stupid enough to believe that shit.
Just like that, flat. Why the fuck would she want to talk about it, right? Except she does or she woulda just kept on saying nothing like she has all this time. I go back to watching TV. Antelopes and lions. Those antelopes aren’t nearly as interesting as the rabbits. Those little fuckers had balls.
“When I found out I was pregnant, I left.”
I was kinda surprised that she kept talking. She’s not happy about it. Holding Matty tight as he sleeps, like she’s worried he’s gonna go somewhere.
“Hard thing to do, just leave like that.”
What the fuck do I know, right? I never been anywhere, except where someone sent me. Seemed like the right thing to say.
If she could have slapped me right then I think she would have. Touchy subject. Being tied up makes her have to think hard about what she’s gonna say. Or even if she should say it.
“Harder to stay.”
I guess so. I’m not a broad so what do I know about it. I don’t say nothing and neither does she for a while and again I figured she was done but she wasn’t. Just needed time to think about it. About what to say.
“I was never anything to Tony. Just some girl he went to bed with. I thought it was more at the time but it wasn’t. It shouldn’t have happened at all.”
She’s holding Matty again, whispering in case she’s worried he might hear her.
“You two weren’t?-”
Now I’m whispering too. We’re like a pair of fucking kids, telling stories. Guess the kid don’t need to hear that shit, that he was an accident. She looks at me like I’m stupid for a split second before she closes her eyes. Probably rethinking what she was gonna say.
“I’m too old to believe in fairy tales.”
From the sound of her, I’m guessing that wasn’t always the case. It’s a hard thing when reality kicks you in the balls. All of us, all the Knockaround guys, we’ve been there. Got that fairy tale shit fed to us with a spoon. Brought up on all these stories about the old days, about the shit our fathers did.
Then we got to see what it really was. Saw it too fucking late for guys like Scarpa and Marbles. Even Matty saw it too fucking late. Still at the end he’s trying to talk through shit and negotiate. There’s no honor, no nothing. Just the roof, the river and the revolver. We all got our own fucking fairy tales.
“That’s the fucking truth.”
She’s quiet again for a bit, eyes closed, and I almost think she’s gone to sleep.
“Rumors got around pretty quickly and somehow Tony’s father found out that I was having a boy, a son. I was long gone by then but somehow they still found out.”
I knew how that shit worked. Everybody fucking talks. Even me and Rita, we’re not supposed to be talking but here we are, fucking talking. It’s like we can’t help it. Social animals.
Around made guys, there’s even more talk. Some fuck’s always eager to prove he knows something, so he drops whatever shit he can if he thinks it’ll bump him up the ladder a little. Somebody that knew somebody that seen somebody passed on the news about Rita hoping it would get them a seat at the table. So I know how that went down.
“I never wanted that. I was a stupid kid and fell for the fairy tale at first but I never wanted the rest of it. The -”
She cuts herself off, fear in her eyes as she looks at me. The rest of it. Yeah, I know what that shit is too. I’m the rest of it. There’s the fairy tale and then there’s me, so I get it.
“You’ve been running this whole time?” I admit that I’m impressed by that.
A nod. Hard fucking life, running from the mob. Especially if you’ve got something they want. Just like that I’m thinking of those fucking rabbits again.
I was about to hand her over to a wolf. Just fucking hand her over. Fuck. I didn’t want to talk anymore. Didn’t want to think about it any more. Just wanted this shit done.
“Quiet. No more talking.”
Who the fuck was I kidding?
Copyright © January 2009 xxxevilgrinxxx