Philip Bateman

Bartleby and the Grigio

"Bartleby? Who in the hell names their child Bartleby?" A swindled stall of ignorance; as if my word transcribed law. As if my word hinders his actions. Whatever, it's all circumstantial. I need to change tactics. Something less instinctual. Maybe more offensive, something better. I can do better.
                "The sweat, is it fear? No, no there's no trembling to play the theory." Mind games, showmanship; he's feeding his ego. I will let him. “Maybe impatience fevers your body? Waiting for the inevitable will consume such virtues. No, this does not work for one such as you. It is far simpler than I could have imagined. It is your pride. You hide your emotions, yet your body betrays you." It does not betray me. All is in accordance. All is at my tempo. All is well. "The rest of your body says everything your lips will not, and this will be the end of you." A smile, blatant, slashed across his face like a fatal knife wound. That's a little dark, but accurate. He played his trump. He played it overtly and quickly. And worst of all he played it first. Such a horrible mistake.
                “Hmpf,” My turn. “You fuck. You tryn’ ta mind fuck me?” His speech is so proper, almost poetic. The use of vulgarity and slang to someone with such class will do nothing but show disrespect.
                Theory: Disrespect will convert to an irrational reaction.
                Proof: History of humanity.
                Such illogical backlash could fall in my favor.  Or it might not. “You piece a shit! Ya got me tied up here for some shit I know, and you actin’ like I’m gonna give it to ya? You gonna kill me anyway muthafucker. So FUCK you.” I spit at him. I miss, intentionally, of course. Verbal impertinence is the best way to feed his ego. Anything physical might set him off. I can’t chance it. I’m only four braids through the knot. Well, four and a half. But it won’t mean a damn thing if I screw it up. This can’t fail.
                “Such language, how trifling.” It failed. Not too surprising, but somewhat disappointing. What now? Will he reach for the .357? No, he passed the holster towards his jacket. Five Braids.
His Jacket? What mysterious wonders could be waiting for me in there? Maybe cigarettes? No, his fingers aren’t yellowed by the tobacco and he doesn’t look like he uses a fag. A cell phone could be the culprit. No, such an amateur move would disclose our position. Neither of us are this stupid.
Horror, a 9mm silenced pistol evacuated from the suit. Looks like a Bottega Veneta, the suit not the gun. 6 braids. Inconceivable. Correction, logical. One for show; one for work.
9mm: light weight, light recoil, affordable, reliable. Silencer is a definite plus. Muffled gun shot plus gunshot residue will not match up with the gun.
.357 magnum: scary, intimidating, powerful, penis replacement.
A stare of stone glazes over his eyes and a monotonous voice issues a single command. “Speak your peace.” A click of the hammer soon follows. Of all the things I could’ve said these two words escaped my breath.
“It works.” His mouth drops and eyes turn to despair. The gun wavers. It wavers only slightly. Seven braids.
Break the right wrist and juke right. The gun goes off like a broken whistle.  Grab his cowboy killer and punch to the upper lip. Large cluster of nerves will cause a slight shock, one second, maybe. It’s more than enough time to grab his Beretta. Both hammers pulled back, both barrels pointed with a purpose. A fire in my eyes and hatred under my breath, I tremble with power. A sort of “Prince and Pauper” except one dies. And one will die. It’s inevitable.
“How opportunistic of you.” A half smile seems to claim two notions of surprise and defeat. “And where is it we go from here? I am no beggar and I am no liar. If you let live, I will hunt you. I will find you and kill you. Your death will be sweet on the lips.” The smile broadens. It is surprising as if the thought of sparing him had crossed my mind. Touché Bartleby, your blunt subtlety slips in the doubt. It grows into paranoia and will lead to my or your assured destruction; more than likely the former. I nipped it in the bud. And have wasted time doing so.
“What should I do with you? Obviously I will kill you. I will kill you.” It’s reiterated for an understood point. At least it’s understood on my end.
“Was it all a lie, a deception? Were the words empty and abided no substance? If there is truth, tell me.”  Is it delay from the inevitable? No, we are in hell. This place is devoid of hope. All that is left is the truth. And he can have it.
“Yeah, it’s all true. It’s proven and they all exist. In each choice creates a new one and to infinity.” A silence, calming and a bit disturbed. The gun raises silently, the cowboy killer. I need to see him dead. “I’ll give you the same courtesy.” I check the safety. “Speak your peace.”
His mouth opens and the tongue hits the tip of his incisor, He stalls for a half second then says his last words. “Gray, it doesn’t matter.”
I left content. Not in the fact that I had my life, in such that truer words were never spoken.

All rights belong to its author. It was published on by demand of Philip Bateman.
Published on on 07/14/2010.


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