Monday, March 17, 2008


Me, Tubby and Suzanne entered the bare arcade.  I don’t remember what we were doing there, though I guess we all had a weakness for video games.  Well, there weren’t many left from what I recall.  There were maybe two or three left and I remember one of the video games in particular.  “Marathon Man – Deluxe.”  I suppose a tie with the Dustin Hoffman / Roy Scheider movie with Hoffman’s scared face as part of the console art.  This one happened to catch Tubby’s eye.  We looked around to ask how much the thing was, but the proprietor was nowhere to be found.  I remember I had seen him earlier – a Randy Jackcon type.  We’re not there five minute and the door slings open.  Who is it, but Dustin Hoffman himself, followed by and entourage of hangers-on, friends and bodyguards, one of which is that country bumpkin actor who played the head Pharaoh in “American Grafffiti.”  Hoffman circled “Marathon Man” impatiently as his bodyguards looked for Randy Jackson and generally made us feel uncomfortable.  The Pharaoh kept making passes at Suzanne and when I told him to back off, he playfully shoved me, the smell of aftershave and his leather jacket overpowering me more than his jabs.  I pushed back, but he was stronger than hi wiry frame led on.  The last thing I recalled was Suzanne screaming for us to stop and an elbow to my head.  I don’t even remember hitting the floor.  Occasionally, I came to, only to see snatches of what may or may not have happened.  Hoffman’s hoods carry off “Marathon Man,” Randy Jackson macks on three of Hoffman’s entourage, The Pharaoh makes love to Suzanne, sucking on her toes in the process.  I don’t know whether any of this actually happened though.  When I came to, the smell was one of death.  It was dark.  The wall’s neon was broken and sparking.  The floors were covered in blood and it looked like there were human remains scattered about.  I almost threw up, but I kept it all in somehow.  I wondered where Tubby and Suzanne were and why I had been spared from this massacre.  I started to leave when I saw the blood-soaked head of Hoffman sitting upright in the corner.  I rushed over to it, got on my knees and looked into its eyes.  The disembodied head had long hat pins stuck into its right side and chin.  It opened its mouth to try and tell me something, but quickly gave up as it tilted down into the blood-soaked floor.  I was still half-dazed with a huge headache when I made it to the exit.  I turned around to see Randy Jackson through the previously shuttered windows.  He held Suzanne down on the floor in a room set apart from the arcade.  I watched as the docile Suzanne suddenly slammed her fist into Jackson’s fat face.  He recoiled and she ran from the room.  I screamed for her from outside, and it wasn’t long before I saw her running towards me as I stood on the corner.  “C’mon, Suzanne, run,” I thought.  No words would form in my throat.  Just as she cleared the house and hit the street, Jackson – bloodied, shirtless with a blonde wig – appeared, running at top speed behind her, like a cue from some slasher flick.  I held out my arms, urging her to go faster.  He almost caught up to her, but gave up running as he spotted me on the corner.  Me and Suzanne ran as fast as we could to my car a block away.  No mention of Tubby or what had been done to her by Jackson or why Hoffman was beheaded or what happened to the Pharaoh.  We just got in and drove. 

We’ve never talked about it.  In fact, this is the first time I’ve relived the event.  I drive by the corner where the arcade used to be.  It’s now a vacant lot that’s about to give birth to a bunch of useless condos.

I’m thinking about killing myself.



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