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sickunderpressure

The taste of some type of fake leather seems to do the trick in shutting me up, especially when it’s forced onto my face like an octopus’ sucker. The thought grosses me out when I look into the guy’s eyes. There’s something wrong with him. The black ski mask doesn’t help me think otherwise.

“What the hell?” Ed starts to raise his voice when he comes back inside to investigate this very questionable situation.

The guy motions for Ed to stop but still keeps one hand over me. “Shh…” he says.

“Larry?” Ed speaks a little more calm. And then outside a hesitant thunder of boots come rolling by the door.

We hold our breath. I do mostly because he allows me so little room to force my breath through. Through my nostrils is where I’ll get most of my air, pushing in and out the smell of wet wood.

I can’t move my head. I can’t see Brynn. I can’t hear her. Why would there be something wrong with her why is she quiet? What is going on? Am I… Am I…

And then very slowly, he releases his grip from my face. Rebooting my oxygen, every breath makes my chest heave heavily as I try to catch up to what’s happening. I look around everywhere but at this stranger. Brynn is pale but respectfully stays quiet keeping her mouth shut with her own hands.

Until, “Oh my god get this guy out of here!”

“Shut, up!” Ed shouts, breaking his own rules I can see he realizes. He’s already pulling the leech off me and directs me to keep my mouth closed and don’t answer that door if anyone knocks. “same goes to you Brynn sit on the couch, Larry you go into my room actually girls go sit outside on the balcony.”

We all do exactly what he says as he’s saying it so in a matter of seconds the living room is deserted.

“What the fuck was that?” Brynn asks as she paces back and forth the closet sized balcony. I can’t sit either but lean on the poled barrier looking out. She picks up the only cigarette on the ledge and she takes a drag to sit down on. Through a breath of smoke she asks “we can’t get in trouble can we?”

“I think, first, it’ll be best that we try and not get anyone in trouble.” She takes another drag.

Everything seems to have appeared at once. Far away there are ambulance sirens. Over by the student deli is a police car with silent flashing lights. I’m sure that’s got something to do with this “Larry, is that what he called him?” But I hope those ambulance sirens aren’t because of him. I don’t know if I can fully commit to the morality of covering that up. How badly could the person be hurt? Brynn doesn’t seem to make any distinction between the faraway sirens and the silent cop car so I keep this frightful thought to myself.

I look back through the glass doors into the empty living room in time to see it quickly become occupied by Ed who looks like he knows something. He looks at the door and then at us. And then I hear Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

*** *** ***

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sickunderpressure

I

The people on the sidewalk of the Walnut Street walking bridge are mostly a blur. Sometimes there’s a moment of slow motion in specific glances but the most just pass by in quick bursts of blur. Hitting the corner at the foot of the walking bridge is an older but athletic figured police man. Not the stereotypical fat-slob pig that can’t catch up, I get the proven-healthy boar that strides like a fucking gazelle.

One cop, maybe the slob cop, is probably staying at the scene to see if there are any accomplices hanging out; which probably means they called up another unit to assist with depending on how they feel the severity of this situation is.

After a hard sprint uphill the bridge plateaus. Police man number one is only part way up that hill as Larry’s legs hold strong maintaining the necessary distance. Keeping its warmth the evening sun begins to fall. Stretching from mountain to mountain the river beneath the bridge brushes escaping winds at the side of Larry’s face, and ultimately also the fabric on the side of his body. But in this welcoming January sunshine you don’t mind the cool wind. Days like this, they’re good for a run.

One decent stereotype from chase scenes that seems to prove true is that rarely to never will a passing or passed civilian try to stop the guy that’s being chased. They’ll jump to the side or stare in light shock trying to piece together why this less than casually dressed individual is running top speed across an expectantly busy bridge. They’ll make up scene-related reasons in their head why what’s happening is normal like I’m a jean jogger or playing tag where base is on the other end but they won’t really make any real sense of it until the cop comes up the same path no more than ten seconds after me where it’ll finally come to them that I was not a very good guy of most sorts after all.

Or maybe it’s the black ski mask he’s wearing that’s scaring the people from jumping after him. You can’t guess what a man in a black ski mask is capable of. The couples, the families, the daters and the performers; vigilance is laughable.

So in the cum of things this makes only the simple equation of cop number one chasing private enemy number me.

The bridge feels forever but the intensity of the run takes away from the reality of the whole thing. It’s tricky how the most alert of situations clicks a series of chemicals from and throughout your brain and body that allows you to escape from the actual complications of it all. It gives you a sense of honest freedom in mind and that could make you dangerous. All the toxic, negative and doubting thoughts filter to further lands and all possibilities become known. You realize your physical boundaries are non-existent. Your sight is focused primarily on the next and the next move, you’re the Bobby Fischer in this war. The object, crush the opponents mind.

The bridge gets shallower of people once Larry makes it near the other side. Strollers turn into bolted trash cans, families becomes empty benches. Old men and women are now mostly old rusted beams and fat wires. Little children are now potted flowers. Underneath the water turns into big black, distorted rocks. He wonders a moment if he could jump, preferring the surrender of falling into the occasional wash of the Tennessee River over his lifeless body than to this prick in pig skin.

A galaxy of bridge just ran and Larry is no further or behind from the start of this race. Bank a hard right at the final stretch and you’re taken downhill. It’s a hard downhill that makes your ankles strain a little in attempt to maintain speed and balance without busting your face on the too smooth sidewalk.

At the bottom a left takes you south on Market. Pocketing the mask Larry keeps his pace around the corner. With the sun at his shoulder and what should be the budding night life of Chattanooga ahead he continues a few block past a couple chained restaurants and a liquor store on a street corner where he glances back a moment to see how far police man number one is. But he’s not there.

It makes me slow my speed down a little to a lot to a stop and he should be hitting the corner any second, but he doesn’t. If I can find a place to hide out for just a moment I should be fine even in just one of the shops. I’m better than this, I haven’t been in a chase since my second holdup. ‘The Marathon Escape’ Ed had dubbed it.

The adrenaline is at a peak right now as he continues down Market, crossing Third, and keeping an easy jog in case of any surprise encounters. Still, no cop. It’s too strange to be right.

Finally Larry takes the chance to just rest his eyes on a stationary setting taking the moment to just be. The air is light, easy and cool, not taking the sun so seriously that it humidifies itself into making your pores burst with sweat. With this type of air we get a perfume of a simpler world overwhelming the cooked and grilled airs. The sun is orange and the sky is blue. Yeah, you’ve got to love the winter in the southeast. Pure as the byproduct of the newly produced chemicals flowing for our survival mode. His entire body is warm even against the cool wind and it’s felt in his breath. These extra senses though, they still seem to bring on the extra sensory sense of pig. A three-sixty turn around show no sign of any threat to him at all. He passes Fourth.

Across the street he catches his eye on a trio of pretty young girls about his age strut their methane figures into a Panera Bread.

‘I can go for a tuna sandwich,’ he says to himself just before he makes the conscious effort of movement and at the same time he hears a terrifying burst of boot steps and

Crash

boom thud

STARS

In this moment this cop tackles me with the perfection of Polamalu, considering I was simply a standing target. A standing dummy; everything goes black. And in this blackness is when everything seems to slow down. I’m in space. One second.

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