When Norman Pierce reached the Upper East Side well after midnight, the streets were practically deserted, except for the occasional couple that passed by arm in arm, and a few loners in need of some fresh air and a little solitude, despite the bitter winter chill….Red tinsel had been playfully strewn around nearby lampposts, so that they resembled gigantic candy canes, left out in the cold, lest people forget that the Holidays – along with the misery of forced intimacy – were in full swing.
He skulked, concealed by the darkness of a nearby street corner. Snow fell swiftly, silently, transforming the otherwise grimy streets into a pristine wonderland chock-full of child-like wonder. Norman had a real knack for blending in with the shadows so well most people never noticed him until he pounced…Merry Fucking Christmas!
He really should have been home, sound asleep in the roach-infested two-bedroom apartment on Avenue A in the belly of the beast known as Alphabet City he called home, but he was a light sleeper and his parents’ arguing kept him up most nights.
More often than not, Norman would slam his bedroom door shut the second they started shouting at each other; he still heard his father attack his mother with abusive insults through paper-thin, plaster walls. Norman closed his eyes and pictured the tragically comical scene.
“You’ve got a headache. Poor baby. Think I give a fuck?!” His father, shouted. Keith was a tall man with spiky brown hair, piercing bright blue eyes, and sinewy muscles backed his mother, Doreen, a short doughy woman with jet-back hair and dull gray eyes, into a corner. She’d, cover her face the whole time with trembling hands, bracing herself for glancing blows that never came. Norman’s father didn’t have the cojones it took to hit a woman. He preferred to wield words like daggers, knowing his mother would feel their sting long after they were uttered. While a slap across the face only burned for a minute or two before being dismissed.
“Get over here. Let me kiss your head and make it better!” Keith touched her soft cheeks with the back of his hairy hand and kissed her roughly. When he did, Doreen would burst out laughing and tumbled clumsily into his meaty arms, relishing the belligerent attention.
Their bedroom was right next to his, so he couldn’t help hearing the thump his mother’s plump body made as she landed on the sagging bed and his father crashed into her with an even louder thud that made the walls shake. No matter how hard he tried to sleep, their incessant moaning kept him wide awake, so he’d sneak out for a long walk perfect for plotting and scheming while they went at it. Norman knew they wouldn’t miss him, too caught up in each other to care.
During his nightly prowls, Norman headed for the subway that whisked him away to the picturesque, tree-lined Upper East Side – a far cry from the bleak brutality of Alphabet City. He passed several junkies along the way some out cold, others with wide, rheumy eyes and unsteady outstretched hands, desperate for a fix. Norman paid them no mind.
He needed to clear his head; he had a lot on his mind lately – especially, the pathetic excuse his ex-girlfriend gave for dumping him. She told him she was tired of turning little boys into men. Norman wondered why. After all, somebody had to do it. And she was good at it, too. Maybe too good…
Clenched in his fist, the six-inch knife with a polished rosewood handle he crafted in high school metal shop shimmered in the dim light; Norman yearned to put it to good use. He sniffed the air, inhaling a familiar, intoxicating fragrance that made his head swim with memories of happier days. The crotch of his faded Levi’s tightened instantly. Perfume, sweet and soft like lilacs captivated his senses, reminding him of his first and only serious girlfriend, Rosa. Whenever he thought about her the fire in his groin burned with an insatiable fury that only she alone could satisfy.
* * *
Rosa had been with other guys before, that was one of the reasons Norman loved her so much – that, and her stunning, curly red hair, smooth, alabaster skin made tantalizing by a smattering of freckles, and curvy body – almost too beautiful to be real.
She laughed at him when they were together in her bedroom in her parents’ posh Upper East Side co-op on the twentieth floor about to make love. Well, actually, it was the first time he’d tried to put a condom on, even thought he was eighteen, and he had trouble unrolling it with shaky hands. She wound up doing it for him, giggling the entire time. Then she lay down on the king-sized bed, pulled him on top of her and guided him in. His movements were awkward and unsteady. Rosa did most of the work. When they finished, he asked what was so funny with tears welling up in his eyes, Rosa called him an inadequate lover.
Inexperienced was more like it. Big difference.
Rosa broke up with him right then and there without even bothering to apologize or say goodbye. She left Norman with a spent rubber and a limp dick and showed him the door. Dejected, he snatched his rumpled clothes from the plush, beige wall-to-wall carpeting underfoot, slammed the apartment door behind him, rushed down the hallway to the elevator, and blew past the doorman in the cool, gray marble lobby, who nodded and wished him a pleasant evening. Norman dismissed him without a word.
* * *
Rosa rounded the corner, alone for once, on her way home after a date with some rich prick no doubt. Norman pounced from the alley, grabbed her, and pulled her deep into darkness, holding her close so she could feel his enormous erection jutting out like a knife.
“Been a long time, Rosa,” he scowled.
“Norman. What are you doing here?” she asked, her voice quivering. “Go back to the barrio where you belong.”
Rosa turned on her heels; Norman grabbed her before she could bolt. “I was just in the neighborhood, thinking about old times…”
“Let me go,” she screamed and squirmed in his arms briefly before she succumbed to swift retribution.
Norman covered her mouth with a grimy hand. “Keep quiet, bitch! You never did know when to shut up.”
Rosa gasped then quickly grew silent.
He brandished his knife with expert precision and pressed the razor-sharp edge against her delicate, swanlike neck. The warm rosewood handle with a red hue painstakingly hand-crafted, worthy of his beloved Rosa.
Her radiant green eyes shone in yellow din of a sulfur streetlight, pleading.
Norman made the cut, hitting her carotid artery. A brilliant burst of red blossomed as Rosa slid to the ground, wilting with the rest of the trash.