Curveballs

1 Feb

There’ve been many versions of this story and how it went down–spun by many people, including the papers–but now I shall tell you what really happened.
I had no idea who Saul Sobricki was. Just a Jewish kid with oversize eyeglasses and one of them Russian hats with flaps that come down over your ears. He was walking from the opposite side of the campus, having just gotten off the SunLine Shuttle, which was taking students west to the St. Mary dorms. I didn’t think anything of him, just a weird guy wearing a furry, rabbit hat in sixty-degree winter sunny weather. It don’t matter to me, people like that. They don’t look suspicious or anything. So I didn’t think nothing of him. It happened quickly, but I saw it in slow motion. As he passed me, he lunged in with a steel blade and drove it into the left side of my chest. I was wearing a black, wool jacket with an inside left-breast pocket which held my Camel Menthols and a stainless steel Zippo. At the precise moment the knife punctured the material of the coat, the Zippo lay on top of the pack, in front, so the blade hit the steel instead of the flesh. It must’ve felt like bone to Sobricki. I can’t imagine. He didn’t come back with a second blow, though. The violent concussion knocked me down, and Sobricki thought he was successful, so he turned and kept walking. Only a bit faster. I stayed down for a few minutes, watching him move away calmly. No one saw this. No cars, no pedestrians…no one. It was as if we were the last two people in the world. God had pressed “pause.” The funny thing is, there was no flashing of the life before my eyes, no light, no baby Jesus, none of that rubbish. There was nothing. In the moment I thought I would be stabbed and left to bleed to death like a fucking dog, there was nothing. Just a bit of remorse that I hadn’t gotten to do a couple of things I’d had planned. I really hoped to one day live on the Amalfi coast and for that I was sorry. But anyway, I realized what had happened; the fact that I was still alive, but I just sat there, on the asphalt, watching Sobricki push forward, then take a corner down Hillsborough and disappear. It didn’t dawn on me to do anything else. I just laid there, thinking about the goddamned Amalfi coast. Thinking that I had another chance, and that I should finally go and be a farmer or something.

How I know what happened next to Sobricki is, I was doing a ghostwriting hack job for a freelancer out of Hollywood, Florida. Part of his gig (and therefore mine, since I was taking banal junk off his plate) was to hang around the municipal court and write the police blotter for the Sun-Sentinel back pages. I came across Sobricki’s case and banged it out for the afternoon edition, the next day.

After he left me lying in the road, Sobricki walked into a Pick Mart gas station on Hillsborough and tried to do the same thing to the clerk. Pramod Raheja was an Indian immigrant who was used to being hassled and harassed with shoplifters and would-be thieves, so when Sobricki leaned over the counter and stabbed the air with the blade, Pramod Raheja stepped back instinctively. Then he moved to the side and picked up his Louisville Slugger from underneath the counter. Having failed, Sobricki turned and went for the door, but Pramod Raheja got a good swing and landed squarely on Sobricki’s arm, breaking it. It didn’t stop him, though, and he walked out calmly. Pramod Raheja didn’t call 911. He figured the security cameras caught everything, and so he just dialed the Broward County Sherriff.

Back out on the road, Sobricki headed north on Hillsborough, walking with the traffic to his back. At one point the sidewalk ended suddenly into a flooded, grassy field, so Sobricki side stepped into the road to avoid the muddy, bedraggled earth. It was at that precise juncture that CleVon Little, a twenty-year veteran bus driver for the Broward County transit system with a clean driving record, spilled his scalding coffee from his Dunkin Donuts to-go cup on his inner-thigh. Little was burned and momentarily and instinctively flinched from the sharp pain, pulling the wheel a hard right and taking the bus off course.

The impact threw Sobricki out of his shoes. The body was found twelve yards from his New Balance sneakers, which were still upright–soles on the asphalt. CleVon Little was charged with involuntary manslaughter and culpable negligence and served one year at the Broward County Correctional Facility North. He was released eight months early on good behavior.

Ironically, since the weird attempt on my life, I’ve quit smoking. And I no longer write the daily police blotter for the Sun-Sentinel. I live in a small town in Italy called Vietri sul Mare and I fix shoes for a living. My flat has no running water, but there is electricity.

Not really.

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8 Responses to “Curveballs”

  1. dr. zombieswan 01/02/2008 at 10:50 PM #

    I like this. Yep.

    But I REALLY like the Faulkner quotation. :)

  2. (S)wine 01/02/2008 at 11:50 PM #

    Thanks. I like Faulkner’s quote too.

  3. Slyboots 02/02/2008 at 8:28 AM #

    Ooooh. Very nice, very nice.

  4. (S)wine 02/02/2008 at 4:15 PM #

    …but…”Not really.”

  5. choochoo 02/02/2008 at 4:43 PM #

    Gave ya an award, I did. Promise yourself you won’t cry.

  6. Lazy 04/02/2008 at 7:58 AM #

    hahahaa you’re just too much, you

  7. Lazy 04/02/2008 at 8:03 AM #

    he almost legitimises blogging, doesn’t he? hahahaa. and i can’t bring myself to type lol. lolollolloloo. no, it’s just too silly. well, maybe on the msn messenger it’s alright. fucking internet etiquette. very good, bravo, or maybe it’s just cause i’m sitting here reading this smoking a big fat joint to relax after fighting a duel with sledgehammers, which i won, needless to add.

    well, not really.

  8. (S)wine 04/02/2008 at 4:31 PM #

    battling sledgehammers is on par with Don Quixote running into windmills.
    isn’t it?

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