Eye's Of A Bad Man
Albert Davis


It was winter as cold and cruel as I had ever imagined, dark and dead, a blanket of misery and desolation as wide as the West Texas Plains. It was the cold blue iciness of a polar glacier covering and preserving the distant past as it grinds and destroys the present. Never had I encountered anything as cold and devoid of life as the brown eyes of the man who sat across the table from me. Never had I imagined that brown could be such a cold lifeless color, and never would I have wished to see it as close as it was now.
Those eyes chilled me to the marrow of my bones. They raised ancient fears that I never knew existed within my heart and the part of my mind that controls reason told me that the fear I felt was not unwarranted. I sat transfixed by serpentine magic, held in place by the mystical fakir's music of his voice; I could not flee from the gripping power that surrounded him.
What follows is the journey I experienced as I was pulled through the mind and experiences of a madman that should frighten you in his singularity and concern you in the multiplicity that he represents. This is a portrait painted in the poverty of despair and the indifference to the human condition. Brace your hearts and minds and listen to what is said. But don't allow what is said stop you from tasting the bitter soil that grew the tree that bore such a bitter fruit. He was born into a time of gratuitous violence and cynical hearts of stone; he is a truly modern man and violent beyond reason.
What you are about to hear is what I heard as I looked into the winter of death's eyes. His name was Michael Anthony Nelson and he was made in America. Careful that you don't dismiss him as an oddity. He is not. If you look very close you may even discover that you know him. Whether you recognize him or not, he is not as unusual as you might think. Listen, this is a tale to be told as it happened and this is how it happened.
" I don't give a shit about basketball, baseball, football, or any-other fuck'n ball. I don't give a shit about sports at all. So Michael Jordan can kiss my ass and Joe Montana can blow me. I know what your thinking; What an asshole, right? Yea, I know. Right now your wonder'n what the hell this has to do with you? Aren't ya? Don't lie I could see it in your eyes."
I didn't respond to his questions but they caused me a great deal of discomfort, because he had been right. He continued his dialogue unabated and seemingly unaware of the turmoil that raged within me. But I wondered what, if anything else, he could see in my eyes!
" Yea, by any definition you might care to use I probably am an asshole, but I'm pretty much happy with what I am and I wonder if you feel the same about yourself. Actually, my feelings on sports are pretty irrelevant to the situation as it stands; what are the odds of meeting Michael Jordan? What are the odds of meeting me? Pretty astronomical wouldn't you think, but what the hell, here we sit." He smiled but the smile never reached his eyes.
" What you got to think about is, the odds of meeting me or Mr. Jordan personally are probably a million to one, but the probability of meeting someone like me - oh, I guess - would be maybe fifty-fifty. You see my point? There are very few Michael Jordans in this world; I think everyone understands that. There are jungles full of men like me, and I don't think many people understand that." Nelson paused and seemed to consider what he would say next. I was fascinated by the view this man was giving me of the inside of something as alien to me as the workings of his mind. I peered into his blank dead face and thought of him as a cockroach, a very dangerous roach indeed, but still a roach.
" Let me give you an idea, of who I am," he said," allow me to share a little of my personal philosophy of life with you." He then looked absently at the shadows in the rooms upper reaches, before beginning.
" Civilization has destroyed man's instincts, his fear instincts I mean. This may not be a bad thing but in certain instances it is not only bad, it can be downright deadly. Ya see, man today will call it nerves or superstitious nonsense when the hair on the back of his neck stands on end or he feels a prickly sensation on his skin. He will laugh to himself and suppress his natural fear; he ignores the warning signs God gave him because civilization has taught him they are not needed. Ya know, that's a pretty sad situation.
Now dig this, women are much more attuned to their fear instincts than men, but even they deny these feelings to often. When you don't use em, ya lose em, and when ya lose em you become a victim. You are no different than a careless rat that gets taken by a hawk.
Civilization has done all of this; it has removed the constant struggle to survive and has instilled in us as a species a knowledge that we are the strongest beings on earth. This knowledge, however, has destroyed our fear instincts. The loss of our natural fears is not a bad thing, at least as I see it, because it maintains the natural order of things." Here he paused and absent-mindedly fingered the .45 caliber, military styled, automatic that lay on the table in front of him.
" Shit man it's God's will that some people be victims, ya see what I'm say'n? Let me explain what I mean, okay. Back when man was a buffet lunch for everything walk'n in the woods with teeth and an appetite, the victim-predator status was obvious and inescapable. As man grew in intelligence and power, he began to turn the tables on all those used-to-be predators until the only true predator left was his fellow man. So God allowed man to get civilized and lose all those fear instincts to keep the natural victim-predator status in society. That's why I never feel sorry for any victims, because itÕs the way it was meant to be. I'm a predator, but itÕs a natural thang - ya understand? I'm what I'm supposed to be and I do what I'm supposed to do." Nelson concluded with a shout. Rage burned with a searing intensity on the dark face, surrounding the indestructible ice that were his eyes. His grip on the huge gun had tightened into a white knuckled stranglehold, and my heart skipped a beat and the fear that had passed returned in a fluid rush.
" Who are you?" I asked quietly. He looked at me and relaxed, his death grip on the gun loosened, and I released an audible sigh of relief. The cavernous bore of the weapon stared vacantly at me, so large I could see the bullet at its' dark end.
" Who am I? Yes, who am I? He asked looking down at the automatic in his hand. My name is, Michael Anthony Nelson," he mumbled, then looking up, his voice took on more power until it had reached a more normal volume.
" Tony Roc or T-Roc depending on how you know me," he said. "Let me qualify that last bit of info, I meant if you know me." As he relaxed more and began a wistful free-flowing dissertation, I was able to ease my anal grip on the chair that held me from the floor.
" Yea, my name is Tony Roc and I'm a product of my class, but not wholly shaped by that social standing. I'm an icon of my education and a victim of my ignorance. I am morally aware, yet amorally corrupt. I am at once the depiction of a dream and the purveyor of a nightmare. I live on the shadowy edge of society, one foot in suburbia the other planted firmly in darkness, but I choose to live there. I understand the law but do not accept it. When I look a you or anybody I only see victims.
I'm man in his primordial ferocity. I bring to the civilized world of today the feral character of a Neolithic past. I bring the terror and the pain. I prey on the weak and strong, the young and old, men and women, the unlucky or merely inattentive. They all spell V.I.C.T.I.M. to me." T-Roc had risen from his seat and now stood leaning on the table glaring into my face. There was a light sheen of sweat covering his forehead and I had no doubt that my own face was very likely the mirror image of his. The icy glint of his eyes held me transfixed, totally immobile and beguiled. With a snarl T-Roc continued," Ya know there's a lot of very large testicled gentlemen out there, with swollen macho-glands, who would tell ya what a cowardly shit I am. But that don't phase me none cause I know the real deal, brother. I've run across em on several occasions and let me tell you...when they face the cold reality of what I am...the shit always hits the fan, as you can see IÕm still around. They can call me what they like but they better take care not to cross my path, cause death gives no reprieves and I don't either. Every fuck'n morning when you read the paper you can follow my trail through its' pages. I'm real easy to track, man, all ya gotta do is look for all the senseless acts of violence and mayhem - that's me man - that's always me. You know they sit out there in La-La land watching their televisions thinking their all safe and secure from the BIG BAD WOLF, but I'm the wolf and I have keys. They sit there and watch as an endless procession of victims marches pathetically across the screen, and they feel wonderfully safe in that bullshit make-believe world, never knowing that I, Michael Anthony Nelson, own reality."
T-Roc stood away from the table and smiled grimly down at me. As he posed there, rather smugly it seemed to me, I was lost in bewilderment attempting to understand the reason he had chosen me as his partner in this mad and somehow obscene dance. It was at this moment that one of the two women, who were unwilling actors in this hellish play, began to sob loudly. T-Roc turned and impaled the woman with a graveyard gaze, and then slowly he advanced toward her. As he approached the woman he began to speak to her in a calm, quiet, and soothing voice, that neither she nor I believed to be genuine.
" Now, now, now...ma'am," he murmured gently as he stood over her. " I think it would be best for everyone lady if you were to control yourself, okay?"
The woman leaned forward sobbing even louder and grasped T-Roc limply around the legs.
" Please, please, oh GOD please...my babies," she cried,"Mr. I have babies...Oh please-mercy-just let me go to them."
" Lady I've asked you to calm down, now please control yourself and everything will be fine." The woman continued to weep softly. Michael Anthony Nelson reached gently down, slowly curled his fingers in her soft auburn hair, and then yanked her head viciously back and away from his legs, forcing her back against the wall. He then stepped back and screamed at her," I said shut the fuck up bitch!" as his foot slammed into her face.
The woman sagged against the wall in a God given unconsciousness, the other lady swooned. The other man in the room half rose from the floor until T-Roc trained the heavy weapon on his face smiling wickedly; I simply remained where I was. Tony then walked to the shuttered window and carefully peeked out. I then again became aware of the faint and indistinct noises from outside and I once more could see the intermittent flashes of red and blue light on the shade and walls of the room. The flashing lights became more vivid and the noise turned into a multitude of voices as he slowly cracked the door next to the window. The gentleman, who was visibly shaken, and I watched in awe as he eased the barrel of the .45 between the crack in the door, but neither of us was quite prepared for the thunderous boom that rolled through the suddenly cramped confines of the room. The voices outside rose in volume and many choice phrases became very clear and distinct but there were no returned shots, and Tony Roc quickly backed away from the door and window laughing gleefully.
"Just keep'n em on their toes," he laughed as he returned to the table.
" Bitches just don't listen," he stated as he loosely pointed the gun at the woman lying crumpled by the wall. " Nobody fuck'n listens anymore," he said in a morose tone.
He sat down across the table from me and apparently ceased to consider the crowd that was still buzzing loudly outside of this personal little hell he had created in our lives. He had never paid much attention to the others in this little tabloid episode; he concentrated solely on me.
" Are you afraid?" he asked.
"Yes." I answered him as calmly as I could, the unconscious woman planted firmly in my mind.
" You should be," he said quietly. " I'm five foot nine inches and two hundred thirty pounds of chain gang muscle and junkyard dog disposition. Twice in my life I have been afraid. The first time I was ever afraid was back when I was sixteen.
I looked into the eyes of Regina Caldwell and knew love. I looked into those beautiful ebony eyes and I was lost. I was consumed by desire and I was consumed by fear. Man, my pulse was race'n and I was sweat'n and I was scared shitless. But I made up my mind to talk to this angel, so one day I approached her in the hallway at school. As I neared this vision of perfection my heart thumped, and my knees knocked, and the fear emasculated me in my prime. I walked up to her not knowing what to say, or how to say it, or even if I could manage to say anything. When I tried to speak to her, there in the school's hallway, my voice faltered and all that came out of my mouth was a squeak so damn loud the entire god-damn world heard it." T-Roc paused, cold brown eyes distant." Ya know what, everybody in the hall laughed, even the lovely Regina found my humiliation amusing; I was no longer afraid though, I was just mad." Again he paused, then he leaned back in his chair and looking directly into my eyes he continued," That afternoon after school I caught the lovely lady Regina on her way home and enthusiastically beat her beautiful face to a pulp; I then emphatically declared I would kill her if she told on me. The once very lovely Regina was also wise, she believed me." He glanced at the woman against the wall. Her eyes had begun to flicker, restoring signs of life to her now swollen and disfigured face.
" I hope she doesn't piss me off again." He declared nodding in her direction. She must have been conscious enough to hear, because when her eyes had opened as far as they could she made no sound as she sat up with great effort. She must have been in a great deal of pain, because you could see her jaw was broken and possibly her nose. Everyone seemed relieved to see she was still alive; everyone except T-Roc of course, who paid little attention to her at all. He kept his focus on me. " Ya wanna know the second time I was ever scared?" He asked quietly.
" Yea, tell me all about it," I sneered. His face-hardened to granite for a moment, then he smiled and leaned on the table, and began to quietly speak again.
" The second time fear touched me I was in Houston, Texas, on leave from Vietnam. It was Saturday night and I was having a reasonably good time with a young lady I'd met earlier in the evening. As fate would have it this young lady was engaged to a gentleman she had forgotten to mention over the course of the evening. Of course, had she mentioned him it would have meant little or nothing to me. Well - I might not have been so surprise when he showed up. Well you know, life's a crapper and every now and then your bound to get flushed. This guy was really up-set when he found her with me, and pulled a pistol of respectable size and caliber and stuck it in my face. He then began to instruct me as to what he had a mind to do to me for soiling the reputation and honor of his fair maiden." T-Roc chuckled. " Since I was unarmed at the time, and that would be the last time that happened, I didn't think begging was out of order. So, brother I begged, I pleaded for mercy from him, and God, and people in general, and as I begged and pleaded I slowly eased out of the place. All that begging and shit seemed to please him a good deal. But, he let me get out of there in one urine-sweating piece. I stood in the street outside that club and the rage swept over me, and I cried in anger." He rose from the table and turned seeming to address the others in the store, but really still talking to me.
" Ya know what I did that night...I went to my car, sat behind the wheel, and waited. When the club closed and the people began to leave I cranked up my car and pulled out into the street. I sat there with the engine idling and the lights out. Then when Mr. Big Stuff and his bitch came out of the club and stepped into the street on their way to the parking lot, I punched the gas. With tires smoking and engine roaring I rode down on them. I hit him with the front of the car and slammed him into her and they both went sailing back onto the sidewalk in front of the club. Ended their dance'n careers right then and there I think. As I drove away I looked in the rear-view mirror and smiled as a crowd began to gather. I remember thinking to myself, gun can't help you now, mother. After that I was shipped back to the "Nam", but ya know I was never as scared in the war as I was that night in Houston, Texas." He looked back over his shoulder at me and said," I've never been afraid of anything since...love nor death have any meaning to me."
The phone began to ring. T-Roc looked at the phone blankly and allowed it to ring until it started to jangle the nerves of everyone in the room. When he picked up the phone he spoke softly and indistinctly into it for a moment or two.
" Yea, yea...I'll let ya know," was the only part of the one- sided conversation we could hear. He hung the phone up and approached the woman with the broken jaw," Time for you to leave ma'am," he said as he reached down to help her up.
" A little good faith move for the cops," he told us as he lead the woman to the door.
" Hey - Hey, you out there," he shouted out the door he had partially opened. " I got some'then for ya." He gently pushed the woman through the door, then as she cleared the threshold the .45 came smoothly up and the room vibrated with its' report. The woman disappeared as he slammed the door shut. The room was deathly silent and even the muffled noise from outside had ceased. The phone rang and T-Roc snatched the receiver before the first ring had faded in the stunned room.
" No... Motherfucker, you listen," he growled into the mouth piece," donÕt call me and don't bother me until I fuck'n say, ya hear." He slammed the receiver down.
Everyone in the room had paled and the remaining woman was visibly trembling. I think that was the precise moment in time when all of us understood completely the danger we were in. I remained where I was apart from what was happening, even-though, I sat in the midst of it all. Michael Anthony Nelson walked the floor and death was his shadow.
" I have needs!" He shouted. " I have needs and I mean to satisfy my needs," his voice rose even louder. " I need your watch and car," he screamed at the man on the floor, as he waved the big gun in the mans face. " I need your money and your credit cards," he screamed at the woman, who covered her ears and balled up, before his triad. " I just need and need and need; I need what you have because I need to take," he screamed to no one in particular. He whirled and pointed the gun directly at my chest," But ya know what my biggest need is?" He snarled at me," Well do ya?" He shouted. I slowly shook my head no. " My greatest need is the need to control and rule, but I don't have any goddamn control over anything, and that pisses me off." The gun was shaking wildly in his grasp, but it never stopped pointing in my direction. My neck and chest muscles had clenched to snare drum tautness, my voice was gone. I was fighting for control and I could see that T-Roc was fighting for control too. I prayed that he found it, and was relieved as the gun steadied and his voice calmed. He sat down across from me and laid the gun in front of him. His face relaxed and his eyes cleared, he took a deep breath that seemed to bring him back to control and sanity. I came back with him.
" See...no control. I just don't have control. I can't control the weather so I blame you, not you personally, ya know the bigger you. It's your fault I can't control the weather. Sounds crazy to you doesn't it?...But that really makes no difference, because it don't matter what I blame you for, it just matters that I have a reason to blame you, I mean the world in general.
You know - I ain't got no job...your fuck'n fault. I ain't got no money, your fault. I ain't got no love, your fault... See what I mean, any damn reason is reason enough to blame you... That shit about the weather don't sound so crazy anymore does it?" He picked up the gun and began to scratch the side of his unshaven jaw with the front sight of the weapon.
" I'm not as different as you folks would like to believe, ya know? There's some of me in all of ya, but ya don't know it. Ya try ta hide from me, but ya can't cause I'm a part of you. I live in your house and in your mind. I'm remorseless and unrepentant; I am the ultimate misery. I'm a miscreant, a liar, a thief, and a cheat. I'm never more than a blink away from rage, and I never run out of hate.
SHIT, man if I had lived four hundred years ago I'd a been a scourge upon the sea. I'd a lived to rape, pillage, and plunder. Hell, the fact is I am a scourge, on the sea of society and my life is one of rape, pillage, and plunder. I'm the fuck'n Blackbeard of Broadstreet, the Henry Morgan of Middletown, and the Captain Brice of Bridgeport. I'm the black-hearted pirate in your world too, ain't I?" He leaned back in the chair and draped the arm with the gun over the chair's back," I guess we're run'n out of time... won't be long before they try an rush this place. I'm ready, are you?" The question took me by surprise somehow, I really hadn't considered whether I was ready or not. I knew T-Roc was not as prepared for the end as he pretended to be. That's what I was thinking when his voice called me to attention.
" Lots of people have tried to deal with me," he began,"many, many times I've been confronted, but nobody's ever succeeded. Do you have any idea why?" He didn't wait for a reply. " It's because civilization has screwed man up. When they try to deal with me they are never prepared for who they meet.
You must be prepared to deal with me, you can't come half step'n and live to spread the news. There are two things you better be ready for when you come for me.
First, you better come ready to kill... that's right you better be ready to straight up kill my ass without hesitation or reservation. Hesitation or reservation will get you planted firmly in the ground by family members you ain't seen in years. That's important, remember it, you will be tested on this material later, HA,HA,HA ,HA." T-Roc was enjoying himself. He again got up from the chair. He walked over and stood above the other woman and looked down at her. As he stood looking down at her he again began to speak. " The second thing you must be prepared for is DEATH!" He paused and looked back at me. " That's the hardest one for most people to accept, the dying part. This is the flaw in most; even some potentially bad ass dudes just can't accept the dying part. There are a lot of people who can deal with the killing part, but they can never take that final step because theyÕre afraid to die. Me...I'm prepared for either occasion and that gives me the bottom line edge in every situation. You see, I'm already dead...I've always been dead, and I really want to be dead. Anybody else in here ready ta be dead?" He lifted the big .45 up and pointed it at his temple. As he did this a look of pure malevolent glee came into the eyes of the man leaning against the store counter, and hope leapt into the woman's gaze, I didn't believe this bullshit for a second. " BANG, BANG, BANG...SIKE!!" He shouted happily.
" Not a chance in hell of that happen'n folks, T-Roc, ain't going out like that. When I go ta hell it'll be in a shit storm of lead, gang'sta style. Just like Cagney in the movies, bad ta the bone but not alone." He smiled at each person individually, saving me for last.
" I'm a G, baby. That means I have'ta take the hard street. Ya understand that, don't cha brother?" My mind was saying what a loser this man was, and asking why he would believe that I could understand anything about him. I said, " Yea, I can dig it ma man."
He turned to look at the others and said, " Well it's get'n late ladies and gentlemen - so I'm afraid that the end draws near...Alas poor Yuric I capped his bad ass too." As T-Roc finished this last phrase, he began a fluid smooth turn in my direction bringing up the gun as he turned.
The high snapping bark of the 9mm echoed through the close, cramped air of the room. Once, twice, echoing and ringing, piercing the flesh and the soul. Two bright flowers bloom red on the chest and the eyes glaze over. Everything in slow motion turning and falling the floor floating gently upward meeting chest and face with a dull lifeless thud.
Woman screaming hysterically, as the man against the counter, ashen faced repeatedly mumbles," My god, oh my god." The door bursts open and an endless stream of police pours into the room, their weapons poised and ready to deal out justice. Everyone stops in awe and shock, not knowing exactly what to do or to whom to do it.
The 9mm lay hard and angry on the table in unapproachable solitude. The police surround it, weapons still at the ready, until it has been subdued, bagged, and tagged. It seems that only then do they see the body staring lifelessly at the floor. They erupt into a million questions...Who, What, Why, Where, How...endlessly.
     "Who got the bad ass?" This is the inquiry of an extremely over-weight gentleman trying extra hard to seem important.
" I did", I said softly as I helped the trembling woman to her feet," and that's my gun on the table...his is on the floor over there," I said pointing.
" That was damn good shooting", one of the officers was saying to another. " You folks are awful lucky, unless I miss my guess that's one crazy gent lay'n there." The fat policeman says," We're gonna need you to come down to the station and talk to the detectives, Okay? "
" Sure," I say," just let me get this lady outside so we can get some air and a little help, ok?" I lead her gently away. Once outside I turn her over to a pair of paramedics and quietly slip into the darkness that is the city.
T-Roc made two fatal errors. He failed to recognize the desire to live in me and most importantly though he forgot that anyone can be a victim, even himself.
In a way I owed T-Roc, he very well may have saved my life. If he had been ten minutes later it would have been me that set of the silent alarm in the store, and very possibly me lying dead on its floor. You never know what fate has in mind for you, because T-Roc had been faster than I, he lost. I'd have ta get me another piece but that wasn't going to be too much trouble. Just part of doing business. Now I walk the streets to hunt again...a PREDATOR.



Copyright © 2001 Albert Davis
Published on the World Wide Web by "www.storymania.com"