Paul O’Pandy Fights Everyone On The Train
Paul’s wife Linda tells him over breakfast that despite all his awkward, shame-driven puritan bullshit, she still has fantasies and that the biggest one is she wants to do a threesome with two guys while he watches. Paul doesn’t have the emotional capacity to process this, so he throws his eggs against the wall and storms out of the house to go to work. Beyond the front door, the day is humid and hot enough to flop his hair down with sweat and glue his balls to one thigh. He hate-walks the whole mile and a half to the subway station and when he gets there he hops the turnstile and gives the station agent the middle finger before getting on the first train that comes by. Number, letter, line, fuck it, doesn’t matter, get me out of here already.
It takes him all of thirty seconds to make it worse.
He picks the guy at random, muttering at him out of breath.
“Heyyew. Heyyew. I said, heyyew. Heyyew gotta problem me?”
The little guy on the bench behind the book looks up into Paul’s wet, bloodshot eyes and says
“Yes yewdew! I sawyew looking! I saw! Yew gotta problem me, yewdew! Well howbout yew dewsunthin bout? Huh?”
The little guy goes back to his book, or at least tries, but Paul slaps it out of his hand and gets taken totally off guard when the guy immediately socks him in his sweaty, melty testicles. He crumples to the ground and starts kicking back at the guy, but that only inspires him to get to his feet and start beating on Paul worse. The blows crunch against his bones and soft parts like a hammer. Half his teeth go loose and he tastes blood and one eye goes blank and he starts crying like a child, which only makes the guy hit him harder. In his idiot riot and rage, Paul screams that the guy is a tiny little pussy and that makes everybody else stand up and join in on the beating.
They stomp him flat, dancing around him as they screech and preen and kick him through until he doesn’t look like a person anymore. They joyously smash his pretty hands to leather bags of blood and bone chips, powder one of his ankles, kick him in the penis until it looks like a bicycle that was in a car crash. Some of the men pee on him when they’re done and then everybody takes pictures on their phones.
When the train rolls into his station, they all pick him up and throw him out together so he can crawl to wherever he’s going like the vicious little shit he so obviously is. At the office, everybody stares while Paul drags himself to his desk, tracking a thin snail trail of blood behind him. More pictures. Nobody says anything until the boss comes over and sits down across from him and asks if everything’s okay.
“Fllurmrr, mn clurnm, lekkf frummrnp.” Paul’s tongue is swollen and split from the beating and half his teeth are broken, threadlets of nerves hanging loose from the jagged stumps. Words are hard.
“Do you need to go home? Your wife called a little while ago…”
At the mention of Linda, Paul makes a rattling sound in his throat and headbutts the boss in his teeth. The boss recoils, his perfect smile stained red, then he belts Paul in the side of the head with his heavy black Swingline stapler. A blue explosion goes off in Paul’s brain and then he passes out.
It’s dark in the office when Paul opens his eyes again and everybody’s already gone home. He manages to call a cab dialing using his nose and ripped-up tongue and when they pull onto his street he whines and he pushes and noisily fills his pants with shit so the cheery fellow behind the wheel just kicks him out and doesn’t ask to be paid. Paul crawls the rest of the way home and doesn’t even really notice that Linda left the front door open, but he knows something’s wrong when he gets inside because the whole house smells damp with sex fumes.
He finds them in the kitchen.
His boss and the teenager from across the street with the toned arms piston in and out of her like industrial machinery while she hits them and makes them both call her Paul. They all look up in chorus and keep going while he leers weeping at them from the floor. Linda smiles and spits at him and he sees that the eggs are still on the tile from this morning, scattered amongst shards of his plate and dignity.
From between her two lovers, Linda calls his name and when he looks at her she locks his gaze and starts to come so loud the neighbors all turn up their TVs so they don’t have to hear. Except they kind of want to hear.
Paul hates how much he likes seeing her like this, and it’s hard to jerk himself off to it because his hands are smashed-up garbage now, but somehow he manages it.
After the men are gone and they’re alone again, Linda tells Paul that she wants a divorce and inside his heart he knows he’s too old and broken to ever find anyone else. She goes upstairs to sleep and when Paul doesn’t hear her turn on the shower to rinse off all the stinking fuck first, he cries harder and turns the oven on to five hundred degrees and he climbs inside. It’s easy to do because he’s so little.
In the morning, when the boss and the neighbor kid come over again, the kitchen’s blackened with smoke and shame so Linda takes them in the back yard and the neighbors video record her over the fences with their cell phones and touch themselves and invite her over for dinners and Monopoly nights and barbecues and no one ever asks about Paul ever again.