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ON TO YOU
by: Max Burbank

Youíre up to something. I wanted you to know I knew. So you wouldnít count on any element of surprise.

Youíre just about to Ďspring somethingí on me. I can smell you hatching it. Donít think youíre suave and unpredictable, because on the lengthy list of things youíre not, those two qualities have some very low numbers. If the list is organized with qualities you have the least of being at the top. When the list is organized alphabetically, ĎSuaveí is a little more than three-quarters in, ĎUnpredictableí almost at the end. But I donít list things alphabetically. Thatís your scene.

I know whom Iím dealing with when Iím dealing with you. Iíve watched your type in action. Youíre a mole is what you are, lying oh so low beneath the soil of your never having done anything bad to me before, munching the juicy worms of your seeming lack of hostility. But I see through all that. You should have worn a lead apron over your intentions if you wanted to fool me. Because my ability to suss out creeps like you is Kryptonian. Itís a strange visitor from another planet. It flourishes under a yellow sun, my friend.

Thereís a shovel in my garage with your name on the flat of the blade. Literally. I wrote it there several years ago after we both attended that party and I said "Itís kind of hot in here, donít you think?" and you said, "Some might say so." I imagine youíd been drinking, letting the mask drop that way. Or perhaps you thought youíd risk a spot of bravado. Well thatís where I got your number, chumo, and itís still in my wallet, right next to the thirty-five cents for emergency phone calls and the high school condom that reminds me of lifeís bitter and numerous disappointments.

I know itís you when the phone rings in the middle of the night and thereís no one there when I pick up. Iíd get caller ID and prove it if that wasnít an admission that it might be someone else. I donít need a fingerprint kit to know youíre the guy that bent the flag on my mailbox out of whack. I know a flag bender outerer when I see one.

Donít get me wrong, I admire your patience, I salute you as a worthy adversary, but that doesnít mean I wonít dance on your grave. I will. I will dance the Tarantella. I commute more than an hour each way to the dance class I attend for Tarantella lessons, but it will be worth it. Though the gas money adds up, you deserve a well-executed Tarantella. It will be a Gold Standard performance of the Tarantella and Iíll reward myself by coming back six months later to kick over your head stone. Note to self: Comparison shop for steel toed boots.

Your cover is blown, canít you understand that? What were you thinking with that mustache anyway? Did you imagine it the perfect mustache of innocence? Because, and Iím only being honest here, Iím only being a friend to you, it makes you look like one of the Village People. Iíve seen the newspaper you leave behind at the Cafť, dusted lightly with croissant crumbs. Did you think to attempt the Jumble in pen and abandon it like a fox depositing its scat as a gesture of contempt for the Hounds? Well itís time you woke up and smelled me not being a pack of hounds, because I am no oneís collective anything, least of all hounds! How dare you, sir? How do you dare!? Iíll thank you to dare just a little bit less!

How many notches are there cut into the blade of your artful waiting? How many brave lads have fallen, beguiled an instant too long before your well-mowed lawn, your cubicle etiquette, Your nostalgic appreciation for ĎBostoní and ĎKansasí and other bands of your youth named after places? Well I went through your drawers when you took a sick day last October, and I took account of the deliberate absence of half-empty prescription bottles. There was no dust on your IN box, not one molecule. Doesnít that seem a little over the top to you?

And of course you canít come in on Sunday when the projectís overdue, sure I understand, I know youíll stay late to make it up. I understand about family commitments. Church is important. Where was it you said you went? First Church of Treachery? The one on the corner of Skulking and Ignominy? I think I went to a pancake breakfast there about a year ago, sure, sure, thatís the one with little daycare just behind the sanctuary and then if you go down to the basement and give the secret knock they let you into this room thatís lit only by banks of computer terminals and a great huge map of our neighborhood with a red dot showing MY EXACT LOCATION AT ALL TIMES!? Thatís the place right? Nice fucking bingo night they got going there, buddy!

So sure, Iíll play your little game of cat and mouse. You ask me how the kids are, Iíll say "Oh, just fine, you know, Clarice got the flu, but kids will be kids, right? They bounce back fast. I saw you bought a Subaru, I hear theyíre all right, what kind of mileage you get with that?" A game of racquetball? Sure, why not, sounds nice. A little Racquetball court, enclosed, say, maybe we can take that first early game, you know, before anyone gets there? That way the night before I can be in a changing room locker the day before so when you come in after work to hide in your changing room locker I can spring out behind you with my shovel.

And if you donít show? And I loose the game because my game suffers from having spent twenty-four ours in a changing room locker? Well, touchť to you, my friend. You win the battle.

Iíve lost battles before. Sometimes you have to loose a few. My advice?

Keep your eye on the war.

note: Max Burbank is planning on offering Tarantella dance lessons in the near future. Should any of you be interested, don't hesitate to contact him. Then again, he's had his eye on you this whole time. He already knows whether you're interested or not. He just wants to hear it from your own lips.


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