The Nefarious Mr. X

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Chapter 20


“Fucking Pigs!” Timothy Albom slurred as speckles of half-eaten chips and remnants of pretzel bits flecked to the floor with each uttered syllable.

Albom slammed his fist into the drywall next to his apartment window. Particles of dust puffed off and around the impact point followed by a thin array of fine line cracks webbing outward from around his depression mark. He held his hand there for a few seconds, letting the pain subside, and stared out his window at the busy streets of North York.

“Fucking ignorant PIGS!” He sputtered again.

The irony he was also a cop was lost upon him.

But when you were that drunk, half a bottle of bourbon combined with half a bottle of vodka, irony, logic and intellect were usually considered long departed tenants of a once neuron filled complex.

He slammed his hand down on his kitchen counter, chased by bits of drywall dust and fresh pasty blood now coagulating in the plaster. The particle board tabletop rattled as unfinished bowls of baked beans, dried canned pasta and what appeared to be some blend of cheese and cereal stirred up into a makeshift soufflé all danced together in a vibration-like melody.

Albom paused at the sound of the knocking porcelain and examined the last bowl. He scrunched up his eyes as he tried to figure out what possessed him to combine those two unrelated food products. It seemed revolting. At least for now. He was sure after a few more drinks it would regain its appeal.

Albom leaned on his kitchen counter. The room he was in seemed to be the only clean area in his bachelor apartment. It was a small three sectioned studio which consisted of a living room with a bed and television, a bathroom with a standing shower and a kitchen with a microwave, tabletop stove and a bar fridge. A light fixture on the ceiling had three bulbs, two long burnt out, the third flickering away, giving the room a soft glow.

It was basic, but for Albom, it was all he ever needed, or wanted.

He reached for his bourbon glass and nearly toppled. His left leg buckled, thinking on its own and attempting to escape before more alcohol could be poured into it and then realizing it was attached to the badly drunken individual that it carried quickly returned before Albom could hit the floor. He grabbed the counter and steadied himself.

But not before two spoons and a fork clattered to the floor.

Albom leaned forward, mostly using his elbows as support. He smelled of sweat, booze and coffee. He tried to remember having coffee. Then it came to him. Two of his friends at the force snuck him a cup or two while he was waiting for Human Resources. While trying to force it down, one had muttered to the other. “It’s not magic elixir you know.” Which only angered Albom at the time, causing him to lash out and spill coffee on himself.

His friends were gone within seconds of his vision clearing.

Like his career path.

Albom took a deep cleansing breath and chugged a shot of ice cold vodka. He kept it in his freezer, which made it taste like water. Sometimes he wished he couldn’t drink it so easily.

He looked in the direction of the sink, cleared his throat, dragging up gunk and crap from his chest and hocked.

He missed.

Worse he suddenly realized, he was unsure where it went.

Something to deal with another day.

He closed his eyes.

When he opened them, he was on the floor again.

He had no idea how much time had passed.

As his glass still felt cold, he was sure it was only a few seconds.

He got back up on his feet to give himself what little dignity he could.

Remembering the self-pity party he was having, the flashback of the day’s events came back at him.

“Extending my suspension… For what?” Albom said it with venom and amazingly, he was genuinely surprised. “I was fucking off work, socializing and I get suspended because some dumb ass city cop thought he got attacked by me? And even after he was proven wrong, I’m the one who still got suspended for six more weeks.”

Albom guzzled another shot of vodka. “Medical leave my ass. At half my salary, that’s fucking punishment. FUCKING PIGS!”

He grabbed the remote off his cabinet and cranked up the volume on his TV.

An action show with a mystical astral gate to the universe and lots of lasers. He liked it. The sound of electronic fire filled every corner of the room.

One half filled glass of water, for those early mornings when hair of the dog couldn’t go down, rippled on the counter, as sound waves pulsed along the water line in circular patterns.

Except no T-Rex was running toward him.

Albom was hoping someone was going to complain about the volume, but he doubted they would. They all feared him because he was a cop.

What he didn’t know was they all simply avoided him because he was a crazy drunk. Ignorance was bliss.

Then his dream came true.

The doorbell rang.

‘Wow, that was fast’ Albom thought to himself.

But when he turned in the direction of the TV to raise the volume again, he noticed he was back on the floor and a different show was on.

He must have passed out again.

Albom rose, rubbing his sore knees. He was feeling foul. He was pissed at the world and this was just the right time to have someone knock on his door to complain about how loud his television was.

He sprinted for the front door, knowing speed might keep him from falling again.

Reaching the door, almost barreling into it, he thrust it open with a serious pull, causing his body to shift momentum. By using the handle and the hinges to brace his bodyweight, he prevented himself from staggering back and into his closet.

Then his whole world turned upside down.

And not because he toppled head over heels from his drunkenness.

What he saw before him caused him to stare in utter astonishment.

Standing in the door, dressed in full OPP uniform, buttons properly clipped, belt tightened, sunglasses over his eyes, all the right zippers pulled with the shirt tucked eloquently into the pants was himself.

More like a Bizarro version as he never looked this good.

“Good morning Timothy.” The second Officer Albom stated, looking to his watch. “My apologies. It’s afternoon.”

His voice was his own.

It sounded exactly like him.

It was quite disconcerting, even for a drunk.

The real Albom was scurrying backwards down the hall, the shock of watching himself entering his own apartment with him as a viewer and not a participant felt like a Twilight Zone episode gone terribly wrong.

The second Albom closed the apartment door, removed his sunglasses and gently placed them in his jacket pocket. He moved forward slowly, yet menacingly.

“Who… Who the Hell are you?” Was the only intelligent thing the first Albom could ask, as all other words escaped him.

The second Albom appeared to have expected the question. “Why my dear boy. I’m YOU.”

Albom wanted so very much to get up and run, but his alcohol weighted legs wouldn’t assist. Like swimming in a marsh of taffy, his feet tangled by unseen bindings wound through his muscles, refused to move.

The second Albom turned to the television. “Thank you for keeping it so loud. Keeps prying ears from eavesdropping on our private matter.”

“Private matter?”

The second Albom moved steadily. “All this drinking and messing up. Let’s just say, I don’t feel you deserve the life you have.”

As the second Albom closed the gap between them, he had started pulling on a pair of leather gloves he had drawn from his side coat pocket. Black and smooth, new in appearance, flexing and un-flexing his hands as he motioned.

Once the gloves were on, he withdrew a Smith and Wesson model 39 from the pocket of his leather jacket, a place it did not belong by how difficult it was to draw, and he lay it gently on the side table in the living room.

A silencer was screwed into the end. A long mean barrel extending the length of the weapon by four inches, but guaranteeing virtual quiet when fired.

Not that the television volume wasn’t already handling that.

The second Albom grinned, the most evil smile the first Albom ever saw. His dark eyes, equally coloured as the first Albom, but laced by a darkness he could not define, like invisible rivers of malice that ran cold trickles of evil throughout the soul of the one staring through those vicious orbs.

The first Albom could only imagine seeing such a sight in the pits of Hell.

The second Albom brought the first up to his knees. Within seconds, this was followed by a punch across the first Albom’s cheek.

The first Albom felt a hot splash of fire blaze through his skin and teeth when the blow connected, giving the sensation of boiling kerosene having been dumped into his mouth and chased by a match.

The first Albom dropped to the floor, blood oozing from this mouth and staining the carpet.

Not that he was concerned with that. There were worse stains.

One could never substantiate what goes through minds in situations of utter fear.

Some pray, seeking God’s intervention and protection, often never answered.

Some pass out, taking the route of blissful darkness as they lose the consciousness they steadily held onto so dear in their waking hours.

But the first Albom’s thought was humourous.

‘If I call this in, would I have to say the assault was self-inflicted? I guess what the psychologist said was true, by all this drinking, I’m bound to really hurt myself.’

He was sure either thought would have been a lot funnier had it been any other time.

Over the next hour, the only thing the first Albom thanked God for was the numbing effect of the alcohol he drank that morning.

By the time he heard the gunshot, he had been praying for it.

Mercifully, his prayers were answered.

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