The dogman said that he had been waiting for me. At first I thought he meant that literally. That he knew I was coming the way the Asian girl did. Clairvoyance. He didn’t mean that. He meant that he had been waiting for someone to come.
Without any prompting, he started talking. Standing there in his doorway, he talked about how he did bad things. And when nothing happened he did worse things. And when nothing happened he did even worse things. He kept waiting for someone to stop him. But no one ever did. The opposite. The worse things he did, the better his life got. The more money he got. The more people liked him. The more women wanted him. The more his parents loved him. The more everyone told him he was great.
I followed him as he shuffled into a room bigger than Kim’s apartment. It looked like something from a spaceship, all shiny and chrome. He sat down and started crying. Not sobbing, just tears streaking down his face. He said that when he tried to kill his ex-wife, he knew he had gone too far.
He said that he found the “cure”. Half a pill of oxy, half a pill of diazepam, a shot of Jim Beam and you can’t do any magic. Repeat every few hours as needed. He said that he was waiting to tell this to someone. That was his gift to the world. A cure for magic. Now that he had told me, he was going to take his gun and blow his brains out.
I don’t get angry often. I keep it on the level. I know how to regulate. Maybe a psychologist would say that I’m emotionally detached. The kind of dissociation found in victims of childhood trauma. But what do they know? Fucking nerds.
I got angry then. This attempted murderer, in his million-dollar house, sitting on a couch that cost more money than I’ve made in my life, staring at his reflection in a TV bigger than my car I used to fucking live in? He’s going to end it all because he’s sad? What a fucking asshole.
I wanted to kick his ass. I wanted to tell him he was a worthless sack of shit. But. I may not be a therapist, but I’m pretty sure that if someone is suicidal, verbal and physical abuse is not how you help them. If “tough love” worked no one would have any problems. It’s easy to find someone to heckle you and slap you around.
Instead of doing what I wanted to do, I took a deep breath. I counted to four. I sat down next to him on the couch. I took his hand in mine. And I sat there, hating every second, and told him as calmly and nicely as I can talk to someone, that putting a gun in his mouth was not the right move.
If you’re sad because you’re an asshole, killing yourself is like starting a house on fire and then “solving” the problem by shutting your eyes. The solve is easy. STOP. Stop being an asshole. I wanted to call him a coward. I wanted to tell him that killing yourself is the easy way. I wanted to tell him about my shitty life and how I never considered checking out, so if I could endure that what kind of loser was he?
But I didn’t say those things. Because that wouldn’t help. I held his fucking hand and I told him to start doing good. I told him that he has a power that most people could never dream of having. I told him it was time to use that to help people. I told him, aside from magic, he’s rich as balls, which is basically a superpower in its own right.
This probably isn’t what I said word for word, but it’s close enough –
“You can’t make up for what you did. The world doesn’t work like that. There’s no columns to balance. But now, going forward, you can do good. You can fight hard to keep people safe. You can risk your life for others, you can suffer and feel pain for others. You can do it because the consequences otherwise are this. You sitting here looking for an early checkout time.”
Be the change you want to see in the world is a hackneyed saying, but that’s basically what I said. I did hit him once, but it was for demonstration purposes. I told him to stand up and I put my hands on his shoulders like I was going to tell him something profound, and then I punched him in the liver. And I mean it was a good shot. A couple pills and some whiskey isn’t going to make you not feel that.
He went down like sack of wet laundry and lay on his plush carpet gasping. I sat down on his fucking marble coffee table (don’t do that BTW, it felt like sitting on a block of ice) and waited a minute until I was sure he could hear me.
“That hurt didn’t it? Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone stopped that from happening? That’s what you do now. You stop people from getting hurt.”
He stayed down for longer than was necessary if you ask me, but eventually he pulled himself up and looked me in the face. The look in his eyes was that of a little kid lost looking for his mommy. He asked me how to do that, how to stop people from getting hurt.
I wanted to slap him. I wanted to tell him to stop being a baby and man the fuck up. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t have any damn answers. That I was just making it up as I went along like everyone else. But I didn’t do that. I told him we were going to figure it out together. I looked at my phone and I told him that I had a show in El Paso in 15 hours. I told him I was going to get a couple hours sleep, he should put on some coffee and sober up because we were going on a road trip.