A bar pick up gone horribly wrong as a man is held hostage in his own home.
Quote the Nutter
People say that you know a woman wants you by the way that she looks at you, they never really clarify if it is because she is looking for a good time with you or just wants to leave you tied to a chair while she snoops about your apartment.
The black shirt with "I'm the woman your mother warned you about" on the front should have been a warning rather than the invitation he had taken it for. There had been a moment as he was unlocking the door to his apartment and thought she was something special. There was a twinkle in her eyes and a playful grin that showed promise. However, as he closed the apartment door, she had slammed his head into the wall, and forced him to sit in a chair with an army knife to his throat while saying "Another hard lesson brought to you by reality." She had bound him to the chair quickly with rope tucked away in the messaging bag she'd had with her.
This woman (had he even gotten her name? Becky? Cara? Erin? Erin sounded close) had bound him, with both his arms crossed over his chest and hands tucked under into his armpits. The rope around his wrists bound him to the back of the chair and then looped around to tie his ankles to the legs of the chair. He thought it was odd, as they never did anything like this in the movies or shows on TV.
"Do you play house?" the woman asked, looking at him with narrowed eyes.
"No, a little old for that." he said slowly. She relaxed and continued to inspect the things in his apartment, pausing to touch personal items. Her attention fixed on the shelf where he kept a number of books and DVDs and pulled some of them off the shelf. Watching her, he found shifting made the ropes tighten around his wrists and send prickles of pain along his skin where the ropes held him. "Look, if you are going to rob me, just take the stuff and go. I won't call the cops."
"Of course you won't," she murmured, looking over her shoulder at him with an arched brow and spoke slow and deliberate, "You're tied to a chair."
He clenched his eyes shut and muttered, "This is insanity."
"Like the rest of your life is sane? Give me a fucking break." She picked up something and walked back over and sat down on a chair on the other side of the coffee table. She set the larger item on the coffee table between them and started to shuffles through the books and DVDs. "This is normal. Happens about four times a day, statistically. More often if people pay for it." She pointed to herself. "I'm just crazy." she said with some resentment. "Men in white say that I'm a nutter all the time." She gave him a grin that was more like a baring of teeth that made his insides tighten. Then she frowned. "But they say that to everyone. Do you think that makes me less special? Or them less sincere?"
He narrowed his eyes at the question and looked down at what she had brought over with a frowned.
"What are you doing with that?"
She ran her fingers along the edge of the chess board reverently, her eyes half "We can play a game." she cooed. Giggling suddenly, her toes danced on the floor. The pitch of her giggle made his hairs stand on end.
"Couldn't you play... from wherever you're from?"
"No." She pouted, "It's hard to play chess with people that try to eat the pieces. Or throw the board across the room. Or keep changing the person playing. Or--"
"I get the picture," he cut in, grimacing as the ropes tightened around his hands again.
Her eyes flicked down to his sides. "You know, when you cut too deep, you cut the tendons. Finger movement goes out the window." She drew the last word out, fluttering her fingers.
He clenched his eyes and jaw shut as she snickered at him. Trapped in his own apartment with a lunatic. He wished he was MacGyver with a paperclip just then. Opening his eyes, he found her own boring into him, studying him in a way that felt damn invasive, as if his very soul was on display to her. He suddenly wanted to scream at her, kick, thrash around, but he managed to keep still in the chair. They simply sat there for a few moments in the darkened apartment in tense silence. She was waiting to see what he would do and he wasn't sure what to do. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, taking that moment to calm himself. This wasn't any different than his tournaments. He just needed to plan his steps carefully. His heart was pounding in his ears, but his face and body gave away nothing; a well-worn poker face he seemed to wear all the time now.
"Ok, fine . . . but, what do I get out of it?"
"Well." She thought for a moment before her eyes brightened. "I could let you go and-" She produced the army knifing seemingly out of nowhere and set it on the table next to the chess board. "I'll leave that there so you can get yourself out."
"If I lose?"
She pouted. "Could end interestingly."
"Oh god, oh god, we're all gonna die." She said dryly, but then grinned. "Or rub soup in our hair. It's a hoot. We all laugh later and nobody dies." She tilted her head and pressed her lips together. "Probably not though. I'd rather eat the soup. Do you have any?" She got up and went to his kitchen area. She went nosily through his cupboards, pulled out every can of Cambell's soup and arranged them on the counter. "You're missing twenty of the thirty-six cans!" she said in dismayed.
Set free or die. Or soup. Wonderful. And why did that sound oddly familiar? He looked at the board and then over his shoulder at her. "Why me?"
Strolling over to him, she leveled her face intimately close to his, "You see," she whispered, as if telling him a precious secret. "I saw you on the TV while you were playing in that big fancy tournament and you just looked . . . really bored." She leaned back and spread her hands. "So I thought I would come and make things interesting for you." She held up a finger. "But, we are going to change the rules, and you have to figure it out on your own."
"That's not fair."
"It's not fair, it's not fair! I'll show you what's not fair!" she mocked and savagely punched him in side of the face. Stars danced in his vision and he blinked them away. She sat calmly in the chair, as if she hadn't hit him at all. "Learn fast or die, that's the way the world works, now don'tcha know?" She grinned while popping a dislocated finger back into place.
He looked between the board and her and finally nodded. "Fine."
Squealing, she started to arrange the pieces on the board. Rather than place all the pawns in the front, she placed them in back and had all the major pieces in front. She looked up at him with bright eyes. "Soldiers fight for kings they've never even met. Imagine a king who fights his own battles. Wouldn't that be a sight? Yes." She held her own king and queen pieces and moved them about as if they were dolls. "This is a fertile land and we will thrive here. And we will call this land. . . This Land."
"This is just crazy," he muttered, willing himself to wake up from this nightmare.
"Does it sharpen your senses at the same time it's making you crazy?" she asked curiously, setting the king and queen back and moving one of knights forward. She sorted through the stack of books and DVDs and tossed two of them onto the floor.
"No, just a little concerned with the person I am playing with." he grumbled. "I don't even know who you are."
She pointed a finger to herself. "Goddess of Discord. You may have seen my likeness on the temple walls." She replied in a husky voice, fluttering her eyelashes at him.
"Forgive me if I don't show you the proper honors."
She stuck her tongue out at him and moved one of his knights forward.
"I didn't tell you move anything."
"Oh, but you did. Don't you remember?"
"I'd think I would recall if I asked you to move a piece."
"Are you sure? Maybe you're the nutter locked up in the pillow room fantasying about the nurse that brings the 'candy.'"
"I am not the fucking crazy person here," he protested.
She took one of his pieces off the board and tossed it absently across the room.
"What was that for?" He snapped.
"Over use of the word crazy. Minus fifty DKP," she pointed a finger at him. "Like, OMG, get a the-saur-us."
He narrowed his eyes and bared his teeth. "Sure, I'll get right on it." He tried to hop his chair in the direction of his bookshelf. The action made the ropes bite into his skin. The warmth around his wrists and tingling in his hands told him he was bleeding. The effort also made her burst into giggles and she rose to scoot him back to the table. "I seem to be unable to." He grated out. " Perhaps you would be kind enough to help?"
"Of course!" she said with delight and started to tick off her fingers as she spoke. "Ape, barmy, batty, berserk, bonkers, cracked, crazed, cuckoo, daft, delirious, demented, deranged, dingy, dippy, erratic, flaky, flipped, fruity, idiotic, insane, kooky, lunatic, mad, mad hatter, maniacal, mental, moonstruck, nuts, nutty, psycho, schizo, screw loose, screwball, screwy, silly, touched, touchedstoned, unbalanced, unglued, unhinged, unzipped, and wacky."
He blinked. "That's... actually impressive," he remarked. She only beamed at him and moved another one of his pieces. She picked up one of her bishops and started to slowly fly it around on the board. "Welcome to Pedo's Airway. We will be making a one way trip to the all-boys school next to the special hell." she said, her voice mocking that of a smooth relaxed pilot. She proceeded to make air plane noises as she flew the piece around.
"You really are... uh." He thought for a moment. "Insane."
"I'm quite sure they will say so." She set the piece down and moved another one of his. "I see things, that's all. Write enough stories and every shadow on the floor looks like a footprint; every line in the dirt like a secret message. I became insane, with long intervals of horrible sanity," she said gravely while lifting up her hand and rubbing her thumb and index finger in the universal sign of the world's small violin. "Just different than you."
He was constantly having dvu moments at this point. As if he had done this before or had this conversation. He wasn't too sure, but he was noticing that her accent and diction as she spoke was constantly changing. Shaking his head, he tried to stall for a few more moments to make the game last longer, giving him a few precious moments to find an escape. "Different?"
She nodded, looking up at him.
"The big difference between you and me is what?"
She smiled fondly at him. "It's only after we have lost everything that we are free to do anything. I am free in every way you are not."
"You're really just insane."
"What are you, afraid of a little insanity? Since when have we been sane?" she countered, leaning over and knocking another of his pieces off the board with the back of the hand hard. It bounced across the floor several times before thunked against the wall. Part of him thought he should be angry at having his prized possession being abused like a little a playground titter totter, but his mind was working on what she said. He had heard that before. Actually, he knew the quote very well from the movie. She had quoted it, no, not just quoted it, she had completely copied that moment in the movie. He watches as she shuffled through the stack of books and DVDs to toss another two items to the floor; the 'Fight Club' movie and the book 'American Gods.' Suddenly, things started to fall into place. Everything she was saying must have been from a movie, book, or some other popular reference. Thinking back on it, he was able to pick out a few of her comments and place them in something he had read or watched at some point. Not all of it, but still.
Looking at the stack remaining on the table, he picked his words carefully, "You like to keep busy."
"Busy, busy, busy, busy. Need a vacation." She knocked off the top DVD with "Constantine" on the front.
Curious about this oddity about her now, he decided to test it. "I think you are just a coward."
She snorted. "Coward." Her head twitched. She looked at him with such an intent expression that it startled him. "Am I a coward?" she asked, but continued before he could reply. "Who calls me villain? Breaks my pate across? Plucks off my beard, and blows it in my face? Tweaks me by the nose, gives me the lie in the throat as deep as to the lungs." She slammed a fist onto the table, topping some of the pieces, "Who does me this? Hun?!" She swiftly put all the pieces back into place and then moved one of his pieces to take one of hers.
"Holy fuck. What are you? Some walking media storage system?"
"I'm a prodigy. With great power comes great responsibly," she sneered. "I'm sorry, but we think you are over qualified for this position."
He shook his head slowly. "I still can't believe this is happening," he muttered to himself.
She snorted and pointed a finger at him. "You said that all things were predictable. Especially people." She leaned over. "But that's a fallacy. That kind of talk makes people hate you."
"No," he said through clenched teeth.
"It's true. Look around." She waved a hand as if to show him his apartment for the first time. "You live alone in a tiny apartment. Not even a cat to keep you company. It's Friday night, two days after your competition and rather than celebrate with 'friends,' you are alone in a bar where no one knows you. The first person that comes to you, you cling to them like a man drowning." She leveled a look at him. "What the fuck is wrong with you?"
"Why are you doing this to me?" He closed his eyes, more to hold back a stinging at the corners of his eyes than to meet her own.
She paused then, frowning, and then said softly. "I'm bored. I see the future because every day is the same. We go through the motions that society expects of us and become its puppet in the end. We have to sensor what we say, how we act, what we feel so that way people we don't give a damn about feel better. I don't need a scabbard to sheathe my mind and heart. You shouldn't either."
The silence that followed this was overwhelming. He shook his head slowly side to side, and whispered, "I forfeit."
She leaned closer. "I didn't quite hear you."
"I lose. You win. I can't win against you. I just can't"
There was another long silence. Then he heard the sound of a piece thunking to the board. He waited a bit longer for her to say something or to do whatever it was she would do, but nothing happened. Opening his eyes, it took him several moments to register that his King was still standing and her own knocked over.
"You win," she said simply. Standing, she got up to gather the pieces that had been tossed about his living room and placed everything back into its proper place. Returning to his side, she pulled a small medical kit from her backpack and opened it. He was too stunned to do anything as she cut him free and set to treating his wrists.
After inspecting her work and putting her things away, she turned to leave. It occurred to him at that moment that he should probably pick up the nearest heavy object and slam it against the back of her head, call the police, and let them take her back to wherever she came from. But on the heels of that thought came another that amazed him.
"You're not crazy," he said suddenly, making her pause at the door. "You're not. So... why? Why be this way?"
She tilted her head at him, staying silent for a moment. "I thought what I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf-mutes. That way I wouldn't have to have any goddam stupid useless conversations with anybody. Everybody'd think I was just a poor deaf-mute bastard and they'd leave me alone." She chuckled a little, shaking her ahead as if amused by something. "Or should I?" She closed the door behind her with a soft click and was gone, leaving him standing in his dark living room stunned.