And I'll Call You a Liar
By Steve Anwyll
I'll look like a cunt if I take off now. So I have to stick it out. Keep my word. Hold this fat bastard's pungent wheelchair underneath him while he stands on shaky legs. Grasping the escalator handrail so tight his knuckles whiten. Until we get to the top.
Or his knees give out and we both come to our end.
From over his shoulder he barks at me. You got that fucking thing ready 'case I fall? I hear the worry in his gravel voice. But there's something else. I recognize it. I've heard it before. But I can't figure out where.
Because I lose my thoughts in a good-looking woman coming down as we go up. Her sweet face turns pure hate as she sees the dirty old lowlife I'm aiding. She leans towards him as they cross. Finger pointed in full rage. Vas te faire foutre! Conard!
I like her style.
A friend of yours? I ask as the escalator carries us away. But he chooses to ignore me. Everyday trifles or bigger worries I don't care. Because the end of the ride is approaching fast. He snaps at me again asking if I'm ready. Unsure of who he chose to help.
I shout false confidence.
A cold sweat runs down my brow.
Fear of death in overdrive.
His back falls forward in slow motion. There's still time to drop the chair. Sidestep the slob as he goes careening by. Disappear into the clamor. But I was raised better. So instead of giving up and facing murder charges I brace my arms and legs. Then whisper 1 more pep talk before I probably die.
You can do this you fucking pussy.
He hits the seat. Him the chair and I we all groan under the strain. But I manage to hold my ground. Every muscle in my body tight. My lower back about to burst. The last of what I think I have. A final shove up over the lip. The chair jumps. He starts yelling.
Take it easy man! What are you fucking stupid?
Aha! That's it. Where I've heard his voice. Seen his greasy hair. Out front the corner store. The door to the metro. Harassing everyone. Especially the fine looking women. And I'm certain he fits the description of a man who called my wife a whore when she declined his offer to fuck her in the ass.
So without saying a word I start pushing. Faster and faster and faster. I veer our course towards the gate beside the turnstiles. A hip-level plexiglass door. The old creep is on to me and drops his feet like brakes because he can see his future coming. But we don't even slow down. He yelps 1 final call for mercy.
Nothing can stop us now.
His knees hit with a bang. He groans like a dying beast. The gate opens like a gunshot. The latch breaking off and hitting the ground is the greatest joke I've ever heard. I'm laughing like a madman. Name a better time than revenge and I'll call you a liar.
I give him another push with everything I've got. Let go. He rolls away at top speed yelling words I've been called 1000's of times so they don't hurt. People all around stare in shock. Never guessing I made a promise to the woman I love and all they witnessed was me keeping it.
Steve Anwyll is the author of Welfare (Tyrant Books). His work has appeared in Hobart and Tyrant Magazine, among other places. He lives in Montreal.