Broken Things

Eight shots short of the bottle and Ted was feeling vulnerable. It had never occurred to him that such a thing could be. Ted was usually less broken, more breaking. Ted was an awesome breaker and could very well break any damn thing put in front of him. He broke hips, he broke promises and he broke marriages. Nothing was sacred to his clumsy hands and dull witless instinct. It was his gift, just like the fruit of the month and the five bucks the boys at work gave him last year. The glass came down harder than it should and a seizing fire overtook his right hand. A shot of rye was mingling with his blood as the glass was jutting out of his hand. Just another broken thing.

“Jesus buddy, get thee to a doctor.” The bartender said with genuine concern.

“Thee doctor costs too much and I’ll heal just fine.”

Gingerly Ted pulled the shards of glass out of his hand and placed them on the bar napkins. Then with great care he reached with two unsoiled fingers into his wallet and pulled out his credit card. The bartender almost wretched but cooler capital prevailed. Business being business, the bartender swiped the card and gave him a towel. Ted gladly took it wrapping his right hand tightly.

With a grunt and a push, Ted was out the heavy door and deep in twenty degree moonless midnight. Awkwardly, he stumbled through dark alleys. Ted was missing his better half and walking lopsided in her absence. It seemed that for every ounce of grace that Ted lacked, Verna had. Verna was fair skinned and fairly logical but entangled in an unfair romance. Despite all his practice, all his yearning, Ted can’t dance and Verna can’t stop.

Ted forgot and they waltz. Inevitably, Ted hurts Verna. Suddenly, he’s rushing to the hospital behind an ambulance. Luckily, it was just a broken foot but the old questions popped back up. Ted had too many accidents and Verna had too many bruises. Before long Ted cowered away from the hospital, down deep into a bar where no one ever cared. The ugly insinuations and cruel whispers were just too much. If Ted could dance, then maybe the world wouldn’t be so mean. Ted could dream of such thing at least.

A woman screamed and every ounce of self pity Ted had faded to the back of his mind. The lunk put the distance between him and her behind him as fast as humanly possible. A yellow lamp hung over a bad scene that was getting worse. A man stood above a winded woman lying on the ground. The man had a gun and cut on his temple. The woman had less than a minute. Ted didn’t stop long enough to register any implications except the imminent death of someone who needed him.

Hoping to distract the gunman, Ted screamed. With his bloody right Ted made a fist and punched. The thug turned and met Ted’s fist in the cheek. For a cruel five seconds, the thug stayed erect trying desperately to breathe. The two vertebrae sticking out of his neck made living just too hard and he fell over, just so much meat. Ted felt sweat bead all over as he sat down on the ground. The woman was still but crying, fearful of the god awful spectacle she had beheld.

“Another damn broken thing.” Ted muttered to himself.