I reach for a cigarette, almost burning myself on my already lit cigarette. I am bored. With murderous frustration, I snuff out the lit one and stand up.

“I’m going to get a coffee!” I call to N.

“You just got back from getting a coffee,” he reminds me.

I pretend not to hear him. The shop isn’t far. I smoke half a cigarette on the way. The sun is bitchy today. I forgot my sunglasses. The shop is small. A woman–no, girl–is the only one in line. I wait. The barista chats away to her as she swirls cappuccino foam artfully atop a bit of harsh coffee.

I scratch one finger with another.

Finally, the coffee is placed in front of the not-woman. She says thank you. I open my mouth in preparation. Only to find, they are still chatting. The not-woman is opening a packet of sugar with sloth-like determination. An image flashes in my mind. I reach up, grab her head and snap it quickly to the left, in Van Damme style.

I shake my head, cowering from the thought. Yet, again I watch her open a second packet of sugar, like a scientist, underwater.

I picture taking a match to the back of her skirt. Then ordering my coffee as she runs, screaming, aflame, into the road where a bus runs her down; sticky with melted sugar.

“Ah–” I find myself crying out. The barista frowns at me. I shake my head apologetically. The not-woman doesn’t notice. She is saying something about her dog, hand sighing gently toward the bowl of sugar packets.

Unable to stop it, my mind starts playing a movie, she is the star. There is a bear, a number of weapons. I shut my eyes, hard.

“I’m a terrible person,” I whisper. “What is wrong with me!”

The not-woman turns now. Both her and the barista are staring at me, annoyed looks across their faces.

“Sorry,” I mutter, then flee. The sun heats the back of my neck. I make it back home, lock the door. N is in his room, drawing.

“Hey,” I say, flopping down on the couch. “You know, you’re the best friend in the world. And really an amazing artist.”

He turns, frowning. “Had thoughts about irrationally murdering someone over something petty?”

I look at him, wide eyed. “How’d you know?”

He turns back to drawing. “You always say things like that just before trying to have a conversation about intrusive thoughts. So, you know, two and two.”

I sigh. “Ah, right. Well, do you have intrusive thoughts?”

N shrugs. “I, well, some–”

My phone rings. I hold up a hand.

“It’s my mother.”

N nods. I pick up my phone and head into the other room.

“Hey Ma, what’s up?”

“Oh,” she says, “nothing really. Just wanted to call and say you’re such a good son and I really miss you.”


A Writer and an artist living in Russia

22 Comment on “Intrusive Thoughts

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