From Jester To King XC
By Simon Barget
There was a time when I was a marked man and someone was out to get me. It all came to a head at Cairo Jack’s, the strange club/emporium/party place/wedding venue I used to hang out in. And I don’t remember if there’d been a history of trouble, and if I’d run into problems with the man who wanted to kill me at some earlier juncture. This man, call him Bob, because it doesn’t really matter what his name was, had this capacity for fooling people into thinking he was normal and respectable, when he was a cold-hearted killer. He was the kind of a man who thought he could blend into a crowd, using them to his benefit, who went around with a singular objective, one he thought no one could fathom.
So I was at Jack’s and there were hordes of people, including Rodney Marco and family for a lavish wedding, and all the usual club events were on, the rooms were teeming with all types and dress-senses, and everyone was filled with that sense of abandon that pervades dark crowded places where you can hardly make out people’s faces even before the alcohol has set in.
As I was moving from room to room, I spotted him, this Bob; I think he must have looked at me, must have seen me, because I knew right away that I had to get away from him. But I knew something much more than that. I knew he had a gun and that he wanted to use it to kill me.
I darted away into another room, not backing away and trying to second-guess the movements of Bob as I go — which might have been sensible — but just moving away with my back turned away. And whilst I do, I bump into all the people I know, all the old faces from Jack’s and when I see them I stop for a chat, little do they realise there’s a man here trying to kill me, and I don’t necessarily want to alarm them, but every third person I talk to I find myself telling about Bob, I tell them I’m not at liberty to enjoy myself, that as a matter of fact I’m in the midst of an evasion and that I will have to be on my way soon.
But whenever I tell that third person there’s a man out to get me, they simply don’t get it. Most of them claim to even know Bob, to know what sort of man he is, and it’s not that I hadn’t suspected it because that’s why I only bothered telling one in three people, but these people think I’m crazy for suggesting this guy’s out to get me, they claim he’s quite normal and respectable, not psychotic by any stretch, and the abiding message from these familiar faces is that I should let my hair down and relax.
But they just don’t get it, don’t feel the threat of Bob’s gun. And I know this gun’s somewhere, somewhere under his shirt, and I know how easy it is to fire a gun, how piercing the bullets are, how once it’s fired there’s nothing you can do to stop the bullet getting inside you, and far from swaying me, I’m even more certain these people are stupid for not understanding how dangerous a gun is, a man with a gun who can fire at any time, and I leave them to their opinions and carry on my evasion of Bob.
At some point I decide that the only place to get away from him are the ladies’ toilets. Still no sign of Bob. He’s not chasing, so part of me is wondering why I’m making such an effort to get away from him when he’s nowhere to be seen, but then part of me knows he can spring up from nowhere so I have to take precautions and go to a place where I know he can’t see me. I go in and step onto the toilet, the seat happens to be up, and I just wait it out, standing. Now, I’m thinking, ‘ok Bob, come and get me because I’m safe here, bring it on Bob wherever you are’, and there is a part of me who realises it hasn’t seen Bob properly yet to be able to get an exact feel for what he’s capable of, and perhaps this part has misjudged him and this same part wants to get a good look at him again just to see if my judgment was right, and the more I think about it, the more I feel I need to see Bob even if it does mean risking the gunshot, the more I think about it, the more I realise I need to actually engage with the threat, meet it head on, I realise I need to look straight down the barrel of a gun. And still there’s no sign of Bob, and the longer this goes on, the worse it gets rather than getting better, the greater my fear, then I start thinking that perhaps I’ve concocted this all out of nothing and that even if he does have the gun he’s not got me yet so perhaps isn’t out to get me.
So I step off the toilet seat and venture back into the club. Everything is as normal, the wedding is in full swing, familiar faces come out of the woodwork and put their arms round me warmheartedly somehow soothing me. Why am I now suddenly not so sure that Bob’s out to get me? It does cross my mind, but then the party atmosphere overtakes me and I suppose I’m thinking that if Bob happens to come at me now, I’ll take my chances and handle with it.