I have been sitting on this couch for the better part of three hours, clutching a field hockey stick in my hands.
I do not live in the best neighborhood, and my friend has recently been threatened with a (nonexistent) gun for a paltry five dollar sum.
My mood has shifted greatly over the course of these three hours, and though no one is awake to notice, changes in my physical demeanor would certainly give awareness of said shift to any who paid even a cursory mind to me during this time.
One fifty-six A.M.:
My friend has just been threatened and is retelling the experience. He goes to bed, and I grab the nearest blunt weapon as a means of home defense. My hands are quite clammy and tremble as I grip the taped-up handle of an old field hockey stick ($2.99 at Goodwill).
Two thirty-four A.M.:
I exit onto my porch for a much needed cigarette. During this time, the neighborhood bootleg DVD salesman ($10 for a feature film, a stand-up special, and a porno) approaches, drunk, and he and I have a comfortable conversation. He leaves shortly after arriving, and I return inside, never once letting go of my weapon.
Three oh-six A.M.:
I have put on my new headphones (price unknown) and am listening to music which is far more depressing than motivating when I see a shadow in the window whose profile matches that of the assailant of earlier. I lay down flat on the couch quickly, and wait, squeezing unnecessarily tight around the stick. He leaves without saying or doing anything at all. I do not move for some time.
Three fifty-seven A.M.:
A movie is playing ($7.95 per month via Netflix), and the glow from the screen is the only thing indicating that there is life within my house. I hear a noise of indeterminate origin and I sneak to a window where I see the suspect approaching the house from the south. I return to my position on the couch to lie in ambush, but the chance never occurs. He passes without incident.
Four twenty-nine A.M.:
Throughout the movie, the protagonist has gone from calm and disinterested to brutally involved. This character development has been beautiful to watch in the most heart-breakingly destructive way possible. I sit straight up, staring dead ahead at the screen, my mind focused simultaneously on the imagery in front of me and the blunt weapon in my lap. If someone comes through the front door, I will break them.
Five thirteen A.M.:
The movie is over. I can see that black has given way to navy blue through the blinds, and I feel the presumed safety of morning approaching. The field hockey stick has not moved. I have not moved.
Five thirty-eight A.M.:
An abrupt change in color occurs in the window. I turn quickly, but it takes a few seconds for my mind to process the automatic shut-off of the street lights. My heart rate returns to normal shortly thereafter.
Five forty-five A.M.:
My roommate’s alarm goes off. He arises for work. My shift on the watch has ended. I go out the back door to our upstairs balcony for a cigarette ($5.88 per pack at Walgreens).