My life is a moment by moment battle. Within me there is a constant struggle between what I want to do and what I actually do. However, I am not unique.
A lot of people deal with internal struggles. Some fight the urge to eat a donut that’s sitting in the break room. Some fight the urge to have an affair with a co-worker. Others fight the urge to pick up yet another drink. The struggle between these two conflicting urges can boil up inside a person, bring a person to the brink, and in some cases cause a person to implode; however, those people on the outside never see this struggle.
My urges though are much darker. My will power has to fight a much more sadistic war. Right now, here I am in the elevator with some guy that works at the company with me. I don’t really know him, but for some reason, I just want to ram him up against the wall and punch him in the face until bones break and blood is pouring from him. He turns to look at me and smiles. I smile back and nod; the elevator door rings; the doors open and he is off, completely unaware of how close he was to be being brutally beaten. The elevator doors close again and the urge subsides. Thankfully, the urge always subsides. A quick trip up a few more floors and the doors open, I begin my long walk to my desk. I pass several people having to only fight small urges like tripping people randomly, spitting in their faces and yelling racial slurs at the top of my lungs. But I fight the urges into submission and I get to work.
After a few mindless hours, it’s break time. I walk to the break room, home of the lone last donut. It’s been scavenged and cut up by those who say things such as, “I just couldn’t eat the whole thing” or “I’ll just have a little piece to cheat on my diet.” Whatever! I’d love to just ram that donut down one of their throats – make them choke on it! But, I don’t. I head to the vending machine and look for that perfect little snack. In the reflection of the glass, I see Tina from accounting pouring a cup of coffee. She puts the pot down and turns away to talk to her friend. In that moment, I feel the urge to pick up the pot and dump the scalding hot liquid on the top of her head. The screams would be exquisite -- her pain perfect. I shake my head and push G7. A Snickers bar falls. My treat has arrived.
I begin another long stay at my desk. Oh, yeah, I work as a customer service representative for a mortgage company -- boring. You have no idea how many people I would like to kill over this phone. Those urges though don’t scare me. Those people are on the phone, a long way from my cruel and heinous thoughts.
Hours pass and it is time for lunch. I head to the cafeteria and this is a real challenge for me. A room filled with fifty to one-hundred people and a host of harmful weapons -- knives, forks, hot soup, all tempting me to injure people. I fight the urges and sit to eat my lunch. A few colleagues gather at the table with me. Then something catches my eye; I look across the room and see a woman with blonde hair, pretty green eyes and a small petite figure.
She holds her tray in one hand, in the other a fork. I notice as it is pinched delicately between her fingers. Then, I notice something else – a change in her grip. Her fingers wrapped tightly around the fork making her knuckles turn white. In her eyes, focused intently on the slow moving buffoon in front of her, I see a very small flame of rage. Then just as quickly it’s extinguished. Her grip loosens. My attention on the young woman is broken by one of my colleagues. I realize she is just like me.
On my drive home, I am again tempted to do horrible things. I stop at a red light down town. A woman with three small children begins walking through the crosswalk. All I have to do is hit the gas. I can hear the sound of the people hitting the car and feel the sensation of the vehicle rolling up and over the fleshy obstacles. It would be easy. The urge is so great that I push down on the brake with everything I have. The family passes and I release some tension on the brake, I breathe with a sigh of relief. Again, I have defeated the urge.
The next day I wake up in my apartment. I walk to the window and look out across the street. I see a man sitting on the bench. If only I had a gun. The shot would be clean, easy. Thank God I don’t own a gun. On my way to work I avoid a couple of jaywalking pedestrians. They were really hard not to hit, I mean, legally they were breaking the law by not using the cross walk. If I hit one, I would probably be cleared. However, the vision in my mind included backing up over them and then running over them a second, maybe a third time. That I don’t think I would be cleared of. A pile of bloody pulp on the ground -- wow, how cool would that be?
Before work, I stop at a convenience store to get a cup of coffee. I walk in and see a slew of people that I would like to hurt. Fortunately, I’m running late for work so there’s just no time for me to carry out any of my horrible plans. I grab a cup of coffee and head for the register. Some douche bag cuts me off in line. These are the times when my urges are truly put to the test. I mean this guy actually did me wrong. The images turn dark quickly. First, I kick him in the back of his knees, driving him to the ground. Then, I reach around under his chin and pull his head back, exposing his throat. I launch a flurry of punches and strikes to his Adam’s apple, incapacitating him. Then I take his head and slam it into the floor repeatedly until his skull turns to mush.
The man turns and looks at me. I want to hit him. The fury builds. Then he utters a phrase to me, “Oh, I’m sorry man. I didn’t mean to cut you off. It’s just been a hectic morning. Go ahead,” he motions for me to move in front of him. I decline and respond, “No problem.” So glad the urge did not take over.
Work. Here again. I fight several urges all throughout the morning and then lunch time comes. I look for her. The blonde. I know her and we share a bond. I just have to get close to her. I have to talk to her. I situate myself so I can see people entering the cafeteria. Then, she walks in and heads toward the line. I maneuver my way behind her. I stand close, but not too close. Today’s a special day in the cafeteria. We have a carving station. The chef comes out front and serves choice cuts of meat off the bone. The blonde woman looks down. To everyone else in the room it is the succulent piece of meat that has attracted her attention, but I know it is the knife that she longs for. Maybe she even envisions cutting me with it. How beautiful would that be?
I lean in close to her and whisper, “I know what you’re thinking.” Scared, I drop my tray, leave the line and exit the cafeteria. Before I cross the threshold, I look back and our eyes meet. Quickly, she averts her glance. She knows what I meant.
The next day, I take up my position in the cafeteria again. I keep an eye out for the girl. I keep looking up from my food, trying to see her at the exact moment she enters the room.
“What do you think, I was thinking?” a voice from behind gently enters my ear. I turn and see the beautiful woman. I’m alone at the table and she sits down.
“You were looking at the knife, right?”
“You were thinking about stabbing someone, weren’t you? It’s okay, you can tell me.”
“No, slashing someone. All I could envision was me slitting the throat of the man standing in front of me. How did you know?”
“I have the same thoughts.”
“Then, we probably shouldn’t talk.” She picks up her tray and leaves me. I do nothing.
The next day I look for her again. I see her and motion for her to sit with me.
“Okay, if this is some kind of sick way of getting into my pants, I’m not interested.”
“Not at all. I just need someone to talk to. I’ve never met anyone like me before.”
“I don’t think we should talk about it here though, okay?”
“No problem, where then?”
“The Blacksmith Pub.”
After work I drive a few blocks to the Pub. Not many people from work come here. I suppose this is why she wanted to come here. I see her sitting at a bar table near the window. I sit down in the seat across from her with the window to my right. There is a silence.
“Look, these things just started recently. I don’t know how to fight them. I think I need to go to a doctor,” the silence is broken.
“No. You can’t do that. If you tell a doctor then your confidentiality can be breached.”
“Then what should I do?”
“Stick with me. I can help you. I’ve had these urges for years.”
“Did you ever follow through?”
“No, but I came close a couple of times.”
“I don’t know if I can. I mean my thoughts are really dark.”
“Okay, get this. Over there is a man at the bar sipping on a bottle of beer. My urge – smash the bottle down his throat the next time he takes a sip, breaking some of his teeth.”
“Ever since I got here, all I wanted to do was to pick up this stool and smash it over the head of that bar maid. She looks like she deserves it.”
“That’s where you have to pull back!”
“What do you mean?”
“The justification. The minute you start to justify the urge, the minute you’ll actually commit the act.”
She looks at her watch. “I gotta go. We can talk again tomorrow after work.”
It’s the next day. Work is over. She meets me in the bar again.
“So, how many urges have you had today?” I ask.
“A couple. I envisioned bashing my boss in the head with a three-hole punch. I came really close to pushing some woman off the subway platform. There were a couple of other things I wanted to do, but I didn’t”
“What’s wrong with us, are we evil?”
“I have resolved that the evil is in the doing; we’re not doing.”
“I know, but the urges get so strong. I’m afraid that one day I may follow through.”
“You have to maintain your will-power. Come take a walk with me.”
We leave the bar and begin heading down the street together. I see a woman struggling on crutches, a cast on her foot. I turn to the blonde, “Kick the crutch.”
She giggles a bit. A man is bending over to pick up a quarter on the ground; he’s overweight and old, this move is definitely a struggle. “Push him over,” she says as we walk past, “and take the quarter,” she adds. We both giggle.
The rest of our night is just an endless stream of us exposing our dark images and thoughts to one another. Some thoughts are darker than others. We stand at an observation deck at the top of the tallest building in the city. The railing is only 42 inches high. A man and woman are standing next to us. The woman starts to act flirty and the man begins taking photos of her. On the ground next to the man is one of those little baby carriers, the kind that clips into a car seat. Inside the carrier: a newborn. The blonde turns to me and whispers darkly into my ear, “Throw the carrier over the ledge.” She runs from me and heads toward the elevator; she gets in and hits the down button before I can enter. She is gone.
I walk home worried about her. Her thoughts are dark, some way darker than mine. I can’t help but think she is altogether disgusted and excited by her feelings. I’m worried. Will she give in?
It’s been four days. I sit here in the cafeteria looking for her. No sign. Where is she? What is she doing?
Works over and I decide to go to her apartment. I am so thankful that woman in HR released her address to me. Although, I think even the bosses were concerned. Four days of not showing up to work, not calling in, that was grounds for dismissal.
I find her apartment. It’s a beautiful place. I walk into the atrium and find the building directory. I walk up three floors. No elevator. I find her door and knock.
“It’s me. Please let me in. I want to talk to you. I’m worried.”
The door cracks open, a small chain hangs in my line of sight.
“What do you want?” she asks, hanging her head down.
“I want to talk to you.”
“Look, after that night you and I were on the obseravation deck, things went downhill. The urges got stronger, darker. I got scared.”
“That’s why we need to stick together.”
She invites me in and closes the door behind me. Then, from the bathroom, I hear muffled screams and moans.
“What is that?” I ask her.
“Nothing,” she stands between me and the bathroom door.
I push past her and open the door. In the tub, I see a woman curled up, arms tied behind her back, a gag in her mouth, ankles duct taped clothed in a running outfit. The blonde found herself a jogger. This poor girl was probably abducted from an early morning run. She looks up at me. Her eyes scream for help. Her face is painted in fear.
I spin around to fact the blonde, “What are you doing?”
“It’s the urges. I can’t fight them anymore. I haven’t hurt her yet, but I can’t just let her go. I picked her up a few days ago.”
“A few days ago? You’ve been away from work for four days. You have to let her go. What do you think you’re going to do to her?”
“Everyday, I get different thoughts. Sometimes I want to cut her, other times I want to burn her with my curling iron. Her face is really pretty, so carving my initials into her seems like a good idea.”
“No. You have to fight those urges.”
I walk toward the tub and begin to unwrap the bonds from the woman, “It’s gonna be okay, I’ll help you get out.”
Then I feel pain and darkness. My eyes open. Now I am tied to a chair, I can feel blood drying and matting my hair. She is standing in front of me, behind her I can see the woman in the tub. The jogger’s face is bleeding. I guess the blonde cut her up.
“I want to hurt you now. But, I like you,” she slides a sharp blade across my chest lightly not cutting. “Do this with me. I know you have dark thoughts too. Just do this with me,” she pushes my chair up to the tub.
“What are your urges?”
My urges, even in this situation, were still violent, but I couldn't let her know what they were.
“Tell me what you are thinking!”
“No! I won't!”
She takes the blade and runs it across my chest again, this time with pressure. The blade penetrates my shirt, then my flesh, blood drizzles down. Her urges were coming to fruition.
“Tell me! What do think about when you see her there?”
“Drown her!” I scream.
“Drowning, really? That's the best you can come up with?”
My thoughts were much darker, but I had tell her something. Drowning was the least painful of the thoughts swirling in my head so that was the one I spewed out. The blonde starts filling the tub and I start to work myself free from the ropes around my wrists.
“If I do this hopefully it will end. All the urges will go away,” she says.
I continue to work on my ropes as the water level rises, “The urges won’t stop. They’ll just keep getting stronger,” I tell her.
She turns and cuts me again, this time across the face. A sharp burning sensation radiates from the cut. I watch as she moves over to the medicine cabinet. What is she thinking? No, not that. She walks toward me with a bottle of rubbing alcohol, slowly she removes the lid. Then she grabs the back of my head, a clump of hair in her hand. She pulls backward. My eyes are focused on the ceiling. Then she pours the alcohol all over me, it fills the cut on my face and cascades over the cut on my chest, the burning is unbearable, I scream. She then pours the alcohol into my open mouth, I begin to gag and choke. The water in the tub is getting higher. She drops the bottle to the ground. I spit up whatever I can. My head hangs low.
“You have to stop,” I plead with her.
“I can’t. I’m going to finish my dark visions with her. Then, I will finish my dark vision with you. Then, I will put an end to all my dark visions forever.”
She’s going to kill herself. I have to stop her. The ropes get looser. The tub is filled. She grabs the girls head and forces it under water. Her body begins to thrash violently underwater like a trophy fish that’s been hooked by a skilled angler. My hands are free. Quickly, I go to work on my feet. In my mind, I see only one vision I am overcome with only one urge. Stab her in the back with the knife she left on the floor.
My feet are free and I go for the blade. She turns and looks at me. She looks down and sees the blade in my hand. Her hands are still holding the girl under.
“What is your vision now? What urge is filling your mind?” she screams.
“I want to stab you in the face, then in your heart.”
“But you don’t follow your urges, right?”
“I haven’t yet. Now pull the girl up out of the water.”
“The only way she lives, is if you follow your urges and end mine,” the girl is still thrashing.
“Let her go. I can help you. I’ll stay by your side. Just let her go.” The thrashing starts to weaken.
“Follow your urge, at least once. Deep down, you’re just like me.”
I slice her in the face, she releases the girl, I grab her head and slam it into the corner of the tub. She falls to the floor. I pull the girl out.
The police arrive about ten minutes after I call. The girl is taken to the hospital. Her life will never be the same. I hope she is not plagued with dark visions. The blonde leaves in cuffs. On her way out she looks at me, “You’re just like me.”
“No, I’m not. The evil’s in the doing.”