Danny Boice on The Man with the Knife
Hi there, my name is Danny Boice, Trustify’s CEO and this is the Chapter 1: The Man with the Knife as part of our Journey to Trust book series.
I’m trying to keep pace with Jen on a narrow Georgetown sidewalk, shoulders tucked by my ears. I pass a yoga studio. “Namaste,” the window whispers loudly as we walk by. Fucking cliché.
I should be home, away from all this bullshit. Someone should lock me up behind an iron door and ignore my banging from the inside. But Jen insisted we get lunch. She seemed agitated. “Danny, we need to talk.”
I almost don’t catch the movement out of the corner of my eye. Turning my head slightly, I see the little fucker, ratty and scrawny, Adam’s apple sticking out of a long neck like a knuckle. He’s wearing black. As if I’d fall for that. Skinny cheap jeans, converse sneakers in the snow, black beanie pulled down like a fucking tool. I snarl like a dog.
Cut of light and I see a knife held by a hand filthy with motor oil. It’s an ESEE-5, the kind with a 5.25" blade. Olive drab textured handle. My eyes track the skull on the heel as he moves.
Fucker’s quick. He’s beside me and Jen in an instant, but I’ve still got him. My heart is pounding out of my chest and I can’t gulp air down fast enough. Dick-shriveling January cold burns with every inhale. I notice the feel of my pulse against my coat sleeve. Nearby, a boutique with hand-knit cashmere scarves in the window turns a blind eye.
This fucker is covert. He’s going to slash Jen’s throat, make her bleed out in the snow, make me watch, kill my baby’s mom. When I try to look at him head-on, he dissolves. That’s some ninja shit. Only way to see him is out of the corner of my eye. He’s not looking at Jen’s purse. He’s not the type to cook up something on a spoon or shoot something into a vein. Too much of a pussy. No, this guy is ice, pure winter. He wants the rush of cutting her. Wants to warm himself. Around us, suited government types double-fisting smartphones step over dripping slush and hurry past the Ralph Lauren boutique too preoccupied to see him.
Well, fuck that. I spin to look him in the eye—and he’s gone.
I stop moving. Scan up the hill and back down. Jen keeps walking, oblivious. Nothing. Vanished. I’m forced to move along like all the other zombies on the sidewalk. I don’t want to call attention to him, to me. I hiss in air between my teeth, lengthening my steps to catch up, trying to slow my breathing without Jen noticing. I don’t want her to see how badly I’m shivering.
My navy shirt is sticking to me in wet slabs as iron puffs of breath consume the space in in front of me. Jen is walking, a foot between us. Not looking at me.
Maybe she doesn’t get it. Can’t get it. It’s getting worse. I look around for an anchor. Jen is an anchor. Her coat is red, fresh as a robin, harbinger of spring. Spring, ring ring. The rest of the street is Gotham City grey, greyer than I remember Georgetown ever being.
My hands are in my jacket pockets, and I’m rubbing the slick lining between my thumbs and fingers, trying to start fires. I don’t want anything to touch me. There’s a layer of grime on this neighborhood and I don’t think anyone can see it. It’s too tidy, federalist buildings pointing at the sky, but they’re too sharp. The sunlight is all wrong. Should be hot yellow but it’s black as slush, fuzzy at the edges. Everything looks monotone. Wrong lens, wrong focus.
Don’t turn around. Do not turn around. Fucking be cool.
I look at Jen as I twist my neck and shrug my shoulder to unstick my shirt. I see her skin, pale as frost against the white snow. The amethyst circles under her eyes are accusing as any bruise. I did that. My words did that. The bastards reach out, throbbing, bruising tentacles, and they glom on. They bleed her out.
It’s getting worse.
Cars are bright colors flashing by me, speedy as stars shooting through tar.
Car. Car. Light.
Slowdown. Traffic. Chaos. Noise. Stop. Stop. STOP.
Caarr. C a a a rr. carcarcarcar carcarcarcarcarcar.
The cars remind of Jen’s black Audi and the sound of its crunch as it moves in reverse on driveway gravel. That sound sends me scurrying in the house to pour the first drink of the night, any time she goes to run an errand. The drinks I savor alone, in secret, at home. Our home.
The wine bar. We’re here.
This wine bar that’s not for drunks but for people with money who want to spend it. These fools can’t see the grime on everything, the filth over every brick and pane of glass. The streaks of black on the leather sign in front of the bar, touting their selection of red and white, sweet and dry.