His expression is cold. The only look comparable is the emotionless dark eyes of a great white shark before he takes a bite. Dick’s calm demeanour is far scarier than the ranting voice of Tracey from my earlier phone call.
The knife stood straight, the tip is buried in the wooden cutting board. I gaze at the knife and hear unwanted thoughts bubble up in my mind. Really Dick? What are you really going to do with that knife? You chopping carrots? My buttocks. You’ve got a cake in that pearly white fridge over there don’t you? You’re going to have your cake and eat it too? I truly wish I could say those things out loud, and he would laugh, and I would laugh, and we would pull the cake out of the fridge, and have a big slice. But the look in his eye, along with his deliberate manner warns me to tread lightly.
I stand on the other side of the kitchen table feeling a tremble in my knees. I’m unwilling to sit down and have his massive frame tower over me. I’m not guilty.
He gestures to the chair in front of me, ”Take a seat,” he orders with a detached gaze and a slight nostril flare.
I comply. I’m not guilty. Besides, what am I going to do? Run? Where would I go?
His dark stare is unrelenting as he sits down opposite of me.
I feel as though we’re two dualists facing off for the final event. I am there under duress. I sink into my seat sitting lightly on my butt, just in case I need to leap up and sprint for the door. Dick is in no shape to catch me. And despite the large knife which sits between us like a menacing threat. I am much quicker.
He shifts the cutting board to the side of the table directing the knife nearer to his hand.
I pretend it doesn’t bother me— the gleaming blade with the shattered bits of orange stuck to it.
Dick leans forward resting heavily on the table, his arms fold on top of one another. He clears his throat and it sounds like a growl. “You have no idea how close you are to the edge. Do you realize how serious this is?”
I answer him with an aggressive nod.
“There are some thing from my past I don’t talk about,” he said with burden laying on each syllable. “Things my family has no idea about,” he continues on flinging one arm high and wide, as though there is a whole mountain of secrets to reveal. He sighs heftily, and picks up the knife. He brushes the carrot flakes from the blade with more deliberation than necessary.
I shift in my chair.
He lifts his head with the grace of a snake poised to strike and stares me in the eye. “I’ve done some wicked things in my life,” he confesses lowering his gaze again to the knife, he licks his lips and runs a finger along the blade. A thin red line emerges and he grins. “Knives are useful items,“ he said flicking me a look. “You just have to know how hard to press to get the best results.”
I flatten myself against the back of my chair wishing I could vaporize.
Dick straightens his shoulders and wipes his sliced hand on his pants, then he points the knife in my direction. “I get a sense of disrespect from you— and I don’t like it. The kids like you. Tracey likes you— but it’s me you should worry about. I can make you disappear. And you should know—I’ve done some regrettable things in my life,” he said with a cold glitter in his eye. “I’ve been on both sides of the law. I’ve worked on the right side of the law and I’ve worked on the wrong side of the law.” He stares at me and shakes his head, “Don’t play me for the fool —I’ve killed people.”
He narrows his eyes and slides forward closing the space between us.
My heart is racing. He’s killed people? I’d like to say I could see the lie in him. But I couldn’t. I knew in my heart, that this man had no concern for others, as long as he gets what he wants. A life would mean nothing to him if push came to shove. My face flushes and I nod again. My voice is stuck in my throat.
“I want the truth out of you,” he demands. “I can’t have anyone working for me that I don’t trust.” He leans back in his chair and feels the tip of the knife with his finger. “You must know? People go missing— There’s plenty of wild spaces in this state to get rid of a body.” He inclines his head towards me.
I am transfixed by the fear circulating through my body. I want to laugh. I’m on the verge of hysteria. My knees shake but I can barely contain my mirth. Impossible situations cause me to laugh inappropriately. I hate feeling this way. Because it is exactly the way he wants me to feel. Terrified.
He hulks over the table, “Did you help your friend Allison steal Razor?” He demands.
I shake my head meeting his solid gaze, “No.”
He leans even closer to me and slaps his hand on the table.
He nearly grins, “Why didn’t you see her loading him in the trailer?” He challenges.
I grit my teeth and inhale deeply, pushing my fear aside. “I was at the little barn cleaning stalls,” I explain, “It’s a quarter of a mile away facing the other direction. I can’t see through walls,” I said snidely allowing some of my own anger out.
He considers my answer tapping the table with his fingers.
“Did you know she was going to take him?” He finally asks.
“No,” I hesitate. “Not really.”
“What do you mean by that?” He questions in a hard voice.
I look at the ceiling wishing to fly away, but all I do is sit deeper in my chair. “When Allison came to ride the other day she came to talk to me. She told me they were having financial problems, and with the expensive boarding fees, and the horse payments they were finding the cost of Razor to be too much. She said they found a cheaper place to board Razor, and with that lower cost, she could still make his payments. That’s when she asked me to help her move him. I told her I couldn’t help her.“
“You knew she was planning to take him then?”
“In a way— But— She led me to believe she wasn’t going to do it. Or maybe—“ I said with a sigh, “I just assumed that would be the end of it.” I pause sighing again. “Whatever it is. I can honestly say that I didn’t help her. I called as soon as I saw the horse trailer leave.”
Dick flicks the knife blade with his thumb considering my words.
I lean back in my chair, and grasp the seat ready to bolt.
“You should have told us.” He said in an iron tone.
I meet his eye with a regretful look. “You’re right I should have told you.” I admit, “If I had known she was really going to take Razor, I would have forewarned you. If anything like this ever happens again I’ll be sure to let you know.”
He abruptly rises up out of his chair.
I slide backwards on the heels of my seat shocked by his sudden motion.
He chuckles at my alarm and drops the knife with a clank on the table. “I’ll take you back to the stable,” he said.
I flush and I bristle inside, at the fact he made me jump. I’ve shown weakness. Dick gets off on making people uncomfortable. Where did he come from? Who the raised this man destined for the grasping pit of hell? Little did I know, I would soon find out.
The ride back to the barn with Dick is awkward.
I ache to be back in my comfort zone. My zone with no physical parameters. I don’t have a vehicle, an apartment, or even a room. What I do have, is two barns of horses with a sandy path between them, and Mondays to spend with Carlin. The barns contains the animals which hold the simple truths of life, feed, water, clean, exercise and love. Carlin is my friend, someone to trust in, bitch with, laugh with, learn with, and go on adventures with. My comfort zone is not a physical place, it is a state of being.
Back at the barn Tracey gives me the silent treatment. It bothers me. I hate it when people who matter to me are disappointed with my performance. The silent treatment from Dick would have been fabulous.
On the bright side I see my first wild turtle on the backside of the barn. It’s a reminder to me, that no matter what happens in life, my home is within myself. Which is all that really matters.
It’s Thursday, and I can hardly wait for my Monday off. The rest of the week will go by quickly. Dick and Tracey are getting company, Joe, Dick’s best friend and Janine, Joe’s wife and Dick’s desire, will be arriving Friday night. My weekend will be quiet at the stable. The Fatterods will be busy entertaining.
How wrong I was— Joe and Janine’s visit marked the end of my time working for the Fatterods.