I Saw Martin...and Martin Saw Me

Contributor: Huxley Innis

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I suddenly realized...I had consumed too much.

But it was too late. What’s done was done.

But it was just too funny--far too goddamn funny for me to comfortably conduct myself properly in this very public, very volatile, and increasingly ugly situation I recently found myself in, and one from which I sought immediate extrication.

It was some kind of rally or protest or something. It’s always something.

There were dozens of people, yelling, chanting, some screaming; many were mad; most were men. It was an alarming scene. LOUD! Intimidating; a multilingual mélange of faces and boiling up from underneath, an angry mob mentality held back by nothing and no one.

I inconspicuously made it to my office after eluding the crazed crowd by cutting quickly through a small stand of trees and down a narrow back alley behind Saint Somebody Catholic church--the only other potential place of refuge, besides my office, but the doors were locked and the lights were off. Saint Somebody wasn’t home.

I saw Martin from security sitting at the front desk when I entered. He’s always sitting there when I come to the office. Sometimes he sees me and sometimes he doesn’t. Tonight he did.

Sometime later I could hear loud voices. Intensifying, getting closer.

The door to my office was of heavy steel with a protective steel-mesh-infused window on the upper half. I peered out and saw Martin running down the hall towards me. He stopped at my office door. I looked at him through the window. He looked at me. His eyes were watery and red and his face was swollen on one side. He was fucking hysterical, banging on the window with a hammer-fist.

“They want you!” he yelled at me through the window.

Me? What for?

“They don’t know I’m here,” I said wryly. “Nobody knows I’m here, just you Martin.”

“They asked if you were here tonight,” he said, his voice starting to crack. “They’ve been asking everyone if you’re here, threatening to beat as close to death as is possible, anyone who dares offer an untruth as to your whereabouts.”

“What did you tell them?”

Martin looked to his right down the hall, beyond another security door equipped with a wire-mesh-infused window, to where all the activity was occurring. What were they on about again? A protest? A provocation? A petition perhaps...? Should I sign their petition if there is one to sign and especially if it’s concerning the advancement of a particular brand of idealism I just happen to agree with? And would my signature honestly have any effect on the eventual outcome of the situation?

“What do they want with me?” I asked him.

“They wouldn’t say. Just that it was of a serious nature.”

I glanced up at the clock on the wall. It informed me the time was 5:45pm--almost suppertime...maybe my last. My stomach rumbled and snarled or was it the vicious, howling, threatening mob down the hall? I remembered then that Anita the secretary who was from western Siberia, (‘I AM ANITA MUSSKARIYA FROM WESTERN SIBERIA!’ she would announce loud and proud when meeting anyone for the first time and this was how she introduced herself to me the first time we met) had brought me a big red apple she had picked from a tree in her orchard and deposited in the top drawer of my desk. A maternal response I suppose. She always tells me to eat apples. She picks them and I eat them. I plucked the apple from inside my desk drawer and took a liberal bite: Crunch, crunch, crunch...

I yelled at Martin through the window—the protective mesh-infused-window that muffled our voices making conversations difficult and awkward. “If they make it into the hallway Martin,” I yelled. “I will shut off all the lights and pretend I’m not here.”

“I haven’t told them you’re here. Only I know you’re here. But they are looking for you.”

Out in the lobby the mob was beating anything that moved with a plethora of menacing weaponry: wooden clubs, baseball bats, steel bars, bottles, rakes, shovels, golf clubs, a prosthetic leg, pitchforks, lead pipes, canes, crutches—whatever people brought with them from home or happened to have handy. Eventually they would make it into the hallway that leads to my office. I hoped Martin would keep quiet, but I didn’t really know him well enough to trust him. But they might torture him. If it comes right down to Martin or me, he might crack and give me away to save himself. The door to the office was the only way in or out, and it was securely locked. It would take them time to get through the wire-mesh-infused security window, but with a concerted effort, inevitability would probably prevail.

Only Martin saw me. Only Martin knows I’m here. I hadn’t finished eating my apple...maybe I won’t get the chance.

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