A response to Guy De Maupassant’s “The Necklace”. Winter 2011.
There it sat. In a corner of the pawn shop next to old I Love Lucy posters. Forgotten, but it was beautiful, an ornate and immaculately lacquered scabbard with markings from the edo period of Japan. The blade was a testament to Japanese artisanship, and without even touching it, he could tell it was sharp. It was a perfectly balanced blade and was light as a feather as he hefted it in his hand. He checked the price tag and his jaw dropped. $1000.00—It was a steal, and the old guy who owned the shop probably had no idea what he had here. All Victor knew was that it’d be his.
The only thing blocking his ownership of it was that he was about four hundred dollars short. He’d been saving his money up for two summers to buy a Playstation 3, two extra controllers and some games, but that no longer concerned him. There was only the katanna in his eyes now. A few years ago, he had read the Bushido Code religiously and aside from the gay stuff, he was obsessed with it.
He could just imagine how badass he’d be walking around with it on his waist. So fucking Kurosawa. He’d be at the mall, some douche with frosted tips would bump into him, and that would be the dude’s last mistake. The blade would slide easily out of the scabbard; the clink of the blade could be heard through the food court. He’d pull the blade out quickly having it make that awesome sound when the steel scraped the inside of the scabbard. It’d come out with a whoosh and he’d get into his stance. Then he’d yell something like, “You insulted my honor, prepare to die!” In less than a second, he’d be on the other side of the frosty douche, the blade touching the tile and his back to him. Then blood would explode from the douche and he’d slowly fall to the ground.
All he had to do was get four hundred dollars.
The plan was to make four hundred in two months. So, he applied and got a job at McDonald’s and started cutting lawns. When he wasn’t making fries, he was behind a mower. Regardless, he always smelled of fry oil. His face got oilier, and huge pustuous white heads formed all over his forehead and cheeks. Each one oozed under the heat lamps or under the white-hot July sun. Co-workers started calling him pizza face, and his Mom tried to get him to try pro-active. All he did was grit his teeth and think of that sword, and how they’d regret those comments once he got it. All his jeans were covered in grass stains, but no one could say that the neighborhood didn’t look the best it had been in three summers.
By August, he had made his four hundred and then some. He felt weight of the cash in his pocket burning a hole. Even though his pants fitted tighter, they seemed to him to sag past his boxers. There was a spring in his step and he held his head a little higher than normal. It wasn’t a long walk to the pawn shop, but it felt even shorter that day. He was a block away from the shop, but something felt wrong. The alley before the shop seemed darker, and he hesitated to walk past it. It’s nothing just my excitement playing tricks on me, he thought.
As he walked past the alley, he immediately knew why he felt so strange. Three large, stocky seniors from his high school grabbed him. They lifted him into the air and threw him into a trashcan in the alley. His temple slammed into the steel can and crimson started to pour down his chin. Rubbing the spot, he knew that this was bad. Punch, he thought, throw a punch. Before his body could get into action, three size 12s hit him repeatedly in the face. Then six fists the size of spam cans walloped him in his flabby stomach and the air rushed out of him.
When he woke up, the bleeding had stopped and his pockets were empty and turned inside out. If only I’d be Kurosawa, he thought.