Crushed Crown Stories
I looked down at the dog…Scout. He was dead in the middle of the floor. He wasn’t just regularly dead, but he had a knife in him. The knife was still in him as though they had meant to know that someone had slashed the dog. I looked at the dog…it was dramatic how it just laid there.
Then I turned over to Angelina. Angelina, Porter, Dani, Quan, Khan and Jamel all stood in the circle looking down at the dead dog. Angelina seemed to be taking it hard at first. She was already crying. Dani was just standing there.
Then all of a sudden everyone…EVERYONE just turned to me at the same time.
I felt like I was back in high school. I couldn’t help but have a smile cross my face. I wasn’t upset about the dog. No…hell…I wasn’t a real animal person.
I shook my head, “What the hell are you looking at me for—“
I didn’t even get to finish it before a slap came straight across my face. It stung like shit. It came from Dani. She looked like she was about to rip my head off all of a sudden. She started to come at me again, swinging her fists furiously.
I blocked and took a couple steps back.
“What the fuck!”
They held her back surprisingly from ripping my head off. I tried not to laugh. I held back everything that I could.
“YOU KILLED MY FUCKING DOG!”
“Relax…honey. I didn’t touch your dog.”
She didn’t believe me. I could see it in her eyes. I looked over at Angelina. She was just silent. They were both just looking at me as though I was just going around killing the dog.
Angelina shook her head, “The dog hated you.”
Oh now she thought the dog hated me. Before that wasn’t the case. I just shrugged my shoulders.
“I didn’t fucking kill that dog,” I replied.
Angelina nodded, “Syn’s right. We have no proof. It’s wrong to point fingers.”
Dani looked around the room, “Point fingers! Point fingers? Look at him. He has it written all over his face.”
“Calm down Dani,” Khan started off.
Dani looke over at Sampson, “You know him! You know him better then all of us. DID HE DO IT?”
Sampson looked at Dani and then looked at me. He shrugged his shoulders. There was something out of Sampson. It seemed like he didn’t even want to look us for anything.
“I need a drink,” Sampson replied.
Jamel quickly added, “You said you would stop drinking.”
He walked away at that moment going into the other room where the bar was.
“I want you out!” Dani screamed at the top of my lungs at me.
Angelina got up, “No Dani, Syn wouldn’t do that. He wouldn’t kill Scout. Right Syn?”
She was unsure. I could tell she was unsure. I looked at Khan. Khan was unsure too. I looked at all their faces. Jamel thought I really did kill the dog. He took a couple steps away from me. Then there was Porter. He just seemed shocked at that moment.
“You know what…” I stated, shaking my head, “I don’t care if you all believe me or not. I’m fucking leaving.”
Porter pulled me back, “We’re snowed in. You can’t even see the driveway Syn.”
“You won’t get a mile.”
Angelina nodded, “We have no proof. Syn stays.”
Dani shook her head, “You guys are idiots. Do you all realize that we are snowed in with a maniac?”
Just at that moment it was Quan who put his hand over Dani and led her away. He gave me a hard look. Just at that moment he smiled.
We exchanged smiled.
It was interesting. He had killed the dog. It was obvious he was the one who had killed the dog. He was trying frame me. I couldn’t help but find that amusing. The fact was that I wasn’t a likable enough to even get anyone to believe that I wouldn’t kill a dog was amusing.
I walked up to the bar. Angelina had asked me about 15 times in 15 minutes whether I really killed her dog or not. I could tell she wasn’t looking at me the same. She didn’t trust me anymore. Khan was too busy comforting her to really take my back.
I didn’t blame them. Knowing the kind of guy I was, I probably didn’t kill the dog yet because I just didn’t think of it.
It scared me that Quan did though.
He was a threat.
Sampson was already at the bar. He looked uncomfortable as hell when I walked into the room. He adjusted himself onto the bar seat. The fireplace was going already. I could tell by the way he rolled his eyes that he was drunk. Sampson was far from dramatic when he was sober.
I sat next to him at the bar. I could feel him go on edge. He looked like he was a second or two away from jumping up and running away.
“You didn’t have to kill the dog,” he stated.
“I didn’t. You know I’m not a liar.”
I wanted to say Quan but what was the point. He wouldn’t believe me. I made that mistake already. I shook my head and shrugged my shoulder.
“Who knows? You smell like straight vodka…”
He looked over at me. His eyes were wandering around his head. He could barely look at me straight. It was hilarious. He was just glaring in this weird way.
I didn’t look back at him immediately but I hated how our eyes connected when we finally did make eye contact. It was ridiculous.
“You should move back.”
When he told me that I didn’t say anything at first. It had been so long since we were having a slightly decent conversation in a room together alone. We had come to this place together…as a couple and now we were enemies.
“Do you want me to?”
“Yeah,” he said coldly.
I laughed a little bit. Sampson put his hands on his face.
“Why’d you have to say it so fast?”
He shook his head, “Syn, why are you playing this fucking game with me?”
He was serious. He was really serious. I knew Sampson enough to know when he felt threatened. His eyes always lit up when he felt threatened. They looked like a small child who was deprived of some sort of candy or something. The fear was so evident.
How things had changed? Once he loved me and now he feared me.
Was there really a difference?
He looked over at me. I could tell he was completely perplexed. The look of fear wasn’t removed however. The look of fear still remained. His eyes got even brighter if anything.
“I’m leaving,” I stated nodding my head, “I’ve decided. When the storm subsides. I’m leaving Brunswick.”
There was silence. I had to say I didn’t know what to suspect upon telling him. Maybe initially I had said it for his reaction, but as the seconds passed I realized that is exactly what I wanted. I looked at his reaction now. The fear grew stronger. His eyes grew heavier. Now he was looking at me intently.
“When did you decide this?”
“What about school?”
“I never did like Brunswick. I’m going to take some time off and travel. I don’t think the school can offer me anything. I haven’t learned anything that I really wanted to learn. I learn psychology when I wanted to know the meaning of life. I learned chemistry when I wanted to know how to love.”
He shook his head.
“Always the rebel. You’ll always run. You’ll never stop,” he stated shaking his head, “Why don’t you realize there’s nothing to fight. You are fighting a war against no one.”
“No one? There are enemies all around me,” I stated, “No matter.”
“I’m your greatest enemy aren’t I?”
I laughed and nodded, “No you aren’t. You can never be. You tried though. The enemy corrupted your mind. I know how you feel about me…”
He laughed. It hurt that he laughed. It hurt but he didn’t laugh as hard as he could have. His laugh didn’t hurt as much as it should have. It wasn’t as full as it could have been.
So I just smiled.
“You’re joking then?” he asked me reacting to my smile.
“No,” I said and shook my head, “Society has told you it’s not acceptable to be with someone like me especially after a certain age. I was just a phase. I…”
“…would never get serious,” he continued, finishing my sentence.
His smile was gone now.
“Yeah, you thought I didn’t know. I know you loved me, but the question became how. How could you keep loving me after I made it so difficult. It shouldn’t have been so hard. I shouldn’t work like that. Maybe when we were younger, it was attractive to you, but as we grew older I should have outgrown it. Unless I was really a sociopath…”
“I never fucking thought you were a sociopath!” Sampson stated getting up.
“It doesn’t matter,” he continued, “I never thought you were a sociopath. Why struggle so hard to be different? I couldn’t take you in public anymore. I loved you. You couldn’t change…not even for me. Not even for the one man that was with you through it all!”
He was screaming, at the top his lungs. The fear now had transformed into something different. Maybe it was hatred or maybe it was pure love.
Was there really a difference?
“You wanted me to conform?”
“You see…every term you use has to be combative. Why conform? I just said be normal. I WANTED US TO BE NORMAL. Just for a second. Even leaving you did nothing. You wouldn’t change. You wouldn’t realize that the life you were living meant nothing. Even for love.”
“I will admit, what we had was true love. But I’m not losing. You understand. You are. You will find another guy. You will settle and you’ll always wonder. When all the cards are in place and everything fits perfectly into society and you feel like you are at self-actualization…you’ll stop and you think…well oh, there’s something missing.”
“Society can never define happiness. Look deeper. I am the one you want. I am the one. But you can’t be with me.”
I gathered my thoughts for the moment. I got up and as I started to walk away I felt Sampson’s hand. Just at that moment our eyes linked. I could have sworn I saw something beautiful in his eyes. I could have sworn that for a moment he would have a moment of freedom.
At that moment when he held my arms, it didn’t matter the fact that he’d be bailing me out of jail his entire life. It didn’t matter the fact that I’d probably end up in an asylum before I was 25. It didn’t matter the fact that I was a non-conformist to all types of societal functions. What mattered to him his that feeling deep inside that said he was in love with me.
His eyes grasped onto me and they didn’t want to let go.
Then all of a sudden…
All of a sudden he remembered. I wasn’t Prince Charming.
I was Syn.
Then he let go. He let go because he thought about the future instead of the present. He thought logically instead of emotionally. He let his mind get in the way of us. The mind was the most dangerous of things.
“When you have that thought…years from now…about me…I’ll only be a memory.”
He grabbed onto the liquor bottle and drank on it. He didn’t have a chaser. He didn’t look like he needed one.
As I walked outside of the room I saw that someone was evedropping on the conversation. I looked over to see Jamel. He was standing outside the door. He must have heard my footsteps. He must have known I was coming.
He hadn’t stopped me though. It was such a strange thing. He just looked at me when I walked out of the room. Jamel didn’t have much of a personality.
“I was supposed to grab you,” Jamel said, “We were going to bury the dog…out back…Porter and Khan have been digging past the snow.”
“You should get Sampson.”
���He won’t come,” Jamel stated, shaking his head, “He won’t come when he’s in that cup.”
I looked back. When had Sampson become such a hard drinker? He was downing the bottle quickly. He didn’t look like he had any intention on budging either.
I nodded to Jamel as we started to walk. I had to admit, Jamel was good looking. He probably looked better than me. More people would find him more attractive. He had a handsome face. I couldn’t deny him that. He seemed like a sweetheart as well. It was hard not like him for the average person. I could tell these things just by what he was putting on. I wondered how much he heard from the conversation. I wondered how he felt. If he did feel any type of way he never told me.
He did hint to things as we spoke before the door however, “I meant to tell you. I…don’t believe you killed the dog.”
“No. I’m sure you didn’t as a matter of fact. I think I know who did.”
He nodded. He looked confused.
“Why didn’t you say anything?” He asked confused, “I saw him pocket the butcher knife last night when I was sleeping on the sofa.”
“You slept on the sofa.”
“Sampson drinks. A lot. I don’t like being around Sampson when he drinks. I know he drinks because of you…but I’m sure you knew that right…”
I shook my head.
It seemed like he was too so easy to admit the fact that Sampson was depressed. He had paused after saying it as though expecting me to go into the subject for himself. Then here we would be…the two love interests talking about Sampson. He was probably wondering how Sampson really felt about him. He was probably trying to validate whether or not he was a rebound. He wouldn’t know from Sampson, so he was looking at me. He wanted to know if we were really over or not.
I wouldn’t give anyone that sort of gratification. Love could not be made easy, especially with Sampson. I’ve played it for years.
“That’s besides the point,” I contrasted, “So why didn’t you say anything about Quan? They would have believed you.”
“They would have expected you to though,” he stated, “It would have been so much easier.”
“Really?” I asked and laughed, “Because I am the bad one? I am the one that causes trouble. It would just be so easy to get me to stir something up? You can just sit on the side and watch it unfold. You don’t want to get your hands dirty.
“I…I didn’t mean it like that…”
“Of course you did, but it’s ok. I’m used to the disgust…I’m used to it all.”
The funeral was something out of some little kid’s fucked up ass nightmare. These people were really upset about this damn dog. It took everything out of me not to take my chances and just walk through the blizzard. It took everything actually.
The two sisters, Dani and Angelina did most of the talking. Khan really was holding Angelina the whole time. No one really paid me any attention except Quan.
His eyes wandered to me often.
At one point I could have sworn Porter caught his eyes staring at me. He didn’t say anything but I could tell he looked uncomfortable. I just smiled. Quan’s obsession was beginning to intensify. He couldn’t keep it to himself for much longer.
Why blurt something out when they wouldn’t believe me?
I had to find a way to show them. I had to find a way to show them all the kind of person that Quan was.
A few days had gone past. No one really talked to me. Porter and Sampson were even avoiding me. I guess neither knew how to deal with their feelings. Everyone else stayed clear of me. I had become the one person who was clearly unwelcomed.
First Angelina stopped coming around, then Khan just started speaking every once in a while. He would come to my room, say a word or two and then leave as though I had to pay him to do it. I wasn’t surprised by either of their actions. They were so into each other now. Neither wanted confrontation.
It was the worst day of the storm that I had woken up thinking about everything. It seemed like when one thought entered your mind, it opened the flood gate for everything. Then you couldn’t sleep. I started to make my way downstairs.
They didn’t see me standing in the darkness when night came…
“It got worst,” Angelina stated, “The snow isn’t letting up. Look outside. It’s really bad.”
“Does that mean there’s no escape from him?” Dani asked.
“He’s not that bad,” Khan stated.
“Khan, even you have to admit…Syn didn’t like that dog,” Angelina stated, “I just can’t believe he would actually stoop that low. You know.”
“You never can really know someone,” Quan had stated, “Especially someone like Syn.”
They were all gathered around the fireplace. The fireplace was strong and blazed. I walked in without any of them knowing. Quan was near Dani. He was probably comforting her with lies of some sort. Khan, Porter, Jamel and Angelina were playing cards on the table beside the window. Then there was Sampson. He wasn’t speaking. He was all the way on the other side of the room…completely silent.
“You seem to know a lot about him for someone that doesn’t know him,” Porter stated, looking over at Quan.
Quan shook his head, “He’s crazy. It doesn’t take a lifetime to know that.”
“Enough,” Khan stated, “Ok…Syn…he’s going through something. He needs the support of his friends. For those of US who ARE his friends, we’ll deal with him.”
Dani shook her head, “Well deal with him soon, because I called the cops.”
Porter shook his head, “What?”
They still didn’t see me. They were all talking about me. This full blown discussion was amusing. I hid in the shadows of the cabin.
Khan turned to Angelina, “You knew about this.”
Dani laughed, “It was her idea.”
Angelina shook her head, “I called the cops. I didn’t tell the he was a criminal. He’s not. He just needs some…help. You’ve seen it. You’ve seen how he acts.”
No one seemed to notice Quan’s reaction. He got up. No one seemed to question at that moment why he got up. It was almost like they weres till stuck on Syn. It was just like being gay. Everyone was a sinner but for some reason being gay was lifted above all those other sins. That is how I felt. I felt likeQuan was just as much of a sinner as I was, but I was lifted up amongst him.
He was the silent sin. He was the sin that everyone acknowledged, knew was there and didn’t care about. They were too busy worried about what the fuck I was doing.
“Wait…you are trying to lock him up?” Quan asked.
I wondered if I would have a reaction. Dani and Angelina admitting their revenge for the death of their dog did seem to gather everyone’s attention.
Khan looked over, “Angelina this is wrong.”
“It’s more than wrong,” Porter said, throwing his card on the floor and slapping the rest of the cards on the floor, “Angelina what the fuck, you are like one of his best friends.”
Angelina shook her head, “I just want to help him. Khan you understand right?”
Dani backed up her sister, “Khan…he needs help…yes or no.”
Khan shuddered, “Yes…ok…I…I do understand…but still, we should have talked to him about it first.”
“Are you guys fucking kidding me?” Porter asked, “That is your friend. Are you saying you called the cops on YOUR fucking friend?”
“We call the mental institution.”
Porter shook his head, “Man I’m done with all of you. I’m telling Syn. I swear. You guys are fucked up individuals. Do you know how hurt Syn is going to be when he finds out you all have betrayed him?”
That came from Sampson. It surprised even me when he spoke. It seemed like he was completely out of the conversation. I watched and saw Jamel was paying extra close attention to him as well.
Sampson nodded, “Syn doesn’t care about the cops. If you think he does you’re wrong. He doesn’t. He doesn’t trust anyone. I’ve tried to change him just like you. I used to make the assumption that I could. Nothing will change him. No mental institution…no person…no force…”
No one noticed Quan walking out of the room. I looked at them and looked at Quan, wondering which one I’d rather seen.
They were right. I didn’t trust people. This was the way of mankind. They couldn’t fight the itch to gather up and talk about the one person that is different from them. They couldn’t help but want to feel like they had to solve something.
It was as if there was some big mystery and it was up to them. They were the Scooby Doo gang. If it wasn’t for them the big villain would get away.
No real villain would be caught by a couple pesky kids. No matter how villainous. I ignored them and walked away. I had to follow the real villain. Quan.
I wondered where he was going. It was almost like he knew I was following him because by the time I had made it to the basement where he had headed, he was turned to me…facing me…with a smile on his face.
“Syn…you heard what they were saying about you didn’t you?”
“Don’t worry. I’ll make them pay. I’ll make all of them pay.”
“They won’t separate us,” Quan stated, “You understand. The snowstorm is going to subside tomorrow. The institution is going to come to get you. They are all going to testify. You understand don’t you? They are all going to testify.”
He’d lost his mind.
Yet I wondered now, what that meant? Quan was different. He loved differently. He loved more intensely. He loved without understanding it fully. Was he really insane or had he just interpreted the same information that we had.
I’d play along now, “Ok love…what do you suppose we do?”
Quan smiled, “I know you’d come along sooner or later. They aren’t like us. They aren’t like us. Grab that lighter.”
I wasn’t like him. I wasn’t hiding my character to fit into society. I was who I was. I wasn’t Iago from Othello. I wasn’t some secret agent. People knew what I was about from the gate. That had to count for something. I was NOTHING like Quan.
I looked at Quan.
“What are you doing Quan?” I asked him.
“The final bang?”
I shook my head, “I don’t get what you mean.”
“The big bang. I call it the Syn Bang,” He stated, “It’s in your honor. You see that water heater there. I turned the pressure all way up. Once I turn the temperature up guess what happens. The big bang.”
“People will die.”
“Yes…heads will roll,” Quan stated, “Just like Athena taught us. We are going to take back our respect…by force.”
“She never taught us to be murderers,” I continued, “Quan you misunderstood what Athena was all about.”
“Look the water temperature is almost 200,” he stated putting up the water heater, “I clogged the relief valves since I got here. This explosion is going to big. It’s going to be legendary.”
“No one will see. What is legendary if no one sees.”
“We’ll know. ME AND YOU. We’ll know what we did. And then we can run away. I’ll be able to earn your respect. I’ll be able to earn Athena’s respect from her grave. I’ll be just like you Syn…just like you. I love you…”
I didn’t stop him. I didn’t know exactly how to. I knew nothing about manipulating a water heater to stop the process that he already started. Did I have enough time to convince them?
It was steaming so much that he had to turn it with a shirt. I looked at it. My heart went. He was seriously going to blow everything up. He wasn’t playing. He’d rather blow everyone to bits then see me taken away. What kind of twisted emotion was this?
“It’s so interesting what you are doing…” I lied trying to dig for information on how to stop it, “Did Athena teach you this?”
“No…no. I looked it up on the internet,” Quan stated and laughed, “You blow up a water heater if there is some, but not enough water in the tank and the burner is lit. This turns the water to steam and the pressure and temperature gets quite high. If the safety valves don’t open the tank will rupture. That’s the process happening right now. Once the tank ruptures and breaks the gass line…all we need is one little spark. One little spark and you have the Syn Bang…”
Just at that point the tank ruptured.
Just at that moment he readied a match. There was gasoline right on the table. He was brave. It was almost like he didn’t even think about it.
Quan smiled. A strange smile of satisfaction, “If it doesn’t work I always have the gasoline on the table. Either way…big big big bang. Get ready to run into the snow as soon as I throw the match ok…they won’t know what hit them…”
He had a match in his hand…