This One Time, 3

This one time I knocked a letter opener off a desk and it dropped right through the top of a leather loafer and nailed itself into the top of my foot. I was visiting a friend of my girlfriend at her office in Midtown. I wasn’t up to anything I shouldn’t have been. I just had the day off and was kicking around waiting for her to get her lunch break, seeing as she worked maybe six blocks away from my apartment and I just felt I needed to get out of the place.

I knew it might look funny to some people and that maybe my girlfriend would worry that I was up to no good — which was stupid, because I know Lolly and Di chatted all the time and Lolly had been sure to mention to her that I was coming by and we were just going to grab a slice somewhere.

But there’s the letter opener sticking out of the top of my foot. It’s not hurting yet, but I can feel it between the bones and tendons and shit and I’m wondering when I’ll start freaking out, and for some reason I’m worried that my girlfriend will think I was more likely up to something I shouldn’t have been doing because of the injury, and I start trying to think of whether there’s a better story, some kind of lie about how it happened, because the way it happened was just so random and stupid that she wouldn’t believe it and would start thinking I was lying about other things.

Lolly was down the hall doing whatever complex negotiations would let her out of the building and get her coworkers or supervisor to acknowledge that she was leaving the building and whatnot and let them know when she was coming back, and I could hear her talking and wrapping up whatever smalltalk was in the way, so in a kind of unthinking panic I reached down and pulled the letter opener out of my foot. No blood came out through the cut in my shoe when I pulled it out and I was looking the letter opener over to see if I needed to wipe it off or whatever and that’s when Lolly came back in, standing in the doorway while I turned the thing around and looked it over.

She hadn’t known me for very long, maybe a month or so during which we’d met maybe ten times, but she just laughed and said, “Should I be worried, you standing in my office and brandishing my letter opener?”

I don’t know what expression was on my face, but I just put the thing back down on her desk before I was sure it was clean and was trying to think about what to say when she said, “C’mon, I have exactly an hour from right fuckin’ now. Move it!” and dragged me out of her office by my arm.

We were out of the building and halfway down the block before I felt the first twinge of pain, and I never made her stop or told her anything. I just kept looking at the slice in the top of my shoe and expecting to see blood welling up out of it, but it never did.

In the end I made it through lunch without feeling too much pain or seeing any blood at all, and when I finally limped home and got my shoe and sock off, I never did see any blood. There was a visible cut in the top of my foot, maybe half an inch wide and looking pretty deep, and it finally bled a little when I squeezed it. I washed it off, put some antibacterial ointment on it and a Band-Aid, put my cut but otherwise spotless sock back on my foot, and proceeded to have a beer and watch some TV that had been backing up on the DVR and forget all about it, mostly, and in a week it had pretty much healed up.

But every time I go to a store that sells office supplies I buy another letter opener. I must own fifteen or twenty now, all different kinds but as close to the kind Lolly had on her desk as I can find, and when I have the place to myself, I spend a few minutes dropping each one from waist height, point down, and watch them bounce repeatedly off the top of my shoes, never even making a damn mark or a scuff or anything.

I still don’t get how it happened.

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January 3, 2011 · by Laszlo Xalieri · Posted in This One Time  
    

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