The dumpster flew through the air, blocking him from my view. He didn’t have a chance to avoid it.
That’s what I hate about the Change. I just do stuff before I can even think about it. It’s not that I do bad things. I do things that I would do, but without thinking about it at all.
And that’s not quite true. I know why I did it while I’m doing it, but I can’t always put it into words.
I couldn’t put it into words then either. All I knew was that unless he was more than just a guy with laser arms, the dumpster would turn him into a red smear ending in crushed bones and meat.
Except he was more. When I chased him down the alley, his heartbeat moved too slowly to be a normal human, and so I knew it even if I didn’t know it in my head.
The dumpster came down at him with the lip tipped forward, and he reached up, guiding it over himself, but not gracefully.
Not gracefully at all.
He grabbed the lip, and it flipped over in the air. The doors were partly open anyway, so almost everything came out—bags of garbage, loose bits of food, fast food wrappers, and a kind of brownish, liquid slurry.
It didn’t all end up on him. A lot of it landed behind him on the parking lot with the dumpster—which kept on tumbling until it hit the back of the building, breaking a window, and cracking the wall.
Slurry had soaked Laser Guy’s clothes. A Burger King wrapper stuck to his head, and bits of food decorated him like a garbage Christmas tree.
Plus, he reeked.
Maybe I could have jumped on him right then, and poisoned him with one of my claws, but it would have been a big jump, and I’d have had to touch him.
I didn’t even think about biting him.
He stood there not doing anything for a second, and I could smell that I’d scared him. The way he slumped when he looked down at his clothes even made me feel a little sorry for him. When he went out to rob us tonight, he expected to make some money, and maybe make the news. I’m sure he didn’t expect to meet me, and then be showered with rotting meat, moldy cheese, soured milkshakes and a nasty mix of rancid, used cooking oil, and bacon grease.
I really think he was close to crying then, but he didn’t. He pulled the hamburger wrapper from his head, and started screaming, and firing his lasers everywhere. I don’t know exactly what he said, but I know I heard the word “bitch” a lot.
I kept too busy flipping, and jumping, and dodging to pay attention. And there’s one other thing. Sometimes after the Change, when I’m deeply into sounds, and smells, and moving, it’s a little hard to understand words.
That’s one of those things that worries me a little. OK, a lot.
But I wasn’t out of control. I was thinking. The dumpster had been on the border of two different parking lots. One was the brick building’s lot. The other one was the parking lot of the Burger King that was on the cross street that runs East/West while the old, brick building’s street runs North/South.
The Burger King was still open, and I didn’t want anyone to get hurt, so I jumped back into the alley I’d come out of before I’d hid behind the Buick.
Lasers shattered some of the bricks near the corner as I passed it.
I unholstered a grappling gun, and shot upward. It pulled me up the side faster than I’d have been able to climb.
Then I stopped halfway to listen, and I heard the jingle of car keys plus a door opening. An engine started, and I pushed the button that pulled me the rest of the way up. Laser Guy’s vehicle (it sounded bigger than a car) started moving north, and I realized he’d be leaving from the alley on the far side of the building, so I ran over there.
Even after dark, cars run down all four lanes on Central Avenue. He roared out of the parking lot in a white van, the same kind of van used by every plumber and delivery service everywhere.
He cut across the left lanes without stopping, turning into the right lane, and driving north. Brakes screeched, and people screamed.
I saw a semi-truck coming down the street in the same lane, and I didn’t think about it at all. I took a few steps back, got a running start, and jumped off the six story building.