And thus came the point in Cutter’s life where the number of people he knows—them what breathes—were equally balanced with the people he knew—them what don’t. At the moment, he was ruminating on one such them-what-don’t, an odd and utterly frustrating yet absolutely captivating and charming woman whom he only knew as Mickie.
It was at one of those wretched singles mixers that provided icebreaker questions and fill-in-the-blank statements designed for people who found making small talk with absolute strangers—in order to attract a mate or at the very least make a new friend—a nigh-impossible laborious chore. One of the more popular among these was the incomplete statement, “The first thing people usually notice about me is…”. With Mickie, it was her voice. Spoken, it was smooth enough to polish silver. In song? It was cool and blue and crystalline and bright enough to transport even the dourest of souls to better times, despite whatever kind of mood they were in.
Her hope was to pursue a singing career and every summer she would trudge down to New York City’s infamous Washington Square Park, guitar in tow, and sing to anyone who would listen. Even though she was an atheist, she hoped the god of dumb luck would smile down upon her and help her get discovered. And even though that never happened, it didn’t stop her from trying and giving it her all.
Cutter possessed no pictures of Mickie and only the vaguest of images lingered in his mind of the petite woman, barely bigger than her guitar, who belted out folk tunes that resonated from Greenwich Village all the way up to Carnegie Hall.
But, singing aside, she wasn’t a well woman. She had her first psychotic break when she was eleven. Moody and tearful one moment and positively beaming the next. Then she began disappearing for days at a stretch, only to reappear battered with what appeared to be self-inflicted wounds and no memory of what happened or where she had been.
When Mickie was in her positive state, she was extremely tactile. Always so overly affectionate and the type of person that simply had to touch whomever she was talking to. Cutter couldn’t lie, it used to annoy the hell out of him. He loved her like he loved bacon, but he wasn’t raised by affectionate parents which ultimately shaped him into an elbow room kind of guy. He even brought it up in conversation one day when she was super touchy-feely.
“It’s skinship,” Mickie smiled in reply. “I share it with you; you share it with me, shit, we all share it with everybody we come in contact with. It’s an important part of communication. The kind we forget about because we’re all so wrapped up in words, which is stupid because I can touch you right now and convey more meaning than if I spoke to you for four days straight. My hand on yours binds us in a way that nothing else on this earth can.”
At the time, Cutter debated this for perhaps an hour or so and he walked away unconvinced that she had any special insight regarding the communication of touch.
Now Cutter realized what an idiot he had been for not taking the time to try to understand what she was trying to tell him. And she was right, of course, because now he was sitting on a park bench near her favorite performing spot, wishing he could touch her, be bound to her. There were so many things he wanted to communicate to her, so many things he wanted to ask, primary among them, “Who murdered you?”
He was hellbent on finding out.
To be continued?
Text and Audio ©2021 Rhyan Scorpio-Rhys