I know I’m innocent, sweet, on the job. That’s how they know me. Little 20 year old Freddie Balding. They call me Freddie Knapsack at work because I always kind of shuffle in with my Knapsack wide open. I’m messy like that. Shoes untied. If I had a nickel.
Little Freddie Knapsack. A cute name for a cute kid. All my coworkers, on the other hand, are women in their 30s and, if I may, past their prime. They probably all think I’m a virgin anyway, and I wouldn’t blame them. At 5’6”—though my core and chest are absolutely cut, the body of a young warrior, under all the polos—I may not be the most obviously sexually imposing male. My other assets are unfortunately hidden under my clothes too. My ass—shapely, firm, in attractive proportion to my legs— and, of course, my roach. I pack a decent punch downstairs. Nothing crazy, but enough, and more than women expect for my height. And not that I’m some progressive-pussy-type, embracing new body types and all that, I just think women make too much a fuss about height when height is good for nothing if you don’t have pure sexual dynamo, like me. I’m a sexual powerhouse. That’ll be important to note if you want to understand the events that followed. No, not one of those guys who sleeps around but doesn’t have his shit together. I deliver, and I make money. 7 girls waiting in the car for me right now. I hear cash registers in my mind. I finish wiping down the dining room tables, mind on the money.
And look how innocent I am. The woman I was training today (45) asked me what my favorite part of the job was. I said, “I really like serving people breakfast. I don’t mind it. But washing dishes can kind of be annoying.” I gave a bashful laugh like I had told a joke. She laughed in return, that “how adorable” laugh middle aged women can give to young men. It can be emasculating, but it’s exactly the image I want to maintain at work. Keep the money rolling in.
I throw my rag down, grab my keys and head out to the parking lot. We serve a lot of rich guests, so nobody thinks much of the shining new Mustang I hop into. 7 girls are jammed inside —they’re all sweaty, hot from being locked inside a car all day. I let them air out. They’re dressed to go out, skin tight dresses, fishnet, every color, just how I like ‘em. Valorie, Molly, Georgia—they got the asses. Harper, Laura, Pauline—they got the breasts. Each have their own ups and downs. Pauline, for example, is a little slow. I had to teach her every she knew about making love. And finally there’s Greta. My lord. She’s the love of my life. She gets passenger’s seat. My god, her face. Carved from gold. My ride or die.
They were crammed in that car, believe me, and maybe I got too excited to get back home with the girls and have our afternoon fun because I slammed the key in the ignition and swerved out of there, out of the parking lot and onto the highway. I was speeding right away, face shining red. I slam a nicotine patch down while driving and gasp and hiss “that feels just right.” I shout “FUCK!” And “WOOOOOO!” And the veins show in my neck. The girls in the car are happy to see me and massage my shoulders. Greta strokes my thigh. I smile, staring at the road. Powder, adderall, I push up under my gums. I slam my hand down on Greta’s leg. “Knapsack!” She moans. We’re riding fast. 80,90 in a 40. Cops might be on me, I’m not looking. Hear a ringing in my ears but it’s probably my own head. Seeing double. Slam another patch, bam—a rush. Nicotine gum too. Chewing, seeing triple. Girls giggle in my ears. Call my name. Daddy Knapsack, that’s me. I smile. Got a little mustache under my nose, facial hair no problem. Don’t shave. Barely maintain. Greta leans over and kisses it. My hand slips on the wheel.
Car flips 4, 5 times, don’t know what happened to the girls in that moment but I know what happened to me. Car ends up on its side and I’m down in the grass, out of the windshield, covered in glass. 3 or 4 cop cars already there—this could have been 30 seconds after or 30 minutes, I couldn’t tell you the difference, because I was out of body.
Valorie is closest to me. In slow motion I crawl over to her. Blood and the rest coming from a wound in her head. My god she looks beautiful. I think I told her it was my fault. Don’t remember. I remember kissing her on the forehead. I look past, in a pile of wreckage, right behind her—there’s Molly.
My god. I drag myself over. It took a million years if it took a day. The cops were all around us, I could hear them. Bits of the Mustang, on fire, stuck out of the ground all around us. A warzone. I hug Molly when I get to her. Oh, Molly. Maybe I loved you second best to Greta. She whispers I love you Daddy Knapsack. Shh, shh. She forces her head up to kiss me—she always wore the brightest lipstick, and I always had to wipe it off before coming into work every morning at 7 A.M. after me and Molly finished making out at 6 A.M.
Then I see her. Georgia. My god. A modern beauty. The closest to Kim Kardashian I ever got. I drag my body over to her and look her in the eye. “Georgia, baby,” I say. “That glass,” she says. She points. I see what she means. “I want to see what I look like. I want to see.” I tell her not to worry about that, that she looked as beautiful as ever, even though she did not, because of all the injuries.
Georgia’s head is twisted around at such a violent angle that she can not see as I pick up the glass to look at myself, though. Bloodied up does not begin to describe it. My mustache singed off and my Grecian good looks—a sturdy forehead, thick eyebrows, a strong jaw—had more or less vanished. The best way I can describe it is that I look like the late Stephen Hawking. And instead of his mangled legs, I see, in the mirror, I have no legs at all. I am merely a torso with arms. At this point I would have burst into tears again if I did not see something in the mirror, someone behind me—Harper.
I drag myself over. Harper, honey, it’s going to be okay. The police are already here. She is by far he most distraught. She is sobbing, yelling, and so on, and I tried to comfort her. The poor thing. Oh, god I miss her. Those late nights, the talks we would have. Harper was the smartest, the most insightful of these girls. I tell her that, there, as I consoled her. She trusts me. She knows things will be right again soon.
Laura and Pauline were lying together, hugging, when I found them. It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. I dragged my torso over and smiled at them, tears glistening in my eyes. “Honeys,” I said. “Daddy Knapsack loves you. Never forget that. No matter what. Remember what I told you? The whole world could be flipped upside down before I betray you. You girls, you’re my life. Not that job. Not the money.”
And then Greta. I found her crawling toward the lake, on fire. My love. I helped her put it out. She, too, was just a torso with arms. My love, I said. I called her that many times that evening. I brush her hair aside. She is as beautiful as the day we met. She asks am I gonna die. I say I don’t know sweetheart. Daddy Knapsack doesn’t know.