Yesterday I ran into a guy I used to know. Actually, I still knew him, but I'd sort of severed ties. He'd said something nasty about my mama and I'd cut his tie off.
I guess I severed tie.
Not being satisfied with my previous rejoinder he wanted to make his point again.
"You talk about my mama again, I'll sever something more important to you than your necktie," I said. I was thinking shirt, trousers.
"No, no!" he said, "I don't care about your mother. I'm interested in bigger issues. Life, death..."
"You're getting close to my mama," I warned, He knew she was one of the two, dead or alive.
He grabbed his tie. I feinted towards his shirt pocket.
"Hey, cut it out! Would you just listen a minute? Let me buy you a coffee."
"Starbucks?" I said. I don't love Starbucks, but I figured middleclass wifi addicted espressoheads would be less likely to intervene if I decided to sever something, maybe his belt.
We sat in comfy chairs within severing distance. "So, whatcha want?" I asked, sucking down an inch of my Chai Tea Latte so it wouldn't spill if it came to it.
He leaned away from me. "You are blessed of Mononga Heela," he said, "but it is only through belief in Mongonga that you can be saved from eternal damnation."
"And what about my mother?"
"Nothing about your mother."
"Last time you said something about my mother."
"I didn't mean YOUR mother, I just meant mothers in general."
"What about mothers in general."
"In general..." he pushed his chair as far from me as he could. "...mothers are responsible for their children."
"And this means..?" I menaced.
"And this means if-you-don't-convert, your-mother-will-go-to-hell," he shouted all in a rush then jumped up and cowered behind his chair. This put him in a corner. I could sit back and relax with plenty of time to jump up and sever something if he ran.
"Let me get this straight. You're saying that your god, Mononga Whatsit, will send my mother to hell if I don't convert."
"He'll send you to hell too," he said as if that was a defense.
Slowly I rose, and step by step closer I came. He wedged himself into the corner and slid down towards the floor. I reached across the chair and grabbed the knot of his tie, just to keep him in reach.
Imagine threatening my mother through me. I'm not a violent guy. I only had scissors with me that first time because I'd just bought a new pair. No scissors this time, I had to use my teeth.
He walked out of that Starbucks with his tie intact, but he was wearing cutoff shorts and his shirt buttons had disappeared. Somehow it seemed a fitting punishment. I couldn't let him get away with what he'd said, but anything worse would have made me more like him.
You have to admit it though. He deserved a severin'.