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“Hold your noise!” cried a terrible voice. I could scarcely breathe as his cold fingers wrapped about my cheek, his tiny knife pressed against my innocent throat. It seemed a foolish thing but I dared not laugh. On his leg a great iron told me that he was a prisoner, and that the value of my life would be less dear than his safety.
“M’boy,” he mumbled into my ear. “An’ wha’ ha’ y’got f’ ol’ Apostrophin’ Jack?”
“Oh, sir!” I begged. “I have only a Black Paisley NeoDanna! Please, sir, my family can afford no motorcycle!”
Jack laughed a terrible laugh, a laugh that was full of blood and murder and yet, somehow, a bit too short. He took hold of my ear and looked me in the eye not a nose away from my throat.
“I’ ‘at th’ on’ ‘at go’a-”
“You mean the 1 100% Cotton Bandanna with Neoprene? Oh, yes, sir, it does indeed! And the neoprene section covers the cheeks, nose & mouth, while the bandanna is easily adjusted with a Velcro!”
Jack looked at me curiously. “How’d y’do ‘at?”
“Do what, Jack?”
“Tha’ plussy thing y’did. How’d y’do tha’?”
Perhaps I should have run, then, while he was distracted. But I was gripped by fear. A fear that held my boots the way a fat man holds a Power Girl doll.
“I… I don’t know, Jack. But the 100% cotton bandanna is combined with a neoprene face mask to ensure full coverage of the face and neck, providing a comfortable light-weight fit!”
“An’ th’ burna’?” The oily convict crouched to breathe in my face. I swallowed hard.
“The Black Paisley Design is U.S.A. Patented.” Jack grabbed my lapels and threw me to the hard cold ground.
“Y’did it again, lad! That plussy thing! How’d y’do that, damn y’eyes? Tell me how y’do that!”
Jack was beside himself with rage, forgetting to apostrophe his words. In the distance, I heard the faint bark of dogs. Jack did too. He looked me in the eyes and put a finger to his lips and melted into the foggy night. I lay there for some time, my trousers covered in mud, my heart racing. Finally, I put on my Black Paisley NeoDanna and continued on my way.