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Josh and the Dagger by Lenny Corbett
SUMMARY: Josh: a true innocent cursed with the constant companion of a hovering dagger.
Josh and the Dagger
All day Josh has a dagger levitating gently over his head. It just hovers there and follows him wherever he goes. He used to be terrified of it, when he first noticed it. Now he has become quite indifferent to its presence.
Friends of his sometimes notice and say things like "look out!" or "is that a knife hovering over your head?" He always reassures them that it'll never fall, that it just sits there and follows him around like his shadow, except it stays there when the light goes out.
But strangers never notice, ever.
He has tried to grab it (he must be careful not to grab the blade of course) but he can't reach and when he can (like in elevators and other places with low ceilings), it dodges suddenly out of the way.
The dagger hovering over Josh's head never interferes with anything, never does anything. It just hovers there.
When he goes to sleep at night, it points straight down at his eyes and this makes him a bit tense. He knows that it won't fall (it never does) but some instincts you just can't suppress. He feels that if he fell asleep and it would fall down and kill him. But he knows that that is just a childish fear, that it's all in his head. Now he turns the lights off before he gets into bed so that he doesn't have to see it pointing straight down at him.
Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night and thinks he can hear the sharpening of a blade nearby. He gets up and turns on the light and is brought back to real life - the dagger is still hovering like it always does, right above his head. He must be imagining the noises, for there is no one around to make them.
Once, a friend suggested he see a psychiatrist. He didn't think it was necessary, but he went along anyway. The psychiatrist was an alcoholic and only counter-productive to Josh.
Josh likes women. He always has. But the women he has got the closest to always disappear when they get to know him. They rarely say anything about why. He gets angry about that sort of thing but never knows what he can do, what he can take his anger out on. He would never hurt anyone else. He's a nice fellow, Josh.
Today he has got up and is preparing himself for an interview for a very important position at his job. He has confidence. As he combs his hair and brushes his teeth he notices his sharp companion in the mirror and thinks that today, it looks a little bit shinier. Or maybe it's a little closer. Just his imagination. Either way, he barely gives it a moment of thought before leaving for his interview.
He is feeling good today, on his way to the workplace. He is walking instead of taking the tram just because he's feeling better. He doesn't care that it's freezing cold. He doesn't care that a kid on a bicycle sticks up his finger at him. He doesn't care that his plumbing will cost extra. He doesn't care that he is hungry. He is quite confident about the interview.
The interview was going well at first. But something about Josh made the man with the white tie uneasy. Now it is late in the interview and the man has already made up his mind.
"I'm sorry Josh.