This chapter is based on a deleted scene from the movie, as well as elements of the novel. For the record, I have deliberately omitted identifying "The Song" in large part because the book and scenes shot for the movie don't agree on what it is. I suggest filling in whatever song is your personal "kryptonite", and go along with it. If I had to choose, it would be anything by Michael Jackson. I never disliked Michael Jackson, but I never cared to listen to his music when it was new, so I was VERY displeased when I tried going back to the oldies stations I DID grow up listening to and discovered they were playing Michael Jackson.
"For today's practice, we're going to try improvising," Tiffany said. She walked to the edge of the dance floor and bent over an ipod boombox. "I'll play a song, and we're going to move to it, move with what you're feeling."
"You're not going to play that Song, are you?" said Pat.
"That would be evil. Of course I wouldn't do that," Tiffany said. "Or would I?" She hit play.
Pat physically reeled at the sound. His temple was on fire, and there was a pain in his belly like his guts were tying themselves in knots. "I haven't given up on you, Pat," Tiffany said. "I've seen you fight this thing, and I believe you can beat it. You can beat it by showing me how you feel."
"I feel like smashing that boombox to pieces over your head," Pat said. "Does that count as a feeling?"
Pat dropped to his knees, and Tiffany leaned down to look into his eyes. "That's your anger. That's the monster," she said. "It's here, it's real, but I'm here too, I'm here for you, Pat, and we're going to fight it together! We're going to starve it, corner it and kill it! So what's feeding the monster, Pat? What is it that makes you feel this way?"
He raised his hand to his temple, but pulled back. "I remember," he said. "I did a bad thing, when I caught Nikki cheating on me. But I don't remember doing it, except when I hear this song. Oh god... it was horrible. I was horrible. I was an animal."
"Okay, we're getting somewhere," Tiffany said. "We all do things we want to forget. But sometimes we need to remember, and we need to talk about it. It's like when I told you about losing my job, and Tommy. So why not try talking to me about it?"
Pat stood up. He seemed oddly calm, almost hypnotized. "I'll show you," he said. Tiffany's eyes widened as he steered her toward the wall. "So, I catch Nikki in the shower with the history teacher, he says, `I think you should go.' And I say, `You think I should go? Where do you think you're going, Mr. Tenured Professor? You're going nowhere...'"
His hands were at Tiffany's neck, though he applied no pressure. "I got my hands all the way around and squeezed. I didn't even do it hard; he was so scrawny, I didn't have to. Then I picked him up, like this." She let out a gasp as he lifted her by the shoulders and pressed her to the wall. "Then I did choke him hard, only with one hand, and with the other..."
He continued to demonstrate, and Tiffany compliantly followed his pantomime, until she ended up on her back in the doorway of the changing room with Pat straddling her. "I think he's unconscious," he said. "Nikki's screaming. I don't care, until she shouts my name, and I turn around." He snatched up the boombox. Tiffany retreated a few steps as he advanced toward her. "Here. Take it."
Tiffany accepted it nervously, cradling it close to her. "So I turn around, and there's Nikki..." He gripped the boombox to guide Tiffany's hands into position. "She's holding the boombox over her head like a cave woman with a rock. And I'm looking her over, because I haven't really looked at her in a while, and the thing that comes into my mind is, `Damn, she's hot! How long has it been since she looked this hot?' So I reach for her, and I start to tell her everything's going to be okay. And then-"
He jerked the boombox right out of Tiffany's hands and banged it against his head as he retreated to the spot he had marked as the shower. "Bam, bam and BAM Nikki hits me and she keeps hitting me. She busts the boombox right over my head, there are actual pieces falling off, and it's a big boombox. I fall in the tub and hit my head on the faucet on the way down... I guess that's where I got this scar." Tiffany rushed to him as he dropped to the floor. He reached up and returned the boombox to her trembling hands and then leaned back against the wall, pressing his hand to his temple.
"Damn. Nikki hit me. Never woulda thought she'd do that. She always says she's a pacifist, she even used to tell me I shouldn't go to the Eagles games because it's too violent..." He let himself slump. "So I'm blacking out, I'm pretty sure I'm dying. Of course the music is off, but I can still hear the song in my head. Then right before I go out, I look at Nikki, and say `I love you', or at least I'm trying to. Then she drops what's left of the boombox... Damn, I can't believe little Nikki did that... and she says, `You're an animal, Pat. I never loved you.'"
He lolled his head back and closed his eyes. Tiffany reached for him, keeping the boombox under one arm. Then, just when she touched him, his eyes snapped open just like in a slasher movie. She jumped back, gripping the boombox with both hands. "What are you doing?" Pat said. "Were we doing something?"
"No, just taking a break," Tiffany said. "I guess you nodded off."
Pat looked down at the boombox. Only then did Tiffany realize THE SONG was still playing. "Hey," he said, "what's that song? It sounds like it should be familiar..."
"This song?" Tiffany said. "This song is the worst song ever. I hate this song!" Pat gaped as she raised the boombox over her head and smashed it against the wall. The plastic shell caved in like an egg and the ipod ejected from the dock. "And I hate this knockoff POS excuse for a birthday present too! Ronnie's worth half a mil, Von, the least you can do is buy name brand!" Tiffany kept pounding the boombox against the wall until she cut her hand on the fractured shell.
"Jesus, you're bleeding," Pat said. He ran to get her ointment and bandages. "Seriously, I think maybe you have an anger management problem."
"That's right," Tiffany said. "Guess we do have something in common."
"No way," Pat said. "There's no way I would ever do something that crazy."
"Yeah, that's me, crazy Tiffany," Tiffany said. "Never know what crazy thing I'm gonna do next. That must be why I keep hanging out with you."