"You like this, college boy?"
I'm angry at him, not just for the improvised weaponry but for the insult.
I think of quipping back "You think I went to college?" But he knows what I look like. I stare into his eyes.
I answer "I like keeping people from hurting themselves. And others."
I push on his shoulders and we keep him down.
I think about a co-worker. He insulted her. He threatened another, a man I respect. I'm angry, but I mean what I say.
I'm an interpersonal hawk. War scares me. Fights not so much, but still to a degree. I respect them more. I know that fights and individ dueling can represent larger structures. Indeed, I know I represent standing order. I'm being oppressive. But all I can think about are the razors he made in minutes. All I can think about is his lazy attempt to hide them.
I continue to hold him.
I want to reject him for his class status. He's one more angry man who's lost a lot. Now he's acting out in paper clothes surrounded by strangers.
But he looks at my eyes and stabs more deeply than he'll ever remember. "You like this, college boy?"
I do. I'm an imperial agent and it feels good sometimes. Not today. I think about why that is.
He gets my number, I tell another comrade. He knows what I am. I'm a clerk and an interpersonal diplomat, and I deceive and I redirect and I negotiate.
I write out the quote and pin it above my desk. I will remember how he humbled me, remember how I hung on. Remember why I did it, and why I'd do it again, and that it is still infliction of power no matter how I dress it up.