Knuckle Duster

by Andy Spain

TW: Violence

She covers her ears and screams so I punch the nearest wall, my hand dissolving straight through the sheetrock up to the wrist, scraping against the grain of creaking lumber, the sound energy of her scream transforming into electricity in my tendons / veins / inner highways of all kinds as I clench my fist inside the wall, awakening muscles and purging numbness, activating a blossoming / rippling / big bang of locomotive juice as my fingers spread wide, sinking my arm into and across the wall, up to the elbow now, smashing my cheek against the coarse paint-streaked surface smeared with warm saliva expelled through teeth gritted to maximum jaw lock, fingers reaching / stretching / searching and finally locking onto rubber-coated wires, the inner highways / veins / tendons of the house itself, with one last burst of determination pushing in until my collarbone shreds itself against the cracked drywall and my neck twists and flops to one side like a dead bird, I grab wires / tendons / veins and yank straight down, pausing briefly—single deep breath crushing my ribs against the wall—releasing then clenching fist tighter and yanking once more as something integral is loosened inside and I’m abruptly overwhelmed by blank relief as the screaming stops and the lights go out.

A Note from the Author:

It was challenging to allow myself to write from that POV, but I think ignoring our internal emotional bursts and, especially, not feeling open to talking about them, can make it harder to cope with basic feelings. Anger and a short temper have been handed down through who knows how many generations on my father’s side, but I’m well aware of my triggers and fight every day to channel kneejerk reactions into something less detrimental than screaming.


Andy Spain is a video editor and motion graphics designer living in Durham, NC, with his wife and four children. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and Corvus Review. His debut novel Cash Grab is forthcoming from Humorist Books in 2021.



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