Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An experiment in noir

I sit at the end of the bar, swirling the last finger of whisky while avoiding the inevitable.  I watch the couple at the opposite end of the bar laugh raucously.  Really, I’m listening to nothing, I’ve tuned out everything but the sound of my own breath mixing with the peaty exhalation of the Laphroaig as it warms in my hand, but I can still see them, falling off their stools as they drink mixed drinks, him in a poorly-fitted hand-me-down suit, her, far too casual with lipstick that matches her vodka cranberry and hair so teased it has a complex.

I’m better than them.  I think they know that as they glance at me furtively before stifling their guffaws.

The bartender tonight is Skippy.  He could care less, doesn’t know why I grin slightly when he takes the funds from my stack to pay for each drink, even though he’s ringing them up at the same price as Jack.  I don’t even know his real name, Todd or Blaine or Robbie, some preppy punk name, and I don’t care.  I’d call him Skippy to his face, but the only two words I’ve had to say to him all night are ‘double Laphroaig’.  If I did call him Skippy, I’d still get the same too-white smile and expect him to spout some goony catch-phrase.  He shouldn’t be working here, pouring his owner’s profits into my glass, he should be at some fun time restaurant with a brass-railed bar in the center, making blender drinks for tipsy nursing students and business travelers.

One more, I perform the international bar sign language, draining my glass in the process.  I don’t need it, this temporary refuge in liquid form, but I like it.  And it simply loves me.  I complete the ritual one final time this evening, breathing, warming, becoming engulfed, before splitting my change, leaving Skippy one twenty and taking one for myself, thinking I might want some aspirin after the inevitable happens. 

The inevitable.

The inevitable is having to leave, to go out into the world again, resisting the urge to shoulder-check Hand Me Down off his bar stool and telling Boufant that everyone in the bar knows she forgot to put on panties tonight.  Well, consciously chose to go without is probably more precise, but who’s keeping score?

* *

I pull my overcoat from the stool next to me and slump it over my arm, feeling the additional pressure of hard, cold metal in the pocket that makes the coat feel twice as heavy as yesterday.  Damn scientists.  I wouldn’t carry the fucking thing with me at all, except that my office wall safe isn’t exactly a convenient hiding place, the cops would find it soon enough since the brains splattered against the window are a vibrant pink and my neighbors are nosy.  The brains were there when I got in yesterday, and Tommy’s skull was resting in a thickening pool of crimson on my once pristine tile.  I shoved the thermostat as low as it would go and left.  There was nothing left in the wall safe aside from crowbar marks anyway, and nothing left in my desk but a few errant paperclips.

Tommy might have passed for me in a pinch. Without a face, I only know it’s him because he’s wearing the ugly tie I gave him for his last birthday.  Obviously, he interrupted something he shouldn’t have, but then again, maybe he was doing something he shouldn’t have been doing, either.  I can only hope his presence in my office has bought me some time to think.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Eleven More and I'll Be Free - Chapter 1

It's these nights that get to me.  Not the hot ones, not the sweltering summer nights.  I love to feel the sun's warm blanket wrap around me while I sleep.  I sleep sweet dreams when that happens. 

But these nights?  The cool ones with the bite of woodsmoke in the air?  I can't sleep.  I get restless and I hear my mind's voice tell me just to sleep, to forget about the desire.  But I simply cannot.  These are the nights when I get in my car and drive.

Just look at this city, so peaceful in the hoar of an October night.  I know lovers are spooned warmly in bed, cozy in flannel and down and desire.  I know puppies curl up in the arms of sleeping children to hide from the cold of night.  I see the lights of this proud city.

And I want to watch it all burn.  I want to watch as the flames lick slowly at first, growing ever higher to combat the frost in the air.  I want to watch the lifeforce of fire become an all-consuming singularity.

Cold and rainy takes me to an all-time low.  Nature fighting the incinerating purity of flame. Upsetting the balance.

The first time I tasted the bloodlust (and it does have a flavor, salty and metallic not unlike blood itself) it was by accident.  Left a gas can in the yard too long the summer I was nine, out mowing the lawn.  When my father started to yell at me about the vent cap and pressure and vapor, shaking the can at me, I watched it blow apart in his hand.  That life-affirming force in the form of thunderclap and fireball grabbed me then, still grabs me now.  I look in the faces of humanity and see nothing but hatred and contempt for me.  In the life of fire, there is an equality.  Fire never treated me better or worse than anyone else.

I've never met any of my prey, not purposely.  I know that if it becomes personal, the pain I would have to inflict would be so heavy their souls would cry.  I like clean, quick precise; like gas can shrapnel between the eyes.  And I like the burn.  The fire that rages afterward if you plan just right.

I've tried to fight the urges before, tried to raise the fire inside with alcohol, a 90-proof inferno.  The disarray of dreams that fills the mind at reast becomes so much more lucide, the surreal seeming so real when senses are dulled.  The one and only time I got drunk was the one and only time I got careless.  The news reports two days later told of horrid disfigurement, not the quick and enduring pain that precedes death when quality work is at play.  The cell phone he used while driving over my creation was never found.

Neither was the hand that held it.

I can't tell anyone about my pastime, people are too quick to judge.  They'd tell me my hobby is wrong.  But every person has the same bloodlust raging inside.  Think about the last time you gawked at an overturned truck.  Or when you lost your temper when traffic on the interstate was stopped, making you late.  You decreed that heads would roll if that accident wasn't gruesome, if someone else's suffering wasn't worse than yours at that moment.

You're as guilty as everyone else, so who are you to judge?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Jo-Jo - would you like flies with that

Killing consumed him.  No longer were they simple murderous urges.  Jo-Jo didn't have impulses, but a constant hunger for flesh.  His days were a blood-starved blindness, his nights were precise joy.  Much like a runner's high, but less embarrassing or public.

Gone were the days of the occasional Pogo stew, of sauteed Bim Bom liver, the refinement of carpaccio di pagliacci.  Jo-Jo carved with finesse, craft and enthusiasm lest his work be less than art in the eyes of those who found his latest victim's remains, but dining was a raw, beast-like endeavor.  Blood was drunk from newly opened veins, the choicest tender morsels of marrow and vitreous orbs consumed with haste to stave off the dizziness of hunger. 

Jo-Jo was nimble, despite fattening himself daily on the contents of another unlucky clown's skull.  His stealth after the mocking cries of his childhood tormentors was amazing.  Such speed that the whole world slowed around him when he struck true.  A severed Achilles, followed by the plunge of his blade between the third and fourth cervical vertebrae just deep enough to terminate all nervous activity past a heartbeat, to render his victim immobile yet fully conscious of the vivisection that followed.

Jo-Jo would peel each layer of flesh from the unlucky, careful not to nick anything that might speed death along.  As he went, he would show his audience of one a spleen, a tibia, a pulsing and writhing large intestine.  The chest cavity he preserved for as long as he could endure so as not to burst the lovely pleural balloon that helped keep oxygen flowing to his dinner's terror-filled brain.  Only once everything that had once been inside was out would Jo-Jo pause, slice across the diaphram and watch the skinless face of his latest meal gasp helplessly at his curious smile.  Only at the last twitch would the eyeballs be plucked from their cavities, only then would the soft palate be breached to gain access to the holiest of holies. 

On cold nights, Jo-Jo might defer to crisp some skin over the fire, to create a chewy jerky to content his mind in the daylight that followed.  On summer evenings such as this, though, the precious delicacies of clown-meat were consumed raw, the bones left arranged like a walkway through the woods while the remaining muscle was wrapped inside a skin suitcase, tied with sinew.

And so quick was his work, Jo-Jo's hunger was sated long before the funk of death drew flies.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Foundling...how appropriate!

As we've been cleaning makeshift bookmarks out of books before we sell them on Amazon, I found the perfect definition for my writing style:

graphorrhea \,graf-a-'re-a\ noun: mental disorder marked by the writing of a long succession of meaningless words

What are the odds?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Jo-Jo, the Clown Butcher of Sprickmantle (or…does this taste funny to you?)

Evil clowns, evil clowns.

Jonathon Joseph Spurious was a child of circus heritage, brought up in the tents and caravans of yore. From birth he was the subject of ridicule from far and wide, pointed cruelty in an otherwise festive environment. Amongst all the circus cliques, the clowns were the quickest to torment him, mock his turned-up nose as he snorted when he laughed, mock his stammer as he fought his way through simple sentences, mock his bloodied face as he tripped on the tent posts or was dragged through the mud by the horses. He learned through his youth to become a phantom, blending with the background and completing his chores, the other workers noticing the results of his labors as though they performed themselves.

(As an aside, John Waterson writes in his book ‘The Physics of Invisibility’, quite extensively on the gray area between real and perceived invisibility. The author could not be located for comment.)

Now grown, Jonathon had withdrawn into himself completely. He found no joy in the circus, as he invisibly cared for the animals, lugged canvas and rope, drove stakes. When in the vicinity of the clowns, their pratfalls and staged idiocy made his blood boil, he saw their antics, their mock joy as a personal affront to his anger. A solution must be found.

The Greeks had a way with words, and Jonathon had a way with languages, thanks to his early and stringent education and, more recently, to his unnoticed comings and goings, his lingering beside tents and caravan windows to eavesdrop on the performers. Coulrophagia. The consumption of clowns. Splitting their kidneys and soaking them in milk to remove the bitterness before he made a pie with those and the choicest cuts of clown steak. Stewing their heads until the meat fell from them, mixing the meat and gelatin with brains and paprika for a wicked clown head terrine. Never was cooking so satisfying as when hunger was fueled by vengeance.

In a stable community, with privet hedges and garden walls, a pub filled with regulars and few outside visitors, this thinning of the population would not go unnoticed. However, the Sprickmantle Show of Shows was a community constantly on the move, with residents ever changing, running off to seduce the town’s teenage girls and lonely wives, or passing out drunk in the forest, one clown more or less (less, less, always less) was never a cause for concern.

author notes for incorporation:
(Lester Eddy, the famed monkey-boy of Borneo.)
(your existence is but a saliva bubble left by hyenas on the umble of carrion – nobody will ever touch you and in an instant, you’ll dry up, blow away and be forgotten.)