A frustrated psychopath strikes out.
|Sometimes I wish I could erase myself. Just pick up a big bottle of white out and wipe myself off the face of the earth. Make it so I’d never even existed. A way out seems so simply reached; a gun’s easy to get these days. But I don’t have it in me. I’m a coward; afraid of death as much as life.
“Travis.” The woman glares at me, her eyes almost as fiery as the mop of short red hair atop her pretty head. “Wash the dishes.” She points at the pile of scummy plates piled in the sink. “That’s your job, isn’t it? Or do I pay you seven-fifty to stare at the wall?” She shakes her head and walks away.
I kind of wish I could erase her.
“So why don’t you,” a voice asks. “You know that b- deserves it.” The man is standing next to me. His face looks stretched, like he’s wearing a mask that isn’t quite big enough. His eyes are an icy blue, and his hair is dark and trimmed neatly. He wears a clipped mustache and a tailored boiler suit.
I think he’s the devil.
“Because I’m not a murderer. Besides, who kills somebody just for being a b-?”
The man laughs, as if I’ve just cracked a good one. “Why Travis Belick, you sweet little boy. People kill for all sorts of reasons.” He walks slowly towards me, drumming his fingers on the countertop. “For money. For revenge. Or just simply for fun."He stares at me as he says those last words, his face so close to mine I can feel his hot breath. Then he laughs again and throws his arms around me. “Oh you dear boy! If only you could see the look on your face.”
I push him off me. “Don’t touch me.”
He looks pained. “Oh, Travis. Don’t you want to be friends?”
“Travis?” My boss walks into the room. “Who are you talking to?” She looks at me with some fear, some apprehension in her eyes.
“Uh, no one. Just rehearsing for a play.” What a terrible excuse. Moron.
She raises her eyebrows. “Oh really? I didn’t know you were an actor. Get back to work.” She walks out, muttering just loudly enough for me to hear. “Weirdo.”
Outside, the cold bites through my jacket. Pinpoints of stars poke through the night canvas; how strange to see so many stars in the Bronx. I walk down the long sidewalk, looking up at the sky. I have been treated to three visits from my strange new ‘friend’, each longer than the last. The whole experience makes me beg the question: “What is wrong with me now?”
I glance to the side and see a couple step out of an alleyway in between two unlit apartments. They pause to kiss, murky shapes barely visible in the darkness. I stop to watch. The man slips his arm around the woman’s waist; she resists. They confer briefly, and then turn onto the sidewalk in front of me; the woman rolls her eyes at me as they pass and mutters something to her tall companion. He gives me the old once over and smirks back at her. They laugh and continue down the street.
He’s waiting for me inside the apartment. At first I don’t see him, but that familiar voice leaves no room to doubt his presence. “What’s first today, the TV or the beer?”
Neither,” I say, and flip on the light. Thankfully he doesn’t follow me into the bathroom. I was afraid he would. I look at myself in the mirror and try to figure out what made that couple laugh at me. Crew cuts aren’t really in style, but I don’t see anything so funny about that. I do have a big nose, but so did that guy. I’m pretty fit, and my mother always used to tell me I had a nice face. But she would, wouldn’t she?
"You’re so sad, Travis m’ boy. Trying so hard to figure out what’s wrong with you, when it’s looking you right, in the, ah, face.”
“What do you mean?”
The man glides towards me, chuckling. “Oh, poor naïve little boy. It’s right….” He lifts a finger in front of my eyes, and guides my gaze back to the mirror. “….here.” I find my gaze directed to the reflection of my eyes.
“No one likes a peeping Tom, Travis boy.” He laughs.
Same old BS. “Oh, is that all it was?”
He raises his eyebrows. “Is that all? Why, most fellows would at least feel some shame. But not you I see.”
“I don’t have anything to be ashamed of. I’m past that part of my life.” Even I know that’s a lie.
“Are you now? Than why am I here? Think about that, will you?” And then he is gone.
I wish he would stay gone.
In front of the TV I swig a beer and watch. I think my mother would have called these women ‘tramps’. But I don’t mind them. In the bedroom I do something else that would have shocked my mother, and then go to sleep.
It’s the middle of the night; the moon glares down at me. I couldn’t sleep because of what he said. About why he’s here. I think I’m just imagining him, so obviously I’ve gone nuts again. And so I have to get rid of him, somehow. However I can. I finger the knife in my pocket. Maybe if I give him what he wants, he’ll leave me alone.
The girl beckons from the alleyway, I slip her a twenty and we start. I don’t want to hurt anyone, I really don’t. But I have to make him go away. I can’t go back to that place. After, I kill her. He laughs.