“By the way, you don’t mind if I smoke do you? Gee thanks; you’re aces pal.” I slowly take the butane lighter from my pocket and hold it to the Chesterfield I’ve retrieved from the antiquated holder I keep in the back pocket of my jeans. What’s the rush after all? The smoke dances in the sunlight that pours through the stained glass window opposite us in the kitchen and I can’t help but admire the feel of this particular home. It’s almost dreamlike, positively surreal.
The opulent paint scheme and the stucco walls set a very distinctive mood and everything matches from the curtains down to the brass appliances. It’s one hell of a house and it’s safe to say I’m a fan of whoever was responsible for the design. I’m especially fixated on the custom set of kitchen knives on the butcher block. There’s a lot you can tell about a person from the decorations of their home and the condition they keep their cutlery in. “Honestly I don’t think there is any other way to look at my life; I’m just horribly misunderstood. That’s the long and short of it and to my knowledge it’s always has been that way. Seriously, let me just run a few things past you, I’m sure you’ll see it from my point of view.”
I guess it’d be too easy to blame this kind of thing on my mother although she’s most likely the root of my specific peculiarities. Saying my childhood was “abnormal” would be anything but an exaggeration. “Did you know that my mother, outside of being a lawyer and a doctor was also a representative on the city council? At least that’s what she’d tell the newspaper in her bi-monthly rant to the editor of the local newspaper. My doctors may say I’m imbalanced but if they’d of had the chance to meet her then they’d really know what crazy looked like. She’d of made Pagliacci look like a normal balanced individual.” The fact of the matter was I barely saw my mother, save when she’d come by to take me to the local magistrate to renew her child support documentation and whatnot. I was raised by her brother, my uncle, who happened to be a very artistic man. And for as much of an artist as he was he was twice as eccentric. Maybe those traits rubbed off on me more than I’d care to admit, but I’ll leave that discussion for another time, as that’s an entirely different rabbit hole of equal measure and depth.
As I inhale the cherry on the cigarette glows red, then an intense orange before settling back into a cool ash-grey. “Control issues; that was the first thing that got on my nerves when people would attempt to analyze me as a child. What was it they used to say? Oh yes, they said I was “aggressive-aggressive”. Sure I might have been a bit bossy but some children are naturally like that aren’t they? The whole incident with me tying the other kids up? That was just a joke, and apparently one that some parents just couldn’t take. I always thought it was funny seeing what other kids do especially if you leave them alone like that for a while. Besides, I learned an important lesson from that whole debacle; bungee cords are infinitely superior to rope when it comes to restraints. Keep another child tied up in a janitors closet for long enough and they’ll look forward to being locked in their parents car trunk like it was Christmas, rest assured.”
The look on my new friend’s face contorts in discomfort; it’s painfully clear that he’s not following and considering the position he’s in I guess I can understand that. He seems worried. I can tell because his eyes keep darting around the room Maybe I should get more personal. The doctors always said that was something I should try and right now is as good a time as any to give it a shot. “Would you believe after that they sent me for counseling? For the most part I still don’t understand what the fuss was all about; everybody likes a good fire after all. Hell, I’d even say it was art, and who’s got the right to deny me my God given right to make my art a reality?”
Yes, I do believe I’m starting to lose him; he’s drifting and that’s upsetting me quite a bit to say the least. “I guess, in retrospect, I may have had a bit of a violent streak in me but then again at the time it seemed perfectly reasonable. It’s not like I was a looney or something like that; I’d always assumed if I were Big Brother would have had me locked up. And in my defense those kids were bigger than me so they had it coming. Besides, it’s not like they ever found the baseball bat… or the bodies for that matter.” The embers begin to singe the base of my fingers and I take one final drag on the nearly finished cigarette.
I guess it’s true what they say, nothing lasts forever, not my Chesterfields, much to my dismay, and not the surprisingly enjoyable conversation I’ve been having. Sure it’s a bit one sided but when somebody like me finds another person who’s willing to listen it means the world. My hand caresses the forged handles of the knives on the cutting block and rests gently over the smallest of the bunch; the paring knife. I remove it from its place of rest and run my fingernail over the blade to test its keenness. “Ahhh…. just what I like to see, the edge is nice and sharp.” I admire the workmanship of the solid steel knife in my hand; my friend on the couch certainly does have an eye for detail and quality. “Oh, and about your cat; there’s just no way around it, the cat HAD to go.”
I begin to move towards the couch, slowly, but purposefully. I’d like to say that I didn’t do that kind of thing intentionally. I’d also like to say that doing so didn’t make the situation all the more exciting for me but if I said that I’d be lying. Delay the moment for as long as you can, that’s what I always say. Besides, the slow stroll towards my host gives me a minute to admire the rich Corinthian leather of the couch he’s “sitting” on. “You know I just wanted to say, before we get on with it all, I absolutely love what you’ve done with your house; you’ve got style, panache even. It is, by far, the nicest I’ve been in a while and the fact that you were nice enough to spend some time listening to my problems, well, that’s just plain neighborly of you.”
He struggles against the bungee cords that I’ve used to tie him up. If I didn’t know any better I’d think he was trying to bite through the duct tape. “Sorry about that friend. Honestly if I thought you wouldn’t scream I’d take the tape off but considering I know full well we’re about to make a mess I just can’t take ay extra chances.” His eyes widen as I produce the knife and begin to hone it on the leather strap I keep in my pocket. “Now, do me a favour and try to stay still. It’s more for your sake, honestly. Either way, this is really going to hurt.”
“Hmmm…. I’m starting to regret not doing this outside. He certainly was a gusher. But on the bright side, at least there won’t be a whole lot left over for his huckle bearers to carry.” The blood on the curtains beads up and rolls down the magenta fabric like wax on a candle. Ikea; they just have to be from Ikea. Those Norwegian bastards were absolute geniuses when it came to murder-friendly housewares and there isn’t another a group of people on Earth that would make drapes in a gaudy colors like that.
RJ Wasser is an English Major at West Chester University. He previously completed two enlistments in the US Armed Forces; one in the Air Force and the other in the Army. wasserrj.wordpress.com