I am not a Murderer

Prompt: Transformation

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I’ve heard it said that what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

But what if only a part of you is killed? What if an essential, human part of you was stabbed, set on fire, run over and then run over again, stepped on, stomped on, and spit on, but your physical body remains alive and conscious? What would that make you?

It makes me powerful and dangerous, because I care for nothing or no one but my revenge. No one can hurt me, persuade me, engage me, sway me, frighten me, or touch me.

There’s no need for me to go into the details of my upbringing. You can well imagine. Suffice it to say that I will track down my parents, and my brother. My grandparents, certain schoolmates and teachers, certain employers and coworkers, and certain people I feel don’t deserve to share with the world their hypocritical happiness.

People are foolish, and try to reach me. They try to change me. They try to love me. I don’t consider myself one of them anymore. I have ceased wondering why I was put upon this earth, and why my life has taken the path it has.

I only want satisfaction. Satisfaction gleams and dances like a spinning prism, just out of reach. It must be what happiness feels like.

I’m not a murderer. A murderer might be apprehended, and spend a life in isolation, away from those he seeks to ruin. No, I work every moment, every day of every year, to reach my goals. No-one is murdered, not by me.

Soon I will be in charge. I will be the leader. I will then, inch by inch, breath by breath, senator by senator, take hold of absolute power. I am strong, invincible, and dedicated.

The tribunals will be held every week, much as I would like them to be a part of our daily life. Weekly tribunals will keep the terror fresh and new. I may send my soldiers to find my father last. I will let him wait.

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Obsession

Prompt: Obsessed

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Marigold loved romantic movies, loved sitcoms about relationships, loved books about passionate love affairs. She knew the drill:

A real man doesn’t give up. He knows who he loves, and if she doesn’t realize it quite yet, then he is persistent. His passion is romantic, masculine; her hesitation is either false or fickle, and to be overcome. Love will conquer all.

Sending flowers, cards, messages and emails, appearing unannounced at his true love’s workplace, or flying across country and showing up uninvited on his true love’s doorstep, even though she has rejected him, is real love. She will see that, eventually. She will be flattered, understand the power of his love, and love him back.

Real men pursue until their prey acquiesce.

After meeting Jeanie’s “friend”, her views shifted. Jeanie did impress upon her that Guy’s attentions were unwanted, intrusive, and even threatening behaviours. As a friend, Marigold supported these perceptions, but in her heart she wondered what it would be like to have someone love you to such and extent that they simply would not take no for an answer.

Now she knew. He left gifts outside her door. They were creepy, intimate gifts: soaps, or body oils, or odd little figures of puppies and kittens, or postcards of exotic places he had never visited, or letters. The letters described what they would do together, when she finally loved him back.

She stopped answering the telephone, and he left messages, some so long that the tape ran out. He left messages on her Facebook page.

She could see him standing on the sidewalk across from her apartment.

Marigold contacted the police. She said he was harassing and stalking her. They said their hands were tied, as he had not made any explicit physical threats. He had told her more than once that he would kill himself if she wouldn’t see him. Jeanie told her to ignore him.

She could barely sleep at night, afraid the phone might ring. So she developed a plan, whereby she would return the attentions. She started a notebook, and jotted down ideas and strategies as she thought of them. Repaying Guy for the hell he had been putting her through, for the time and attention she wasted worrying about him, for the futile visits to the police— became an obsession. She wanted to ask Jeanie for help and suggestions, but feared Jeanie would not approve.

But she would go ahead with her plan anyway. She would leave scary things on his doorstep— truly scary things. She would call him at all hours and hang up— consistently. She would send anonymous messages to his employers, and she would hack his Facebook account. Her hands were not tied. She would act.

 


  • The subject isn’t really funny, but the satire is: The Onion.

Uncle Al

Prompt: Connected
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Alberto Demarco arrived at an awkward hour, as Deborah and her mother were finishing dinner and arguing about what to watch on television that evening. Since Vincent’s death, Deborah was obsessed with legal procedural programs, like “Law & Order”, while her mother, for the same reason, couldn’t bear to watch blood or violence or death, preferring reality TV. She liked “Survivor” and “Guy’s Grocery Games”.

People didn’t generally come by at that hour of the day, especially unannounced. But there was Vincent’s Uncle Al, on their front porch in the soft twilight, apologizing for disturbing them. There was a car at the curb, engine still purring, the silhouette of a heavy-set man at the wheel. Al explained he was sorry he missed the funeral as he was out of the country, but now wanted to pay his respects to Deborah and perhaps, help in some way.

They invited him in. “Your friend is welcome, too,” said Deborah’s mother.

“No, no,” said Uncle Alberto, and he gestured to the man in the car, who turned the engine off. “That’s ok, he’s good.”

Deborah’s mother put on a pot of decaf coffee, and the smell drifted into the living room, where Alberto sat on a high backed arm chair, facing Deborah across a coffee table stacked high with books. Coffee table books, in fact. Secrets of the Royal Family. A Model’s Life in Pictures. Illustrated Guide to Yoga, Pilates, and Deep Breathing. The Big Book of Astonishing Optical Illusions. Deborah’s mother liked books. Her family always knew what to get her for Christmas.

Uncle Al wore a suit. He looked very formal. Deborah was wearing jeans and one of Vincent’s summer sweaters, a brown pullover.

“Needless to say,” said Alberto, “I’m sorry about Vince.”

Deborah nodded. She’d always been a little intimidated by Uncle Al, by his size mainly, but also the cold serenity of the man. Impenetrable, inscrutable, and immune to Deborah’s or anyone’s perceived charms.

“And the cops have not arrested anyone?” he asked.

“No– well they did, a homeless man, but while he was in custody the killer struck again. Wounded a friend of Vincent’s, actually, when he tried to run away. Stole his wallet and phone.”

“When?”

Deborah told him. She was surprisingly calm. Uncle Al had an inevitable air about him, too. No point in getting emotional, or curious, or resistant. Let Uncle Al handle it, whatever “it” was.

“It was late,” she said. “Hootie was walking home.”

Her mother put a tray of filled coffee cups and a plate of chocolate chip cookies on the table, and passed around milk and sugar.

“There’s too much crime on the street at night,” she said. “People getting robbed and assaulted.”

“But not usually shot,” Deborah said. “Just my Vince, shot in the face–”

Her mother put a hand on Deborah’s wrist, to steady her.

“But Hootie was just wounded. He said the guy told him that he killed Vince.” There was an almost undetectable tremor in Deborah’s voice. Alberto Demarco heard it, though. “Why would he do that?”

“I thought it was all over, when they got that old man.” Deborah’s mother sighed deeply. The tremor in her voice was not subtle. “So this guy, this murderer, is just walking the street, free, it’s not fair, I–”

Now the daughter comforted the mother. Deborah broke a piece of chocolate chip cookie and fed it to her mother as if she were an infant, and then put a warm coffee cup into her hands, urging her mother to drink.

“I was close to Frank,” said Alberto. “I promised him I would look after his family when he passed. I’m sorry. I couldn’t protect Vincent. But I would like to help you now.”

“Thank you,” said Deborah. They did need help, there was no point pretending otherwise. Vince left very little behind. Alone, she couldn’t afford to keep up the mortgage on their little house. She didn’t want to lose it. It was full of Vincent.

Uncle Al understood. He would do everything he could. “And who can I talk to about what happened to Vincent? Is there a lawyer, a cop?”

“The police don’t tell us much,” said Deborah’s mother. “They have been kind, but don’t seem to know any more than we do.” She paused. “There is a friend of Vincent’s who keeps a kind of scrapbook. All the newspaper clippings,  the reports, the interviews and so on. He is recording it all in Vincent’s memory, he says, and for us. Would that be helpful?”

“I’ll talk to him tomorrow,” said Uncle Al. “And to Hootie. And I’ll take you both out for dinner, no argument.” He got to his feet. “What’s the friend’s name?”

“Leep,” said Deborah. “He’s a strange one, Uncle Al, but he means well.”