This is what it looks like. I don't think we're liars. We did our job, several times over. We agreed to kill the girl, and we did. I think so. I don't ask questions about that. That requires real thought, and I hate thinking too much. We haven't been paid, and I hate that, too. I hate having to try hard at anything. Guns, for example. Loading, reloading, aiming, cleaning. It bothers me. Give me a sledgehammer or baseball bat and I'll get results. Usually. But I've gotten past that piece of angst. I still wanna crush her skull with my bare hands, but that's not why I'm here. I'm here because doors need smashing, walls need burning, and jaws need removing. I want to lose some weight while I'm at it. But I'm not fat. She says we're not getting our money, and she's probably right. I've been in that situation before. People never want to pay, or they can't, but that's the way of the world. That's what my best friend says, and I believe him. Mostly. He also says that my face is getting uglier by the day. Maybe. The girl is starting to be a friend of mine. I like her because I've killed her. Twice. But I don't understand what she says. She talks like she's smart, even if she's not. She tells me that I killed her, but not well enough. I don't get it, and I don't really want to. Easy is what turns me on.
Easy is splashing gasoline along the corridors and on the doors. I have to keep going back to the car to get more. First from the trunk, and then the back seat. It's a pretty big building, bigger than I'm used to. That's okay. I'm big, too. This guy comes out from #201 and asks me what the hell I'm doing. I tell him. In his bathroom. As I'm kicking his teeth into his nose. Closer inspection reveals that there were at least a few gold bridges involved. Same difference. I drink a glass of skim milk from his fridge and catch a few minutes of a Herzog documentary on A&E. Air balloons are stupid. That's why I don't wash my hands before leaving the apartment.
Splish. Splash. This isn’t my style, but she says I have to be crafty about it. Sometimes gas spills on my jacket, pants, and shoes, but that’s okay. I’m not staying long. I guess I should walk backwards, but I don’t plan on catching fire. If I’m going backwards, I can’t see what’s in front of me. And I’m hungry. Skim milk doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do. It’s milk, but it’s not. Like me. She says I’m not to harm anyone unless it’s necessary. I don’t get it. Pass by #210 and hear music playing. Not too loud. Some laughter filters through the door. The music is vaguely familiar. I wanna say it’s a Glass Tiger song. Weird. Sounds like teenagers having a small party, probably drinking. I never had fun like that, but it doesn’t bother me too much. I believe in equity. I believe that the world is my oyster, and fuck, I’m starving, but I wanna shed some unwanted pounds. We’ll go to Happy Chef after we finish, except that I don’t know when that’s going to be. I’m not wearing a mask or anything, but I don’t plan on getting spotted. Ask the guy in #201 what he thinks, and he tells you nothing. He tells you zero. Kinda funny.
The girl’s not a girl, and she says I don’t need to start the fire right away. She says to wait for the signal, but doesn’t say when, or what, that will be. I can wait. I’m patient. I’m hungry. I’m on a diet. I’m going to drop a match. I’m going to punch that bitch in the face. Even though I’m beginng to like her.
The music seeping out from #210 isn’t bad, just odd. What is the name of the song? I wanna say Don’t Shed a Tear, which is strange. I shouldn’t know that, and these kids shouldn’t be listening to it, unless the year were 1986, which it is not. I’m in middle school, or at that age, anyway. I eat Jumpin’ Jack Doritos from inside a dumpster in South Bend. I borrow Steve Erusha’s old J.C. Penney lawn mower, pay him a buck for the gas inside, and head out for the afternoon. Do Mrs. Wenzel’s lawn, avoid most of the flowers. Get five dollars. Take my time bringing the mower back to Erusha. There’sa tabby cat hog-tied and wrapped up in a Hefty sack. It hisses and wiggles valiantly as I bury it up to its scrawny neck in the dirt of a vacant lot at the dead end of Woodside Drive. I can hear it screech over the roar of the mower’s engine, and then poof. Like when you step into a rotting log intentionally. Not fully rotten, but getting there. That’s the noise it makes. I collect any tangible remains of its skull, brain, and teeth and place them within a baggie. Erusha asks me if I need the the mower tomorrow. I nod. This is 1986.
I knock. Someone shouts “It’s about time you got here, Cathy!” and the door opens to reveal a girl of no more than seventeen years of age. Short black hair, not sure of the style. Petite, as I look down at her, and she up at me with eyes wide open in bewilderment. Navy blue pajama bottoms with white stripes running down the legs. Probably cotton. Oversized Kid Rock T-shirt, possibly charcoal, but faded, so hard to say. Probably cotton, as well. I smirk, while she elects to narrow her eyes. I’m not Cathy, but close enough.
Sitting on a plush leather couch, I gorge upon a half-empty can of mixed nuts. Blood on my fingers mixes with an assortment of cashews, peanuts, almonds, and something else I can’t identify. Salty. Don’t Stop Believin’ plays on the stereo. Alphabetical order? One of the three girls, a blonde stained magenta, whimpers from her darkening spot on trampled, beige carpeting. It sounds like I speak with food in my mouth. I want to say something to her. I mix some Sour Apple Pucker with the glob of mixed nuts inside my mouth. The greenish-brown nugget of nuts drops from my lips onto her broken face. Don’t You Want Me. Baby. Kids’ liquor is refreshing. I sorta hope Cathy arrives soon. Easy is what turns me on.
This is what it looks like.