This story originally appeared in The Collapsar in April, 2018.
The day I killed S was the happiest day of my life. He was a miserable man. Miserable and cruel and when I cut across his throat with that little knife, I messed it all up and he died so slowly and said so many terrible things, or tried to, that I laughed and laughed.
He wasn’t a miserable man. I mean he was, it’s just he was so handsome. And when he turned his light on, goddamn, it was like the sun. His smile was like the sun and I was a little plant. No, I was a big oak tree just soaking up that sunlight. No, I was a maple, oozing sap, oozing wet sap and getting ready for spring. I was a lawn and he was the sun and I was spread out under him open and hilly and lush.
Inside my backpack was a box of big black garbage bags. One bag for my clothes, soaked in his awful blood. One for his head. (I had planned to cut off his head. I should have watched more movies. Can’t cut through a spinal column with the little knife I had.) One for his head that was now for three of his fingers, which I hacked off after I was sure he was totally one hundred percent dead. I wasn’t going to keep the fingers in my apartment or anything. I’m not a crazy person. I was just gonna hang on to them a little longer than the clothes and the knife. Maybe throw them in the Mystic River after a day.
Squished by the box of garbage bags was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on oat bread. I don’t really like peanut butter and jelly, particularly if it’s been squished. But more importantly, S hated peanut butter and jelly. Once, when we were dating—those sunny summer months—once, in those warm months, I surprised him at work with a picnic lunch. I ordered a real wicker picnic basket online and one of those old-fashioned red-and-white checkered blankets. I made hard boiled eggs, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and carrot sticks. I bought a tiny bottle of champagne. It was a thing. It was gonna be a thing.
Dear reader, he fucking slapped me. Sitting on the blanket in the middle of the goddamn Commons. He slapped me across the face and said “If you ever make me peanut butter and jelly again, I don’t know if I’ll be able to control myself.” I got up and left him there in the park with the $60 basket and the $20 blanket and the adorable $15 bottle of champagne undrunk. I stood up and walked away. Then I walked back, grabbed my purse, told him if he ever tried to call or text I would tell his mother exactly what he had done and said to me, then I walked all the way across the Commons to the T and went home.
He never called. Never texted. His mom friended me on Facebook, but I blocked her and eventually forgot.
Next to the sandwich, which I ate in huge mouthfuls after hacking those fingers off, was a spray bottle of bleach. Not a super smart idea keeping the bleach near the food, in hindsight, although the PBJ was in a baggie. The bleach was for the fingerprints and stuff. I was wearing gloves the whole time, of course. It just felt good to spray around the room and wipe up with paper towels.
I’m not crazy-crazy. But I am thorough.
I saw S again, five years after the picnic incident, a week before I killed him. Saw him on the street, way down in Jamaica Plain. Not near my place. Not near his.
He looked amazing. He looked awful. S’s hair is (was (is. Hair doesn’t go away if you die (are killed))) gorgeous. Black and full and shiny. He was wearing the kind of outfit you wear when you want folks to think you spend a lot of money on your workout clothes. Thick, well-fitted sweatpants. A technical-looking t-shirt. I crossed the street and hid behind a car so he wouldn’t see me.
In the middle of the block, young folks were canvassing for Planned Parenthood. Wearing those apron things? “Do you have a minute for women’s health?” I saw him. I saw him from behind the car and across the street. One young person started their spiel, their speech, “Do you have a minute—?” S stopped in front of them, pulled out his wallet. I saw the young person’s face relax—oh god it relaxed—from the terrible always-smile into a normal semblance of human emotion. Here was a man who was going to donate some money to Planned Parenthood. S pulled a bill out of his wallet. The young person’s face drooped a bit, so it was probably a small bill, a five or even a one.
S dropped the bill onto the sidewalk. S walked away.
I was so confused. And so was the young person. They bent down to pick up the money and my eyes went instinctively to S. And there. Oh goddamn there it was. He turned his head, just his head, just a little duck and turn of the head so he could see the young person crouch for the bill, then fumble a bit as it caught the wind. The young person had to go down to one knee and one hand on the sidewalk before they could catch it. And S. He didn’t smile that sunny smile. Nah. He wouldn’t. But he sure as hell straightened his shoulders and shoved his hands in his pockets and turned his face to the sky as if to say “This is a very good day.”
So I decided to kill him.
It was incredibly easy.
Me, texting: new digs. come by 159 R__ St Apt 3 at 7pm tomorrow to say hi?
Bunched up under the bleach bottle, the sandwich, and the box of bags was my change of clothes. After, I changed in the yellowing bathroom. Washed the little knife, gloves still on. Chucked the bloody clothes and the paper towels and the bleach into separate bags. Wow was he super confused when I answered the door in sweats. He really had thought it was a booty call. I asked him in, closed the door, and conked him as hard as I could on the head with a mini-sledge.
I tied him up with hemp rope I found in a dumpster—no joke!—and gagged him with his own socks. He eventually woke up and that’s when I cut his throat poorly. Originally, I thought about saying something witty, but really I just wanted him to die and to know it was me who did it.
God it felt great.
I was careful. He saw the knife and thrashed a bit, but I had tied him well. And I didn’t mess around with the knife, just once ear to ear and he moved his mouth and gargled a bunch through the sock and bled fucking everywhere and Jesus, the hate in his eyes.
I had found the apartment on Craigslist through an email account I set up at the library. I smashed his phone good with that mini-sledge and “dropped mine in the toilet” that night. Had to get a new one.
I mean, I know they’ll find me. I killed a person. Deserved it though, didn’t he. Happiest day of my life.