An absurd day
When i'm lost, I find myself leaning back
into comfort, into monotony, into reliable things
I read my small diary, scribbles cramped into pages
and I giggle at how stupid I sound
I look around when I'm lost
Where am I? Why am I here?
I call my mother on the phone, hearing comforting nonsense in the background
I smile at the reassurance of the physical world
I stare at a blank page, confused at my lack of thoughts
and I remember the day, the schedule, the ups and downs
the fact that I walked out dazed from a supermarket, 2 whole unpaid packets of food in my hand
and I wince at my human self with it's human errors
I pinch myself awake, yet I yawn again
Tears form on the corners of my eyes, struggling to not sleep
and in that moment, the day flashes by, slow and fast, musical and nutty
My head falls down and I wake up with a flash to everything vanishing
In my mistakes,
In my home,
In my errors,
and lastly, in my memories
I was in the shower when it occurred to me.
I should kill someo-
Oh. You’re still here. I should look at the floor of the bathroom? Oh. Okay. I guess I already killed someone. Explains why I’m in the shower. You didn’t see anything did you? I didn’t either. I really didn’t. I don’t remember anything. Why do I keep doing this? Well the answer leading psychologists provide is that it fulfills some carnal need and desire in me. I just think I need to kill. That’s all. You don’t need to know why.
I towel off and exit the bathroom. The canvas lies in the trash can. My journal is safely wedged between the bed and bookshelf. There is a pile of clothes on the floor. My coat is hanging over the chair. I reach into the right pocket and I find my keys. Everything is just as I left it. If I ever did leave it.
Where are my clothes?
I look at the pile and into the laundry basket. There are no new additions. I don’t know where my clothes are.
I pick up my journal from between the bookshelf and the bed. There’s a new note with another dog ear.
You killed someone.
But at the same time, you didn’t
You are innocent.
It had to happen.
Do you understand? Because you’re innocent
YOU ARE COMPLETELY INN-“
The sentence becomes undecipherable after that again.
I flip through the rest of the pages. There seems to be no other writing. I remember the blood red innocent painted on one of the pages and I flip to that. It’s still there, taking up all the space in the page. I wonder why I didn’t write anything else.
I close it shut and wedge it between the bookshelf and the bed. I lie on the bed and let the sunshine wash over me. It was a late night for me.
The phone vibrates next to me. I take it and view the notifications. It’s a message from a match of mine on tinder. I switch my phone off and place it away. I’m suddenly too tired to kill someone now.
You think I’ll be able to find out who I killed if I look at my tinder? No chance of it. My past self is efficient and precise. The contact and messages are already deleted. Everything is already taken care of. All I need to do is find a new person to kill. You think its exhausting? Yes, to a certain extent, it is. I don’t mind.
There’s a knock on my door and I jolt upright. I give my room the once over again. The red canvas, the journal, the pile of clothes, the clean floor.
Where’s the pool of paint?
And my footsteps?
When did I clean it?
I shake my head and move towards the door. There’s another knock and I open the door.
In front of me stands my neighbor. He’s dressed in a t shirt which has a cliché motivational quote on it. He enters the room even though I didn’t invite him in. I feel my hands clench into fists and hide them behind my back. He continues observing the room and motions to the trash can
“I take it your art project failed?”
I look at him then. He looks exhausted and his eyes are red. Blood red.
“What do you know about my art project?”
“Only what you told me.” He continues moving around the room again. Thoughts are rushing through my head as he steps over and over, through my room. What is he looking for? Is he even looking for something? Why would I even talk to him?
What did I tell him? I can’t ask him that. He’ll start to suspect things. And suspicion leads to disaster. I feel a sudden pain in my stomach and hunch over. He looks up with a questioning look, less concerned more intrusive “Anything wrong?”
I look up again into the blood red eyes. “Nothing” I say as the memory fades. “What are you doing here?”
“Hm? Oh just really wanted to see your art project. Also rent is due” He turns his pockets inside out. “I paid the landlord for you but you owe me buddy”
For some godforsaken reason, he thinks I’m his friend and does these weird favors that I don’t even ask him to do. Half the time I wonder if he makes these up. Robbing me, the innocent, of my hard earned money. How do I make money? You’ll see soon enough. It’s a pathetic job but it is necessary for me to maintain this semblance of a house. I don’t rob the people I kill. I don’t kill for money even though I’m strapped for cash. I-
“Hey” fingers snap in front of my face and my neighbor’s face appears in view. “Um you kind of spaced out for a bit.” He turns his pockets back in and puts his hands inside. “I need you to pay me back.”
“Wait” I rummage through my things careful to cover his view of my bookshelf. I take out my wallet and pay him. “That’s it, right?”
He’s still standing and counting the change with his fingers while his eyes roam the room. What is he searching for? Why does he keep looking around my room?
“Yep, that’s it. Hey, if you’re free, do you want to come over to my author signing? I just need some company cause fans are just so annoying.”
Yes. He’s a writer. I have an author who writes motivational books and then wears shirts with said motivational quotes that he writes in his motivational books. This is a person who I live with. These people exis-
“You spaced out again” He’s all up in my face now. I back away and he stands there staring at me, observing, analyzing. It’s like he’s trying to figure me out as a character so he can pin me in one of his books. Help me. Cure me.
“I’m not free today. I have to work cause I missed one of my shifts yesterday. But, I hope the signing goes well.” I shrug and say. “By the way, what happened to your eyes?”
“Oh these?” He gestures to them “I don’t know, just stayed up late to do some stuff and ended up not sleeping at all” He yawns wide “But yeah, I hope the signing goes well too so I can be done with this for a while.”
He continues standing. He’s still observing. How much more small talk can I even do?
“Um so I need to leave for work now so uh” my eyes unconsciously motion towards to the doorway.
“Yeah sure enjoy work” He doesn’t catch my hint but proceeds to leave anyways. He stops at the doorway and turns around “By the way, if you need some more paint, I have some colors in my room so go ahead and help yourself to them. Key is under the mattress” he winks and leaves.
Why does he think I want to paint so bad? Does he really think this art project is that important? Did I think this art project was that important?
I look at the messy canvas in the trash, then pick it up and place it in the corner of the room. There’s something about it that’s bothering me. I don’t know if it’s the intense shade of red or the fact that the soaked up canvas is sun dry already. I look at it for a few minutes and then lay back on the bed again. I breathe in for a few minutes, relaxing now that I’m alone. The sun is hot now and the heat envelopes me as I lay there staring at the ceiling.
An alarm jolts me upright, ringing in my ears and I’ve realized it’s the alarm I usually put to get ready for work.
I get up slowly and stretch my hands up high. The alarm rings dimly in the background and I reach over to stop it. This is getting tiring.
I’m not going to stop just because it interferes with my work. This is what gives me life. Unlike you, who searches for meaning in the monotony of a well scheduled day. I live like this to bring myself happiness. To bring meaning. To understand what I’m missing. Because I just never remember. And I want to know why. I will do whatever it takes to know why.
I put on my work clothes and head out. My coat is on the chair and I take the keys from them. The journal is hidden. The canvas is at the corner. Everything is as it should be.
I look to the side and see my neighbor’s doormat. Curiosity overwhelms me and I lift it. Just like he said, his key is underneath.
I pick it up and look at the door. Look at the key. Look at the door. Look at the key. Look at the door.
Look at the key.
The key is getting smaller. It’s the size of my pinky.
Look at the door.
The door is bigger. It’s getting so big. Its above me, taunting me, threatening me.
I drop the key and run away.
I don’t want to know what is behind his door.
I was in the shower when it occurred to me.
I should kill someone.
I was scrubbing myself clean and when the water dripped onto the floor, I saw a flash of a past life where someone died. Or maybe it was a movie. Or maybe it was all orchestrated in my head.
Was I fantasizing over something forever and not really realizing it was real? And possible?
Why was I in the shower?
I looked down to see the blood go down the drain.
Oh wait. I did kill someone.
I should start recording this stuff so I actually remember what happened.
I examine my fingernails and realize I should have done a better job. I go underneath the shower head again and dig under my fingernails again, blood red seeping out.
How many times do I have to kill to remember I killed?
I finish up and go to the bound journal on my cluttered desk. Paperclips are sticking out the side of the page as I find the dog ear I marked for myself.
You’ll forget again so I’m reminding you.
You killed someone today.
It doesn’t matter who. It doesn’t matter how.
No matter what anyone says, you’re innocent.
You are completely innocent.
YOU ARE INNOCE-“
The pen scribbles of the page then and the writing is undecipherable.
I sit down on the bed and it creaks loudly. I trace over the writing and its many indentations. This person was very angry.
I was very angry.
I was this person.
The room around me is cluttered. I wonder where the murder weapon is. How did I do it? Did I strangle him or her? Was it stabbing? Did I make this person suffer? Was it in an alley way? Was this person young? Old? Was I wearing a mask? Where are my clothes?
I suddenly stop.
Where are my clothes?
I turn to the laundry bag and I start rummaging through it furiously. Flinging clothes left and right as I search through them.
I pick out a plaid shirt from the bag, covered red. I shakily lift it to my nose and smell it.
The odor of paint is strong and tickles my nose. I raise my head to the white canvas painted red. There’s paint on the floor and paint tracks of my footsteps to the bathroom.
Did I kill someone today?
My journal says I did. So I must have.
But did I?
I pick up the canvas and throw it in the trash. It’s useless for painting now anyways. The red has seeped in and drenched it.
What did I want to paint? The canvas must have been out for some reason. I pick up the journal again and flip through it to find red paint on one of the pages. There is undecipherable writing again and then one word written with what appears to be a finger.
I close it shut. I put it back in its hiding place, wedged between the bookshelf and the bed. Past me was careless, leaving it out in the open.
This book convicts me of so many murders. Murders I don’t even remember.
I grab my phone on the look for my next victim. How do I find my victims, you ask?
Yes, I know you’re there. Snooping through my life. You don’t like me. I killed so many people. “He’s pretending” is what you’re now thinking. No, I can’t read your mind. I can just predict what you’re going to say. It takes practice.
I am not evil. You may already have your preconceived notions about me so I don’t want to waste my time trying to convince you otherwise. I am just stating what I believe. You’ll see.
I scroll through my phone and click on the fire icon. A face appears on my screen, the light glaring in the dimly lit room. His name, appears at the bottom and below that the description written is “crazy for chipotle yooooo”. I swipe left. Another face appears, with a wide smile. I swipe left again. A popup startles me. I matched with someone. I realize I swiped right. I guess this person is going to be my new victim.
I click on her profile and look below the name.
Now, you’ll see my process. You see, unlike other killers, I don’t discriminate. Any age is fine and any gender is fine (considering gender is a construct either way). And when things don’t go according to plan, I just go with the flow. I’m completely harmless you see? I didn’t suddenly get angry and throw my phone against the wall. Though I really wanted too. I really really wanted too.
I shake my head and observe the location. Pretty close by. Perfect, I think. Maybe this time I’ll be able to remember it. If I did remember, would I stop killing? I don’t know. And to be honest, it doesn’t even matter.
I start texting her. She replies with a
“youre superrrrrrrrrr cute”
She’s obviously drunk. I look at her profile again. Under description it says “sophomore year is gonna be litttttt” with a fire emoji. No one will miss her.
Of course, I’m not judging her for her lifestyle. “You’re not one to judge are you?” is what you’re thinking. But you’re lying. Because you’re judging as well. You’re looking at her profile picture and thinking “she’s a ditzy blonde”. But you won’t say it out loud. You will never say it out loud. Only I will. I’m considered rude and egotistic because I have the courage to say what everyone else is thinking. So don’t judge me for judging her. Never judge me.
I look down at the phone again and there’s 2 more notifications.
“Heyyyyyyyy youre like rihgt here.”
I didn’t blur that out for you. I just don’t remember. It just registers and I go there. But even I don’t know what that place is. “You’re lying” you think again. My condition is unique. And for that reason, I believe I’m innocent. Who knows if I even committed these crimes? Random disappearances happen all the time. I could be innocent. No, I am innocent.
I shrug on my jacket and open the door. My journal is still wedged in between the bookshelf and the bed. The red canvas lies lopsided in the trash can. There’s a messy pile of clothes by the laundry bag. There’s red acrylic paint on the floor with footprint marks. I’ll need to clean that soon. What did I want to paint?
I lock the door and place the keys in my right pocket, remembering the time I panicked outside of my house. Never again. I am prepared this time. Pain courses through my body and I look down at my stomach. There’s no wound there and the memory of my injury fades away.
I clutch my keys for comfort and walk down the stairs, into the snow covered landscape.
Luna looked outside the window. The bird was squawking constantly. She searched for earmuffs to cover her ears. Through the thick wool, she could still hear the bird. When she looked closely, she noticed it was her pet bird that went missing a few days ago. She placed bird seeds in the feeder, happily. At night, Luna ate her dinner.She looked down at her plate and smiled. The utensils, stained red as she brought them up to her mouth for a big bite. Her earmuffs lay by the side of the table. The bird was no longer squawking.
A ba donka donk
The wheel falls, thumping with rhythm to the beat of my heart.
My car upturned to the side, oil slowly leaking.
I stare, at the lake in front of me
Bubbles, rising slowly, engulphing me
my oesophagus closing in on itself
water everywhere, around me, in me
pain with every breath
I don’t try to go up
Because I don’t know how to go up
I flail mid-air, floating above the wreckage that settled to the bottom
Gravity no longer a constraint for me
For a few more minutes
I think I hear screaming around me
I look up to a world of flames, chaos everywhere
But I don’t like the sight so I start to close my eyes
Black in the midst of daylight
I hear my panicked breaths, start to slow down
The bubbles are lesser in number
I decide to extend my hands upward, one last try
And everything goes limp
And I die
When there is chaos all around,
its time to pick up the trusty bicycle
and go cycling.
Rusty gears moving in sync with each other
The tires full of air, crunching
over the gravel on the road.
And then, something changes
Because when the cycle leaps,
And when the cycle is fast
as fast as fast could be
And then anything seems possible,
as you’re whizzing past trees, people, everything
a brief moment of running away from the world
You see the sky above you, expand
encompassing everything, so big you could never touch it
feeling safe in the big blue bubble
The sun shines on your face, warming everything
Pumping your legs as fast as you can
Reaching a goal you have in mind
You pump and pump
Racing, rushing, galloping, leaping
And you screech to a stop
And you breathe
and breathe like you’ve never breathed before
even if it’s just for a minute
you feel alright.
As far as the eye can see
We look, searching for an end in the infinite yellow
We enter it, on a mission, to find where it stops
In the middle, we are, all of a sudden
sea of yellow all around us
“Lost” we say, “We are lost”
And then we giggle, for we are in the most beautiful place fathomable
And we dont know where we are
The sun bathes us in yellow rays
Our long shadows not longer than the field
Tangerine pink colors amidst the golden
Wind rushing through the long stalks,
as we trip over our feet
running like we’ve never run before
Golden swirling all around us
in rhythm with the silence around us
a place we’ll never find again,
for it is a place we never found
“Where are you?”
Static noise came from the other end.
I smiled brightly through my teeth “Do come to the market soon, won’t you?”. The static was deafening. “Oh you’re not free?” I said as I frowned. The person next to me checked their watch and looked up at me through the glass.
I frowned more “I really wish you could come. We could have bought marshmallows together!” I started to look for change in my purse as I looked out through the other side of the glass. It was a marvellous lake. “I would have loved to spend time with you by the lake”. The static kept building and building. The orange of the sun fell through the glass onto my face. I giggled “Of course I would spend time with you I’m not going to ditch you!” I heard the change roll inside the slot like a marble and continued talking.
The person looked up once more and appeared impatient. I decided to finally end the call. “Well it’s been nice talking with you but I really wish you would come! I miss you! By-”
“Who are you?”
I stopped. My body froze despite the warm air. Everything seemed to stop.
“Who are you?” The voice repeated. “Stop. You need to stop”
My mouth couldn’t open. Wouldn’t open.
“Who – are – you?”.
I looked outside. The person had left. I was alone. The sun started to set it. It was getting dark.
“You need to stop. I don’t exist. Stop this. Stop”
“I….. I don’t understand” I choked out “Who are you?”
“You know who I am. You’ve always known. You call me every time. You need to stop this.”
“But nobody knows this. Nobody is supposed to know this. You don’t know this. You can’t possibly know this.”
There was mumbling. Or static. Or noise. Or whispering.
“Hello?” I fumbled for change in my pocket and hurriedly put it inside the slot.
“Why are you wasting time with that?” A voice whispered.
I shivered. “I couldn’t hear you”
“You shouldn’t hear me. You’re doing this to yourself. Look at yourself. Look at the phone. Look at where you are”
“Stop! Stop telling me what to do!” I shouted
“I’m – not - real. All of this isn’t real. You’re talking to no one” The voice was scary. I didn’t like this. I pushed the receiver down onto the stand and my hand fell through
I looked up. I wasn’t holding a receiver. I wasn’t holding anything.
I looked at the glass noticing the big “Out of order” Sign. The man. He was supposed to fix this. What am I doing here?
“What am I doing here?”
“What are you doing here?”
I nodded to myself as I stopped talking and closed my eyes to darkness.
I was gone.
The static continued. A voice crackled out of the receiver.
“Your call has ended. Please deposit change.”
I hate summer
“….shower water. Isn’t that disgusting?”
“I’m sorry?” I shook my head.” What did you say?”
“THE OCEAN WATER IS USED AS SHOWER WATER. ISN’T THAT DISGUSTING!?” She shouted
“Yeah” I laughed nervously “Crazy huh? We never know how things work”
“I paid money to be on this cruise and I DESERVE exclusive treatment. Just give me my ocean water already.”
“A glass of wine in a beer jar” I handed her the drink, sprinkled some salt and added a sliced pineapple.
“That’ll do, Jerry” she put her sunglasses on and sashayed away.
I hate summer
“BARTENDER!? HELLOOOOO I HAVE BEEN CALLING YOU FOR LIKE FOREVER”
I sighed and moved on the next customer “What can I getcha?”
“Listen” she mimed whispered and then giggled “I think I killed someone”
“SCORE!” sunglass lady screamed while watching the playoffs
“I-think-I-killed-someone” she mimed whispered again and started laughing “I didn’t know what I was doing and I just did it”
There’s no fucking way she did that.
“There’s no fucking way you did that.”
She grinned wider “I did. And what’s more, the bodies are in my room. Also, since you don’t report me.” She pointed at the glass in my hands “That’s what I killed them with. And it has all your fingerprints on it”
I looked down. The glass was in my hands. I had started wiping it down with a washcloth noticing the wine stains which I now realize is blood.
I shakily place it on the table quietly. My mind starts racing.
“ALL I need from you, is a shovel”
I look up “A shovel. That’s it?”
“YEP. Just a shovel. And I won’t tell a soul noooooo” she giggled again
“We are at sea. This is a cruise. Where are you going to fucking dig? Through the ship!?” I raged. Sunglass lady was looking at me. I took a deep breath and switched to another glass to wipe down. She looked away.
“Why does it matter? Just give me the shovel and its byeeeeee”
I didn’t like this. I didn’t like her.
I hung my apron behind me and left the bar. She started to follow me and I led her below deck. The shovel was there around the corner. Maybe I could hit her hard enough and run up to the deck captain. Maybe I could negotiate- no that wouldn’t work.
“Here you go” I picked it up and handed it to her. She grabbed it from my hands and left. I followed her from behind as she stamped her way up to her room. She looked around suspiciously, then opened her door. I peeked through the keyhole.
There were no bodies inside. I looked at what she was looking at.
Looking at the upturned goldfish in the bowl.
Thank god I released a sigh. Thank god she wasn’t a lunatic I looked at the short bloody knife in my back pocket. It’s starting to stink below deck I thought going back down. I hate summer.
The flowers were right next to her, pink even though she planted them thinking they were yellow. She looked up at the man standing in front of her with a piece of paper. The piece of paper that was the most important piece of paper in the world. She reached outwards, her hand outstretched and-
Her eyes opened slowly. The sun was rising, shining into the dilapidated room. She heard the bicycle bell yet again. Who was here this early in morning?
She looked from her window and saw the man from her dream. Or was he the man from her dream? She headed for the door, wrapping her robe around her tightly and opened the door. The man’s hand, raised mid knock, lowered his hand “Here’s your letter, miss.”
She looked at him. She had never looked at him before. He had a mole under his eye and dimples when he smiled. His hands were oddly clenched.
“Do I know you?” She said as she looked at him more closely. He smiled and his dimples were seen “I’m your regular delivery postman?” His hands were still clenched.
She looked at him again. Why did he seem so familiar? She looked at the letter in his hand. As she extended her hand towards the letter, he handed her a clipboard.
“Signature, miss” he said as she took the clipboard. He handed her a pen. A pen with pink ink. Pink.
She looked at the flowers next to the porch. Pink. They were pink flowers. Instinctively, her hand moved over the paper. A name she didn’t recognize. Jemma.
She handed over the clipboard to him. He looked at the name and his eyes furrowed in disappointment. As she took the letter, she wondered if she should open it. Something told her not to. She looked at the postman and he was looking at the letter, his eyes wide in curiosity. She looked at the letter again, cold to touch.
She looked at it again, eager to find out what was inside and chose to open it. As she slipped her finger under the flap, a piece of paper poked out. When she started to pull the paper out, she could read out the letters-
She dropped the paper in a shock. As she saw the paper flutter to the ground, the postman looked at her in disappointment. An announcement echoed in the background barely audible to her.
Patient Jemma Staham, guilty of killing Mr David Lynn, employed at a postman position, had failed the test. She appears to move forward in the same path she did when she committed the crime. The test will reconvene with the same situation in 5 hours.
She reached for the paper, memories swirling in her head. The knife in her hand. The flowers, pink from the blood that pooled around them. Her hand extended towards the paper and when she turned it, the text was bold on the paper.