I’m relieved to inform you that the few entries I had misplaced have reappeared. I’ll share them with you as time permits. For now, I’ll continue with a more chronologically organized series of entries.
November 29th, 2012
My tightly shut eyes recalcitrantly refused to open for the first few minutes of the morning. The fan still turned, rhythmically flinging dust onto my collapsed coffee table and crooked white sofas. The stench of spilled scotch that assaulted my nostrils and burnt my eyes followed my shuddering, semi-somnambulant footsteps to the pristinely detestable kitchen sink where I drenched my face in cool, shocking water.
I stretched my hand toward the overhead-cabinet door for an empty glass when, in my peripheral vision, I caught a glint of light reflected by a stack of photos I had, up to this point, never seen. I picked them up hastily.
In the stack, there was a series of grainy, prominently non-visible photographs, in black and white. Parts of unintelligible shapes littered each photo; they seemed to have been smeared and dragged across a broadly separated grid. Jagged, sharp, and luminescent ovaline lines interrupted the first of the opaque pictures; textures and blemishes resembling human skin were sparse, but became more persistent as I progressed through the stack.
In the middle, clear images of hands—multiple different pairs—could be seen manipulating these shapes; shapes, which became oceans of blood that had been smeared across the grid; a grid which became the grout and tile of my kitchen floor.
As I neared the end of the thick stack of photos, my mind began to piece together the opaquely veiled series of black-and-whites, eventually illuminating the apparent story; it confirmed a curious fear that had held my focus since the day before: that an outside source—one unrelated to Sandy’s ilk—had cleaned Newt’s blood from my stained home. This confirmation came with the last three photographs: a picture of my blood-spattered furniture, occupied by a smiling Fenton Garfield.
I was utterly and completely dumbfounded.
Fenton’s everyday behavior could be described as abnormally calm and predictable, yet here he sat, amidst a chaotic record of my most recent murder—the only evidence that had not been emulsified, ground to a powder, or buried.
My firing synapses began to burden me with compound fear and confusion, but I knew I must confront him. Ignoring my apprehensions, I left to do just that.
Heavy snow had fallen the night before. The thick white foam crushed under my feet on my walk to his door. The moisture in my breath seemed to freeze in my throat; it fell, heavily to the ground with each exhalation.
Fenton’s van—a white, ’73 Econoline 100—sat in his driveway, in front of his closed, red garage doors. His blinds were shut; his windows were dark. I tried the doorbell twice with no answer. I had the intention of leaving, but walked to where his back yard opened via the fence. His gate stood opened, inviting and enticing me to come in.
I checked my surroundings and crept through the snowy entrance. His back yard was barren. His porch was much like mine, minus the skeletal black walnut branches swallowing his canopy. I peeked through a small opening in his back window.
(Reader, the following few paragraphs are a detailed account of the things I saw in Fenton’s window. His calm, friendly behavior is even more stupefying in light of what I have written about the lustful dithyramb that follows.)
Through the smudged glass and wrinkled blinds, I watched as thin clouds of white smoke drifted, unsettling, around Fenton’s living room. Similar skin tones appeared in non-uniform patches, leaving very little of his living room uncovered. The nude shapes of male and female bodies started to separate from the piled mass of sweat drenched human flesh. My eyes began a clear separation of Fenton’s company; which lay, unconscious, strewn everywhere. Lying against one another for comfort and support, two women—one, a thick, blonde-haired girl whose light skin complimented her curves, the other an older woman of apparently African descent, both unclothed—shivered on his cool carpet. There was a man with bright, nearly orange hair that seemed familiar to me in a way that transcends resemblance. His unconscious body was supported by Fenton’s entertainment center; his hands were cuffed and folded in front of him. Two non-spectacular women in lingerie had fallen asleep in Fenton’s lap. A woman, bound and nude, lay, with her face half-buried in a beige throw pillow, propped up in a love seat she must have been carelessly tossed into. There were more, but these few stuck out to me. In truth, the whole site was extremely nauseating and unenjoyable.
In the middle of his living room, Fenton sat; his head leaned back against a red, felt sofa.
I dare not knock; I stood frozen, stupefied.
A slight movement from Fenton’s head startled me out of my paralysis. I left quickly and quietly; gripping worry about the white footprints leading to my door possessed me, but failed to stifle my brisk walk.
I flung my front door opened, and began various attempts at improving my circulation. I immediately ran to the kitchen to pour a drink, hoping for an analgesic for the sudden, pounding, headache of a hangover, as well as radiation for my frozen core.
I brought the glass with me to my porch. Gravity’s force gained the advantage over my weak knees, so I fell into my rocking-chair, splashing scotch onto the concrete. Dissipating clouds from chain-smoked Newport Reds vied for my attention and caught my eyes; my mind wandered off in paranoia and shock.
Reeking with a stench of liquor and cigarettes—which was, surprisingly, more pungent than the odor that woke me up—I went inside and upstairs to shower.
On my way to my room, I passed the door, concealing where Breathless stayed. Breathless had not left his room since he came to stay with me. Suffocating chills weighed down on my lungs in the few seconds that it took to pass where he stayed. He hadn’t left all day, it seemed. I didn’t want to orchestrate a change in either his solitude or mine, so I passed without bothering him.
I threw my nocuous sweatshirt and white undershirt into the hamper. My jeans were crisp and damp from the snow. They followed my shirts in a crumpled ball. I kicked off my white, cloth tennis shoes and peeled a pair of damp white socks from my frozen feet.
I stumbled to my bathroom in white boxers and stood in front of the mirror for a few minutes. My eyes were sunken and bloodshot. I was visibly exhausted. The two-day-old scruff on my face was splotchy and brown. My oily, brown hair was flattened against my scalp.
(Reader, it has only just struck me that I have not yet described myself to you. I apologize for what surely looks, to you, like a literary shortcoming on my part, but offer this as an explanation: I have yet to feel that a description of my appearance contributes to the progression of my story in any way.
Friends of mine who have read my story have remarked that it is either the epitome of vanity, or that of humility, to leave my looks undisclosed. I won’t attempt to discredit either of those critiques, but will, instead, say that I will introduce my looks as it is important in conveying my thoughts, as it does briefly here, with neither a vain nor a humble description of them.)
I pulled my blue toothbrush out of the cabinet above my sink and squeezed a thick line of toothpaste onto the multi-colored bristles. The mint flavor covered the disgusting aftertaste left by scotch-stained teeth that had been left unclean for up-to two days at a time during my terrified binge of vice.
I lathered my face with soap and rinsed some of the sleep from my face; I tossed my filthy underwear into the middle of my room, closed my bathroom door, and stepped into the shower.
I washed from head to toe. I was quickly reminded of the relieving feeling of clean cloth against washed skin. I sat on my bed and glanced around my room, in the dark.
My queen-sized bed had clean, white sheets, striped with blue. I scratched at the white floral stitching on my
ocean-blue quilt and traced the rays of light that peered under the bathroom door and cast faint shadows on my white walls and carpet. Of the five drawers on my cherry wood dresser, one—the middle one—was partially opened. Another—the bottom one—was completely opened and filled with empty compositions in every variation of the standard black and white that you can find.
Momentarily, I lost my focus on the pressing issues of reality, and drifted into that comfortable place in my mind where my favorite music plays.
“Coffee and Cigarettes” repeated for the few minutes I stayed there.
I lay on my back and began to imagine each detail of my various composition books. I did my best to feel the smooth paper against my fingertips. The smell of clean paper filled my nostrils as I fanned the crisp pages of one book; it was speckled and camouflage. I pushed around stacks and thumbed through the black and white speckled and spotted books; I ripped through the pages of the checkered and striped books. My favorite of them all shows the fractals of a leaf on the front and back covers, and is slightly thicker than the rest by a few pages. I put it, opened, over my face and lay back in the dark, empty space in my mind and let Otis Redding’s soulful voice calm my worried mind.
I came to my senses after a few minutes of relaxation. Breathless and Sandy stood around me, where my knees bent over the edge of the bed. Their faces were invisible; the shadows hid them. The light peeking under the door made them appear silhouette-like, yet still maintaining a dark color in the fabric of their clothes.
Sandy’s facial expressions were concealed by the dark; it was unclear if his upcoming words were spoken or thought. Regardless, they commanded my attention and froze me in my seat. Breathless presence was a weight on my chest. I spoke in short, gasping sentences.
With a smirking quality in his voice, Sandy said, “I hope you enjoyed your little episode. I understand that having Breathless and I here recently has put a great deal of stress on you, M boy, and I apologize. I have taken liberties with your will and emotions—even with your perception—that drive you farther and farther into this mental prison you continue to recede into. It is not a good sign, friend, and it will not make your situation with us any easier. I fear it will only get worse the more you choose to ignore the nature of monstrosity that drives you to killing people you care about.”
“You’re the nature of monstrosity. I am not a monster. Stop mocking me, you fucking ba—“ I ran out of air before I could finish my sentence.
“I fear that the real problem is not my presence, nor the presence of this bloke here. No, Miles, the real issue is one of personal stress. You are afraid that you will be found out. It is a valid fear—if you are found, you will be punished. You may be killed. After all, you emulsified a human being. That’s a very sick, sick thing to do, friend.”
Gasping for breaths, I managed another response.
“You made me do that. I’ll turn you in, you sick fuck.”
Sandy ignored me and continued.
“Now, in light of a few recent discoveries, you surely feel a great deal of pressure. Fenton seems to know that you are a killer, which presents a great many problems.”
“I don’t need you to recap my thoughts to me. I’m well aware of every stress I have.”
“Similarly, I don’t need you snapping at me.” He closed my lips and continued. “It seems to me that there is only one definite way for you to ensure that you get away with this, and that is killing Fenton. I know you’re exhausted—killing has taken a toll on your moral compass and what-not—but, I assure you, this is a completely necessary step on the road to your safety and sanity. As much as it pains me to do this, I’m taking the wheel for a little while.”
I shot up out of bed and put on shoes and a coat, all at Sandy’s command. My hands hovered over the clean white walls that I walked past on my way outside. My eyes were fixed on my shoes; I watched as they disturbed the carpet with each step. The calmness of my house magnified the noise my feet made as my weight was pressed into each step; I listened.
I closed the front door silently behind me and walked through the frozen white foam that thickly covered my path to Fenton’s back gate, save for the two trails from my last trip. Fenton’s still opened back gate struck fear in me, rather than the invitation it offered before. The crushing snow under my feet seemed amplified, while everything around me seemed still and calm.
The same wrinkled opening of his blinds partially revealed the shivering skin of his still unconscious guests. I peeked through and saw Fenton’s seated, with his head slumped forward.
I tried to gain a proper footing and began kicking at his door. Through all my might, everything seemed silent and still. After three forceful kicks, Fenton’s door flew open. The large window in his door shattered as soon as the wall caught it. Shattered glass scattered around the room and fell on naked skin and filthy carpet. His guests had already started to come to when I entered. I walked to where Fenton was just now regaining consciousness. Glass crunched under my approaching feet. With a confused, half-asleep expression, Fenton stared up at me and let out a noise. I put my hands around his throat before he finished the sound. The look on his face quickly shifted from confusion to anger. He reached at my throat, but his arms were too short. My ears had stopped focusing on details, and started ringing instead. The two women that had been in Fenton’s lap began hitting me repeatedly. The ringing grew louder and louder with each hit. Fenton’s face had trouble deciding on anger or worry; he began changing colors from red to blue. His face finally settled on a look of paralyzed terror. While he clung to his fleeting life, my hearing returned. There was a loud noise behind me. Some of the women were screaming. The men looked at the spectacle with their mouths in gaping stupidity at the unfolding murder.
Suddenly, a cool metal chain dragged over my forehead, scraping past my brow and nose, and parting my lips. I felt a pinch in my throat as the chrome links found my throat, and began digging into it. I was pulled backwards, off of Fenton’s dying body. He began gasping and coughing for air. As my vision began fading, I could see his face regaining its pigment.
Before my sight could extinguish completely, the chains were pulled off of my neck; I fell, dizzily, to the ground on my back onto the glass covered floor. I tried to be still, but my body buckled in gasping pain. Broken shards from the shattered pane cut through my clothes and sliced at my skin as I twitched and sucked helplessly for air.
The handcuffed man now stood over my bleeding, gasping body. He lifted his large right foot up and began repeatedly stomping my ribs. He threw dull, powerful punches at my face until I was bruised and swollen. My left eye was sealed shut and blood poured from the edge of that eyebrow. I was beginning to lose either my consciousness or my life—it’s hard to tell. Before I passed out, the man stopped. He backed up from where I lay. Fenton stood over me for a second and looked down on me. He reached for something heavy. I couldn’t tell what it was, because he swung it very quickly at my head, and knocked me unconscious.
November 29th, 2012
My right eye opened, barely enough to see that there was no light coming through my windows. I couldn’t find a clock, much less read it, but I assume it was around 7:15PM.
While lying in the middle of my living room floor, I heard two hushed male voices from my kitchen. I attempted to move, but my arms were bound behind my back; my knees were bent completely, and my legs were bound together in that folded up state. I tried to break the ties, but couldn’t.
I couldn’t hold my eye open any longer. Footsteps were approaching me when I passed out.
I heard Sandy’s voice in my head. He was screaming and cursing me.
“You fucking worthless cunt! You piece of trash! You’re a fucking dead man! These men are going to kill you, you stupid fucking moron!”
He ignored the fact that he had control over me at the time.
Sandy forced the image of the sheet-rock room into my head. There in the middle, the blonde man still sat, headless, slumped over in his chair. A large puddle of blood had collected under him. It was visibly wet. I could see the sanguineous drops as they ran down between the protruding bones on the back of his thin hand. Blood dripped from his ring finger into the pool. The room was silent except for the loud dripping sound that the blonde man’s blood made when it hit the red puddle.
The dripping started to lose its volume; then, everything went black.
November 29th, 2012
“Marijuana: 2.5oz, $375; Vicodin: 12 pills, $200; Large pane of glass: 1, $250; Door repair: $175.”
The stranger’s speech was muffled as he began, but he grew more and more familiar as my ears adjusted. The vision in my right eye was splotchy at first, but it cleared up as I started to come to; my left eye was swollen shut. Pain pierced through my whole body, and I let out a low moan. I heard the rustling of papers. I was about to fall asleep but I felt a repetitive, light pat on my right cheek; the voice, which was closer now, had begun calling my name.
“Mr. Saffron, if you would, please, wake up…Mr. Saffron?…MR. SAFFRON!”
“I’m up! Fuck!” I said.
“I’ve just gone over your damages with my employer. Would you prefer that I start over so you can hear
“I heard you the first time.”
“Well, just to be on the safe side: Marijuana: 2.50z—“
“I said I heard you the first time!”
“Yes, I understand Mr. Saffron, but It’s imperative that I know you didn’t miss anything…Vicodin—“
“12, $200! Large fucking pane of glass: $250! Door repair: $175! I heard you the first goddamn time. How much do I have to fucking say it?”
“Yes, very good Mr. Saffron. You seemed to forget something incredibly important though, which is why I—“
“Please, just stop blabbering at me and tell me.”
“Well, Mr. Saffron—“
“You don’t have to call me Mr. Saffron just—“
“Mr. Saffron, please! I can hardly get a word in. My employer is charging you $1500 for life-threatening psychological trauma as a result of your attack.”
I could see out of my right eye perfectly. My face was pressed up against the carpet. I looked up. On my couch sat Fenton Garfield, holding his throat; it was bruised red in the shape of my hands. To his right—my left—there sat the same bright orange-haired man that was handcuffed and nude earlier. Now he wore a charcoal suit with black silk accents. His shirt was blue and collarless.
“Are you the gimp from earlier? The one who choked me half to death?” I asked him.
“Mr. Saffron, you are in no position to complain about choking someone to death.”
“That doesn’t answer my first question.” I said. He ignored me.
“What’s the damage?” I asked.
“$2500, which we will settle out of court, of course.”
Fenton leaned forward with a look of compassion. He said, “Look, M, I understand that you’re under a lot of stress; I respect that. The fact of the matter is: what’s going on with you is none of my business. I’m sure that guy had it coming. And, I’m sure you had a reason for all that blood—“
“What do you know about that?”
“Nothing, M. Like I said: it’s none of my business. The point is, I know you’re going through a lot, and I want to help you through it, but you’ve got to tone it down, dude. Everything is unreal for you right now—I get that. Look, I had a sister who was schizophrenic so I totally understand the things you’re seeing.”
I’d never considered possibility of schizophrenia up to this point, so the allegations caught me off guard. It seemed too obviously real to me—I had felt Sandy’s touch, heard his thoughts, obeyed his commands. I screamed.
“You understand? What the fuck? There’s nothing to understand. I’m not a schizophrenic, you condescending moron. Everything I’ve dealt with is real! It’s as real as your fat face, or your Ginger Gimp!”
“Mr. Saffron, I am no gimp. I’m honestly—“
“Fuck you!” I screamed. I struggled to pull my bound body up from the carpet. “Fuck your fat fucking face! I’ve felt the touch and heard the voice of my enemies! I know they’re real! You could write a fucking book about some of the shit I’ve seen in the past—“
“Miles!” Fenton shut me up. “I get it, alright? You’re not crazy. I believe you! I do, just…just calm down, M. I’m your friend.”
I growled and struggled against my chains (it was actually black bondage tape); my neck and body writhed; I beat my head against the floor and failed to kick and fight. I rolled and screamed until I lost my energy—which didn’t take long.
The ginger gimp said, “As I was saying, I’m surprised you don’t recognize me, Mr. Saffron. Why, only a few days ago you were so sure that you would be working with me regularly.”
“You mistake me again, Mr. Saffron. My name is Philip Kessey Gillespie, but you can call me Mr. Gillespie.”
“Philip Kessey? Did you have your name legally changed, or were your parents hardcore hipsters?”
“I’m sure I don’t know what you mean, Mr. Saffron. Hopefully that does not imply interest in what you have to say. God forbid I mislead you.”
It hadn’t stuck out to me before, but Mr. Gillespie had a quintessentially American accent and a refined, stern elocution to compliment it. This, along with his perpetually unhappy look, made him seem unreal—barely fey; more
of a caricature of the masculine refinement of a generation past. His hair was like burning coals: iridescent; bright red and orange. His scowl robbed me of my snarky attitude. I calmed down. He continued.
“My employer believes that the best thing to do will be to allow you to work for me at the donut shop, where you will be treated with respect; no rights will be withheld from you. However, money will be withheld from your check until Mr. Garfield is paid off. Since we are both fully aware of the legal ramifications of the liters of blood that were removed from your floor, not to mention the head that was buried in your back yard—“ how had they found out about the head? “—we can both agree that the minor docking of your pay can go un-mentioned to any authorities for the amount of time it will take to resolve your debt. Am I understood?”
“Yes.” I said.
Fenton said, “In the meantime, M, I really hope you start seeking help. Schizophrenia is no laughing matter…I mean, if you are schizophrenic, which I’m not saying you are. Just get yourself some fucking help. And, stop drinking so damn much! I’m leaving your work schedule on the counter-top. Take care of yourself, M.”
Fenton’s sincerity only infuriated me more.
I shouted that he was a fucking pervert as soon as the door closed. They had left me bound, but I managed to cut the tape with my thumb-nail, piece by piece. I ran out of the front door without my jacket. Fenton and Philip had already made it inside. I went to Fenton’s door and started beating on it and shouting, “Let me in you fucking pervert! Call of your gimp and let me fight you!”
“You’re delirious,” Fenton said. “Go home, Miles.”
“Let me in, you fucking pussy! I’ll fucking kill you!”
“Please, Miles; go home.”
My skin tightened in the cool wind. I fell to my knees and started crying. My nose started running. I hung my head over my lap and leaned against Fenton’s door, softly beating against it.
“You’re being pathetic, Mr. Saffron.” Philip said.
At that moment, I picked myself up and walked, sniffling and cold, back to my house.
As soon as I walked inside, I turned up the heat and tried straightening my living room. Tears had frozen on my face. I was pathetic and exhausted. I walked to the garage and drew a comic.
“You’re not yet in the clear, M boy.”
I couldn’t see Sandy, so I ignored him. I hung my head over the drawing and cried.