He has a phone – with a cord. I’m glad he has one. Some would say it’s old-fashioned. But I like it. Of course a cellular phone is a phone too but they’re so impersonal. There is only air between and no cord to connect you to the other. You’d have to shove it down someone’s throat before you get that same kind of connection. But that’d take so long. With a cord, it’s different, you can feel it. I can feel it right now.
I can feel the pulse of his heart beat through the cord. I pull it tighter around his neck. The cord makes a noise, it’s under great tension. That’s the great thing, they don’t snap, I do.
A sound escapes his throat, it sounds like a rubber chicken toy for dogs. It makes me smile. I like dogs.
“Shhh. Shhh.” I whisper, “Let it go, Joseph. Let it go.” I can hear his nails scrape over the cheap Ikea carpet on the floor. He’s still struggling to live.
There’s pieces of potato chips, cigarette ashes and a few beer bottle caps strewn about. Left behind from the party, the fun neighborhood get together that I wasn’t invited to. Why? Because I quietly moved in just this morning? Because I haven’t said hello to the neighbors yet? Didn’t park my car on the driveway? Where’s the respect and empathy for the socially different like myself?
He doesn’t even know who I am. To him I’m just a guy that rang his doorbell and barged in. I wouldn’t even know his name either if it wasn’t for the sign at the door. I guess I can’t even be a hundred percent sure if he really is that Joseph. But he looks like one, he acts like one. That’s good enough for me.
“You see. This could’ve been different. This could’ve been so different, Joseph.” I whisper, he’s making odd snorting noises but still conscious, “Imagine if you had invited me to your party. We could’ve talked. We could’ve drank. ‘Do you like Japanese rape porn? I do too!’, ‘Do you like Absinthe? It’s my favorite!’ Wouldn’t have that been fun? Joseph? Joseph, are you listening, Joseph?”
He’s gone quiet and I let the cord loose a little, he gasps for air as if he’s completely back to his senses. I crash my knees into his back and pull him backwards even tighter than before.
“If you had invited me to your stupid, fucking party – you would’ve gotten to know a whole different side of me! And you would’ve gone to bed thinking, ‘What a nice guy, there should be more guys like him’. And then you would’ve woken up tomorrow morning and started a new day. But no! You left me out! No more new days for you, Joseph! Everything ends tonight! We could’ve been friends, Joseph! Friends!” I growl and lean back, pulling him upwards and curving his back.
He lets out a last breath and goes limb. Just to be sure I hold tight a little longer, it’s no effort if you’re angry. I hear something crush in his throat, probably his Adams apple or windpipe.
I let go and stand up, the way the light falls into the house is quite enchanting. The light of the moon is blue inside. It’s so quiet and restful in the house, I could almost fall asleep.
I suppose I like what he’s done with the place but this is no house to have parties. Even though it’s spacious, Joseph has too many things. Pretty things though. Besides some Ikea furniture, as if no one would notice.
“You don’t mind if I give myself a tour of the house, would you – Joseph?” I chuckle at myself. I never lose my sense of humor. I think Joseph would’ve appreciated that, had he gotten to know me.
I stroll into the kitchen, it’s a mess of empty bottles, half eaten plates of food and various wrappers. But I can see the potential. I can see what he was trying to do. Some sort of Italian style kitchen. A bit of Tuscany. Cute.
I open the fridge, an antique Smeg, classy. The light pops on and the machine hums. I hum along as I look through the contents. I see a plate of untouched Sushi, looks like generous Joseph went all out for his neighborhood soirée.
“Perfect!” What better than some well deserved Sushi after an accomplishment?
As I reach for the platter, I notice the deep cuts in my hands, from pulling the cord so tightly. They don’t bleed, they never broke the skin. Rather they drained my hands of blood, I might be white but this white-white. White like Joseph will soon be, what a guy.
I set the plate down on the kitchen table, throwing some trash in a small, plastic bag. I don’t like to eat messy. I reach into the fridge and grab an ice cold Budd when I suddenly notice a bottle of champaign.
“Oh, Joseph. How considerate a friend you could’ve been.” I mumble reading the label, “…Méthode Champenoise. Well maybe not that considerate. But at least you got a reasonable brand.”
I open the chilled Freixenet Cordon Negro bottle with a pop, not a drip spilled. I smell the cork and bottle, the enchanting flavors twirl in my nose. As I go through kitchen cabinets I can’t find even a single, true, champaign glass. Just regular wine glasses.
“Who drinks champaign from these? Now that’s a sin. Good thing I killed you.”
I sit down and poor the champaign into disappointing, crystal wine glasses. It doesn’t even foam or bubble the right way. What a waste. Then again, here I am with Sushi and champaign after a personal victory.
I squeeze out a small, plastic fish filled with soy sauce onto the plate. I dunk my Sushi in it till just the right amount has been absorbed in the rice. I place the delicacy into my mouth and just gently, with my tongue, squeeze the soy sauce out and bite down. My pallets lavish in the fresh fish flavors. It gives me a real kick, good Sushi.
I don’t get a kick from killing, it’s simply an obligation, I owe it to myself to make right for the wrongs done to me. Some things need to be balanced out. It takes a man, a real man, to do what’s necessary. I’m that kind of man.
I take another big gulp of champaign, it goes so elegantly with sushi. Photos and magnets decorate the classy fridge, defiling it really. I walk over and look at some. Most are rather dull and uninteresting. It’s not hard to tell who these people are. An older couple that looks like him. Some men and women about the same age who look like him. How I wonder who they are. I could feel sorry for their loss but I’m not going to. He brought this onto himself.
I tear the photos up one by one and dip them in soy sauce before throwing them away. It’s all trash. Joseph and the people that care about him are human garbage. They deserve every shred of pain and indignity that comes to them.
I walk back into the living room to find Joseph still laying there. He’s certainly dead, he’s pissed his pants. I suppose a tour isn’t complete without including a quick visit to the bathroom. Justice served makes the bladder go anxious.
After I relieve myself, I stroll into his bedroom to find a pair of silk women’s underwear on the floor. I guess I’ll keep them as a trophy. I can only hope Joseph isn’t a cross dresser. But they don’t smell like a man.
I take a deep breath and prepare my departure. I walk to the back door and open it. His patio is all Tuscany too. Good God, some variety would be nice.
Someone put out a cigarette in a pot of tropical flowers. Joseph wouldn’t have liked that.
I walk back into the house and take some expensive looking watches and his wallet. It’ll look like a burglary gone awry now. Before I leave, I look around the door at him.
“Goodbye, Joseph. I wish you had acted differently.”
I sneak out the front door and close it quietly. It’s deep in the AM’s, not a soul is awake at this ungodly hour anymore. I take a stroll across the street towards my new house, I haven’t even removed the “For Rent”-sign yet. I don’t think anyone saw me park my car, it’s not even in front of the house.
I suppose that tomorrow I will call the landlord, a sweet, little old lady and tell her I wish to cancel my rent. Surely, I can’t live in a neighborhood like this. Not after such a brutal murder.
She doesn’t even know when I was to move in, just gave me the keys, I told her I’d move in a week’s time. Guess I was early. And short. But it’s all for the best.
Besides, if I move somewhere new – I’ll hopefully get the opportunity to visit such another wonderful neighborhood soirée.
About the Author: Born and raised in Amsterdam, Bobby Salomons’ works are as authentic and distinguishing as the city itself. A tense and mysterious atmosphere combined with a vivid and capturing writing style make his stories a pleasure to read and hard to forget. From a young age he was drawn to creative and inspiring works, striking up a true passion for writing in college. Ever since he has steadily developed himself as a writer, working as a script doctor and faithfully penning down several debut series. With a background in Art-Direction (advertising) and Copy Writing, Bobby is boldly undertaking the effort of establishing himself amongst his writing peers with the humor and sober-headedness expected from a Dutchman.