by Matt Reynolds
there was a day a long time ago whereupon, before nine bottles of redd, I actually gave a fuck. That day is gone. Theres a lot out there I don't know, and even more inside of me I know even less. But this much is clear: my mind is gone, I'm mad, I'm suffering, and this bitch is going to die.
About two weeks ago, after coming back from a double shift at the hospital, foul with the stench of saving lives, I opened the door to my house to find that my wife was doing the usual cooking and cleaning. a facade. We both knew what she did she did without choice, led by the fears of the crimes she committed, against me, against our family. She was cheating. Even the child knew that. But instead of doing what I would later do, I smiled, a fake smile, and said that I was home. I didn't hear what she said and I didn't care. I pulled out my gun. I blasted her in her kneecap. She screamed, she dropped her broom, blood gushed from her detached leg, crawled to the child, died before reaching it, and I shot her in the head again. All in my head. I sat down, my wife smiling a fake smile, and we began eating.
Our conversation was boring. The food sucked, except for the sausage. A slap in the face. We put the child to sleep, and our faces turned cold. My wife's eyes were low and murderous, and my eyes were devoid of live. We got into the same cold bed and slept, facing away from one another.
The next day, I opened the door, child already at school, and my wife spoke.
"You know what's going to happen."
I stopped. "I know."
"You had a chance to stop it."
"And yet I still don't give a shit."
I turn around. Out of nowhere I broke into a sprint, choked her. She tried to stop me with a fork. She missed my jugular and hit only my shoulder. I snapped her neck.
Again all in my head. She actually said nothing. Dead, only by the fact of her vacant eyes and facebook in hand.
But soon my thoughts would become minted, paid in full with an envelope addressed to the morgue, paid by vengeance.
I went to the hospital again. That's what we called it anyway. I was a member of a very particular group of individuals, a hit squad, commanded by no man. A bunch of lunatics with guns, blasting away at anyone who tried to harm the innocent.
A registered nurse at the local red cross, along with three janitors. A whole world in our minds, every day, in a video game played on our cell phones. It was our escape. But the world in our minds wasn't that fake; we all had blood on our hands. Mine with the lives I've saved. Theirs, with the lives they've ended. Two were ex-convicts. One was ex special forces, kicked out for disobeying orders and going on a maniac killing spree like some sort of crack-riddled cowboy. That was the truth. So much was lived in unspoken truths that we didn't have a clue what our names were. I put down the handheld and put it in my pocket.
"Have a good one, gentlemen," I said, putting my cigarrette in the dirt, leaving it there, alone, to die.
I walked into the back door, put on my robe, put my mask on, and waited for it to be bleached, and for the stains to be forgotten by the end of the day.
There's a sad truth to this. I was only there for entertainment. The excitement, the work, with my hands, the blood, all of it. I enjoyed playing the game, the game of life. My wife married me because she thought I was some sort of hero. She cheats on me because I'm some sort of lunatic who gets a sick pleasure from it. But somewhere inside I know that what I'm doing is good. So the scars don't reach my ego. And neither does my conscience.
I walk out, wiping dirt from my glasses. It was a homeless man this time. I wondered if I would be like him someday.
I walked back home. I saw her naked. The man was gone. I put down the bag.
"Where's the kid?" I asked. A tear dropped down from her eyes.
"Right here" she said, putting on my nurses' robe.
"Why did you do it? How could you?"
She frowned. "I told you. I tell you all the time. She isn't... here, anymore."
I laid down on the couch. Her hand was on my chest.
"Why can't you remember? This isn't her. This is me. I'm here."
"I don't... what?"
I saw my reflection in her eyes.
An old man.
A spark flew through my mind, all the years, all the happiness, all the suffering, and then it was gone again.
I don't know what it would have been like to stay there any longer.
But that was the end of it.
There was a world of regret in my heart. I was a good man but I could never see it. I sit here, behind curtains, behind lies, alone.
the heart monitor stopped beeping.
Other nurses ran towards me in slow motion.
A darkness opened below me,
and swallowed me whole,
and swallowed me whole...