How Many Kills Can One Killer Claim?
The first thing I saw when I walked up to the rubber mat was a molted yellow brown filling the screen.
Andy had recommended the butcher to me and I was excited to pick up some fresh prosciutto. I hadn't realized just how fresh the meat would be as I gazed at chicken skin and unsaleable chicken parts; this wasn't the International District, after all, being washed down the drain.
Fresh tongue laughed at me.
I got out my spray paint. I waved it at the owner and he pointed to the back. I walked through hanging racks of beef and out the door. Detroit was pretty aggressive about cleaning up graffiti, but the butcher just wanted to go the cheap route and have me paint over it. This time someone had written "MURDERER" in day glo paint on the back alley wall. I sprayed it out with black paint.
Wandering fingers at the fairway meant I had several more hours of community service to do and I needed to get this signed off. The butcher came out to see what I was doing and I handed him my form. He took it and pulled out a wax pencil with a blood-stained hand. He was about to sign when he glanced at the wall.
"What the hell?" he said.
I turned and stared. The phantom day glo paint had seeped through the black and was even more visible than ever.
"MURDERER", it cried.
"Bloody hippies," he growled, and grabbed the can of spray paint out of my hand.
I watched as the mom and child slipped from sight. The ninth thing was the ground-score cupcakes, the homemade cookies and the ice cream walking by. I was counting the different things people had in their hands as they walked through the alley as I waited, crouched with my back against the wall. The butcher kept growing more and more angry as each coat of paint made the words go brighter. His big, red face was sweating and he was starting to shout incoherently. Phrases such as “Get a job, you lazy bums” and “a chicken in every pot, that’s what I provide, you think your pot tastes like chicken, ha!” drifted over my head.
I rested my chin on her head and stroked the golden brown hair of the butcher’s daughter. I don't see that glow in her eyes and spark in her voice after all of this, I thought, and immediately berated myself for thinking that at a time like this. Susi was in my class at school and I had had a crush on her since 9th grade. After the EMT's pronounced her dad dead of a heart attack, she cried on my shoulder for an hour. The shop was closed; we were still in the alley staring at the wall and its message when I noticed something. I went over and lightly sprayed the last of the paint above and below the word "murderer" and waited. After a moment or two more became visible. Now against the black were the words "I AM A" and "I KILLED JIMMY H..."
I shook the can but there was no more paint to reveal the truth.
"I AM A MURDERER. I KILLED JIMMY H..."
"Is that next letter an "O" do you think?
Susi just shook her head, full from fresh death and uninterested in dry, aged meat.
Written Saturday, July 30, 2011
At Cal Anderson Park. The words in italic were given to me by other members of my writing group during an exercise called "Exquisite Corpse."
I am clever. I figured out how to do a paragraph indent in html! I tried many fancy things including inserting a css code, but to no avail. The css code worked in part, but it ultimately failed to do what I wanted. The style code, instead of indenting the first line, indented all the lines in the paragraph. The more I work solely in html the less foreign code begins to look. It won't be long before I'll be able to modify templates. Now, if I can only figure out how to indent "5" spaces instead of three. I put in five of these characters " & n b s p ; " without spaces and it should have worked, but it didn't. If someone knows how to solve my problem, just leave the code as a comment. Thanks.