There are switches for nearly everything it seems. Switch off the TV, switch on my phone, switch on the light, switch on the faucet, switch the toothpaste open, switch on my phone again, switch the toothpaste closed, switch off the faucet, switch off my phone, and switch off the light. Switches, even switches to turn on and off life.
I sit outside barefoot and drunk, I like to think that’s how I was born, but I can’t remember any of it, and it’s highly doubtful, but the thought seems right. The plastic white chair that everyone has owned at one point or another makes a popping sound as I look up to watch the boy running towards my house. Spotting me he seems uncertain of his approach. I scrape the cherry of the cigarette against the paved drive as he walks through the gate. I pull the cash out of my pocket. He takes the money and I take the envelope. I pretend to look at the contents as I watch him run off with a new hop to his step. Laughing a little I pull another cigarette from the pack and light it. Smoke gets into my eye and burns a little as I pull the papers out. Squinting I look at the picture and then the crimes. Switches it would seem, to turn off the crimes of thought.
A dew is on the grass, the sun shines, giving a glint to the smallest of pieces to make them seem important, but they’re not, to me anyways. I walk my way up the rocky drive. The house, two stories too many acts as a beacon. I follow. The sound of the simple engine on a simple machine gets louder and louder as I approach. Running my thumb along my brow, it cuts the drop about to fall into my eyes. I come up to a gate. I am unsure what to do so I rattle it. It comes open before I can give it a good shake. Sliding through the opening I walk up to the man pushing the lawn mower. The cassette player clipped to his belt, an awful yellow. He doesn’t hear me behind him, which is probably for the best, for me anyway. I slip the pistol from my belt and whip the back of his head with it. As if a switch is hit, he falls onto the ground, still alive, but asleep.
The sound of the lawnmower follows me into the house. I yell out “Hello!” and wait for an answer, but there isn’t one. I take each step slowly and softly through the house, my palm is moist as I grip the gun. I’m not terrified of anything, but I am scared of something it seems. I push the door open with the killing end of the pistol, the respirator clicks, and other machines for pumping and pulling make noises, but I’m unsure of their names. I close the door after me. The body, the life on the bed doesn’t resemble life at all. Machines do the work for the body is dying. I step up to the side of the bed. His face spotted and wrinkling. His eyes flutter for a second as I remove the pillow and put it to his face. The machines click as I pull the hammer back like a switch. The pop is loud, but not loud enough. The machines continue to click, no longer needed but still doing their jobs, waiting to be switched off. The sound of a shotgun racking is its own language. I now remember why I was scared, something wasn’t right.
Switches, the right ones go off in my head and drop my gun. I slowly turn. Worn blue jeans, white shirt and white knuckles, probably unimportant. His face was familiar, I glance at the lifeless body on the bed, familiar. I couldn’t understand why or how. About to ask when he spills before I do. “You’re with them aren’t you?” I squint a little then reply. “Them? It’s just me.” He storms forward and pushes the barrel into my chest. “With them, you’re with them, the fucking Order. You’re a killer.” I don’t know why it seems like a good idea to be a smart ass, “That should be pretty obvious isn’t.” I feel the monster in my chest hover somewhere in between my lungs and heart as he jabs my stomach with the shotgun. “Fuck, fuck, how did you? This doesn’t make sense, the time? Fuck…” He shakes his head once then clears his throat. “Doesn’t matter, you’re a killer, like me, maybe there’s hope.” He grabs my shoulder and pushes me away from the bed and towards the door, I didn’t take the opportunity to lash at him, as I was uncertain of the outcome.
With the barrel in my back, he pushes me through the hall and out the front door, past the knocked out man, past the side of the house. The smell of roses fills my nostrils as we make our way into the back garden. Pushing and pushing he leads me to a stone bench. “Sit.” he growls. I do what he says. The chill of the stone permeates to my bones. He paces back and forth, collecting his thoughts, some time passes before he spills them. “You really gave me a knock back there, I don’t think I’ll wake-up for awhile. So what were your orders, what were the crimes?” I open my mouth to speak but he cuts me off. “They’re bullshit, all bullshit. They’re liars, they are. My Grandpa never hurt a fly, never. They do this they do, I mean you don’t look like a dumb guy, you had to guess it by now.” I felt dumb for not guessing it, he looks at my blank stare and laughs then continues. “They tell us we’re doing good, but there’s no proof, nothing but their words.” I sit gripping the bench as he stops point the shotgun. “You did what you were told, as much as I would love to kill you right now for what you did I can’t. It’s a cast the first stone kind of thing and all. Well, fuck, you know what never mind that, I think I’ll just do it an…” The shot interrupts him. I flinch and cover my head with my hands as the white shirt and blue jeans fall backwards.
I cover my mouth with my hand as his body twitches. A small fountain of blood squirts from his mouth before he just stops moving. “Gosh, I do love the smell of roses and gun oil. Here you dropped this dear.” Edna dressed in a light dress walks in front of me and sets the gun on my lap. Without thought just reaction I lift it up point it at her heart and pull the trigger over and over and over.
She smiles as nothing happened. “Is that any way to treat the gal that saved your life?” She gives a pout for second as if hurt, but laughs it off. “You know what he said isn’t all true. His grandfather was a monster. But I like monsters, I mean I like you, sweetheart.” Her dress flaps up and down in the wind to expose more and more of her legs. I hate her, I feel the fiend in me roar but I calm it, for another time. Sitting next to me she puts her head on my shoulder then speaks “It’s a shame really, he was so good at his job, but just couldn’t let this part go, now he’s dead.” Her fingertips dance on my knee. I stare at them, want to break them, to pull the nails from them, slowly. “You all planned this didn’t you?” She slaps me on the leg then slides it closer to my parts, parts I hated for reacting the way they were. “There you go little lamb, you’re figuring it out. And I’d have you know I did this all myself.” Her hand but an inch away when I quickly stand. “It is natural, it isn’t!” Words begin to trip in my mouth. I yell incoherent babbles as I point at her with my gun. I realize I’m not saying anything so I stop. “You’re so cute when you’re mad.” She says laying herself on the bench. A breeze blows, exposing more. “Why, why all of this?” I ask, finally collected. Shutting her eyes she speaks. “Why, well sweetheart, because of you, we need you to do something that’s going to break your little heart. I’m just trying to make it easy for my little baby.” I start to storm after her but she sits up quickly. “I’ve killed bigger and better men than you. Learn your lessons, that’s all. Now run to the little girl of yours and beg her for a life.” She finishes by laying back down. I dig into my pocket, touch the cold steel, think of home and I’m gone.
I ran to my first love. I tip the bottle skyward and drink. Switches flip off after a bottle is gone and I slide into my bed. I cover my head, I cover me.