VICTIM

A piece inspired by 40's radio show Quiet Please.


Alright, alright, you can stop now. I’m not going to get any deader, and you’re just getting blood on the floor now.

You sure chose a messy way of going about it. All things considered, I prefer being poisoned or strangled. Even shot, that tends to leave only a small hole. I always worry that they’re going to go for the head, though. If they messed up this pretty face too badly, I’d be out of the job! Actually, the worst was this guy years back who tied me to a chair and sawed my hands off. Bastard. I’ve had to wear long sleeves ever since.

Oh, you’re snapping out of it? Good! Just- calm down, stop waving that knife around. You can’t do anything more to me now, and if you’re not careful, you’ll hurt yourself. Calm down, sit down! I can’t- SIT DOWN!

There, that’s better. I can’t do a thing to you now, nothing that you haven’t already done to yourself. And nobody is going to knock on your kitchen door at 2AM asking for a cup of sugar or something. It’s just me, you, and a fresh corpse. How cozy.
Let’s start from the beginning. No, you’re not dreaming. Yes, that’s my corpse staining the linoleum pink. And you, you’ve committed your first murder! Congratulations! You’re going to hell!

That wasn’t a joke.

Hasn’t quite sunk in yet, huh? No use asking questions like that, you’ll see for yourself in time. You’ll have an eternity to experience it first-hand. All you really need to know is that it’s very, very crowded, and I’m in no hurry to go back there. I’m lucky enough to get out on these trips, and if you knew what it cost me, you’d think me crazy. But after the time I spent there, I’d have made a deal with the devil to get out. Hell, I did.
Well, the job is cushy, if not ironic. Look at me. A jailbreaker-turned-cop.
No, that wasn’t an apology on my part. I’m not the one who picks you suckers out. That’s the big man’s job. He knows every dirty little dark thought that goes through your brain, and when the time seems just right, along comes some poor shmuck, stupid and defenseless and quite often very, very rich, and just the sort of person you could almost convince yourself that the world would be better off without. Yeah. That’s me.

I would like to apologize for some of the rude things I said. I’m really not that crude, it’s just that I have to get myself butchered somehow within two years or the contract is up. We were approaching the twenty-one month mark, you see, and you still seemed on the fence about the whole murder thing, and I admit I was beginning to panic a bit. I was only, ah, stirring the pot a little. I’m sure your mother is a perfectly nice woman.
It was really my fault for waiting. Two years is usually plenty of time, more than enough to tip an already unstable sucker over the edge. So I tend to live it up and have some fun as long as I’m here. The big man takes care of the funds for me. I’m on an all-expenses-paid vacation to earth, basically. So long as I don’t stall a little too long and end up alive at the end of two years. I’ve been careful enough so far, but I’ve been getting a little sloppy…

But you came around in time, so it’s alright. What I said must’ve really touched a nerve, because you made sure that HURT. There’s nicer places to put a knife than that. I won’t take it personally, though. You get used to it in this line of work.

Better me than someone whose screams would be real fear, right? Now here’s something that you’re going to have to get used to in your new career: what are you going to do with that pile of bones and filleted meat on the floor now? One hundred and sixty pounds of freshly departed, soon to be stinkin’ up your lovely domicile. Why, I say keep it there! It’s a lovely addition to the interior décor. The red is a little garish maybe, but when it dries more, that familiar rusty brown will set off the light blue of the tile quite well.

Or, fine, you could reach for the bleach. Although you might want to wait for that. From what I’ve seen, it’s better to wrap it in something first, and deal with any drippings after all that unpleasantness is done. Trash bag? Very good. Or—now here’s an idea—you could take a good long drink of that bleach, tie the bag around your neck, and skip all the miserable cleanup that nobody wants to do anyway. I’m joking, I’m joking! But it is always an option.

You wanna see something neat before you do that? Unbutton my shirt down there a little and check it out. I’ve got so that “there isn't any place left to shoot me without goin' through an old bullet hole”, as someone once said, and boy is it a sight. No, unbutton it all the way- really, cold feet already? Hah! You pansy, you can stab a man but can’t bear to see a bit of someone else’s scars? You try walking around like that sometime! It’s no little thing to feel the breeze whistling right through you in places.

Don’t try to lift me, that’s never a good idea. There’s so much liquid inside a human that you never think about, right? Not until it’s sloshing around and putrefying in the grouting. Just spread out that bag and roll me right on top. There you go, you’ve got it.

Aw, baby’s first murder. Even if I didn’t know I could tell, with how your hands are shaking like that. Oops! Splashed the bleach on your pants a little there. Do you think someone will notice? Perhaps you should burn them. Or maybe you should burn what’s left of me. Do you think someone would smell the smoke? Do you think someone will smell the bleach? Do you think someone with a real sharp nose could sniff out the blood, under all that? Oh boy, do I love this game.

Look, if you’re worried about that, just double-bag it. I shouldn’t have to tell you everything around here. See? It’s leaking already! Eugh, that looks kind of chunky. Boy, without me around you’d be lost! Go puke in the sink, if you’re going to be a child about it. Please don’t get it on what’s left of me. I’m going to need that again eventually.

Helping you! Why am I helping you? Oh, I wouldn’t call this “help”. You’re past the point of help after what you’ve done, you cold-blooded murdering bastard. Scared? Go cry about it, boo hoo, I put my emotions before a human life and now it turns out there’s consequences, waaah waaah. Poor baby. Are we going to find a dumpster for this before I rot, or not?

Your legs, lift with your legs, not your back. Ah-ah, careful with that corner now, or that arm will slip out and- HA! Oh, RIGHT in the face! You should have seen your expression! That’s one for the books. Why don’t you wrap the bag tighter before you try moving it again? Sloppy handiwork that is. Dragging it, yes, dragging it might be easier, if you don’t mind leaving a bit of a trail behind, ha ha. You can come back and clean it up. Some things come out in the wash easier than others.

And- hup! Over the doorjamb. Oooo, my fingerprints are on that knob, aren’t they. Who knows what else I’ve touched in this house? Best to wipe it all down, then. They love to talk about all the most romantic parts of a murder, but never the parts that turn you into a glorified house-maid. Really, please do wipe those fingerprints, I’d rather not be in any keen-eyed cop’s files. What with modern forensics it’s getting difficult to explain how the same body keeps turning up dead or missing again.

Stairs, oh, the stairs. Word to the wise: never commit a murder on the second floor. Let’s slide me down nice and gentle. Listen to me! “Let’s”, like I’m going to take the feet while you hold the head! What? Oh yes, I would love to help, if you hadn’t most rudely severed me from my own mortal form. Word to the wise: never commit a murder.

Whoop, watch the head. No, it doesn’t hurt, it just-

Look, you could at least try to avoid damaging me?
It’s like you’re-
It’s like you’re not even trying.
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Careful! Don’t try to hold on, don’t-

Ooooooooo.

For Pete’s sake. Are you alright there?

Say- are you all right?
Don’t cry. Really, please. Did you hurt yourself? ...Well, you can still move it, right? Here. You know what, you can put me down now. It’s alright. Let go for a moment. See? It’s in a stable place for now. Now, sit up and wipe your eyes.

I won’t tell you everything will be alright, because that’s a wicked lie and I want to be honest with you. All the time, all over the planet, people think that they’ve hit it. They think they’ve found rock bottom and that nothing will ever be alright ever again. And then they kill themselves, pointlessly, because they’ve forgotten that humans always change, and life never turns out quite the way you’d expect, good or bad. They lose their chance to learn, you know, to recover. But you’re in a very, very interesting situation here. Because I’m not human, haven’t been for a while, anyways. And it’s not life that you’re worried about.

It’s going to be hell, every day, every minute. I’m not going to leave. I’m not going to get any more ignorable. I’m only going to get worse. And then it will be hell, really, truly. You could decide that you want to stick around. People have. I’ve had to wait years before, but really, it wasn’t fun for either of us. He jumped. There are nicer ways, if you want advice.

So chin up, alright? Look at it this way: the eternity part is a done deal. You don’t have to keep adding days of your own torture onto the front of it.

You can leave the bag on the step now. No worries. Once you’re safe and sound where you belong I’ll be getting that back, after a bit of restoration work of course, so there’ll be nothing for the cops to find. No stain on your reputation, there. Only you, and I, and of course the big guy, will ever know any better.