So, here’s the deal. Below this, there is a new story. Without a name. I need help coming up with a name. And that’s where you all come in. Email me (lriley17 at hotmail dot com) or leave a comment with your suggestion. If you suggested the title that I pick, I will send you a copy of “Wolves” by Beck Cloonan. That’s right. Becky Cloonan’s “Wolves” for free, all for a little suggestion.
Contest ends next Monday. Whatever that date is.
So, name away!!
“John? John…it’s me, Maria. I need you to come over. I killed someone.”
And that’s why he usually never answers the phone after 2 a.m. Usually.
Still trying to fully wake up, he pushes his hand through his hair, staring through the blinds of the little window next to his bed.
“I killed someone, John. I need your help.”
She said it so coolly. So matter of the fact that he didn’t feel any panic. He didn’t feel anything.
“I’ll be right over. Don’t touch anything.”
He pulls on a shirt. Stained. Torn. “I have to go somewhere. You need to leave. Don’t bother locking the door when you do.”
He pulls the covers off the naked woman who was lying beside him and tosses her clothes on the bed.
She reaches for her underwear without opening her eyes. “Call me later?”
She’s waiting outside for him we he arrives. Smoking her cigarette. Calm.
“I killed him. I need your help.”
One thing she has always been good at is the simple answer, simple solution.
“We need to get rid of the body.”
He enters the house. It’s clean. No blood.
“Where’s the body?”
In the bathroom the body is in the bathtub with two holes bubbling in his chest.
“You shot him?”
“Yeah.” She fixes her hair in the mirror.
“I didn’t know you had a gun.”
“Not mine. It was his.”
“You know who it is?”
“Yeah. I’ve known him for a while.” She sits down on the toilet and lights another cigarette.
He searches the body, looking for ID.
Looking through the guy’s wallet.
“Fuck. You killed a cop.”
“We’ve been mixed up in some fucked up shit. But this is a pretty fucked situation.”
“Yeah. So what do we do?”
“I don’t know. Break a window the back door. Rough you up a bit. Make it look like he broke in and attacked you.”
“Not good. He was chatting with the neighbor before I let him in.”
He sighs. The initial shock is starting to wear off.
“Would your neighbor have heard the gunshots?”
“More than likely. I can hear his TV most nights. I’m sure he heard the shots.”
“He probably called the cops then. We don’t have much time.”
They play it cool. Like old pros. When shit has hit the fan, it’s always best not to panic. You can break down and cry and vomit and freak out later. But when the shit is flying? You keep your head down and do what needs to be done.
“Go see if your neighbors lights are on. We need to move the body.”
She leaves and something grabs his leg. Gasping and sputtering blood, the man in the bathtub is reaching for him, trying to speak.
“And bring back that fucking gun. He’s not dead.”
They are both completely naked. Cleaning the blood from the bathtub and the floor and the mirror and the walls. The body is wrapped in garbage bags and an old rug.
They shower to get rid of any blood and the smell of bleach.
Dressed again, they both stand looking out the windows towards the front lawn.
She lights a cigarette.
“Give me one too.”
She gives him the one from her mouth and lights another for herself. He takes a pull.
“It’s dark enough. We have a good chance of getting him into my car without being seen. The neighbors lights still off?”
“Yeah. But he’s probably at his windows. At least waiting for the police.”
“Good point. Out the back then.”
They carry the body to the backyard and dumped it over fence. He climbs over after it.
“I’ll meet you on the next street.”
She takes his keys, flicking her cigarette into the neighbors back yard.
He looks down. He looks around. He looks back over the fence.
Down here, dumbass. I’m the one snug as a bug.
Here comes the shock. He’s just tired, right? He’d only gotten, what? Two hours of sleep? If that?
The dead don’t talk. That’s a given. This guy is also dead. Very dead. He put two more bullets in the guys head. Given the situation, they couldn’t risk him surviving.
Just his imagination. He searches his pockets for a cigarette.
Where you gonna take me?
Wait…I know. You’re that John, aren’t ya? You’ll clean this mess up. Sparkly clean. Always good in a jam, aren’t you, John?
Headlights flash and the trunk opens. He picks the body up off of the ground as much as he can and carries him to the car.
He takes the keys, gets in, and starts the motor. No lights.
“Think it’s safe to turn the lights on?”
“Not yet. Just before we reach the highway. Keep an eye out for cops.”
Psst. Hey. Me again. Can we pull over. I have to pee.
“What? Fuck you. I didn’t say anything.”
“No. Not you. Nevermind…turn on the radio. I could do with some noise.”
They’ve been driving for almost an hour now. No sign of cops. No sign of anyone, really.
“Where are we going?”
“Best place I can think of is to just dump him in the sea. Unless you have a better idea.”
“As long as no one finds him. And if they do, it doesn’t come back to me. To us.”
Why would you do this for her? Sticking your neck on the line like this. So calm and cool. The fucking James Dean of body disposal. Aren’t you going to ask her why she shot me?
“I know what you’re thinking. If you want to know, I’ll tell you what happened.”
“Don’t. I don’t care. What you did is what you did. Let’s just make sure that it’s all taken care of tonight. No loose ends.”
Well, fuck! It’s like she read my mind. So you’re going to ship me out, huh? Tuck me in with the fishes and hope a shark eats me before I wash up and some poor kid finds me?
“What are you doing?”
“I’m pulling over.”
“What the fuck for?”
“I need to check on something.”
He stops the car, gets out, and shuts the door before she can say anything else.
He opens the trunk and leans in close to the body, waiting for it to speak. Waiting for it to move. Waiting for it to do anything except be dead.
Nothing. Not even the sound of the wind.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing. I thought I heard something.”
“Don’t freak out now. It’s almost over. You’ve done this shit before. Be professional.”
The sky is getting lighter. Water splashes onto their legs as they carry the body along the rocky beach.
“You take off his clothes. I’ll get the fire ready.”
Ha. Give her the fun job, huh? Then again, I guess she has had practice taking off my clothes.
The hole dug, the fire going, they drop his clothes and wallet and shoes into the flames.
“What doesn’t burn we scatter and bury.”
“He have any tattoos? Moles? Scars? Anything that can identify him?”
“No. Wait. He’s got a tattoo. A small one. On his thigh.”
She would know.
“Great. Go get our spare clothes, I’ll get to work.”
You’re going to fuck up my beautiful face aren’t you?
“Stop talking. You’re dead. Dead and about to be forgotten.”
Searching, he finds the sharpest rocks as well as the heaviest one he can lift.
He starts scraping and cutting the hands and feet. Tearing any hope of prints from the skin. He scratches hard, along both thighs, ripping apart any existence of the tattoo. He scrapes bone. That should be good enough.
He stands up, lifting the heavy rock as high as he can and drops it. Cracking the skull. He lifts it and drops it over and over until all teeth are knocked out. Until the hair and skull are a mess.
“Sorry. No one will ever be able to recognize you now.”
She comes back with their clothes and nearly vomits.
“Fuck. That is disgusting. I’m not touching that.”
“Grab his arms.”
“Fuck you. I’m not touching him.”
“You killed him. Grab his fucking arms and help me carry him.”
She always liked it when I bossed her around. Just be firm and demanding and she’ll be butter.
“Why’d you have to fuck him up so bad? I get the hands and all…but his head is almost gone. I’m going to puke if I have to touch him.”
“Covering our tracks. No prints, no dental, no tattoo. Hopefully the fish will do the rest. Nothing can point back to you. Or me.”
She tosses her half smoked cigarette into the pile of burning clothes.
They stand on the edge of the pier, watching the body float away. No blood. The heart stopped pumping hours ago.
I always loved the sea, you know? People say we always go back to the earth, trying to be all poetic and shit with death. But the sea…that’s where we all end up. Floating and dying. Well, floating and dead.
“We burn our clothes. Then we leave. Don’t go home. Not until this is all out of the newspapers. Do you need cash? Don’t use your bank accounts or credit cards. The neighbor seeing you really fucked your chances. So hide. And don’t call me.”
“Oh, I don’t plan to.”
Behind him he can hear her lighter spark. Then the slow exhale of smoke between dry lips. Then another sound…what’s that sound?
If I were you, sailor, I’d turn around right about…now.
He turns. Not fast enough.
“I’m sorry, John. Loose ends. All that. I’m sure you understand.”
She pulls the trigger. There’s a tightness in his chest, then warmth spreading over his stomach.
I told ya…
Easily, she pushes him over and into the water. Dropping the gun after him.
Between the waves washing over his eyes he can see her change clothes. Burning her old ones, watching him as he floated outwards.
She walks away. Not looking back. Lighting another cigarette.
I hope you can swim…