How It Feels to Be Fired
Every night, as I lay silently with my siblings, I could hear her screams. Although I desperately wanted to do something, I just stayed where I was, totally impotent. From my crowded bed, I was an audial witness to every fight – but they weren’t really fights, because she almost never said anything aside from, “I’m sorry.” I never knew what she had to be sorry for, and I’m not entirely sure she did, either. Even the most coherent of his rants were barely intelligible, whatever he intended to say coming out as grunts and shouts more befitting of a boar than a man.
I had never seen a boar, nor heard one, but they were the talk of the family – boar, deer, wolves, just about anything found in the woods fascinated my family. I had been around people more than animals, so while I could only imagine that he sounded like a boar, I was quite certain that he didn’t sound like a human while she screamed. That all changed when she cried, though. All of a sudden, his voice would go soft and all-too-human and he’d whisper apologies and promises. I couldn’t always hear them, but there was never any doubt of their sincerity.
In some ways, I think that’s what got me to hate him – the simple fact that every time he said he wouldn’t do it again, he really meant it, and that he really wished that it wouldn’t happen again, and got her wishing that it wouldn’t happen again, and then went against both of their wishes every single time. It wasn’t the rage of the wife-beater, but the quiet consistency of the serial killer of hopes and dreams that truly made him a monster.
But one night, despite his best efforts, her hopes blossomed into desperate action – she came to me for help. She didn’t have to say anything; I could tell by the way her breathing changed from shaky, unsteady gasps to a simple, steady rhythm, almost like she was sleeping. I suppose that, in a sense, she was. Enacting a dream that has only dared appear during slumber may feel like slipping into back into the dream, itself. I wouldn’t know – I don’t dream. What I do know is that this was the happiest I had ever been, seeing the passive resolve settle onto her features, at last.
I don’t know what an orgasm feels like, but I can only imagine that this feeling was just as good, as she slid me into the barrel of the pistol; or maybe it was when she slowly cocked the hammer; or maybe it was her unabashed pull of the trigger, the euphoric jolt of being allowed to fulfill the purpose I knew I had been made for; or maybe it was my first introductions with his skin, that barest moment that started as a hello, turned into a kiss, and quickly became full-on penetration, leading me to the skull, the brittle bully of all who would harm the sweet treat lying underneath.
The battle was very sudden, and the cranium’s stalwart defender did its honest best to knock me off course, presenting its thickest, toughest face. Luckily, it was all show, and I relished in the shattering of the foolish blowhard. And then it was straight on to dessert, the final reward of my patience and his repeated folly. I drifted lazily through his pathetically weak gray matter, taking in what sights there were, exulting in the tickle of the remaining few synapses, looking back and watching them flicker out of existence. I felt no remorse in this – I’m sure they were up to no good.
All too soon, it was time to leave. My work done, I half-heartedly made my way past the remaining barrier of skull and said my final farewells to the skin. Making my exit through the nape of his neck felt right; the place she had brushed lightly when she comforted him after a long day at the office, where she had grabbed tightly as they made love, softly breathed on as they both slept. His life hadn’t been enough – it was this, the complete annihilation of the one thing that had always given him pleasure, comfort, and solace. Never again would he feel the light grazes of her teeth that made him shiver. Never again would he feel the moist swish of her tongue that could make him forget the world around him. Never again would he feel.
From my place embedded deep in the mattress, I couldn’t see the expression on her face, but I know it looked like happiness.
more by KENNY STONEMAN
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