Our drive to the lookout point has been rather unsettling for me. We must’ve driven this trip a hundred times when we were first dating. I remember, we had nicknamed it our doorway to O town. It was just the perfect kind of habitat for those soft pale hips to be sealed around my jawline. There in that strange paradise of ours, where your moans generated their own weather patterns. Wait, did I just say that out loud?
I feel woozy, I must be drifting in and out of some sort of autopilot, mesmerized by these lines in the road. I turn my head towards you and it’s as if time slows to a grinding halt. You just sit there, curled up in the passenger seat, aimlessly peering out the window, stiff as a board. I catch myself reaching out to touch you, but stop half way. A powerful energy pulls me back and into those beautiful memories of our explicit, sexual explorations into human reproduction, such swirling fragments of a time when we both clung to a raw, ambitious optimism. Truly a righteous hope about the future and the sunny life we saw ourselves sharing together, just the two of us.
But, all good things come to an end and the prevailing abyss of time has now swallowed up all our alluring happiness, leaving behind crushing sensations of anxiety and depression. Stark emotions squeeze me like a thick black snake, its smooth, slimy scales coating my eyes in a bleak form of reality and echoing unspeakable and immutable things that cling to the back of my mind like moss to a damp wall.
“Mavin, will you go pick up Gill’s little friends,” Bethany demanded leaning against the kitchen sink and sipping her blueberry tea. Next to Bethany sat Gill, her four year old sandy tan labrador retriever, acting overly eager for six o’clock on a cold Monday morning. His floppy, salmon coloured tongue lightly panting out the side of his mouth and resembling a devilish smile upon hearing her request.
Mavin was already running late for an emergency call and he didn’t need her to start grumbling about this now.
“Seriously Bethany, there’s a Goddamn rabid raccoon at the secondary school, I need to get the little bastard before he attacks anyone,” he replied angrily, dumping his coffee and cup into the sink behind her and then pausing to rinse it out. He hated it when she called Gill’s shit, Gill’s little friends. It’s shit… It’s nobodies friend he though, flinging the dish cloth onto the neck of the faucet. “You know, that mutt has it better than me.”
“I don’t really care!” Bethany sneered.“I’m tired of stepping in it Mavin, it better be done tonight, or else! And don’t forget to put the shepherds pie in the oven when you get home!”
Mavin weaved around her and straight towards the front door without a single spoken word.
As Mavin drove to the raccoon call his blood began to boil, he repeatedly slammed his hands against the steering wheel. “Fuck that dog,” he said to himself, “I liked it before she got that filthy little beast, at least then I could sleep in my own Goddamn bed.”
Bethany absolutely adored Gill. Everywhere she went Gill was never too far from her side. Even tagged along with her at work. Being an extremely successful real-estate broker, she was more than able to pull it off and to be honest, her clients loved the unique experience both Bethany and Gill brought to the table. The two of them were the hottest brokerage team in the whole City. She even commissioned to have a massive billboard overlooking the freeway with a big caption saying, “You got the eyes and we’ll cross your t’s.” The mammoth picture with it was a close up of herself making a goofy face behind her hands shaped like binoculars, and Gill’s slobbery pink tongue just about to lick her face.
It was all too romantic Mavin thought, passing by the ad.
Later on that same morning, Bethany and Gill started their day like any other. The home inspector Larry, picked her and Gill up. The three of them drove to the sellers property before the clients were to arrive. Generally, Larry the inspector would let Bethany and Gill inside the house, then go off and inspect the buildings exterior. On this day Gill seemed reluctant to enter the home and he needed some edible encouragement from Bethany to persuade him inside.
“It’s okay Gill, there’s no ghosts in here, I promise,” she reassured him with a treat and a gentle tug of his leash.
The two of them just stood there in the front entranceway for a moment, greeted by the faint howls of the cool morning breeze and the foul odour of mildew that tickled Bethany’s nose. A loud scratching spooked Gill and sent him into a lusty whining fit. “Stop it Gill, it’s nothing but the wind,” she hollered at him, with a sharp tug on his leash that accidentally caused her to loose her grip. Gill bolted away and disappeared into the house.
“Gill!” She blasted.
She paused for a moment and listened to the faint jingling of Gill’s collar. Then a colossal eruption of chaos exploded. Horrible yelps and horrific, deep, demon like growls could be heard echoing throughout the house. It was a deafening roar of mayhem followed by a sudden eerie hush.
Bethany just stood there frozen, she knew something terrible had happened and she could feel it in her bones. All she could do was scream for Larry.
Larry the home inspector said when he opened the garage door he saw a gruesome sight, a sea of red. Blood everywhere and a little beady eyed gremlin, latched around something’s neck, savagely tearing out its throat. Well, that little beady eyed gremlin was a rabid racoon and that something was poor old Gill. “He didn’t stand a doggone chance,” Were Larry’s exact words about the situation to me on the phone. I wanted to go see it for myself, but unfortunately I was called to an over turned cattle truck on route.
When I finally came home that night, Bethany was uncontrollable, aggressive and overly violent towards me.
“How could you just assume that buying me lingerie would make everything okay Mavin?” She said swinging wildly at him.
I’ll admit, it was certainly a mistake bringing home a swanky neon pink piece of lady filth, but to be honest, I actually bought it once I heard the news. I mean, who was I to think that a one way ticket to pleasure town wouldn’t lift her spirits.
She told me she wanted a divorce.
One thing led to another and I sort of fed her a few tabs of LSD, the ones I had saved from our better days, when bringing home a sexy piece of lingerie meant getting your dick sucked, right there on the welcome mat. I mashed them up and placed them into her shepherds pie. Even played a little hippie-roulette when I mixed up our plates and forgot which one I had laced. I finally figured it out when she slowly slithered off her chair and curled up underneath the table speaking in tongues. It was then that I took the rather extreme precaution of locking her inside Gill’s old training crate. She went psycho. Almost gnawed right through the Goddamn thing. When I finally did let her out she pretended to act calm for a while, then once again spun completely sideways on me.
She was absolutely twisted and eventually officers were called to our house over a noise complaint. The neighbours had worryingly dialled 911 when they heard Bethany screaming mindless gibberish from the top of her lungs. I thought about holding a pillow to her face, just to calm her down, but I didn’t want to have to explain things. —“No officer, I promise…There isn’t a problem here…I just fed my wife some LSD mashed in with her shepherds pie… I figured if I stuffed a pillow over her face and wrangled her back into the dogs crate, everything would be okay!”— I mean, she was bumping into the walls and shit, tripping over everything in some delusional paranoia. One minute she was screaming about fucked up, leprechauns with massive blue eyes and jagged wooden teeth and the next it was a hairy bigfoot with giraffe heads for arms. I think I fed her too much of the damn stuff. Luckily I brushed the cops off by simply telling them…”She was a severe epileptic.” Worked like a charm too.
“I love you Bethany,” he whispered, glancing over at this shattered shell of a woman occupying the cars passenger seat.
Bethany held her perfect stillness, she hadn’t moved, just sat there curled up like a crumpled up piece of paper. Her thin legs appeared as if two black straws were kinked under herself and her head still lay pressed against the glass. Her only response, was the sound of her tongue ring tinkering against her teeth.
“Sweetheart—I said I love you! Does that no longer hold any bearing on you anymore?” He questioned firmly gripping the steering wheel with both hands.
“I don’t feel the suns coming out today Mavin—“ she stammered still holding her stare to the window, “I think it would be best if you just moved on without me.”
A powerful surge of anger swept over him. He mashed the gas pedal into the floorboards. The screaming sound of the cars tired four cylinder engine roared, and the thrust of acceleration kicked his head back into his seat. His eyes began to blur and well up and he battled to retain his focus on the solid painted white lines in the road. He unbuckled his seatbelt and felt a heavy pressure growing within his chest and a deep bubble of dissatisfaction bloom inside, then burst like a tremendous blister. He clenched his teeth at the feeling and glanced over to Bethany, she was as cool as a cucumber, not even a twinkle of life in such a time of uncertainties. He fought with every urge inside him from charging their piece of shit light mocha, 92 Ford Tempo, head on into one of the rapidly approaching bridge pillars.
“I FUCKEN HATE THIS LIFE!” He feverishly cried out and into the windshield, as they blasted underneath the bridge in an incredible rate of speed and skimmed mere inches away from the freeways concrete dividers. His eyes glanced up and over into the rearview mirror as he watched a missed opportunity for death quickly trail away.
They pulled off the freeway and drove for a while, eventually they pulled into a gravel parking lot overlooking the cityscape. Mavin lined the car up with a small gap in the guard rail just before the steep over hang, then reversed to the opposite end of the lot to give himself a good runway.
He slammed the car into park and just peered ahead.
“You know Bethany,” Mavin broke the silence. “I killed that filthy little beast of yours… I caught that sick racoon from the secondary school, then raced ahead of you and released it into the garage. You know, it’s always blown my mind how you and that fucken mutt could be so Goddamn successful and here I am merely catching vermin and picking up shit.”
Bethany seemed to stir in her seat and perk up just a little. “What?” She whispered.
Mavin didn’t hesitate another second, he cranked the shifter into drive and stomped down hard on the gas pedal. The engine revved and the tires frivolously spun for traction in the loose stone, slowly the car began to inch forward. Bethany sprung to life with a scream, franticly, she clawed at the door frame and handle finally unlocking it, then flopping out of the car, just before Mavin careened between the tiny space in the guard rail and soared over the lookouts sheer drop.
Bethany staggered to her feet carefully feeling around until she found something to lean against. She was bleeding, she could feel it, the warm blood trickling down the side of her face and then the sounds of a car approaching and stop somewhere in front of her.
“Are you okay lady? You’re bleeding,” a panicked voice shouted out to her.
“Please— help me,” she cried. “I’am blind and my husband has been trying to kill me.”
more by ROACH ADAMS
read Roach Adams’ blog Animals Of Progress
photograph by Scott Webb