The Tramp – Part Two
Dystopian Short Stories
Trent Coy was a man of 20 by the time the Tramp came knocking on his door. The young man had worked hard and fast. He already was married and had spawned a child. Together, the happy couple lived in a well-off part of the city. Sheltered from the chaos surrounding them, Trent and his wife were naive and welcoming. Their neighborhood consisted of exquisite mansions protected by the historic society; they were made in the glorious wealth the country had had before the Great Depression took everything. It was his wife who came to the door answering his call, and it was his wife who consented to let him in after he claimed to need a phone to dial a tow truck after his car supposedly “broke down” and his phone “ran out of charge.” She was a beautiful girl and the Tramp felt delighted knowing he would be the one to take her. The Tramp had become an expert at changing the way people perceived him by differing his change of clothes and distorting his tone of voice. Speaking to the women, he took a simple approach by only removing his small accent that he had picked up at a young age.
“Thank you, Madam; it was the strangest thing. One moment I was driving, and then the next thing I know, my car is spinning out and into a curb. And when I checked, both my back tires were popped right open.”
“Thats quite alright, Mister?”
Her voice had a musky, un-feminine tone that made his skin crawl with pleasure; she sounded much like that one red-headed girl in the movies in fact she actually kind of looked like her, too.
“Mr. Clark, Madam — John Clark. Please, if I could burden you for your name, I would be grateful if I could know the name of my rescuer.”
He picked the alias he gave to his victims very carefully; he always made sure to use as common a name as possible but he always had a new one. The thing is that all the known serial killers — the famous ones, that is — also were the worst ones, especially ones that left a calling card, went by a certain name, or killed in the same fashion every time. Those were people who on the inside wanted to get caught; they must have, or else they wouldn’t have been so stupid. It was the professional ones like the Tramp — who covered his tracks carefully, always moving and never choosing a victim that in any way could be traced back to himself — who were the most effective at their personal terrors.
“It’s nice to meet you John. I’m Samantha Coy.”
She motioned to a small figure behind her that was shyly peeking its tiny head behind the staircase.
“And this is baby Jojo. Come here and say hello, Jojo — this man’s name is John and he’s having some minor car trouble.”
The child was young and obviously had no idea what its mother was saying, but, sure enough, he approached her mother and grabbed onto her pants, trying to get Samantha to pick him up.
“What a delightful little bundle of joy you have there, Samantha. Say, where is Mr. Coy? I would like to thank him for the marvelous hospitality you have shown me.”
Samantha gave the Tramp a small apologetic smile.
“I’m afraid Mr. Coy isn’t going to be home for quite a while. Let me see its only about … yep, 10:30 a.m.; he shouldn’t be around until 1 p.m.-ish, I think. But that’s alright — I’ll send forward your appreciation. Follow me and I’ll show you to the home phone.”
Samantha, still holding little Jojo, turned and walked down a small hallway, her bare feet making a small pad each time they landed on the deep brown, wooden floors of the old building.
“You to have a beautiful home, Samantha.”
The Tramp may have been a morally questionable killer but that didn’t mean he couldn’t appreciate some quality architecture. The house really was beautiful — to the right, immediately after walking through the doorway, was a grand staircase that proved that you could go old with grace. The steps were a deep black that showed only a little bit of wear after all of its years of use. Along the sides and up the railing were intricate carvings of flowers and spirals of what looked like air flying outward.
Straight past the stairs was what looked to be a den-like place; from his position, the Tramp only could see a small, brick, red-colored couch with a golf club leaning against it. The couch had two green-striped pillows that collided with the red that made the tramp think about a cactus in the desert during sundown. To the left of the Tramp was a magnificently large living room — the furnishings was a large, gray, L-shaped couch, a TV stand, a maybe 60-inch TV and a rectangular sized rug with a chest on top of it in front of the couch. Besides all the furnishings added, it also had what seemed to be still the original fireplace, and while it looked great enough on its own, above it, carved into the wall, was a pair of dragons spitting fire into each others’ faces. It was an intimidating image that took up almost the entire wall; it was clearly seen even from his position at the door. On the eastern wall of the living room were two heavyset doors that led into another room; where it led he couldn’t see. Samantha went straight down the hall leading toward the den and took a left through a glass door, leading them further into the puzzle of a house.
Following Samantha though the door, he found himself standing in another long hallway. If he continued further, he would be met by a second glass door that looked as if it would lead him to the house’s dining room. That must be where the doors in the living room go to — on the Tramp’s right, however, was a second smaller hallway. The house got even more intricate because on the left of this hallway was a second pair of stairs. These weren’t as magnificent as the previous one — was it a servants’ passage? At the end of the hall was yet another door leading to another room, but, before it, to the left, was what looked like another small hall. That must be where she went, he thought. He strode down the smaller hallway on his right past the modest stairs and took a left where he found Samantha placing Jojo in his highchair, a plate of macaroni already prepared for the little guy.
“I was beginning to be afraid that you had gotten lost, John. I almost felt like I needed to begin a search party.”
“Sorry, Ms.Coy. Like I said, you have a beautiful home, I was merely admiring its elegance.”
Samantha gave out a grateful chuckle.
“You can thank Trent for that. He said he wanted to provide the very best for little Jojo and me and this is what we could afford. If you think this is nice, you should see the houses they have in the suburbs — now those are fancy.”
“Nonsense,” said the Tramp. “Those houses might be new but nothing beats the old stuff.”
Tapping the wall, the Tramp created a quiet sound that hurt his knuckle to produce. “You see, their houses might be new but the product used to make them is cheap. This house is what, more than 100 years old? Sounds about right? And in another 100 years, I bet it will still be here — even after I cut your throat out and new tenants move in — because it was made of the right stuff. Those other houses, however, maybe have a good 50 years before they start to fall apart.”
The Tramp, Samantha and even baby Jojo shared a moment of silence as the conversation came to a crashing stop. The Tramp loved these kinds of moments because it was his first peek to how different people react in awkward or stressful moments. She probably is trying to convince herself that she misheard me — come on, darling, you’re smarter than that; try and make this a little bit of fun for me. Samantha delivered.
Trent walked into his doorway; a handsome young man with a promising future — unlike many of the people his age — he treated each moment like it would be his last. At his job, he quickly was rising through the ranks; his boss even had hinted about an opening in upper management. He never could have expected the sight the Tramp had set up for him.
The first thing Trent noticed was the pungent odor that occupied the air. It almost smelled like a pork roast — a meal Samantha never before had made. But there was something else in the smell — something that seemed wrong, something that was burnt and smelled kind of like charcoal. To Trent’s left, he heard the sound of Jojo’s crying and the mystery of the mysterious smell was solved.
Samantha had made a great a lot of fun for the Tramp. First, she grabbed the baby, but because she had buckled the kid into his highchair, she couldn’t save him and instead let go and ran out the door. The Tramp sprinted after her, both knives held in his hands. The room Samantha ran into must have been the one that the door in the living room led to; his suspicions were correct. Samantha stood on the opposite side of a large glass table, no visible weapon in her hands.
“Please!” She screamed. “Don’t hurt my son!”
next: The Tramp – Part Three
previous: The Tramp – Part One
more by FRANCISCO LEYVA
photograph by Alicja Colon