April 29, 2015
“Oh, that makes much more sense,” said Jerry, his shoulders slumped as far as the canvas straps allowed. The middle-aged insurance salesman was a perfect fit – looked just like my shit-head dad, same job and everything.
“What did you think was going on?” I asked. He still didn’t seem the slightest bit scared, which was such a turn-off.
“Well, I thought Bill set this up for my birthday. He knows how much I’m into those serial killer shows. But it’s not like I’m all that close with Bill these day,” he said. His eyes were bright with tears, but I’d done this enough to know that he was upset because there was no cake and not because of the assortment of edged tools laid out on a grungy table top.
“How old are you?” I asked. That sounded pretty lame.
“Big four-oh,” he said with a sniffle.
“Did Bill say he was planning a party?”
“No. I just really wanted someone to throw me a surprise party. I never had one. And this looks like an awful lot of thought went into it. I mean, you even taped all the tarps in place. You have the special double-thick gloves and the butcher apron. Oh, man, you even have those big rubber boots – those are awesome. I mean, how perfect would that be for a serial-killer themed party?”
“Well, I mean, it’s like the perfect party, right? I mean I’ve got all the stuff?” I was more confused than I’d ever been. The thought of killing him just seemed pathetic, like I’d be letting him down. This was so weird.
“Sort of. Don’t get me wrong, this is awesome. But, I mean, no one is here to appreciate it. And once I’m dead, no one will even know you went to all this effort for me,” Jerry said. “Could I blow my nose?”
I looked around – tarps abounded, but no tissues.
“Uh, hold on,” I muttered as I headed for the door. Down a narrow corridor was a disgusting bathroom and I was fairly sure I kept some toilet paper in there. Bingo!
When I came back, Jerry gave me a watery smile and then let me blow his nose like a toddler.
“Thanks, man. I know it’s not your fault. Don’t let me stop you from having your fun.”
I stood there awkwardly, I realized I didn’t have a trashcan to toss the used tissue. Usually all I needed for cleanup was a hose and a drain. The tarps pretty much took care of the bigger chunks. I just let it drop, but it grossed me out – which was also weird.
“Well, do you want to have a party?” I asked. “I mean, I’m not getting the thrill I’m looking for here, to be honest. And if it would make you feel better, I could keep Bill after and do him.”
“You’d do that?” he asked, and a small smile curved his lips.
“Sure, you call your friends and I’ll order from Dairy Queen. You like ice cream cake?”