Second Place, Fiction
Now let me qualify this. First, vampires can just come into your house without an invitation . . . because vampires are a bunch of nerdy kids who paint their faces and hate their fathers just because they’re teenaged. Read: Vampires aren’t real. The monsters I let in are called “solids.” Now me, I’m not a solid, just a doorkeeper. I’m about as human as someone can be, without being human. I look like, and generally lead the life of, an average 24-year-old guy. I drink, get drunk, get laid, fuck up, drive drunk, and work. I live in a nice condo downtown and I manage a big territory. Oh, and I’ve been doing this since right before people knew who Caligula was.
Solids are all of the extremes of human emotion and human condition manifested as humanoids. They usually act and react like the emotions they represent. If you were to meet one of them, you’d think they were just a really temperamental person.
Now stop whatever you’re thinking right now and focus. Good.
Have you ever seen a friend, and they said, “Hey, I passed you on the road today. Who was that chick you were talking to?” And you really don’t remember anyone being in your car? It’s because there was no woman in your car, but maybe Misfortune and you are having a conversation. Or maybe it was you and Sensuality (she’s so hot), or Charisma catching up on old times. You can’t see solids when they are there for you. I can see them whenever. You can see them in public. It’s why when I take Envy and Melancholy and Faith to a club you think I’m just the man. When solids aren’t in your house, you can see, touch, and to a very mild extent interact with them. Chastity—you remember her? She was a solid. No, seriously.
Now me, I get to interact with them quite a bit, as you can imagine, and I’ve been intimate with Intimacy and indiscreet with Indiscretion. I’ve kissed Passion. And I used my tongue. The thing is, they imbue you with themselves, even me. Almost every time you’ve had great freaky sex I promise you that Deviance was there, and he’s a guy.
And here’s where we get back to the get back to. I’ve killed countless people. Or caused them to kill themselves. You think you have free will, and to an extent you do. But let a solid into your house and see how quickly you do what they muse. And you can’t stop Death. Death isn’t a solid, but sometimes I have to let him in.
Right now, Death is in my living room. Staring at me with his hollow eyes. He really is a skeleton with a cloak, but I don’t know where people got the whole scythe thing. The only thing death carries is a gentleman’s purse. What he keeps in there is anybody’s guess. I’m thinking: It’s fruit roll-ups. This usually wouldn’t be scary, except that I’m pretty sure he’s here to get me, and I sort of want him to.
This guy, he has a sense of humor, though. We’re watching a DVD of my life, in little flashes. It’s playing on a tiny little 13-inch TV that’s resting on the coffee table. My plasma is still broken on the floor. The actor they have playing me is sorta silly looking.
This all started a couple of weeks ago. Depression, she lets me know she’s been feeling down. Me, being the nice sexual predator I am, invited her to stay here for a while. It’s been almost two weeks since she came. See, Depression is really a looker, so who am I to turn her away? She’s a slender goth-looking chick with very fair skin, black-black straight hair, and blue eyes. After about two days of her being here, we started to get freaky-deaky . . . a lot (and you think your girlfriend cries after sex). I gave Depression her first orgasm, and then she fell in love with me.
The beautiful thing was, I even saw Depression smile.
It seems, though, that getting Depression drunk out of her mind one night and bringing her and Remorse and Gina here for a wild orgy probably wasn’t the best of ideas. Gina’s not a solid, just a slut. After the sex, which was great, don’t get me wrong, I became unbelievably upset with myself. While Depression and Remorse slept, Gina just cried and cried about how bad of a person she was, and how she can never pick the right guy, and how I shouldn’t abandon her.
She couldn’t even look me in the eye while I was untying her from the bedpost.
I couldn’t look at her as I handed her 20 bucks for a cab. I think, no I’m pretty damn sure, I wiped my tears with her panties. I told Depression and Remorse they had to leave. Remorse got out, but Depression just got out of bed and got ready for a shower. I explained to her that she too had to leave, it was getting to be too much. If you love something, let it go. If it comes back and keys your car, it’s yours forever.
For the next week, Depression was there, at my door, crying. Begging for me to be with her. That’s what I get, though, for being in a relationship with a solid. I told her:
“This isn’t how stalking works . . . you have to hide.” I mean, I took the girl out to dinner. Swingin’ playboys like myself do not take girls out to dinner; especially girls who can’t communicate verbally. I know it doesn’t sound all bad, but the conversations tend to be one-sided.
And there she is, every day, in the hallway, crying. I have the corporal manifestation of sadness crying, over me. I even think I was sort of falling for her. Then, on Friday, she was sitting in the hallway with Rage, talking without words, the way solids do. I nodded a “hey” to the red-headed little boy that was Rage and opened the door to my condo.
The fishy thing was, I even saw Depression smile.
I immediately started to cry when I saw what she and Rage had done to my apartment. I’m not the crying type either, but this is life when you’re fucking depressed. I mean fucking Depression.
My plasma television was on the ground, broken. Surround sound, torn apart to the wires. die die die tagged on the wall with thick red acrylic paint. All manner of euphemisms for physically impossible things I should do, with absolutely no regard for grammar or punctuation. My fish tank (thank God there were no fish in there)—all 50 gallons of water and little cyan pebbles are on the floor with the little Scuba Sam just swimming in circles on the hardwood. Glass—everywhere. When you go and FIND Rage to come help you ruin your boyfriend’s condo, that’s free will. I needed a drink or two . . . or 12. Solids don’t need to be able to talk to speak to you.
OK, I get it. My bad.
Fast forward to me getting thrown out of a popular bar in a popular part of town. Not asked to leave. Thrown out. Not thrown out because of me being an obnoxious prick who was trying to fight guys twice my size either, thrown out because I was creeping girls out when I offered to buy them a drink and then just started bawling. More so, I started crying on some guy twice my size when he asked me to leave.
I am such a pussy right now.
So I decided to do what any self-respecting, regretful, drunken, crying man lying face down on a muddy plot of lawn would do. I got into my car and I drove home. I started feeling remorse for every wrong.
For the first time I was stationed in New England, and I let Prejudice and Intolerance into almost everyone’s house. I let Wrath into their homes, and Fear. I let Doubt in. And then at the trials, I let Hatred in. I let Egomania and Piousness in. I had to let Death into the houses of Goody Davidson and the Widow Saunders. None of them were witches.
I was responsible for so much hurt. I was in Washington when they decided to kill Ernesto Guevara. I was there when the embargo was set.
I was in San Diego in 1997 with Hysteria and Delusion and Stupidity and Faith and Marshall Applewhite.
I was responsible for so much pain, and I’m just an errand boy. Where’s my free will?
I am the gopher of some sick fuck somewhere who has more power than he should.
I was in Waco,
I was in Berlin in 2002 with Michael Jackson and Lunacy.
I let Envy and Rage into the Simpson house, and I know who killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman—it was Death, but O.J. stabbed them a helluva lot, and gave them a shove in the right direction.
I let Fanaticism, Obscenity, and Ridiculousness into Joel Schumacher’s house right after he inked the Batman franchise deal. Nipples? C’mon!
I’m like the devil or something.
So at some point, I let Death into my condo, and I didn’t use my apartment key to let him in. I used the same key I would use to get into your house. Depression, she was already there when I went to bed.
Which brings us to me waking up, next to Depression, crying. Then she and I going out into the ruined living room. Then Death sitting there, on my futon, with as smug a look on his face as one can have . . . without a face. I asked what he was doing there, but he just pointed at me, and my DVD, already in progress. We were smack in the middle of the trailer for the new Jamie Foxx flick. Which brings me and you to here and now.
The fucked up thing was, I even saw Depression smile.
Now, I was pretty drunk last night, and I’ve never been that tanked and able to “perform.” So I know me and Depression didn’t do anything. As far as I know, she just tried to spoon with my face-down body.
According to the timer on the DVD, I had about two hours ’til curtains. No joke. This is how you go now. Death and you, watching a DVD about you, starring C List actors and set to after-school special music. It’s funny but a bit disenchanting.
I was upset with myself, and sad, and determined to go out with a bang. So I left the apartment while Death and Depression watched me move.
I ran for what seemed like blocks to find her. I ran to where I knew she’d be. Standing in the middle of a busy intersection, cars whizzing by, there she was. She was smaller than expected the first time I met her; she had blond hair, brown eyes. Full lips. Nice hips. Great ass. Up until now, I could only really fantasize about screwing her, but now it seemed more than appropriate. I waited for a good shot, ran out into traffic, and grabbed Suicide by her wrist and started running back to my tower.
Then I let her in. I used the same key I would use to get into your apartment. She walked in and she grabbed my wrist and kissed my cheek. We walked past Death, and Depression, and my DVD, holding hands, into the kitchen; I grabbed a knife. We walked past Death and Depression and my DVD, and someone had let Vindication in, and he just smiled at me. I nodded back to him as I was pulled down the hallway to the bathroom. Depression got up and followed us. She just peeked around the corner of the open bathroom doorway. She heard as I fucked Suicide in the shower. Suicide seemed to scream in ecstasy. She opened her mouth and pounded the tile of the wet shower stall with her fist after I turned her around to take her from behind. Then she had an orgasm and almost slipped in the tub.
I let her out into the bedroom, and Depression followed. She stopped at the doorway, like vampires, not allowed to come in. Suicide and I desecrated my bed. Then she pulled me out of her and started to go down on me. It felt so right. I felt all of the wrong I had been responsible for was being alleviated with each passionate pump. Just as Suicide looked up at me with her big eyes, it began to build.
I told Suicide something I had never told anyone before.
“I love you.”
And then, right before I came, I slit my wrist. Suicide swallowed, and I loved her even more. I looked at Depression, and I remembered all of the times she and I had worked together before I lived with her. I remembered all of the teenagers who she drove to shoot their classmates or kill their parents. I remembered all the little kids who I took her to see after they were sexually abused. Suicide was there for a lot of these cases, but Depression was there for all of them, every last one. Suicide was release from Depression. Suicide was such a selfless solid. She was there for you when no one else was. She wasn’t there to judge. She wasn’t an easy way out—she was the only way out. As Suicide got up, I kissed her lips and her forehead. I repeated:
“I love you, Suicide”
Then I faced Depression with my arm around Suicide’s shoulder. My wrist was limp from cutting through the tendons and ligaments. I was bleeding onto Suicide’s naked torso, and I tried to point to Depression.
“Fuck you very much.” And my arm went limp, and I was as pale as you could be after losing a few pints of blood. Suicide smiled and nestled her head into the part of my shoulder where your neck and your trapezius intersect.
I saw Depression break down in the doorway. As she fell to her knees, she buried her face into her hands and cried. I could see my bloody body and my bloody face with Suicide on my shoulder in the mirror in the hall.
The beautiful thing was I even saw me smile.
812 Park Ave.
Baltimore, MD 21201