From ‘I Do’, to Murder
The first time he hit her, in the face, flush on the left eye, sent two messages to her that she received with such frightening clarity, she forgot to scream.
One was that he was suddenly capable of doing something that she’d thought unthinkable; and two, he didn’t care if other people saw the results of his mayhem. This meant there would be more.
At the last thought, her ability to scream returned. The flashing lights in her eye and accompanying searing pain back through the rear of her skull were brief. The lights went dark suddenly, as her eye felt like it exploded. And upon the end of her shrieking exhalation, his next blow landed directly on her right eye, breaking the socket bone with a chilling, crunching sound that seemed to startle them both.
He grabbed her hair on the back of her head, held her head up, and smashed her directly in the nose with his rock hard fist, breaking it.
She collapsed back onto the bathroom tile, her head bouncing twice.
A final thought went through her 25 year old mind: “All I said was I was too drunk to fuck”.
He had hit her with such force that just above the obliteration of her nose, eerily centered between her two blood-soaked eyebrows, was an indentation of the initials of their high school from his class ring. He’d literally left his mark.
The ‘SC’ stared back at him. He stood up and looked at his ring. It was covered in blood and tissue from her caved-in nasal passage. He flexed his fingers, feeling for any fractures of his own. Grinning, he washed his hand in hot water at the sink. She remained motionless on the floor beneath him. She did not appear to be breathing. He didn’t care. His high school sweetheart, once the cutest cheerleader in school and Homecoming Queen to his star quarterback, was now no different from the hookers he frequently beat on when he’d cheated on her during their one year engagement. They were all whores, in one way or another.
Now, on their wedding night, full of tequila, weed, and a handful of Oxycontin, he’d established the way things were going to be from here on out. He’d avoided hitting her before their marriage, instead scratching that itch with the call girls, who’d been afraid to go to the police. He’d made sure there was never a pimp in the picture. He was always careful and thought ahead.
He went to the kitchen, pulled a bottle of beer from the fridge, and returned to the bathroom. She had not moved. Her chest did not rise with breath. He sensed an odd feeling of alarm.
What had he done? He hadn’t wanted to kill her. Just control her.
He reached down and felt for a pulse.
Damn. He sat on the lowered toilet seat and took a long pull from his beer bottle. Now he needed a plan.
He was exhibiting the classic eerie calmness that violent sociopaths were known for. Serenity, so ironic as to be almost post-coital in its blanket-like emotional warmth, rolled through him like a wave. Abrupt, lethal violence often was a palliative on the most compelling of sociopaths, so thoroughly did it scratch their sick itch, that a deep, restful slumber often followed such barbaric acts.
He felt a twinge of something inside that he couldn’t identify. Not guilt or shame. Those seeds were left in his mother’s womb. Possibly sexual arousal. It had all started with him wanting to fuck her. Oxycontin always made him horny.
He shook his head violently to clear it. He’d knocked a couple of the streetwalkers out cold as well, but they’d always come to and gathered their clothes and left.
Sherry appeared to have died. At his hand.
Once again, he stared at his right fist, ring now cleaned and once again shining. He looked down at his wife. His new wife of about six hours. Stupid bitch couldn’t even take a beating.
He took the beer back to the living room and sat in the black vinyl recliner. He had some time to think.
With his new bride’s body wrapped in a faux Persian rug, he wound duct tape tightly around the carpet that now entombed her. Though he was much stronger and weighed 100lbs more than her, he had trouble hoisting her dead weight. He’d taped the package together so tightly that it wouldn’t bend, making it an awkward walk through the kitchen and into the garage, banging what was probably her head on the door frame as he stepped down into the cold cement-floored garage.
With his remote, he opened the trunk of his Chrysler Le Baron and leaned forward and let her fall into the trunk from her perch against his left shoulder. She didn’t fit. He had to push down hard on the middle of the wrapped body to get both ends to fit into the small trunk to where the lid would close. She was now bent at an awkward angle, either forward at the waist, or…and he grinned at the prospect that possibly her body was bent backward, and not forward, breaking her spine. There had been a cereal-like soft crackling sound as he’d put his weight on her.
“Not gonna hurt her any,” he heard himself say softly.
He slammed the trunk and got behind the wheel, reaching up to his visor and pushing the electric garage door opener’s green button. The door began its noisy, halting, creaky slow rise.
He had not noticed before that rain had begun to fall. He flicked the wipers on as he came out into the dusk of the late summer evening. It was probably close to 9pm.
The dump would be unoccupied.
And smelly. He grinned and popped his favorite cassette tape into the deck in the center of his dashboard.
Warren Zevon sang his anthem to the sociopath.
“He took little Susie to the Junior Prom
Excitable boy, they all said
and he raped her and killed her, then he took her home
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy
After ten long years they let him out of the Home
Excitable boy, they all said
And he dug up her grave and built a cage with her bones
Excitable boy, they all said
Well, he's just an excitable boy”
“Excitable Boy” – Warren Zevon
He pounded his open palm on the steering wheel to the beat as he maneuvered the car through the deserted streets of the small town where they had planned to settle, only four blocks from where her parents lived in the house in which she’d grown up. In fact, they were passing her childhood home now. He waved. There were no lights on. Once more, a huge grin creased his flashy face.
Within minutes he was at the gate behind which raised four enormous mountains of trash and through which he eyed the almost ghoulish sight, against the last glow of daylight, of the sea gulls circling the summit of the piles of garbage and diving down periodically to retrieve something. He could hear the plaintive wails of the birds as he reached into the back seat and pulled out the bolt cutters he’d put there.
He easily snipped the small steel chain that held the gates closed, pull one side gate back and went and got back in the driver’s seat. He pulled through and stopped, got out and walked back and reclosed the gate and draped the now-severed chain over the latches, which might fool someone who gave it a cursory glance, especially in the fading light.
He turned off his headlights and followed the fading last light of day toward the largest heaping pile of trash, off to the left and ending furthest away from the gate.
He lit a cigarette and sat while the car idled. He pressed a button on the center console and his window slid closed, cutting off the odor of rotting food and what smelled like dead vermin.
He smoked the butt down to the filter and reached into his glove box for his flask, which still had a couple of inches of Jose Cuervo in it. He snubbed the cigarette out in the overflowing ashtray, turned the flask upright and emptied it and got out of the car. He reached back in to unlatch the trunk from the little black lever attached low on the front left wall.
Magically, the trunk gave a solid thunk noise and rose against the very last sliver of daylight left in the sky. He’d better hurry, he thought. There were not lights in the yard.
He trundled his awkwardly wrapped wife toward the pile of garbage, waded two or three steps into the first layer, and half leaned over and half tossed the body, wrapped securely in a $75 Costco rug, about four feet up the incline of trash, where in her not-so-final resting place, she sunk down about a foot, still clearly visible, even in the dark.
“Fuck it,” he said. He lit another cigarette and returned to his car.
He left the same way he entered, replacing the chain by looping it over the handles of both gates. By morning sunlight, the first arrival would know the chain had been compromised.
When he got home, he cleaned up the bathroom, showered and climbed into bed. He drifted off to sleep, not waking until mid-morning the next day. Starting at 10am, the phone rang every half hour. It had to be her mother. He ignored it.
That was his next hurdle: What to tell her parents.
He left town that evening. He was across the Nebraska state line by midnight and stopped only for gas twice on the way to Reno.
He gambled until he was sleepy, crawled into his comped room bed by noon and slept deeply until nightfall. A local newspaper was on the table and he perused the ads for escorts. That was what he loved about Reno. Gambling and whores at his beck and call.
That night, however, he met his match.
She was a black hooker, looked about 20, who talked him into $200 for an hour. Against his better judgment, he went for it, paying with his blackjack winnings. After the desultory sex, he smacked her with his open hand, grinning all the while. The spontaneous, unprovoked assault so startled the young girl that she froze. Then she quietly reached into her handbag, took out a small pistol and pointed it at him.
His grin still in place, he reached for it and watched in sudden horror as her finger squeezed the trigger. Her aim was true.
His heart stopped almost immediately. The little gun had made a noise like a cap gun, but its damage far outdistanced its noise capability.
He was dead before he fell off the bed to the stained carpet.
The young hooker rubbed her cheek softly where he had struck her.
She calmly went through his pockets, taking all his money and his only credit card. She hesitated, and then took his car keys. She didn’t want the car, but she might be able to sell it quick on the street. She knew a guy. His Le Baron was the only car in the lot.
She closed the door quietly behind her and left him slumped and bleeding on the carpet.
She mumbled to herself as she started toward the long staircase that lead down to the ground floor, “Mothafucka gon smack me? I don’t think so.”
The wedding the previous day seemed a very long time ago.