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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: February 28, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 28, 2018





By Daniel Joyce


I’ve killed everyone in my family at least once. My mother, father, sisters, brother. Mom at least a dozen times. She seems to work the best. Not literally of course, that would make me a murderer. Murder of the soul you could say. Theirs and mine. I lie you see. People lie to each other everyday. Most often to themselves. They tweet about people they don’t know, share statuses about their false relationships. I tell lies that matter. Powerful ones.

It all started with a girl. Tiffany. She’s no one now, but oh was she something special. The night I was to take her out I couldn’t look myself in the mirror. Self-reflection is when I’m at worse. She’s only humoring you. She’s a ten, a model, and you almost struck out looking for a prom date. I can’t look at myself anymore so I retreat to the kitchen. I told myself I wouldn’t drink but the rum has already poured itself.

At the restaurant I can barely hold a conversation. But she’s nice, and I try to tell myself it’s going well. She smiles, and I retreat. Silence.

“Is everything ok?” she asks. I pick my head and try to smile.

“Yes,” I say. “I just have a lot on my mind.”

“That’s alright.” She’s sweet. “Is everything okay?”

“No, not really.” What am I doing? “Its just family.” For the first time tonight she seems nervous, and I feel powerful. “My mom… she just passed away.” Right there I knew I had her. I saw her off and on for the next few months.


After I was done with Tiffany, I called my mother for the first time in over a year. She would call every once and a while trying to get a hold of me. Mainly she just saw pictures of me here and there from what friends shared. The phone rings twice. I can’t imagine her not picking up.

“Hello,” she says.

“Hi mom.”

“Nic, it’s so great to hear from you!”


“So how are you? Is everything ok?”

“Yea mom. Fine. I had a girlfriend.”

“Oh my. Wait, you had? What’s her name?”

“Tiffany. I told her you died.” Silence.

“You what?”

“I told her you died.”

“Oh. Well. What did she think?”

“She felt bad. For me.”

“Oh. Well what did she think of me?”

“She thought you were dead.”

“Well why me? Why not your father? I’m the one that pays your bills.”

“I don’t know.”


I think about this for a week. Then I tell a red head named Carly my father died. She sleeps with me that night. I graduate to my sisters, eventually my brother. I don’t know why I saved him for last. I suppose I talk to him the most. Eventually I start using it in everyday scenarios. Rents late? Sorry Mr. Holbrook. I’ve just been caught up with my mother’s medical bills. Why were you late Monday morning? Sorry Ms. Faye, I was taking care of funeral arrangements all weekend.

For me it’s no longer about just getting laid. It’s incredible what people will believe and see in you. No one wants to here about what I studied in college. Where I work. Or where I’m from. One click and they can find that.

If I tell them my mother recently passed, everyone listens. I’m intriguing. I have depth. I can be someone special. I can live a whole different life every time I go out.


I’ve been living this life for about a year now. I’ve killed my family enough to make Dahmer look like a school aid. I’ve talked to everyone in my family at least once. Its weird, but by telling them it’s as if I’m getting permission. Permission to use their lives to create my own fantasies.

It has taken some minor tolls on my life. My roommate and friend James left. He had a crush on a girl named Rachel that he worked with. I told her my brother-drowned waterskiing and she no longer cared about his compliments. He threatens to tell her the truth.

“I will,” he says. “I can’t even look at you anymore.”

“Go ahead,” I say. “She’s all yours.”

“Some day this all going to catch up to you,” he says. The next day he was gone.


I wasn’t afraid. There is nothing wrong with what I’m doing. People lie everyday. I have the courage to do it to their faces. So that it means something. If only we could all live so much. And as long as I talked to them at least once, it was fine. As long as they were still there.


These day’s I wake up and I can hardly move.  My ribs feel mashed together like a boxer’s face. I can’t tell if it’s the liquor or the drugs. It can’t just be me. I go out at least five nights a week now. That doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Maybe James’s warning had come. Maybe my body had decided it wanted no part of me anymore.


It’s snowing and I decide to go for a run. The flakes fall gently, melting before I can brush them aside. There’s nothing stopping me except myself. My chest expands with each breath feeling like it will implode. I ran ten miles a day when I was younger. How far I’ve come.

There’s a graveyard ahead, which to me is nothing more than an empty park. No one to see me huffing and puffing. I deflate a little and take on a light stroll. It smells like frozen meat and tasteless air. It does wonders on my lungs. The graves are far more interesting than I thought. Rows upon rows stretch left and right, forward and backward. I’ve never seen so many people in one place. So many lives.

There’s a girl alone ahead by a grave. It looks new, but I can’t really tell. Some of the one’s I’ve passed were ancient. I move cautiously towards her. I think we’re alone in the park. I pass a grave of interest. A man named Dean Wilde. 1953-2013. I think I’ll tell her I’m Dean.

She has a light coat on and what looks like a sweatshirt underneath. The hood drapes under her hair. It’s long and black. Dark black. Rather than melt, the snow just sits on her hair. I imagine brushing it off. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Her hair bobs up and down. Sort of a constant beat, pausing every measure or so. I think she’s crying. I pretend to run again, mainly so she can hear me. She turns as I approach.

“Sorry,” I say with a perfect smile. “Just passing through.”

“You startled me,” she says. “Caught me at a bad time I guess.”

“Everything ok?”

“Yes. Umm—yea—I’m fine.” There’s a fleeting moment, I think about leaving. She looks at me. I should say something, but “girl in a graveyard” is new for me.

“It’s a little cold out here isn’t it?” I glide forward, waiting for her to show comfort. Snow covers the grave she’s at.

“Yea it is,” she says. “I don’t stay long. I mean I wasn’t—“

“It’s ok,” I say. I’m next to her now. It no longer smells like a freezer. She smells like frosting and warmth.

“She was a friend,” she says.

“I know how you feel,” I say. I point to Dean Wilde’s grave. “My best friend. Car accident a few years ago.” I find myself wondering if that’s how the real Dean met his end. She smiles.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt your run.”

“You saved me.”


We’re sitting in a coffee shop. I’m still wearing my running pants and my cheeks are red apples. I hate myself so I look at her. She has bracelets on both wrists. One’s a dolphin and I want to ask about it.

“How’s your coffee?” I ask.

“It’s hot chocolate,” she says. We both laugh.

“I’m Nic. Nic Ryan.” It’s been so long I almost forgot my name.

“Jane Munro,” she says.

“I’m sorry about your friend,” I say.

“I’m sorry about yours.”

We sit in silence and it’s okay. But I want to say something perfect. Now I can’t stop looking at the man sitting at the table next to us. He slumps over his computer like he’s busy with something groundbreaking.

“He’s sharing some article about white privilege so everyone he knows will see how progressive he is,” I tell her and wait. Panic for a moment. Then she bursts out laughing. A girl with an NYU bag sits a few tables away sipping tea.

She whispers to me: “She’s tweeting articles about free education while she skips her economics class.” I can’t stop laughing.


At my apartment I’m thinking about her. I gave her my number hoping she would call. I wish James were still here. I want to talk about her. I would tell him about her bracelets. There’s a knock at the door. I open the door and it’s her.

“I didn’t want to wait,” she says. We kiss and everything falls out of me. We make love that night. It’s amazing. Everything’s amazing. Her scent. Her presence. Her being. We lay together, my arm comfortably underneath her.

“I want to know you,” she says. “I want to know where you come from. What your life is like.”

“My brother and I use to play on a lake. It would freeze over in the winter and we would play hockey.” This was the third time I had told someone that. I should have become a creative writer.  My mom was a nurse. She saved my neighbor when he had a heart attack. My dad’s a carpenter, he built my brother and I the biggest tree house I’d ever seen. One of my sisters is a lawyer; the other is an officer in the Navy. It flows out of me like electricity. I could light half of New York.

“You should be proud,” she says. “You have an amazing life.”


We’ve been together six months now. She stays over almost five nights a week. Tuesdays we go to the movies. Wednesdays I usually make her dinner. Sometimes on Fridays we go out together even though I feel no reason to. One night we see James out. I was nervous. I hadn’t seen him since. But he smiled.

“I’m happy for you man,” he says. “Really.”

“Thanks, man,” I say. “I’m sorry about—“

“It’s ok. I forgive you.”


I’m coming home for Christmas. I promised my mother I would take Jane to visit. She was so excited I completely forgot she wasn’t a nurse. I can’t stop packing. I usually pack light. But I haven’t been home in so long. I don’t know what to bring. It’s getting late and I need to meet Jane at the train.


I arrive with one bag. I wonder what Jane is going to bring. I wonder if she’s nervous too. The train is boarding. We leave in fifteen minutes. I’m still alone on the bench. I hear everything: whispers, laughs, and whistles. I feel like everyone is looking at me. The trains whistle blows. She’s not here. I’m alone.


At dinner there’s an empty seat. Mom asks if she should put it away. I tell her no. I’m still hopeful. I sit in silence. Everyone talks, embracing me as one of their own.

“So how’s work?” my dad says.

“Well one of the other receptionists left. So we’re hiring. But I’ve had to pick up the work,” my sisters says.

“Well they should compensate you,” my others sister say’s.

“That’s not exactly how that works,” my brother says. My dad looks to me.

“Sure. They should,” I say. My sister smiles.

“Well there you go. If Nic thinks so.”

“Nic you want a beer,” my brother asks. I decide I don’t drink. My mother winks as she brings the turkey over.

“Honey, that smells fantastic,” my dad says.

“It really does,” both my sisters say. I feel everyone looking again.

“Thank you,” I say.

“Nic, why don’t you say grace?” I try not to show how angry I am. I wait for them to bow their heads and close their eyes. I follow and pretend I’m back in New York.

“I’m thankful my family is still here.”


I call her as soon as I get home. There’s no answer. There’s blister’s on my fingers by the time I give up. I go to her apartment but no ones there. I go twelve rounds with her door. She’s gone. Like she fell of the face of the earth.

I try going out. I tell a girl my girlfriend just died. She falls easy. But it’s just not the same. I mope around for a couple weeks. I call James looking for someone to talk to. I almost want him to say I told you so. But he doesn’t. He’s nice person.

I pick up running again because some article says it was a good way to get out of a rut. I’m up to seven miles a day now. I feel good. One day I decide to go through the cemetery. It’s a different world without the snow. But I’m only there for one reason. I go the grave but I don’t see her. Then I see her. She’s right there where I found her. The grave is old and withered but still clear as day.

Jane Rose Munro: 1924-1948.

If I could, I would cry. But I realize I’m incapable of emotion. Instead I laugh. Now I know there is a god. And he’s a sick fuck just like me.



Daniel Joyce

682 Ocean, Street, Marshfield, MA 339-236-1022





© Copyright 2020 Dan Joyce. All rights reserved.

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