OK, this is the first six thousand or so words of the novel I am presently finishing.  It remains unedited, raw.

It is for you to read ahead of time.  I have never written prose before.  All of the authors I mention in this section sit on my shoulder and scold me for trying.

50, 000 words written.  Still have to write the conclusion.

Obviously, for those of you who know me, there are references to the events of the past year but I must remind you:  This is a WORK OF FICTION.  The twins are not lovers.  I do not work in a prison.  I am NOT planning to murder the Penguin.

Most of you will comment on FB but feel free to let me know what you think.

QUESTIONS FOR A MURDERER

by Duncan Roy

1.  Self Pity

Murder, when seriously considered, is as consuming as any other fervent desire.  So it is that I wake in the morning and retire at night thinking of nothing else.

The obsession to kill obscures and softens one’s vision like a veil.  It properly stops me from walking presently in the world.   Others notice that I am not really here.

“It’s like talking to a wall.”  They complain.

I am not now usually where my body is.  If out in the difficult world, away from the safety of the house, I am safely trapped in my head.  Blinded to everyday beauty.  My senses blunted by obsession.  No longer interested in dappled shadows cast on the sidewalk.  Nor orange blossom or night jasmine.  Nor can I taste expensive lunches at elegant restaurants.  I cannot hear the lark ascending.

Meticulous planning has taken the place of fragrant cabbage roses in silver pots.

I sit at my screen with the blinds drawn.  I can hear the neighbors children screaming as they play in their azure pool.  Occasionally the telephone will ring but I ignore it.  I ignore everything.  There is a pile of unopened mail stacked neatly in the hall.  I ignore everything.

The pool boy knocking to be paid.  The gardeners knocking to be paid.  Unless Lucy is here.  She has her own key and knows how to pay the other staff.  Consequently they only ever come knocking when Lucy is in the house.

“Mr. Maguire.”  She says.  “I’m leaving now.”

I am trying not to think about you Lucy.

“Is everything alright?” She inquires.

I am trying to be alright.  I am trying very hard to answer you Lucy but I am lost inside my own body.  Like a man with a severed spine.  I can see you but I cannot answer you.  The effort it takes to reply may drain what I need to execute the plan, this homicide.

I need all my strength to move the mountain.

As much as I want to reassure Lucy, all I can do is blink.

“Try getting out of the house this afternoon Mr Maguire.  Go for a walk.”  She waits momentarily, anxiously standing in the hall.  She doesn’t dare come in.  Her slim frame silhouetted against the fierce Californian sunshine.   She has worked in this house for many years.  Long before I inherited it.  She is my only witness.

“The twins tell me that you never leave the house.”

Why bother going out?  I think.

I am planning his death.  Planning the end of his nebbish life.  Imagining the final words he will hear before he is snuffed out forever.

Imagine what his fear smells like.  Will he defecate?  Will his fetid breath?

Will they write about him when I reveal my atrocity?  He wasn’t particularly engaging.  Would anyone even bother writing his obituary?  Perhaps.  I will make his name mean something.  In death he will become the celebrity he expected me to be.

Pity.  I pity you.  Nameless boy.

“I’ll take the dog, poor thing.  He hasn’t been out all day.”

“Thank you Lucy.” I whisper.

Lucy locks the door behind her.  The twins will be home in an hour.

Imagine his face.  Every time I conjour up his face I remember his wet, sweet mouth.  The mouth I yearned for.

The only fascinating thing that ever came out of his mouth was my cock.  Always hungry for it.  I have a photograph of that.  My thick white cock in his mouth.  Stubble on his chin.  His lips pulling down on the shaft.

Damn you.

Fuck you!

I wish I had been more tenacious tending my own lusty garden, less sensitive, less caring about his.

Sit down, dab at the brow.  My heart is racing.  Prepare a light lunch of home-made pickled beets and cold ham.  Must remember to eat.  Too eager to use a fork, eating with my fingers.  Tastes better that way.  Wipe my fingers on my shirt even though there is a napkin set under the silver ware.

Have I ever wanted anything, anything at all, this badly?

The twins complain that I scream out in my sleep.  I shudder to think what I’m doing in those forgotten nightmares.  Am I trapped or caught or bringing down the knife?  Have I cornered him?  Is he begging for his life?  Have the tables been turned, the police called?  Am I already handcuffed, am I sitting in the electric chair?

No consequence scares me when the lights are on, when dawn has broken.

There is already something so inevitable about this death I am planning.  I will leave it up to my dreams to work out the fear.

The multiple contractions of apprehension.

I have met murderers, many of them. I used to teach prisoners at Fairview Penitentiary.  I taught them English literature, ‘an appreciation’.  Donne, Hemingway, Steinbeck and Joyce.  For ninety minutes I can cast a spell over their unimaginable sentences.  Spinning the beautiful words of all the great writers over them, like a silk web, helping them away from their sparse, miserable lives.  Away from their sweaty cells, their bad choices and the blood on their hands.

Murderers are always so contrite.  They are eager to tell me everything.  I listen politely to their stories.  They were always most terribly sorry.

One young man murdered a little girl with his bare hands.  Buried her in the garden under his chrysanthemums.  Another raped a woman in his taxi then stabbed her in the vagina with a knife.

After meeting them, smiling at them, helping them understand.  I would drive home and google each and every one.   Their stories revealed.  The most terrible among them were often the quietest.  Then, quite cruelly, I would introduce themes from literature that most likely mirrored their own stories, their own pathology.

For those who were cuckolded or who had murdered their wives I would read Ulysses.  Introduce them to Leopold.  How he would prepare chicken livers for her breakfast.  Served to his handsome wife Molly Bloom knowing she would fuck the opera singer in their marital bed.  Hanker after his huge penis.  Yes.

“What would you do?” I ask them innocently.

One of the men starts crying.  Picks up his chair and smashes it against the door.

“Can we forgive Molly Bloom?”  I say, after the man is dragged away screaming by the guards.

The murderers balk.  They couldn’t forgive her, they grunt (rather predictably) that she disrespect her man.  I sit on the edge of my desk and look down at them.  My tweed jacket and crisp white shirt.  I smell of toothpaste and pomade.

“I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents. Some you can see, misshapen and horrible, with huge heads or tiny bodies; some are born with no arms, no legs, some with three arms, some with tails or mouths in odd places. They are accidents and no one’s fault, as used to be thought. Once they were considered the visible punishment for concealed sins.”

I sit amongst them.  Murderers.  Never thinking that I would be one of them until he exited stage left.  I wonder if I will be contrite?  I doubt it. Contrition has never been my friend.  I will stare at his parents in the court room and I will look unrepentant into their faces.   I will never make amends.  Ever.

He’s got it coming, that one.  I should have done it months ago.

My hand on the back of his neck when I loved him.  Running my fingers through his hair.

Do you want to know his name?  Do you want me to describe his body to you?  You’ll be amazed that I ever found him attractive.  But I did.  I fell in love.  I tore down the razor wire and let him come to me.  I paved the moat, held off the dogs.  Lay down your arms!  Let him come.

I laid in his arms, laying down an impression.

At first he was the one pursuing me.  I was amused…flattered.  Isn’t it always the way?  Then, when I wanted him. Well.  He vanished.  At the worst possible moments.   He made himself indispensable.

Just as I was beginning to trust him, he left me.

His cruel, final words biting into my heart.

This is the story of how I will avenge my honor, my name, my dignity.   This is the man who fights back, who will not take it any more.  This is the man.  The one who was stalked becomes the stalker.  The tables have turned.  This is that man.

Loneliness has followed me like a ghost my entire life.  I thought I had crafted a life so secure it seemed impossible that I would be lonely ever again.  When I met that boy I let loneliness back into my life.  Deathly, silent, cold.  Hard as iron.

Do you think this pleases me?  I tried forgiving him, I really did.

God, I pray, please let me forgive him.  God, please let me think less.  I want an eviction order so this boy can no longer rent space in my head.  Please God.  I say it out loud like a black preacher:  Please God!  I send up my prayers.  Clamoring to be heard.  God!

The twins have heard me.  One of them, Ronnie or Mike, knocks at the door.

“Are you alright Mr Maguire?”

“I’m sleeping dear.”  I reply.

I can hear him shuffle away.

Is heaven too far away for you to hear my prayer, me amongst the millions of desperate pleas?

So, I must write the final chapter by myself.  However hard I rewrite the ending, this book of resentments.  There is only one conclusion.  Murder.  Bringing down the knife, the final act.  The curtain call.  Taking his bow to an empty house.

After months of consideration and research I have everything in place.  I know everything I need to know:  Where he lives, what he does and how I can find him.  I have seen recent pictures of him wearing his new hipster beard, trimmed in such a way that I never knew him.

Pictures of him wearing clothes I picked out for him.  Do you know how that amuses me?  Every time he pulls on that beautiful green jacket he has no option but to think of me.

New pictures arrive most days.  Eating lunch at the gourmet food truck on the street outside his office.  Waiting for the subway.  Dinner with a special friend.  Arriving at his parents house.  Photographs.  So many photographs.

I spend $500 a day to keep the pictures coming.   Like a drug addict.  Waiting by the phone.  Waiting for Chris the Private Detective to let me know that more are on the way.  45 attachments today.

I am three thousand miles away from him.  So, there are things that remain unaccomplished.  For instance, I have not yet bought the weapon.   It perplexes me that buying a gun is actually more difficult than I at first imagined.  My man who can is ‘on to it’ so I must trust that he is.

The cast has been chosen, the die has been cast.  The private detective who follows him and sends me the clandestine photographs, my accomplices who will help me drag him off the street and into the car.

The weapon?  Must buy.  Top of the list.

It was easy to find Chris the Private Detective.  Google.  Google reviews, four star private detective.  Very reliable.

Everything about my relationship with the young man I am going to kill was conceived and born on the internet.  It was shaped on web cams, emails, Facebook, Manhunt, Grindr, Adam 4 Adam.

Determined by him.

When and whenever he wanted me.  I gave into him.  Until I didn’t.

2. Resentment

How and why should an affluent, fifty year old man be thinking like this?  Why?  I used to wake every morning like a boy!  Enchanted by all the world has to offer.  Now I see nothing.  At the mercy of nothing.  I used to wake up every morning and thank God for the new day.  Now there is no God, just a black hole that consumes everything in the universe.  Sucking anything of value into the vortex.

The furies are all I am left with.

I have given up wondering why I am so angry at him.   This is all you need to know:

I am determined.  Alone in my bed at night but not isolated.

The house, when the twins are here,  is always full of people.  The dog remains well fed.  The maid cleans.  The gardeners arrive daily to trim and prune and sweep.  There are fragrant hyacinths, white and purple, growing in pots on the dining room table.  Freshly grown garden fruit picked and washed, ready for me to eat.

Is this the life I bargained for?  Sitting in my bedroom plotting like an adolescent.  The twins sunning themselves by the pool.  Glistening in the Californian sunshine.  Their equally beautiful friends wondering aloud who it is that owns the house.  Who stands at the window looking down at them?  Like Mann’s Gustav von Aschenbach in Death in Venice.  Staring out to sea.  Hankering after everything and nothing.

“It was Mann’s intention to write a treatise on the Nietzschean contrast between the God of reason,  Apollo, and the irrational God, Dionysus.”  I tell the murderers.

They look at me blankly.

One thing is for sure, I don’t expect to get away with this.

I have been disconnecting from my darling dog.  He knows it, he paws at me insistently.  He knows that something grave is in the offing.  He, in turn, is learning to trust the kindness of others.

He doesn’t want to be left on his own.

The Little Dog who would once sit so loyally by me, now loses no time trusting strangers and sits with them.  I may have murdered months ago had it not been for the extraordinary relationship between me and my dog.   Now, I am ready to let him go.

Recently, he has seen me angry and hidden under the bed.  He cowers when I shout at dullards or digital voices on the telephone.

He is scared when I cry.  Scared by the smell of imaginary whiskey on my breath.

I am ashamed to tell you that when he first arrived I was quite cruel to him.  He was very angry when I brought him home from the pound.  Barking, barking, barking.  He would pee on everything.  A solid week of cleaning the house, scrubbing the god damned carpet, mopping the tile, the smell of dog pee on everything I owned.  Every time he urinated I shouted at him and he would leak some more.

One quiet Sunday afternoon he defecated in my closet.   I shouted so hard he ran away and hid in the garden.

I wished he would never come back.  I begged God that the coyote would eat him.

For a week he managed to not get eaten by the coyotes.  How?  Packs of coyote stalk my mountain side property.  Screaming for their dinner.  Then, one day, The Little Dog just walked back into the house as if nothing had happened.  He never messes on the carpet again.

I was so happy he came home.  Now I am just about to leave him forever.

He still avoids me when I shout on the telephone.  Shivers on his bed.  Most people do.  People in the room move away if they know me well enough to divine that my temper might be lost.

I used to shout at people.

I’ve been very angry.  Furious.  It has been a problem.  Perhaps I’m ‘well-known’ for flying off the handle.  There’s no question mark.  I am well-known for losing my temper.   At work, in situations where powerlessness grips me and I feel myself sinking.  I have shouted so loudly, my blood pressure so high, I collapsed.

Shifting the liquid in my inner ear.

I thought I was having a stroke.

I lost my temper with him.  I lost my temper when we thought he had been robbed.  I lost my temper in The Departure Hall, Paris Charles De Gaulle.   He looked scared.  Everyone does.  I am a big man who looks docile for the most part.  Docile, until they prod me with their stick.

Docile until the blood drains out of my face and I am left looking like an animal.

He was in my dreams again last night.  Laying on his bed.  Telling me how good his life is.  How much in love he is with the Greek man he has been seeing.   I lay there beside him and told him that I was happy for him.  I could feel that I was.  Happy for him.

Sometimes, I can hear him talking about me during the day.  My ears burning.  He’s doing it right now.

I can hear him laughing at me.  That filthy sneer on his face.  Sharing stories about me with his friends.  Laughing at every choice I have ever made.  As if I am worthless.  I imagine him with my old acquaintances (friends no more) who have contacted him.  Laughing at how old I am.  My erectile dysfunction.  The white in my beard.  My stiff knees.

He is only twenty-nine years old.

I don’t expect him to celebrate his thirtieth birthday.

The last time I was in NYC I called Chris the Private Detective.  The first time we met, we met in public.  We drank coffee at a large table at my private club.   A plump, sanguine, middle-aged man who is not even middle-aged.  He is certainly fifteen years younger than me yet he seems so much older.  There is something peculiarly invisible about him.  He is everyman, dressed as everyman and therefore invisible.

I would be hard pressed to pick him out of a crowd even though I have met him twice.

He had no particular expression, no charisma, no beauty and thankfully no opinion.  Only when pressed did he tell me about his other clients:  a woman from Katonah whose husband she suspected was having an affair.  When he followed her unemployed spouse he took the train into the city and sat in a mid-town coffee shop day after day drinking english tea and reading free newspapers until it was time to go home.

I wondered if I had ever been followed, watched or my movements documented?   Really, who would care enough to do that?  I couldn’t think of anyone other than John.  The thought made me smile.  Not even he would bother.  Not even as we were in the midst of our messy ‘divorce’.

The second time I met Chris the Detective we met at my home in the East Village.  He had, by this time, Googled me.  He was less restrained, obviously knew who I was and who he was dealing with.

He told me about a boy he was looking for, a lost boy.  He thinks the boy is already dead.  Suicide.

“Let’s talk about money.”  Chris pulled a contract out of a black plastic folder and I handed him a cheque for $1, 500.

“Discover where he goes.”  I said.  “With whom…simple.”

“Who was he to you?”  Chris enquires politely.

“He was my lover.”

Yes, I am a homosexual.  I wondered if you could had guessed already?  Had I made it obvious? Was it evident in the way that I write?  The way I see things.  Does it differ from the way you see things?

A homosexual, a teacher and recently  (I don’t know how to write this) a television personality from a reality television show.  That’s how I make my money, odd jobs.  Like the Downs syndrome boy who lives in my home town.  Running errands.  I am a high achieving cripple.  Limping up and down Main Street dragging my club foot behind me.

Odd jobs suit me just fine.

Yet, I earn more money than I ever have.  Using all of my potential.   Even though the worst of me seems to get the better deal every single day and always has.

I can confide in you?

Each night I regret the passing of another day.  I lay in my bed before I fall asleep, knowing that my freedom will be curtailed, my sheets will no longer be pure, white linen.  My houses in NYC and CA will fall into disrepair.  Friends and family will come and take what they want and the lawyers will take the rest.

My dog will never see me again.  Will he die in prison?  Euthanized by strangers?  Is it worth it?   To lose everything because the timid boy that I loved made a fool of me?  Lied to me?  Should I risk everything?

Should I?

I have never been so sure of anything in my whole life.  In lieu of suicide, murder works just fine.

I talk to him, day dreaming imaginary conversations.  I catch hold of his sleeve and I ask him: “Can I tell you how you broke my heart?”  He looks back at me.  His brown eyes and soft mouth.  I say, “Because you trusted me, you encouraged me, you loved me.  Then you saw something you hated and turned your back on me and I was all alone…again and I couldn’t bear being all on my own…again.”

Then I feel sorry for him.  I want to help him get out of this pickle.  I don’t want to kill him.  But the wish to kill is not going anywhere.  Even when I am happy, even when the twins are here bouncing around the house.

Sometimes I want to call you and give you fair warning.  I want to tell you to run and hide so I can’t get you.  But I don’t.  I don’t because the die is cast.

I have already caused him inexorable pain and chaos.  I know that his entire family (Mother, Father and brother) stand beside him whereas I have no one alive anymore.  His Riverville mum and dad who only found out that he was queer when I forced him to tell the truth.  Well, they are still in shock that their son could have made so many bad choices, led such a double life.

That he compartmentalized the life he led with his fiance/family and the life he had with me.

He is not uncommon.  So many gay men learn how to lie, to skirt the existence others think that they lead and the black hole that is their contemporary, immoral gay life.  Only last week a gay acquaintance of mine was found dead in his bathroom from an oxycotin overdose.  He was fine!  His father told everyone that he had only just put down the phone twenty-four hours ago and his son, his only son, his darling son was fine.

I used to tell him that.  The toxic shame that kept him lying to everyone who loved him would end up killing him if he didn’t tell the truth.

3.  New York

My name is Charles Maguire.  I am fifty years old.  I live with my small dog (half jack Russell half chihuahua) in a large, mid-century modern house designed in part by Rudolf Schindler on three acres of verdant, semi-tropical gardens overlooking the sprawling city of Los Angeles.

The gardens are planted with Agave, cactus and other drought loving succulents.  Below the house there is a small grove of olive trees.  Last summer I grew cherimoya, oranges, grapes, lemons, plums, peaches and all kinds of vegetables.  My aim, in those days, was to be self-sufficient.

It is a tranquil place away from the maddening life I had in Hollywood.  I can see the stars at night and listen to the birds all day long.  There is a carp pond and an architecturally significant swimming pool cantilevered over the mountain top.  My neighbours are mostly European.  Americans tend to fear the idea of living up here.  They say when they arrive at the house, “Are you scared of….mudslides, fires, earthquakes?”  And I say, “No..not much scares me up here.”  They tour the gardens and tell me that this is a ‘magical’ place.  Well, they are right, it is.

Ten months ago I let a pair of young male twins move into the guest house but mostly, to my chagrin, they try hanging out with me.  My Mormon twins: tall, perfectly sculpted bodies, polite and inclusive.  Not even they can shift me, distract me from the great task that will inevitably end my life.

They heard about me long before they met me.  They saw me, like millions of others, on the television edited to be somebody I am not.  Like Iago, I tell the murderers. “Unfairly treated.”

Perhaps all I want is the attention?  Craving the attention.  Negative or otherwise?  Am I the sort of person who is so desirous of attention I would kill to get it?  Is that what I grieve?  I have imagined this:  The show trial where I arrive looking svelte and dapper.  My fellow reality star cast members at my side.  The celebrity doctor summoned to give crucial evidence.  I will stand in the witness-box and sob when forced to tell my abusive back story.  I will look over at his distraught parents and ugly brother.

His Mother will cry, his father will be resolute and comforting.

It’s very hard to convict a celebrity.

I know that the reporters in the room will be looking for clues.  The television cameras will stare unblinking at me.  At night I will follow the trial on CNN.  Must pluck my eyebrows.  Must remember to wear louder ties.

New York has not had an execution since 1976.  There is currently a court ordered moratorium in effect.  Perhaps I can single-handedly break this embargo?

I think about him again.  I think about how he may or may not be with someone he loves who is not me.  I think of him having sex with someone he loves who is not me.  Then I think those murderous thoughts that many of us have when ditched.   I console myself in the shadow of that word:  I think about the wounds on his body that I am going to inflict and how they will open in his flesh like cactus flowers.

I ask the murderers to tell me about the very moment they knew they had murdered.  I get them to describe it so that when it happens to me I am prepared.  The clichés they use are best not repeating.  They think they are being poetic.

How did this happen to me?   How is every waking hour dedicated to you?  My darling.

Two years ago I was enjoying my life.  I was perhaps happier than I had ever been.  Every night I would find fascinating people to have dinner in wild and exotic places.  I loved being recognized on the streets even if it was for something that previously I had found contemptible.

They say that if you hang around a barber’s shop long enough you’ll get a hair cut.  If you hang around Hollywood you’ll end up on TV.  It only took ten years.  Somehow the dream I arrived in Hollywood became a nightmare.  Until, one day, a friend called and asked if I would consider being a cast member on a TV show.  A reality TV show.  Of course I said,  “No!”

“No!”  Immediately, without a moment’s pause.

“Absolutely not!”

After some extensive contractual negotiation (I amended my own contract) and a huge cash settlement I said…yes.

As it turned out, the experience proved to be extreamly validating.  It transpires that there is nothing more reassuring than having a camera shoved in your face 24/7.  From the moment you wake in the morning to the moment you go to bed at night.   I felt loved.  The moment they pinned the microphone to my tee-shirt.  The night camera in my room that kept me safe.

Every word I uttered recorded for posterity.

I don’t think anyone will be surprised when they hear that I am arrested.  Most people I know understand that I am the sort of man who would or could be capable of murder.

Just like my father.   He was the same way.

I booked the flight this morning.  On line.  Into the unknown.  I have a meeting set up with the detective.  He will tell me where and how and why.

The route he takes to work everyday.  Even though I know it.  I will discuss the route he takes to work in such detail that nothing can go wrong.

The twins are in their room making love.  I can hear them.  One of them says softly, “Don’t.” and they giggle.

They look at my AA sober coins and say, “These are really cool trinkets.”

They are going to the gym and getting ready to audition.  Actor/Models.

They don’t know my thoughts.  They can’t possibly know what is going on upstairs in the head department.  They are simple Christian boys who make love in the morning and talk about girls all day long.

I can hear them kissing.  I can hear them cooing like doves.  I can hear one of them gasp.

Since he left me I have put on weight.  My jowls are sagging.  The skin around my eyes drooping over my eye lids.  My belly looks permanently full and my skin is dull and grey.  I used to be attractive but that doesn’t matter any more.  Who cares what I look like?

I don’t.

I have not had an erection for months.   Can you imagine that?  Fucking gay boys!  How would you feel about that?  Not to have an erection for six months?  Not to wake up with morning wood because all you can think about twenty-four seven is how you are going to speed a bullet through his brains?

Murderous thoughts destroy ones libido.

I don’t look at pornography.  I don’t show myself on any match-making websites.  I don’t drink alcohol or take drugs.  I drink coffee and smoke strong cigarettes.  I barely brush my teeth unless I have to share a car with someone…and then, only when that person matters.  I stand naked in front of the mirror so the image of who I am burns into my brain.  I am ugly and useless and unlovable.

My limbs increasingly misshapen.

I am old.

I look in the mirror.  Sink to my knees.

Kneeling at the edge of my bed and pray that I can be delivered from this obsession but God long ago fled the scene of this crime.  I have nothing to lose.  My life is worthless.

I can hear the twins in another part of the house film scenes for a film that has no beginning, middle or end.  The dog is with them, he’s barking and running around joyfully.  I know that if I join them they will all sit quietly.  Their joy deferring to my misery.

There is no television in the house.  I threw it out when he sent the cruel note.

I wouldn’t have met him had I not been on the television.   He would never have ambushed me.

Yet, I wouldn’t have met the man who is selling me the gun.  The woman who paid for my flights.  The man who paid for the ‘luxury’ spa.  The pizza guy who gives us huge pizzas for free.  None of them.

The man with the gun stopped me in the street and said, “Hey, are you…” and I smile and say yes and now he is selling me the gun that will murder the crazed fan who lied his way into my life and my heart.

Did you know that I used to have two dogs?  The other one was killed in the road.  I miss her so much.  Somehow her death, her cruel and senseless death introduced me to the idea of death.  Life’s fragility.  I am crying now.  Thinking about her.

Anyway, that’s that.  The plane ticket is booked.  The detective has been appointed.  Rizo from The Bronx called late last night.  He has the gun. It is presently sitting in a box wrapped in a dishcloth.

“I’ll text you a picture.”  He rasped.

He texted me a picture of it.  Applying some Polaroid app to the image which made it look very old-fashioned.  Very old.

Good.  Everything is in place.  What could possibly stop me?  Other than his pleading face.  His begging cries?  His convincing argument that he might live?

Why don’t I just kill myself and spare his young life?  Yeah…right.

The twins drove me to LAX in their old car.  I said goodbye to the dog.  I held his little face in my hands and kissed his forehead.

“I can’t take you this time little buddy.”

I walked with him one last time around the estate.  The paths that cut into the hill-side.  The view over the city.  Who will pick this fruit?  Will it just wither on the vine?  I said goodbye to it all.  Goodbye Southern California.

All the way to the airport I just couldn’t stop talking.  The twins were shocked that I had that many words in me to say.  I made them stop at some ghastly fast food outlet and bought them burgers, french fries and gallons of soda.  They complimented my smile which, they told me, they had never seen before.

“The next time you see me will be on the television.”  I said to The Twins as I unload my luggage.  They looked a little confused but are too polite to pry.

“Don’t forget to pick the peaches.  Don’t waste them.  Lucy will show you what to do.”

The Little Dog thought that he was coming too and looked quite panicked when I did not invite him onto the concourse

I didn’t look back.  I could hear him barking.  I didn’t look back.