I never would have taken a ride from him, not on a normal day. But today was not a normal day, and it was raining buckets outside. For bullshit reasons beyond my immediate control, I found myself having to walk home from the library, in the cold October evening rain. If only I had bought that piece of shit car when I had the chance, I would not have had to deal with him. Now, don’t get me wrong; on any other day I would have taken sugar plumb joy in my actions, but today I was wet and I was not wearing my usual attire.
My neighbor John had drove by at just the right moment and offered me a ride home. I succumbed to my miserable state when I climbed into the passenger seat of his Durango. I’ve always known John to be creepy, in the most dangerous of ways. He was the kind of creepy that most adults failed to notice; the kind of creepy that camouflaged itself behind a friendly smile and a neatly groomed lawn. My own parents never minded John, and my Dad befriended him some time ago. But I knew better. John was smart, and hid his seether well, but I was also smart and I hid mine better.
I usually planned the outings of my inner demon child with more precise timing and well-marked longitude and latitude. I almost always plotted out my devious courses with scrutiny, like a detailed mental map or atlas, complete with a color-coded legend, and a plan B and C just in case. But John threw me a curve ball, and took advantage of my drenched and discombobulated lack of preparation. God damn him!
Of course he offered to give me a ride home; what kind-hearted, God-fearing, upright neighbor wouldn’t? I, the teenage neighbor girl and daughter of his fishing buddy; walking in the torrential rain while cold and shivering appeared to be in need. He asked me where my parents were, which was ridiculously stupid on his part. I already knew that he had been invited to join my folks on their fishing trip up north, of which he declined. I played along anyway and told him that they were out of town and wouldn’t return till tomorrow. I could have called him out on his bullshit, but I didn’t because as they say: when life hands you lemons.. He glanced over at me with a smile and said
“Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that.”
He wasn’t sorry, he was elated, or at least his seether was. I could tell by that far off and hungry look in his eyes, and I knew at that moment that I was going to have to play ball with this jackoff. I had already given John a pass because my Dad was so fond of him, and he hadn’t attempted to enact his festering lust out on anyone that I knew of. John wasn’t even on my radar yet, but I suppose when life hands you lemons; you make dead lemons.
As we pulled onto our tree lined street, John asked if we could just stop off at his house for a second. He said he was coming home from the vet with his dog’s insulin, and the mutt desperately needed its shot. He told me I could come in, and he would get me a towel. I could have drenched myself again and made a dash to my house down the block, but I hate the rain. I nodded at him and thought: sure, let’s go ahead and do this. We pulled into his attached garage and it smelled like a mix of oil and lust. I was relieved when he shut the overhead door; I didn’t want anyone to see us, or more importantly, me.
I instantly scanned his kitchen when I walked in. I wanted to make sure the knives were still on the counter, and they were! When John walked down the hall to the bathroom I realized the dog was not making an appearance for some reason, and then I remembered that he had put his dog down a few weeks ago, I had heard my parents talk about it. I slipped a small paring knife out of the butcher block and slid it into the back pocket of my semi-soaked jeans. I knew this disdain pervert was up to no good, it was the same as smelling a fart in a car for me.
A moment later, John returned from the bathroom holding a syringe in his hand. His zipper was undone, and I could make out fleshy tones in the gap. I hid my glance by peering through my wet strands of hair; I didn’t want him to know that I knew. He had other plans with that syringe, but so did I.
“Jessica, I’m going to run downstairs to get a towel out of the dryer. Can you come down too? I could use a hand holding Bandit down while I give him his shot.”
Those were John’s last words. Well, his last real words. I followed him down those stairs, but he darted around the corner pretty quick. When I took the last step onto his concrete, yet freshly lacquered basement floor and turned to follow him, I already had that paring knife in my hand. John came at me like a ravaged and caged animal.
His member was fully erect and poking out of the zipper gap in his khaki pants. When he tried to grab my hair, I darted and grabbed his junk instead. Then with one clean jab of that knife, he was on the floor and blubbered like a fool. I was fast. I yanked that syringe away from him and lodged it into his neck. Before a drop of crimson touched the floor, I had grabbed that towel we came down for and choked the living shit right out of him. He never knew what happened.
He had it coming, I mean really. I had actually wanted to add a notch to my belt of sinful things for some time, but just not today. Oh well, my Mom always said that things happened for a reason, and I am fairly certain that I just did the world a favor.
Now, I look at this mess on his floor and I am pissed off and happy at the same time. I have to discard of this tampon of a man in a manner that will not cast shadows of guilt upon me. Ha! Who am I kidding? It is thundering like crazy outside and the whole neighborhood is shuttered in their houses watching football and drinking beer. How wonderful that John happens to have a chipper shredder in his workshop out back! Plus, this shiny floor and nearby drain make for good clean-up. I guess I’ll just wipe my prints off this syringe and place it in his hand, and then I’ll act all disgusted, sad and surprised when I hear about that drug addiction he had that no one really knew about. After all, accidents do happen. One should never use a chipper shredder while all gorped out on, well, whatever was in that syringe.
Molly Roland is a writer by nature, and she enjoys stepping over the invisible lines society loves to draw.