This story was inspired by the prompt: “You’re a serial killer. What’s on your DVR?” I hope it’s sufficiently creepy.
It’s dark in the small room. The walls are bare, just boards of flat wood painted a deep, dark hue. One lamp stands in the center, next to the make-shift couch comprised of two recliners. There’s a kitchen along one wall and a Murphy bed along the other. I don’t need much.
I wipe my hand across my mouth, chip particles floating downward to rest upon the plaid fabric of the arm chair. Some float farther still, nestling in-between the fringe of the brown carpet. My other hand grips the remote, the knuckles tense and white as my fingers play over the buttons.
“What do you think, Bev? You wanna watch Animal Planet?”
Bev doesn’t respond. Her eyes are glued to the screen.
“Fine, I know you never liked that shit anyway. Too boring, right?” I sigh and press more buttons, my eyes squinting in concentration. Bev always was picky. “Oh, this is perfect. I got Fight Club recorded. You’ll love it. Just give it a chance.” I glance at Bev. Her lips are set in a firm line. I place my hand over hers as she sits in the chair next to mine, and her lips seem to soften in response. She loves doing what I want.
The glow from the television spreads a light over her, turning her mousy brown hair into something glorious, almost projecting a halo. It shines into her eyes, turning their ordinary brown color into a golden, coppery shade that twinkles as the scenes change.
This is where she’s meant to be, with me. It was hard to catch her; a girl like Bev has men after her like fly’s on shit. But I knew she’d end up with me in the end. It just took her some time to realize it.
“You smell, Bev. You gotta take better care of yourself.” She doesn’t answer. She probably doesn’t like me pointing out the obvious. Bev is a woman who takes stock in her appearance. I’ve never met a woman with more lipstick and powders in her purse, but I guess it’s worth it. She’s beautiful, and she knows it. But I can tell her make-up is smudged, and her clothes are definitely disheveled, not the pristine and pressed that she likes. Maybe she’s just gotten comfortable with me? She’s letting me see her as she truly is. I smile at the thought, and my heart swells.
The movie ends, and I need a drink. Rubbing her hand in parting, I get up from my chair, stretching my back. I don’t like sitting for too long, it messes with my back. I realize I miss exercising, but I don’t want to leave Bev here alone. I can go on a run later.
I duck in the fridge and pull out a silver can. I didn’t pay attention to the label when I bought it, but it’s cold, and that’s all that matters. I savor the sound of the top opening, the hiss of the crisp carbonation. I take a swig. The liquid is cold as it dribbles down my chin onto the tile floor. I’d clean it up, but I don’t want to be away from Bev for too long. She needs the company.
I sit down on my recliner, letting all my weight come down hard. It jostles Bev’s seat a bit, and a lock of hair falls into her eyes. I don’t hesitate to brush it away, letting my palm brush against her cool cheek, just for a second.
“You thirsty, Bev? Nah, you never did like the stuff anyway.” I take another swig and she doesn’t seem to mind. I know she was a crazy party-girl in college. She wants to put those days behind her, I better not tempt her.
My hand snatches up the remote from where I left it on the armrest. I put on Seinfeld, certain the Bev will think it’s funny. Once the opening credits end, I laugh along with the laugh track, and glance over at Bev. She’s not laughing.
“Aw, c’mon, Bev! That was hilarious. Weren’t you watching?” Her eyes tell me she wasn’t. They’re glazed over, like her thoughts have taken her somewhere else. She wasn’t even paying attention. I feel heat rise in my chest. Who does she think she is? Does she think she’s too good for this shit? I reach across and slap her across the face, the sound echoing against the empty walls.
Her head is turned a little toward me, and her eyes bore into mine. They glisten with hurt and regret. I can tell she’s sorry.
“Bev…aw, you know I didn’t mean it.” I rub the spot where my palm hit seconds before. I shouldn’t have gotten mad. Bev is too precious to waste time with. “How about we just watch something else, okay? Something you like, huh?” I smile, and her eyes shine in response. I place my hand back over hers and reclaim the remote.
Hours later, we’ve watched about as many Lifetime movies as I can stand. But I’d do anything for Bev. I glance at the glowing red number next to the TV. It’s late.
“Bev, it’s time for bed. I don’t know about you, but I’m beat.” Her head has lolled to the side even more, telling me it’s time.
“We just need to do one more thing, Bev. Then it’ll be time to sleep.” I walk across the room to the counter next to the fridge. Man, I really need to clean my knives after I use them. The blood has caked on the edges, and it really is a bitch to get off once it’s dried. I don’t worry about it now. There will be time after Bev.
I gather them up and head back to the TV. I just stand in front of the glow, peering down at her. I always get a little sad at this part; saying good-bye isn’t easy. But I can tell it’s time just by looking at her, not to mention the smell.
When I’m done, I gather up the bags that are now Bev and walk over to the fridge. When I open the freezer door, I’m a little annoyed to see how little room there is. I grunt in exasperation as I put her on the floor. I shift Carry and Emma to the right, but I have a hard time getting Sarah to fit on the left. “So fucking fat,” I murmur. Eventually I make room down the center, and Bev fits perfectly. I would expect nothing less from her. My hand rests on her for a few seconds more, savoring the feel of her one last time. It’s so hard to say good-bye to someone you love. But I remind myself as I have before, it’s not really good-bye. She’ll always be there for me when I need her, and true love lasts forever.
With that thought whispering in my head, I close the freezer door. My place is a mess, and I don’t want to make a bad first impression for the next one.