Silent Type

By Jason Warden

It’s only been a month, but I can’t live like this. There are just too many red flags. First off, Andy never said a word when the landlord brought him to my door. He just stared through those coke bottle glasses at me, mouth partly open and no expression or reflection at all in his magnified eyes.  There’s something else though, something malignant in him. Perhaps I could pinpoint it if there were ever a moments silence in this house.

The paint is chipping off the walls, the windows frost on the inside and the insulation is so thin it guarantees no secrets can exist. The days of a happy family gathered around the dinner table, kids running up a down the hall, and a big family dog dozing lazily by the fire are gone. Lately, I find it hard to imagine any kind of happiness in this cobbled together, ramshackle, Victorian fourplex.

Time’s up.

Every day starts with Rose on the phone, often at the break of dawn. She complains about long hours and weekend work ad nauseam. Living below her, I can say with some authority she lies. She can’t possibly complain about work, she’s always here, her droning voice seeps through the walls, the ceiling and the vents flowing like acid into my ears, burning away my patience. Inevitably, whenever I step out to just get away, I run into her. Almost as if she’s following me. Each conversation starts with “You know?” and then she gives some unwelcomed, unfiltered, motherly advice.

Someday she’ll get hers.

Russ, the retired engineer next door, is unable to give up what he refers to as his “calling.” Now he spends his days recreating his life’s journeys with model trains. The constant sanding, and light hammering of a new piece of track into place is constant. I only wish he didn’t feel the need to share his passion with me every time we meet. I always have to resist the urge to look him dead in the eye and say, “Arson is my hobby,” instead I smile, promise to come by when I have time, close my door gently behind me, and wait for that train to start its never-ending journey to nowhere. Once it starts, I hold both hands tight to the pillow I place over my face. I fall asleep that way sometimes and dream of the relief suffocating would bring, only to wake up the very same click/clack noise threatening my sanity.

Andy though. He’s planning something. He’s too quiet. His blank, beady, too close together eyes play possum to the intelligence behind them. What other explanation can I derive for finding him just wandering the hall outside my door for no apparent reason? But I know he had a reason. Twice upon noticing me at the peephole, he’s held up his doll, and then jostled his stumpy ass up the stair. When I open the door to follow his cowardly escape, he looks back from the top, curls his lip with a knowing smile and waves sarcastically. I’m tired of the games. Such peace his demise will bring me.

There’s no sense waiting any longer.

Today it was three times I caught the flat-faced mouth breather at my door pretending to collect his mail, three times that knowing smile. Today he even showed his crooked teeth as he stared at my door. I slid the chain, flipped the deadbolt, intent on strangling the idiot right there, but when I sprang out into the hall he was already halfway up the stair. He must have known my patience was at an end as he didn’t look back, but quickly scurried into his room and shut the door. I gave an earful to Russ and Rose who were peeking from behind their doors.

“Mind your own damn business,” I said, taking a step toward Russ. He quickly shut his door and went back to his trains. When I turned I saw Rose had gone in as well.

The house has been blissfully silent for the remainder of the afternoon, so much so…. I wonder what the three of them are doing. I’m used to not hearing Andy, but the other two…

I can see nothing from the peephole but an empty hall. The house is silent, even with my ear to the vent.

The silence cannot be trusted.

If I can just work up to it… ok…relax…breathe.

Damn this is going to be beautiful.

Sure it’s going to hurt, but it will be worth it when their all gone and you have this place to yourself again. Concentrate now, no time for tears.

Oh, wow, I sure did a nice job on the blade. Andy’s a lefty, he looks like a lefty, gotta be a lefty. Ok, two fingers left of sternum, a hand width down, just below the last rib. Not too deep. Here we go…

MAN… this is harder than I thought.

C’mon!

Ok, here it goes, steady and…

Jeez I wish I could see the look on his face when they lock that dummy up.

Stop stalling.

Go…

Gently, don’t wanna die here.

Go…

Shit, where’s the phone. Here it is, better have that handy.

Go…Harder…

MMMMan! That stings!

Quit stopping and finish this, nice a quick. Go…

Go…

I don’t want to do this, there has to be a better way.

We’ve been over this, just do it, GO… Go… quick. Then make the call and light this shithole up.

Just like tearing off a Band-Aid, Go…

AhhhHH…mmmGaaah, Ahh shit, Ah shit. Too much blood, ah god.

One more, make it believable, Do it, Go…

No, no more.

Do it, Go…

GAhhh, fuck, shit. GahhhHH. Swimmy, light headed, gotta make the call, tell them what he do. Too much…

One More, Do it…

No…phone, gotta call… nicked something, bad. Him, Andy, he done me, light fire. Take him away. All his fault. You call. Call ambu…

 

spaceout

 

Silent

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