Monday, April 24, 2017


He smiles at everyone, and God love 'em, everyone can't help but smile back. He's the sweetest old guy, never forgets a birthday. Gets everybody a card, something meaningful and heartfelt, every time. Some of the folks at the office have worked with him for twenty years, more. They know all his stories, but love to hear him tell them anyway. Even the ones that are a little sad. He talks about his wife Marjorie like she's still around, still gets all misty-eyed when he remembers her, which is a lot.

He goes on at length about bands he saw back in the day, movies he loves. He never discusses politics or religion and thanks people to afford him the same courtesy. At Christmas parties he only ever has two drinks max so he can make sure everyone's staying safe and has the numbers of three good cab companies stored in his phone.

When he calls out sick, everyone talks about how they hope he'll feel better soon. He never invites anyone over to his house because he values his privacy and so did Marjorie and he feels like he owes that to her, still.

He has three heavy locks on every door and spends an inordinate amount of his free time cutting tangled clumps of hair and teeth from the rollers of his vacuum cleaner.

Eventually he decides to just go ahead and buy a shopvac and not long after that most of the pretty high school girl who sells it to him ends up inside it. She was right, the cleanup works like a dream. He can't even see the stains of her on the basement floor when he's done.

When he screws up, it's something tiny he wasn't even paying attention to, fucking typical. The cops come calling and his lies are just shitty enough to make them return in force, peacocking with rifles and riot gear. He waits for them to come back, armed to the teeth inside the foyer, dragged in homemade armor. He knows how this is going to end.

He makes them storm his house and when he goes, he goes messy; takes six of them along with him. When they find the toy he made out of the pretty high school girl's head, a couple of them puke right on their boots. The stink is so awful in his stuffy little house.

The next day at the office, the news spreads like herpes and everyone he had fooled lies and says they always knew there was something wrong with him. In the dark, they cry into their pillows and wonder how they were so wrong for so long, and when they think about how much they still like the person he pretended he was, it's like an enormous rotting mouth has opened up underneath to devour them whole. Just because they don't feel the chewing doesn't mean it's not happening.

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