All posts by N. D. Coley

N.D. Coley (BA, English, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 2005, MA, English, Univ. of Pittsburgh, 2007) currently serves as an instructor of English composition at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, Community College of Allegheny County, and the University of Phoenix. In his spare time, he laments the human condition, reads satire and dark, depressing literature, plays with his son, irritates his wife, and tries to keep a smile on his face. His work has previously appeared in the Indiana Voice Journal.

Surety

How does it feel to sink a blade into a person, like a chef might plunge a knife into freshly roasted meat? What is it like to tighten your grip and slowly, but firmly, shove it inside until the blade disappears into flesh? You’re not just pushing it, right now, though. You’re twisting it. You’re wondering if the blade, stuck in the middle of his back, is slicing through a lung, or if it has punctured the liver, and you’re strangely giddy off of the thought that somewhere, blood is flowing into the body cavity of the man, drowning his organs. You decide this isn’t enough, and you yank out the blade and sink it again, only this time you don’t take your time, and instead of twisting it, you quickly yank it out, pick another spot, and stab away. You’re playing “Whack an Organ,” and the prize is the game itself. You never imagined you would enjoy this.
+++++You hate the man, and I don’t blame you. Who could fault you? You were the one, standing in a dark alley, a month ago, soft drops of rain soaking into your jacket, watching as he slithered inside your wife. His arms were bigger than yours, and more defined, and that made you jealous as he grabbed her by her platinum blonde hair and rocked his hips into hers. The man closed his eyes and smiled, a wide, clean, triumphant smile, as if his pleasure derived not from her, but from the thought of you, sitting somewhere, all alone, waiting for her to come home. And the audacity of it. The blinds were up, and the curtains were pushed to the side.
+++++You gritted your teeth as you watched your wife, naked and beautiful and loathsome, get off the bed and casually walk to the bathroom. The man slid his jeans up, put a grey t-shirt over his chest, and stood still as she, that bitch, that cheating, filthy bitch, returned and slid his forest green rain coat over his shoulders. You placed a couple of recreational pain pills on your tongue, chewed them, and frowned. You were low on pain pills that day.
+++++That’s when you began to have fantasies. They took different forms. You thought about what it would be like to shove both of them out of the window, to hear the glass shatter and see bits of it stuck in their faces, his body still inside hers, and to see them go splat, doggy style, on the pavement. One time, when you were watching their routine, you closed your eyes and imagined that fall, and how their blood would slowly ooze from their bodies. You thought about putting on rain boots and dancing through the blood and leaving footprints on the sidewalk.
+++++Another time, you imagined yourself as a gunslinger who kicked open the door of their cheap hotel, unveiled a sawed off shotgun from a long, torn trench coat, and, while taking just a moment to revel in the horror in their eyes, turned everything from their necks up into smashed watermelon. You thought about it in slow motion: splotches of blood, detached eyeballs, chunks of brain and scalp and hair, bits of teeth, all in one, ugly splatter of gooey, human shrapnel.
+++++But you’re a good person, and you decided against killing her, and you decided against theatrics. That wouldn’t be classy, and you’re classy. You came up with a simple idea: Wait for the man to pass by in his forest green rain coat. It would be better to do it in the dark, and preferably, on a cloudy, rainy evening. Wait in the alley, step up from behind, stick the knife into his back, and retreat.
+++++Good job. Now you’re here, dragging his corpse out of the dimly lit sidewalk and into the alley. Why didn’t you retreat? You keep pulling at the body, and the man’s blood soaks through your gloves. It feels warm and sticky, and you don’t feel victorious anymore. You feel weak and afraid. You smile anyway.
+++++You kneel over the corpse, panting. The sound of the rain masks your breathing. What about the knife? Best to put it back in the sheath, you think, so you reach inside your pocket, but there’s something else. A crumpled wad of paper. You went to the doctor’s today to get a pain pill prescription. Lower back pain is an easy thing to lie about.
+++++Is your prescription in your pocket? You had better not lose it. You need it. Stay calm. Open up the crumpled medical report, take out your phone, and use the screen as a light. Blood pressure, ok. Slightly overweight. Typical. Stop smoking. Pain pills. Check. The usual notes, but then something else. Decreased depth perception and a probability of color blindness. Color blindness? Were you day dreaming when the doctor mentioned this? Probably. All you cared about were your pills.
+++++Color blindness. That’s the last thing that you think about before, from a nearby window, you hear her voice. Her moaning. Her pleasure. You know it’s her, right? Her moans are so loud, you can almost feel her pelvis throb against you.
+++++Don’t be an idiot. It’s your pelvis, which you have let rest upon the corpse. Frantically, your hands trembling, you shine your phone on the man’s coat, trying to get a better look, but in the darkness, with the soft glow of the screen lighting the body, and with the blood that’s gushed onto it, you still can’t tell if the coat is actually green. You try to flip the body over. Your strength, however, is gone. Of course it’s gone. That’s what happens when you knife someone to death. Didn’t you know that? Maybe you’d recognize his face, but maybe not. Faces don’t look the same when they’re dead.
+++++You look at the coat again under the light of your phone, but the battery dies, and there’s that sound again. You can still hear the bitch moaning. At least, you think that’s what it is.
+++++Run, you idiot. Run.