Sleep on Sundays
Sunday. Eleven fifty-nine post meridian. Lines of light roll across a bedroom ceiling, drawn by the headlights of the cars on the street pouring in light through the blinds. In a bed below the lines, the lines like glowing railroad tracks, a man lies wide awake in bed. Staring at the lines wishing for sleep, dreaming of dreaming and wishing for the midnight express to run him down. It was Sunday night and Sean Clive could not sleep. It was Sunday, of course he couldnt.
Monday morning finally dawns and Sean Clive gets out of bed, unrefreshed and uninspired. He gets ready for work, has a sip from his cup of coffee and leaves. He goes to work and comes home. Throws his jacket on the rocking chair in the bedroom and flicks on the television. He microwaves himself a Hungry Man dinner, for one, sits in the Lazy Boy in front of the TV and turns on Jeopardy. He knew none of the answers, he never did. Who does know those answers, anyway? He stares at random shows for a few hours, finally gives up on something interesting to watch and goes to bed. It was Monday night: he fell asleep fast and he slept well.
Tuesday morning arrived. Sean Clive again gets out of bed and readies himself for work, has a sip from his cup of coffee and then leaves. After work, he throws his jacket on the rocking chair in the bedroom and turns on the television. He microwaves himself a Hungry Man dinner, for one, sits in the Lazy Boy in front of the TV and turns on Jeopardy. He knew none of the answers, he never did, but he always watched anyway. He gave up on the hope of intelligent television programming in a couple of hours, and went to bed. It was Tuesday night: he fell asleep fast and he slept well. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday (it was overtime and he has nothing better to do) all flow by in the same manner, with the same routine.
After a grueling day of nothing, Sean finally laid down to bed. He stared at the ceiling, at the lines from the blinds and waited hoping for the midnight express to run him down. He laid wide awake in bed most of the night, just staring at the lines from the blinds on the ceiling above his head. Waiting for the midnight express that never came. Waiting for the sleep that never came.
The weeks rolled by just as that one had, just as so many before it had, in exactly the same way. Finally Sean decided that he needed to do something, he didnt know what, so he tried to think of someone he could talk to. He couldnt think of anyone he knew. No friends, no family, no acquaintances from work. He thought that maybe, since he didnt have anyone who would listen for free, he could pay someone to listen. When Jeopardy was done, he grabbed the Yellow Pages and thumbed through to "psychiatrists". He looked at all the names and fancy ads and claims. So many to choose from, he wasnt good at choosing. He flipped to a random page of head-shrinkers and randomly pointed at a spot on the page. The first time was a margin exactly between two listings, favoring neither one nor the other. On the second try, he hit a quaint little ad at the bottom corner of the page. He called the next day during office hours and made an appointment for Thursday afternoon. Sean easily got Thursday off because his manager thought he was "just too odd", and was actually scared of him.
The time for the appointment arrived, and Sean sat nervously in the waiting room of the office. A little old white haired lady, who was probably the shrinks mother was sitting behind a large dark hardwood desk reading Family Circus between answering calls and queries. Dark wood furniture filled the room with a rich feeling, dark green painted walls and potted plants with pretty foliage added to the soothing mood. The air was cool and had just the right humidity, one almost expected a quiet stream to be trickling through the plush carpeting. All the serenity surrounding Sean didnt make him feel any better, all he could think about was the horrible mental conditions the doctor would concoct and pass off as his problem.
"The doctor can see you now, Mr. Clive." said the little old white haired woman behind the desk, with a cheerful grandmotherly smile.
"Thank you." Sean replied almost under his breath as he walked passed her to the ajar door and into the inner office.
The mood in there was quite the same as the waiting room, same furnishings, same plants, same paint, same need of a stream in the rug, but the large windows brightened the room up and almost made it cheerful. The doctor began straight out with the perfunctory questions, and quickly moved on to trying to figure out what exactly Sean was there for. The answers to the questions about family caused a concerned look to appear on the doctors face, and the answers to the questions about work and social life made it grow. After two hours, an alarm went off quietly from a desk drawer, the doctor opened the drawer, checked the time and cordially asked Mr. Clive to leave and visit again the next Thursday at the same time. Clive agreed, what else had he to do?
The week finished up uneventfully, as always, and Sunday night hit upon him like a root canal without Novocain: unwanted, unwelcome and completely excruciating. He laid in bed, staring at the lines from the blinds rolling across the ceiling. Waiting and hoping for the midnight express to run him down. The days of work passed as they always did. Thursday Sean, instead of going to work, went to his psychiatrist. For another two hours they discussed everything about Sean. The doctor had Sean stay for an extra half hour to explain to him what he was thinking so far. He rambled on straight through to the second alarm from the drawer. The basic idea of the whole speech was that Sean needed to be more social.
Friday and Saturday, Sean thought about it. Sunday, he laid in bed, staring at the lines from the blinds rolling across his ceiling. Waiting and hoping for the midnight express to run him down. They look just like train tracks, he always thought. Monday finally arrived and after work, instead of going home to throw his jacket on the rocking chair, eat his Hungry Man dinner and watch Jeopardy, he went to a bar, a singles bar. He thought, where else to meet social single people than a singles bar, right?
He sat at the bar and sipped his drink slowly, hoping for someone to find him so he wouldnt have to do so much work. His heart wasnt in it after all, he was just here on doctors orders. Eventually a pretty woman of about the same age as Sean seated herself at the bar next to him. Small talk ensues and a lively conversation was struck up. During the chattering, many drinks are consumed, and to Seans delight, she asked him if they could go to his place. He gladly agreed and they drunkenly hailed a cab together.
When they got there, he attempted to throw his jacket on the rocking chair, out of habit, but failed miserably and covered a small table with it instead. The tangled couple fell onto the bed in less than five minutes after arriving. When blouse buttons started to pop, Sean felt a gnawing in his stomach. He pulled away slightly and said "Excuse me, but Im a bit hungry. No, no. You stay right where you are, Ill be right back." The woman smiled slightly wondering what he had planned, and waited.
He got up out of the bed, and walked into the kitchen. He opened the refrigerator and found a can of whipped cream on the door rack. He just stared at it for a moment. The light from the refrigerator illuminated the counter and a little sparkle shined off of something. He turned away from the whipped cream and closed the refrigerator door. He grabbed from the counter a large cutting knife, almost never used, because theres no preparation necessary for a Hungry Man.
Sean walked quickly back into the bedroom holding the knife firmly. he approached her cautiously and laid down next to her on the bed. He slid the knife in a little below her waste and pulled it all the way up to her breast bone. He rolled onto his back took a deep breath and stood up. He removed the body from the bed, so as not to soil the sheets, and moved it into the kitchen. He spread her out on the counter and turned on the TV. He surfed the channels for a few seconds and finally found a late night re-run of Jeopardy. While cursing himself for being so stupid, about the questions, that is, he butchered the carcass. He kept the ribs, the thighs, the calves, and the biceps. The "sweet breads" and skeletal remains he put in a large green garbage bag, which he disposed of down the garbage chute. He cleaned the cuts or meat and put them in tupper ware dishes. One quarter of a thigh he put in a casserole dish, poured Italian dressing over, covered and placed in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for somewhere between forty minutes and an hour, time varies by oven. He ate his thigh with a baked potato and a glass of milk. No, I know what youre thinking but it was cows milk.
It was a Monday night, he fell fast asleep.
The week rolled by and Thursday he went again to his head doctor. They discussed his family in detail this time for the two hours. At the end of the session, his doctor nicely reminded him to try to be more social, and to see how he likes it. He went home pulled out the old habachi, put it out on the balcony, fired it up and made himself some ribs, yes, human ribs. He only had enough meat for two more meals. He knew that Monday night he would have to go shopping.
Sunday night came, of course, and yet again Sean Clive could not sleep. He stared at the lines from the blinds rolling across the ceiling. Waiting and hoping for the midnight express to run him down. Monday finally dawned and after work, he again went to the singles bar. It worked last week, he thought to himself, why not again?
The same as last week, he sat alone at the bar, sipped a drink and waited for the ladies to come to him. And just like last week, eventually someone found him, and found his banter interesting enough to become interested in a night at his place. Sean hailed a cab and in a few minutes he and his new friend were in bed. The same feeling grew in his stomach, only a little stronger now that he had a taste for it. He used the same line on this woman as he did the last: "Excuse me but Im a bit hungry." He went to the counter, grabbed a carving knife, and the whipped cream and returned to the bedroom. The womans eyes were so fixated on the whipped cream can as he walked in the she didnt seem to notice the knife in the other hand, which he wasnt even trying to hide.
He sprayed a little ball of whipped cream on her nose, she smiled and laughed as he licked it off. Then he sprayed some into her open mouth, and when she swallowed it, he cut her open. "From shit-hole to sternum," he thought too himself, a line he remembered from a Dillow short story. "just like gutting a fat fish, only not so meaty." He smiled broadly at the thought and almost laughed out loud at the dumb smirk on the girls face. She never knew what hit her.
He butchered this one in the same way. Sweet breads, that is the internal organs, brain matter and such, and the skeletal remains all went in a non-descript green garbage bag and the choice cuts of meat, that is the thighs, ribs, calves, and biceps were all cleaned and put in tupper ware dishes. He kept half of a thigh bone this time, however, to make something for that night, he had seen a good recipe for a marrow soup on The Frugal Gourmet. Thank you PBS, he thought to himself as he was preparing it and watching Jeopardy.
The week rolled by, the habachi grill was cooking almost every other night with luscious racks of ribs smothered in a home made marinade. Sean even started getting compliments about the smell of his cooking from neighbors. "Hows that for being social, doc?" The week was going pretty well, until Sunday.
Sunday night, he laid in bed staring at the lines from the blinds rolling across the ceiling, waiting and hoping for the midnight express to run him down, all night.
Monday night was shopping night. This time, he was the one looking. He had built up confidence. He spotted a couple candidates and finally saw one attractive woman sitting alone at the bar. They struck up a conversation and it was easy for him to convince her to come to his place. The same routine in the bedroom ensued: get them expecting something, say "Excuse me, but Im a bit hungry.", get his favorite carving knife, kill them. But after he cut this one from "shit hole to sternum", with a new finesse, he moved his eyes to her cold dead ones. They were a cool ice blue, with flecks of white or darker blue that made them look like to snow flakes. He brought his face close to hers and kissed her cheek. Then he kissed her bloody lips, and then he parted her lips with his tongue and licked all the blood from her mouth. He broke from the trance of her eyes and brought her over to the counter to be butchered. She went like all the rest into the non-descript garbage bag or into tupper ware dishes, and like the rest was consumed without much thought of the person that became the meat or of the life that they had led.
Sean still couldnt sleep on Sundays.
The weeks went on like this for some time, until finally Sean tired of the routine of shopping. He bought a large freezer and planned for something big. That Monday in work, he made photo-copies of a flyer and distributed them throughout his office and restaurants nearby. The flyer was an advertisement for a party that Friday night, a party at Sean Clives apartment.
When Friday arrived, he took the day off from work to prepare. That night almost everyone that he would have recognized from his office was there. (Yes, it IS a large apartment, but with all the money he makes from overtime, what else would he spend it on?) Plenty of people who he didnt know were there as well. Sean couldnt care less who they were though, because all he saw now was cattle. "Moo!" He thought to himself every time he saw someone new.
When people were beginning to get more than tipsy from drinking, Sean decided it was time to begin. He went to the kitchen and picked up his favorite carving knife, which he had freshly sharpened the night before. There were two men by the refrigerator nursing some light beers. Sean cut both of their throats and piled them in the corner out of sight of the other guests. Anyone who happened in the direction of the kitchen was soon added to the pile. The crowd was thinning and he feared that people would start leaving so he made his way to the door to set the bolts.
There was a young woman there who was about to leave, she had one for the road in her right hand, her coat over her left arm and the doorknob in her left hand. Sean introduced himself and coaxed her to stay. Her name was Krystal he learned from the small talk. She said she was new in the area and thought this party would have been good to meet people, she was telling Sean.
"Well, you definitely met the right guy tonight." he told her, tightening his grip on the knife. "Ive got some wonderful things to show you. Stay and watch." She tried to explain that she really ought to be going because it was just getting too late, but he cut her words short by a deep cut right below the buttocks. Her legs lost all power and she fell to the floor. From her new viewpoint, she noticed some slow moving red liquid was oozing from the kitchen in a large puddle, oozing her way.
Sean turned his attention towards the crowd. He was going to try to make as many clean cuts to the throat and other vital parts as he could before he would have to get sloppy, wouldnt want to ruin any good cuts of meat. He started on the side of the room with the most men, to catch them by surprise and get rid of them first. He expected some resistance, but the cattle offered little. Some party-goers even thought it was some kind of sick party game and volunteered themselves for the next stunt. An hour after it had begun, Sean was going around the apartment making sure no one but he was breathing. He finally happened upon Krystal, he had forgotten that she was there. Sean thought about her, kissed her on the head, and left her on the floor some more. That pool of blood had grown and since engulfed her and she, of course, was also contributing.
Sean chopped up the skinny ones for bagging in the bathtub and butchered everyone else on the counter where he always did it, where Krystal had a good view. He butchered every carcass in the apartment and bagged all the "sweet breads" and skeletons, all the cuts of meat were rapped in plastic and tin foil and placed in the freezer, all the non-descript garbage bags were lined up in a neat double row against the wall near the door.
As Sean was arranging the rows of garbage bags filled with human remains, he heard a very soft and faint whimpering. He let it pass until he finished with all the bags, and then he looked in front of the door.
"Ah, Krystal, right? How are you doing? I told you I had some wonderful things to show you. Are you hungry? I could grill you up some killer ribs in no time at all."
Tears streamed down across the drying blood on her face and all she could let out between sobs was "WHY!?!?!........WHY?!?!?" Sean looked at her sternly, like he was about to discipline a puppy, but did not say anything. With effort, Kyrstal sucked in a breath and let it out screaming "WHY!!!!" over and over and over and over again. She kept going on and on and on. She would not stop crying, screaming, coughing, drooling, begging. "WHY!?!?!?!... WHY!?!?!?" Her tears and saliva were forming clear pools on the crusted blood on the floor under her.
By this time Sean had gone back for his knife. He knelt before her and stared into her eyes. "Why??? Why what? Why all this?" He made a gesture with his arm indicating the bags and the blood and the mess of human remains. Now he, too, started to cry and become hysterical, as if the weight of his actions had caught up to him. He was now the one working himself into a frenzy screaming "Why?" The anger in him rose up to the top and his tears ran anew. Sean crouched down in her face and shouted at the top of his lungs "BECAUSE!" He popped back up to resting his butt on his ankles. "Because I just want ..." The thought failed him. He flailed his arms wildly in the air. "Because I just want to understand..." He punched the ground with his fists. "to understand .... to understand..." He was sobbing more uncontrollably than the cowering Krystal now. He was barking like a rabid dog, spit flying from his lips and dripping down his chin. Tears still streaking across his face. He looked up to the ceiling and then back down at her. "Because I just want to understand what it is !" He took the knife in both hands and raised it over his head and swung it back down straight into her chest. "To!" Stab. "Be!" Stab. "HUMAN!!!" He stabbed her again, her body lay twitching under his hands. He jaw slackened and her tongue fell out the corner of her mouth, with a trickle of blood.
It had been a long day, a couple long days actually. He left the knife in the shattered Krystal and went to the bedroom. He wiped the tears from his eyes with blood caked hands. He walked to the foot of the bed, knelt on it, kicked his bloody shoes off and flopped down on the bed.
It was Sunday, and he fell fast asleep.