“Family is everything,” the doctor says knowingly.
I want to kill him. I do not mean to say that he irritates me and I want the irritation to cease; thus, I am making my point in the most hyperbolic way that seems fitting to the common vernacular. Not at all. I want to be the specific and real cause of the good doctor’s unnatural corporeal conclusion. I click the ballpoint pen in my right hand.
As he continues to elaborate on his latest epiphanic affirmation, trying to draw deeper meaning from a shallow and vapid waste of otherwise breathable air, I visualize how I am going to do it. I possess quite a library of experiential reference material from which to draw, having now rid the world of forty-two similar … irritants.
I once killed an obnoxious woman in the middle of rush hour traffic with her own smartphone. Holding the device four inches in front of one’s face does not qualify as hands-free, my dear. That was impulsive on my part, and while satisfying, not on par with my typical well-planned methodology.
“Really,” the doctor continues, smugness settling comfortably in his voice, “it’s more about nurture than nature. You are an outcome of parental choices, nothing more.”
The parents that once lived next door to me used to perform vociferous angry tirades each time their unaffected goth daughter bothered to come home late, breath smelling of weed and ejaculate. It created a ritual of sorts, wakening to these rowdy recitals, the counterpoint of mother or father screaming their disappointment to the inevitable mumbled, “whatever’. She came home one night to find dear mom and dad hung by matching electrical cords in the foyer. Those kills were too close to home for my usual comfort level, though necessary for my healthful sleeping habits.
“I know, I know” the doctor chuckles, “it’s a cliché. But, really, the root of it all comes down to your mother.”
My mother was my first kill. She had breastfed me until I was seven. While I do not entirely remember suckling at that age, specifically, the slow deflation of her breasts common with her advancing age, signaled to me my deflating need of her. Conversely, her inflating sense of alarm at my proclivities as a young man signaled to me that I could not simply allow her to disappear into the elderly ether as one might choose. I held her under the bath water until the thrashing and the bubbles ceased. Ironically, floating weightless in the oversized whirlpool tub, her breasts then seemed full and as capable of sustaining life as perhaps they once had. I suckled once more but came away with nothing but the taste of lavender bath salts and disappointment. That kill had called for a degree of respect and care that I have not offered to any of the other forty-one.
“You know, the relationship with your mother can have some interesting effects on other more intimate relationships,” the doctor suggests as an afterthought.
My intimate relationships make up eighteen of my kills. There never seemed a more appropriate manner to end said affairs without unnecessary emotional exchanges. Seven women by knife, three men and two women by garotte, three women by smothering, one by poisoning, one pushed into traffic, and one by an elaborate and very nearly unsuccessful hanging during a rock-climbing excursion. Some were indeed suckled, though none were drowned.
Concerned I may be stiffening up sitting in the overly-deep, overly-plush couch, I glance at my watch to distract the good doctor from his self-impressing soliloquy. I tense my legs, preparing as he stalls in mid-sentence and glances at his own watch as if his internal session clock is somehow in question. As he looks down, I launch myself like a coiled viper. I wrap my left arm around the back of the doctor’s head, his expression instantly wrinkling with fright. My right hand plunges the ballpoint pen through his carotid artery, and I withdraw quickly as blood begins pulsing forth, hot and eager, from around the plastic shaft. He tries feebly to reach to the intruding implement, but the rapid blood loss renders him unable before he can even touch it. His vacant expression and slackening flesh tell me he is nearly gone already.
“Thank you, doctor,” I tell him, pulling my pen from his neck with a wet slurp. “I am feeling much better already.”