“Weekend Getaways”

Enclosed is the first chapter of Weekend Getaways or Adventures in Contract Killing as referenced in the entry on “Tragressive Fiction”:

 

 

1

 

          I had never given any serious thought to killing people, outside of the usual, of course.  The usual being:

 

          PRESSING THE MUTE BUTTON ON THAT EXTREMELY OBNOXIOUS CUSTOMER, THE ONE WHO SOMEHOW “KNOWS” THAT THEY ARE BETTER THAN YOU, THE ONE WHO CAN’T EVEN STRING TOGETHER A COHERENT SENTENCE IN WHICH TO INSULT YOU, AND THINKING “IF ONLY I COULD REACH THROUGH THIS LINE, I’D STRANGLE YOU WITH THE OTHER END OF YOUR PHONE UNTIL YOU WERE AN EXQUISITE SHADE OF BLUE.  FOR RIGHT NOW, YOU NEED TO EITHER JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP OR DROP DEAD”

 

          …or SEEING THE INSANE LUNATIC FROM YOUR DRIVER’S SIDE MIRROR (THE LEFT SIDE), WATCHING HIM RACE UP TO YOU AND KNOWING FULL WELL IN YOUR GUT INSTINCTS THAT HE’S GOING TO PASS YOU AND THEN CUT YOU OFF, CUT RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU ONLY TO WIND UP CROSSING OVER TO THE RIGHT LANE TO MAKE A TURN BECAUSE HE’S LATE FOR SOMETHING MEANINGLESS OR JUST WILDLY IRRESPONSIBLE, AND HOPING THAT HE DIES IN A FIERY CAR CRASH EVEN IT MEANS KILLING HIS INNOCENT WIFE AND FAMILY AND YOU GET TO WITNESS THE SCREECHING MADNESS, THE TWISTED METAL, PERHAPS EVEN THE FLAMES, AND YOU ARE SADDENED BECAUSE YOU DID NOT CAUSE IT TO HAPPEN

 

          …or TRYING TO ENJOY A QUIET DINNER IN ONE OF THE CITY’S FINER ESTABLISHMENTS ONLY TO BE OVERWHELMED BY THE CLASSLESS GOURMET WANNABE SITTING TWO TABLES OVER WHO PROCLAIMS THAT THE ‘SORBET’ IS THE GREAT FRENCH COOKING SCHOOL.  ON TOP OF WHICH HE’S PAYING NO ATTENTION TO HIS DINNER COMPANION (AN ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN OF MAGAZINE-INFLUENCED STYLE WHO, EVEN IF SHE IS NOT AN ADEQUATE PERFORMER IN BED IT WOULDN’T MAKE ALL THAT MUCH DIFFERENCE BECAUSE HE WOULD NEVER NOTICE), HE IS UNAWARE OF HER BECAUSE OF THE EXCESSIVE CALLS HE’S MAKING ON HIS CELL PHONE, THE DETAILS OF WHICH YOU CAN HEAR IN EXCRUTIATING CLARITY BECAUSE HIS VOICE IS CARRYING ACROSS THE QUIET ROOM.  THE MALLET FOR CRACKING THE LOBSTER SHOULD DO JUST NICELY TO INFLICT BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA AND MAYBE THE METAL PRONG COULD WORK AS A TOOL FOR A PREFRONTAL LOBOTOMY.  PERHAPS IT’S NOT LONG ENOUGH.  THEN AGAIN, PERHAPS HE HAS NO BRAIN ON WHICH TO PERFORM SUCH AN OPERATION

 

          or…

          No, there are too many examples.  Far too many.  They flow as freely as random lyrics from mellow 1960’s pop songs with catchy vibes or quotes from hip 1970’s movies which could never be possibly uttered in decent company.  Unfortunately it is not as though I spend my free hours plotting and planning and thinking of ways of eliminating human beings from the face of the Earth.  These thoughts float by, like the wisps of cotton from a cottonwood tree.  And they’re dainty and interesting and we take note of them and their passing.  And we wonder.

          Yes, we.  I’m certainly not describing anything that millions of people don’t do at some point in their lives, perhaps merely in passing.  They are, after all, merely thoughts, sudden and of seemingly indeterminate origin.  To contemplate them regularly and profoundly would have us marked as sociopathic.  And we are so afraid to admit that we think these thoughts that it is almost as though we are abnormal in some fashion if we don’t have them.

          Acting on them, however, is a totally different train of thought.

 

          I have no recourse but to describe myself as a Divorced Man.  I do so not out of any love for the label or firm regard for the nomenclature.  People are more often than not defined by their marital status.  It is a question on most applications and forms.  It is a question that a new acquaintance will invariably ask.  We are marked by the answer and behave accordingly, despite our better instincts.

 

          [SINGLE  “I have never had the opportunity or desire to engage in legal matrimony.  You think I’m commitment-phobic but I either prefer to live with someone or do not wish to be encumbered.  Or, I’m gay.”

          MARRIED  “I live in bliss, with the exception of honey-dos for men, Football Widows for women, and a handful of sex jokes and mother-in-law jokes.  Overall, I am safe.  Unless I’m acting obnoxious in which case my marriage is failing.”

          DIVORCED  “I am a failure.  Either I was too inconsiderate to maintain a healthy functioning relationship or I was too weak to prevent its dissolution.  In either case, since you know only me, I MUST be to blame.”

          WIDOWED  “I am forever depressed.  Per the sociological tests that evaluate life events that cause stress, the loss of a spouse is the highest on the list.  I will fake having a normal life but I will never get over it.  And you will try otherwise.”]

 

          And once you have achieved your marital status, you are automatically defined by the vast number of people who know of no other form of self-description or actualization.  In essence, you are who THEY see you as.

          In my case, it was nothing Wrong that happened.  In fact, everything was Right.  We did our time as long-suffering apartment dwellers, scrimping and saving and planning.  We bought a 1930’s bungalow in an historic district.  We collected art deco from the 1920’s, silver filigree from the 1890’s, and Japanese woodblock prints from the 1600’s.  We landscaped, blending annuals and perennials and bulbs, mixing colors to create a Feng Shui element of Peace and Harmony.  We bought new appliances AND the extended warrantees because we were careful and cautious and anticipating a very long life together.  We bathed ourselves in all the modern conveniences that were available to us in catalogs and magazines and fine furnishing boutiques.  For twelve years, there was the serenity of a sailboat in a calm lake.  But there was nowhere to go.  The things we bought collected dust and their initial excitement faded into just another item on the insurance inventory.  Food and drink was not a substitute for nourishing the soul, no matter how gourmet or difficult to pronounce it may have been.  I don’t believe either of us knew what we wanted, only sadly that we didn’t want each other any more.  And the responses were as typical in the same pre-defined sort of way.

 

          {THE SINGLE GUY  Now I was free to do whatever I wanted, to party, to stay out late, to have any female that I wanted.  I didn’t need to be married to have the same level of personal satisfaction that he had.

          THE MARRIED WOMAN  I was looked at with suspicion as I may have been the cause of the divorce and that would label me as “just another man” as though all men (her husband included) were void of any conscience or consideration.

          THE MARRIED GUY  He was happy for me because I now did not have any honey-dos, I now could bond with other male friends, I now could experiment more with my life.  But in a paternal way he advised that I would be seeking the comfort of a spouse soon enough.

          THE SINGLE WOMAN  She gave hints that usually all the “good ones” are taken as though somehow I was a green M&M.  And how exciting (for whom I wasn’t sure) that I was available.  And, of course, if I EVER needed someone to talk to, you know, from the female perspective, I could count on her.}

 

          When you’re in your mid to late forties and you’ve been at the same job for over fifteen years and you own a house but you don’t have a companion or partner or spouse, you are (as far as the majority of people are concerned) trapped.  You are defined by your gender and marital status and demographic whether or not you declare to the world “I AM MY OWN PERSON”.

          Selling your house and “downsizing” is an admission of defeat.

          You’re not old enough to retire.  You’re too old to start at a new job or explore a new field.

          And no one accepts your motivations for either wanting or not wanting to find someone for company or conversation or sex.

          Finding your own way entails deep self-examination.  Or chance.

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2 Comments

  1. jenniferneri said,

    June 1, 2009 at 8:25 am

    I had a smile plastered on my face during almost the entire read! I do hope this is your intention – it’s all right on (we all think these things – as your narrator points out, and sadly, so many are exactly in this position), and you never loose hold of the voice (great!). Want more 🙂

    Is it published somewhere? You make a reference…
    My title preference is Weekend Gateways.

    Like

    • tikiman1962 said,

      June 1, 2009 at 9:17 pm

      The title is complete, as in the old style titles (such as “Moby Dick or The Whale”). It is designed to be a tongue-in-cheek title.
      The impetus of the novel came after reading Chuck Palahnuik’s “Fight Club”. I had the first line in my head…and from there the unnamed narrator continues his “diatribe”.
      However, as the piece progressed (and I believed we referenced this cincept earlier) it generated into a personal human drama of a modern individual caught up in the absolute dregs of consumerism who makes a valiant attempt to find the meaning of HIS life, as opposed to Life (captial L) in general.
      Some us turn to drugs, alcohol, religion, writing. he turns to contract killing.
      If I get enough responses I may serialize it in the blog. But, yes, I am glad you had a smile on your face. black comedy, after all, IS comedy!

      Like


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