By Fungai Chigumbura, Zimbabwe:
My whims have never been part f the realm of the normal. Saying that is redundant at this point, but now I realize just how uncommon they are. So strange have my tendencies been over the years that they have developed their own bits of irony like the fact that for all the prostitutes I have been with, I have never been with one in the way that others have. It is difficult to explain even to myself, but I have accepted it for the most part whilst giving very little regard to changing that fact. Now, I wish to know the difference.
As we walk down the street, its yellow lights dimming to reflect the nature of the indulgences in its more murky parts–I cannot help but wonder to myself just what I am in for. I put very little stock in the descriptions of others, given to exaggeration as the human mind is. Certainly the media cannot be trusted; its hyperbole seems to outweigh everything else these days. I settle in my mind that this experience will likely be like everything else in its uniqueness for me and the fact that the elements of it that I shall enjoy the most will likely be reprehensible.
She holds my hand as we enter a small motel off to one side of the corner of the street. Her cursory glance at the man at the reception and his seeming indifference to her and me tells me that this is a regular enough occurrence to warrant no recognition. The room she takes me to is surprisingly well lit and neat. There is a small bed at the center, with a few other furnishings that allow it to suffice as a location for one night, but not enough to ever be called comfortable. It has all the essentials, but only the bare minimum. My companion disappears into the small bathroom and I sit on the bed and contemplate.
My earlier self-berating had given way to wonder and excitement at the thought of my soon to be novel experience. But now, it returns in full measure. I start to question everything I did that led to my sloppy work that initially put my former assistant and his woman on to me and then my even sloppier disposal of the two of them. And the blind boy…Even though everything is unraveling, I am still uncertain as to whether I made the right decision with that child. I had never questioned my actions before that and I will likely be uncertain for the duration of my life of both the sense and morality of my evaluation of the situation and what I resolved to do in the end. If I were to be dead honest with myself, I would say that I more likely regret what happened with that boy more than anything else.
My companion emerges from the bathroom and stands leaning in the doorway. The tight dress is gone, replaced by matching pink lingerie that accentuates every curve and edge on her. Her skin tone has an evenness that is uncanny: a glorious dark that reminds me of the allure that the night has always had for me. She parades over to a small wooden table in the opposite corner of the room and shuffles in her handbag before taking out two small objects. The first one, which I can’t make out, she conceals somewhere which is out of my line of sight, but definitely on her body. The second item is a small, lilac bottle whose contents she sprays in the air. The odor has a sickliness to its sweetness that I might even call pungent. She obviously likes it, as she takes in a large breath of its aroma. She smiles at me, before replacing the bottle and taking out a long leather belt from the bag.
“Do you want the light on or off?” she asks.
“On,” I reply. “Leave it on.”
She smiles before rummaging in her bag once more for what appears to be a music player. Rather bemused, I wonder to myself if all her rituals with her clients are this lengthy and decide that it must significantly limit the number of her clientele. The music she plays is surprising: rather than a soft and slow tune, it’s a loud obnoxious rap song. The peculiarity of this is striking, but I really do not have anything else to compare my experience to, so I settle that perhaps it is my ignorance.
She saunters over and gently but firmly pushes me back on the bed. I comply and slide up to the head of the bed. She gets on the bed and straddles either side of my torso as she raises my hands to the bed post and begins binding me to the frame. I get an urge in that moment, something that is quite unlike me, just like everything else going on right now.
“W-what is your name?” I ask.
She stops for a while and looks at me with a slightly bewildered look on her face.
“Do you ask every girl’s name?” she asks in turn, and I sense the ridicule in her tone.
“No, it’s just…I want to know yours”
She regards me for a while and goes back to securing me to the bed. When that’s done, she looks at me again and answers “Melissa. My name is Melissa”
“Melissa,” I repeat. “ That’s a nice name.”
My compliment is ignored, and she instead begins to unbutton my shirt. I close my eyes, but rather than enjoying this moment, my mind wanders back to several years ago. I t takes me back to when I was a lonesome and wandering teenager ; then to when I killed my first girl; forward to my days in university and the awkwardness of my interactions with the opposite sex; on to when I got my job and truly hit my stride with taking lives and then finally to the day my assistant came into my office and told me that he knew of my deeds. My thoughts slow down at that juncture, as I recall each day slowly. At that point, my companion starts talking, though I try to block out her words in order to focus on my thoughts.
“I came to this city looking for you” she says. I think about how my assistant had revealed my careless trail.
“I wasn’t sure I’d find you, but here we are.” My mind goes to when we took that drive to give him his first taste of what he longed for.
“I was afraid you would recognize me after last time, but I bet every girl is the same to you”.
As her sentence ends, I recount the bar and the girl we had picked up and her disapproving friend. My eyes burst open in that moment as my memory finally does its work and the image of that frowning woman in the bar matches perfectly with the sneering girl on top of me. She sees the sudden recognition in my eyes and smirks as I try to wiggle free of my bonds.
“That girl you took that night was the only friend I had left in this world. I loved her, and you took her away! You’re going to pay…you’re going to pay!” she chokes.
I try to get free of my restraints but it is pointless: I am trapped. She takes out the object she had concealed earlier and unfolds it and holds it high above me. My eyes dart to what is in her hand…Is that a blade?
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