"Look at this. Look at the blood. You could have just beat him up. He might not have ever come back anyway. There's a dead man in my living room. This is simply astonishing. I can't believe you did this. I really can't believe you did this."
No one had ever done anything like that for her.
Of course, the murder had not been premeditated. He had not even asked himself the film noir question: What if she asks you to take someone out, to remove them from her path?
Yeah, she could have been the femme fatale in one of those 1940s black and white classics. She wasn't. She was just the woman that had transformed him. That made him feel as if he were in love.
He had that feeling. The one gamblers get when they know they are in a streak. Good or bad. This one was good.
Even with the blood on his hands, it was good. In his heart, she was well worth it.
He had not thought. In fact, he did not want to think. She had been in danger and he took care of it. The danger was gone. She sounded upset when she complained about the body and the blood, but there was a grin working its way through her complaints.
As she looked at him, he could feel it. Love or whatever it was. That feeling that makes it clear that something above the ordinary or beyond the common is calling. He did not want to think that it was love. He would tell himself that whatever it was it was not that, something else.
He would kill again for her without hesitation, but it was not love. He would die for her, but it was not love.
Love was something people paid for. They paid to read it, to see it, to own it... To own it for a while.
He had tried love and it rarely worked. This, however, was working. It made him feel good. It made him feel alive, even if there was a body that needed to be disposed of.
As he tried to plan what to do with the body, he thought of those big words she sometimes used in conversation or worse the ones he had to look up those times she had written to him. He wondered if any of those words would be of use to him now, could be of use to him now. The word ingratiating came to his thoughts. Was the dead body ingratiating? Was he more ingratiating now that he had killed, he talked to himself in his mind.
He knew that he could not talk the body into disappearing.
How much napery would it take to wrap this body up? How could he forfend against future dangers?
It was then, when he thought about the future, that his past rose up to ask him why he had killed. He had not murdered before. Why was it so easy? A few hits over the head with a thick metal stick. The blood still pulsing as it spread out across the floor.
His one thought, during the violence, was about her rug. The one she had made a point of showing him when he had first been in her apartment.
He had rushed to make sure that there would be no stain upon that rug. It was still on the love seat when the future was questioning him.
His only response was, "How come there is no other word for why?"
When the body had been taken care of, he would ask her, knowing that to ask the future was risky at best.
He knew that it would be best to chop the body into as many pieces as possible. He just didn't want to.
When he was child, he had seen body parts that had been thrown into the garbage near his school. He did not want another child to come across an arm or any other dismembered body part after buying baseball cards for the chewing gum.
He decided to drive out some place where, even if the body was found, it would appear to be a someone else's doing. Yeah. That sounded reasonable.
The unlikely burial took place before the night was through. It was not a long drive. A few hours.
The sex they had that night, he was sure, was better than all the chewing gum he could remember and surely better than all the chewing gum he had disremembered.
The rug was back in place. The place was clean.
"Would you have done it if I had asked you to?" Her question gave him nothing to pause about.
He was Adam greedily biting into the apple that Eve had offered. "Yes," he said without hesitation.
When they had first met, she was all he could think about. It was still that way, even the murder had not had the impact that it should have had.
She had been enamored of him instantly. The way he held her with such a realistic tenderness. His kisses reminded her of the movies. She thought, this is the way everybody should kiss.
When they kissed he would shut his eyes. He was not closing them to her. He was leaving them unopened to the rest of the world and she could sense how unconcerned he was with what was outside of their lives.
They slept easy that night, still in their Eden.
In the morning, she said, to him, "You can't say no one's cleaned up after you've killed."
He was reaching for a cigarette, when it occurred to him to ask her, "Does that mean it's my turn to make breakfast?"
She started to grin. It was that grin he had seen slide through her sounding upset. The grin turned into a giggle. She hugged him then and they made love. She was sure, it was the best breakfast she had ever had. Her stomach sated with heat.
Smoke finally rose from the reached for cigarette. Jake whispered, "How come there is just one word for why?" Brenda sighed and rejoined, "Because there are so many answers to a given question that having another way to ask it would be too much."
After a moment's contemplation, he silently agreed and appraised, "Sometimes, all you need is one thing." He felt he had all he needed with her, but there was a distant roar lightly trembling within his belly. Hunger would soon require justice in the form of eggs or, better yet, buttermilk pancakes.
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