Piano Man

Blood has a unique aroma to it; metallic and coppery. I bring one of my fingers to my mouth and flick my tongue, tasting it. Slightly salty, but for the most part, indescribable. Blood does not taste like chicken. I wipe my finger on my jeans, leaving a red smear on the light denim. Do I use hot or cold water to remove a blood stain? I ask myself, trying to recall what my mother told me all those years ago. Never mind that–I have a body to get rid of. Proper laundering of clothes should be the last thing on my mind.

I look down at the dead man at my feet, surveying him. Approximately 150 pounds, a hair under six feet tall. I think of all the ways I could dispose of a body, mainly recalling what I’ve seen done in the movies. Fried Green Tomatoes comes to mind; I could chop him up, slather him in barbecue sauce, and grill him up, but I ain’t Jessica Tandy. After a few more minutes of pondering, I decide on what I’ll do. It’s stupid, to be sure, but I killed my roommate just because I was curious if I could do it. Turns out, I can. I’ll have to update my résumé after this: “Useful skills include proficiency in Microsoft Excel, typing 80 words per minute, and murder due to boredom.” I’d hire me.

I leave him on the floor, surrounded by all his kids’ toys. There’s a pink plastic microphone next to his head, which I grab. I arrange his hands over his chest and place the microphone in his dead hands.

“Sing us a song, Piano Man,” I say to him. He doesn’t reply. Rude.

I grab my roommate’s feet and drag him through the living room, down to the end of the hallway to his daughter’s room, a pink nightmare of a place. A train of tutu’ed ballerinas plie across the wall beneath the crown molding. I haul him over to the daybed and make with the difficult task of getting from the floor to on top of the mattress. I start by sitting him upright, crouching down in front of him and wrap his lifeless arms around my neck, in sort of an awkward dead embrace. I wrap my own arms around his chest, and lifting with my knees–always lift with your knees–I stand upright, grunting. I manage to get his back on the bed, and I fall on top of him, like two drunken lovers. I stand up, grab his legs, and swing them up on the bed with the rest of him.

Almost there, I urge myself. I get on the bed myself, and stand up, wobbling as I find my footing on the soft mattress under foot. I stand with him between my legs, once again reaching around his chest to put him in a sitting position in the corner of the bed. Sweat beads up on my top lip and I’m breathing rapidly. Perfect, I say to myself, and jump off the bed. I look around the room for as many stuffed animals as I can find. With my arms loaded with rabbits, teddy bears, and monkeys, I arrange the animals around my roommate until the only part of him visible is his head. I spy a plastic tiara and place it carefully on top of his skull. I step back and admire my work. To the casual observer, it looks how a little girl’s bed should. Closer inspection reveals this to not be the case.

I hear his cell phone text tone from the kitchen and run down the hallway to retrieve it. The message is from his ex-wife: “bringing the girls over soon.”

Crap. I don’t have much time, so I haul ass downstairs to my living space, grab my purse, car keys, and pack of cigarettes, which I toss into my bag. I fumble with getting my copies of the house and garage door keys off my key chain. I take the stairs two at a time as I ascend them, toss the keys on the counter, and head to the garage to my car. I open the garage door, start up my car, and back down the driveway. Just as I’m throwing my car into “drive,” I see his ex-wife’s station wagon headed towards me. She sees me and waves.

I return the gesture, shift my car, and drive away.