Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Living in Two Countries

After all everybody, that is, everybody who writes is interested in living inside themselves in order to tell what is inside themselves. That is why writers have to have two countries, the one where they belong and the one in which they live really. – Gertrude Stein
I murdered CG. I did it yesterday morning: after coffee, before breakfast. 
I can't kill on a full stomach. Does strange things to my digestion. Problem is I'm rusty, haven't murdered anyone in years, and now I'm faced with all sorts of problems. Not guilt. She asked for it. No, it's the body! I have to get rid of the body without... Who is that man? Why is he watching me? What? What do you want?
No, I can't eat yet, thanks... I'll go to the market later. Milk, eggs, bread, okay. 
He's coming toward me. He can't have seen anything. Don't fall apart. You did nothing wrong. You did what had to be done to save...
Cheese with peppers, the kind you like. I know. I have to make an appointment with the doctor, too.... They're coming tomorrow, I'll clear up tonight after...
After I dispose of the body. And get rid of this man approaching. Okay, freeze, everyone. You mister, stay there. Hold that thought. 
The supermarket is supernaturally bright. So many suspicious people milling around the produce...
It's him! He must have followed me. How is that possible? I don't know, but it's him. The same deranged light in his eyes. He jams the cart and blocks the bananas, allowing no one else near. Entitled, knowing more than he should, daring anyone else to reach for a banana...
Now he's moving toward the... grapes. From a safe distance I watch. He reaches in a plastic bag, grabs a handful of red grapes and gulps them down, all at once. Shameless, without pleasure. 
He looks around furtively. Sneers. The mad light in his eyes. "They're not ripe yet."
His voice is strangely high-pitched, creepy, in such a big man. And his words: They're not ripe yet. 
They're not ripe yet. 
Oh my God, of course not. They're not ripe yet. The girls. The pretty girls. He knows what I've done. He's saying I acted too soon. I should have waited.
But I had to silence her. The questions she was asking would have led right back to...
Yes, but now they'll have more questions about what happened to her. And once they start digging, they won't stop till they get to the heart.
He's at the Bread aisle. He turns back. One look. And a nod. To let me know he knows.
I'm getting out of here. 
No, I don't have coupons. 
Yes, I'll give a dollar for the fund.
I forgot the eggs, the milk, the bread...
Hi! I didn't see you. Yes, I'm fine. No, I haven't seen Ann. Definitely, we'll get together soon. Bye!
Why did she ask me about Ann? Does she think I've done something to her? 
It's true that someone else needs to notice CG is missing. Not just the mad-eyed man. 
My phone. Hi, sweetie. Yeah, I'm good. Just leaving the market. How are you? Really? That's great. Listen, I have a question. If someone said to you, "They're not ripe yet," would you take that as a warning...?
Tossing and turning all night, moving my people around, a dream in which we're all crammed in a supermarket, moving our carts, eying each other with suspicion, and he's there, of course, moving toward me with deadly threat....
I return to my people this morning. After (black) coffee... Ah, here they are, frozen as I left them. CG, dead. Banana Man watching. A new person, a woman, enters. "Have you seen...?"
Wait. No. I've got it. 
CG, get up. A brief reprieve. You're not ripe yet. There's one more thing you need to do before...
I know I forgot the milk and eggs, but I bought bananas.... They're not ripe either?
They never are, he says, his mad eyes focused not on CG, but on me.  
I'm coming, I'm coming, just give me one more minute....
You, that's right, all of you, including you, CG, just wait right there. I'll be back tomorrow.