We ate, then returned to the secret place and continued our debauchery. I was running on auto at this point. I had no feelings for this woman. Far be it from me to be picky. With the ladies, I mean. I’ve been at this for a long time—trying desperately to find a woman that shared some of the same interests as me. Then, I spent years trying to find a woman that had interests that I could tolerate. This was difficult. Now, I’m randomly settling. There is no shame in that. I’m getting old and I’m running out of the ability to call the shots. I’d convinced myself that I did—when we were separated by emoticons and bite-sized platitudes on the worldwide web. But here, in person, there was no chemistry. There was no love or interest. There were only attempts at sex that neither of us wanted to admit was bad. Today was the day. Here, I decided, is why I could never kill a man: If I did, then he’d be dead. If he were dead, he wouldn’t be around to know that it was me that ended him. It was pure narcissism on my part. I held the gun tight to my chest and thought about my duty. This would never be an action I’d take on my own, but the job came first. It always did. It always had. We made it back to a place that wasn’t mine and were immediately all over each other. As sexy as I found her on the phone and computer, she did nothing for me in real life. I had to think about the hip blue-haired girl I’d met earlier that day in order to close the deal. Time washed her smell from me, but the memory occasionally rose to the top as a brief reminder that I can’t be picky. I do wish I could return to an earlier time with her and be truthful about the awfulness of her poems. They were long and random and all about how she used her tears to heal this or that. It was obvious that she tried to use the poetry to work out some things that had happened to her earlier in life. It was obvious that she’d had some real tragedy in her existence. Poetry, though, was not working for her as therapy. Simply put, she was not good at it. It made me wonder if those tragedies she tried to exorcise were as bad as she tried to make them out to be. I touched the gun. It was heavier than I thought it would be. I kept thinking about how this could end a man’s life. This small, deadly piece of metal could end bloodlines, begin wars—all of that. I lost my train of thought and thought about using the gun. I started to make a list of people I’d shoot. Waking up in a pile of naked people was how each party officially ended and how every Monday morning began. Waffle House. Hashbrowns. You share breakfast with someone you’ve only known for a few hours. The diplomat’s head exploded in a fine red mist. It was beautiful, really. I didn’t have to run. The calamity that followed shielded my escape. I walked right out, dumped the gun into a nearby dumpster. Could a child find it? Why would a child be in a dumpster? The excitement of my first intentional murder made me horny. I found myself a groupie that actually remembered who I was and we went at it in an hourly rate motel. I had to think of the stinky fasting girl in order to seal the deal. Danger, drugs, meaningless sex and stanzas—this is the life of a Poet Laureate. I could go on and on about how the life USED to be. The parties, the coke. The coke was always around, always present. You had to partake. If you didn’t do a line as soon as you arrived, you’d offend someone and the vibe would be off all night. So, you’d arrive, get high, and some guy would push his girl on you. Sometimes they knew exactly who I was. Most times, though, they’d have no idea. But they’d be so drugged up that it didn’t matter, which is weird, because in every other aspect of my life I have things completely under control. Completely under control.
Stories by J'mel Davidson appear in every issue of Birmingham Weekly. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org.