It’s funny, what goes through your head.
Do you want to know what is going through my right now while I think about what knife to choose? As I gaze down at the cluttered and crumby choices in the drawer before me? The drawer divider stares back at me, cracked and stained. The colour of dirty vanilla ice cream, each segment coated with crumbles of dust and food. Two things are going through my head simultaneously. I like it when that happens. It’s a bit like fireworks going off in my brain, one thought sparking off another that overtakes and consumes it, before scattering into a million more. I am trying to make the right decision, about what knives to take, because I don’t want to get it wrong. There are probably a million ways I could get it wrong. Life is like that. You make decisions here and there, never knowing at the time how magnificently one innocent choice could fuck things up for you. I am aware that I have to put thought into it, I have to fight through the mush my mind has become, and come up with a clean, sharp solution. But while this is all going through my head, I have song lyrics too. I nearly always do, to be honest. They come at me all the time. They crawl through my ear canals and into my messy brain, and they set up camp, and they control me. Feels that way anyway.
So here I am. Staring at knives. Trying to be quiet about it, so that I don’t wake anyone up. The song that is going through my head isn’t about knives, or stabbing though. It’s about a car crash I think. Not sure why it comes to me now, but it does. I’m standing warm against the cold, now that the flames have taken hold, at least you left your life in style. There’s more, and if you know anything about music you will know it’s from a Stone Roses song, and if you knew anything about me you would know that I love them, like I love all music, I mean, I fucking love music, all music. But those are the lines in my head. Circling, around and around and around, so slowly, so rhythmically, that I can almost feel my head begin to nod with them, like I am being slowly sung to sleep.
I am barely breathing as I lower my head, and narrow my eyes on the choices. I am hearing those words in my head and I am thinking; one big one and two small ones is the way to go. That’s what you want. I will need more than one. Just in case. If I only take one, and I drop it or something, then it’s game over, isn’t it? I have to take a big one, I just have to. I’ve been dreaming about a big knife for years, you see. I used to fall asleep at night with the vision of one in my head. Shining behind my eyes. The tip on fire with blood. I used to imagine the feel of it, the weight of it in my hands, and I used to think about how it would strengthen me, in so many ways. So I have to take a big one. But I need little ones too. Little ones I can hide in my clothes.
A noise comes from the other room. It startles me for a moment, and reminds me to get on with things. I reach for the cutlery drawer tentatively and I feel a bit like a child again, my hand stealing cautiously and without permission towards the biscuit tin. I lick my lips. They are dry, and cracked. A residue of blood coats my tongue and the metallic tang spreads to the roof of my mouth.
My hand moves in stealthily, and my fingers curl stiffly around the handle of the biggest knife there. It has a serrated edge. Nasty. Am I really going to do this? Has it really come to this? I shrug my shoulders at my own questions. Maybe I always knew it would. My hand shakes so I lay the knife down on the side and peer back into the drawer, the music still tumbling through my mind, as I consider what this act will make me, if I go through with it. A killer? Yeah, well. I talk to myself in my head for a bit. I’ve been doing that a lot lately too. These rambling and wired conversations kick off, and it’s like there is more than one of me, in there, rabbiting on. I’ve been quiet on the outside, but my friends don’t mind this. They allow me this. They can’t hear the babbling of voices that go on inside. The conversations that all end with the same conclusion before I fall asleep. You want to know what that is? Well, nothing matters. It’s that simple. I thought it anyway, a long time ago, but I was younger then, so I wasn’t always sure. I know it now. Nothing matters. Nothing.
I am getting bored. I pick up the small brown handled cheese knife. I think I am alive and buzzing with so many things, yet I am also dead. Dead man walking. So it does not matter. Have a life or die. Whatever. This knife is good. I can stuff it down my sock, inside my boot. I nod and place it next to the other one. Get on with it. Don’t back out. Don’t forget what happened, don’t lose sight of why you are doing this. This voice is strong and gnarled, it has a low throaty sneer to it, like a bitter old man. Get on with it, it says. I feel a bit torn. I need to make the right decisions and not fuck up, but I need to hurry up too. Need to get out of here. I grab a third knife. Small and flat, with a rusty edge. Who cares? Think it will do. Okay, so I am not going to bother with bin liners and cleaning fluids, or anything, but I still need to be prepared to a certain extent. If time has taught me anything, it is not to underestimate the bastard. He’ll just laugh at me, and it will all be over in seconds if I am not careful.
If it goes the way I am planning, I won’t even run away afterwards. I won’t need to. I imagine myself sat next to the body, and I wonder how it will feel, watching his life slip away from him. What will it feel like? Breathing in my own existence while the life blood flows from his. Will I find my own life in the taking of his? Will I stop feeling dead? Will my heart begin to beat again, with something other than fear and hate? I wonder if I will feel free, when it is done. If I will feel like it is over. Or maybe I am wrong. Maybe I will become something even worse than what I already am. Maybe I will become yet another human monster, hunched and sorrowful, wandering the planet, rotting on the inside.
I line the three knives up alongside each other and place my hands on my hips, blowing my breath upwards into my hair. This is it. It is nearly time to go. I did try to think of other ways, you know. Last night. I thought about everything. The trouble is, and this may be kind of hard to explain to you, but the trouble is, once you start to think about killing someone, once you start to imagine them dead and gone, it is hard to shake free of it. And to be honest, in some ways, I have planned this for years. I have dreamt of this for years. I have promised this for years. I suppose the thoughts and the urges to rid my life of the enemy, the thorn, have been piling up in me all along. That probably says quite a lot about the sort of person I really am. They gathered momentum after last night, of course. It’s been a battlefield lately, but last night was the final straw if you like. The urges gathered strength and reason. They led me to a tantalising prospect, an irresistible possibility.
I cross my arms over my chest and lick my lips again. I lick them repeatedly, and I feel like I am about to go to war, into battle, and the blood in my mouth serves as a taster for what is to come. I can feel my heart throbbing under my skin, pounding it is. I imagine the cocaine I have just ingested hurtling through my blood stream, crashing into sleepy nerves and cells and setting them on fire. Can’t stop licking my lips. I smile at the tingling that takes over my weary limbs. The knives on the sideboard shine back at me, filling my chest with fight. Fight. I mouth the word slowly, dragging my top teeth backwards across my lower lip. Fight. Who started the fight anyway, I wonder? Who started it? I have not got much time. I grab the smallest knife and bend down to stuff it inside my sock, and then I tighten the laces of my boot around it. The second small knife I push up the sleeve of my denim jacket. The tip prods at the skin on my wrist. A rustle of bedclothes in the next room panics me into action. The largest knife I push down inside the waist band of my jeans. I have still got to write the letters, and a creep of doubt and fear is tickling my spine.
My notebook and pen are set out on the side, so I take up the pen and start to write. It flows easier than I had imagined, but I guess that must be the coke working its magic. It always did make me talk a load of shit. As I write the first letter, my eyes are drawn to my wrist, to the crust of blood circling my hand. It chafes and smears against the notepaper, washing my words in rust red and flakes of last nights pain. I don’t like the way I feel as I write to my friends. It’s like I am slipping down somewhere, fading away, losing myself and in danger of losing the moment too. I have to hang onto now. I am not the same person anymore, I tell myself, I’m just what is left. I’m no good to any of them now anyway.
Get on with it, one of the voices instructs me. It’s loud and abrasive that voice, snappy and commanding, and it’s spurred on by the shitload of coke I sniffed in the toilet just moments ago. So I get on with it, and the pain in my wrists, the pain in my back and head, it all propels me forward, it all jumbles and binds together, becoming like this ball of power, pushing me on towards the inevitable. Write the letters, tell them what you need them to know, and get the hell out of here. Something is gone, I think, as I write. Something that was teetering anyway, something I had always feared losing to him, well it went last night. It snapped inside of me, and now it lies broken. That’s it.
And now he has to pay.