#149b

It should have been an easy thing. Lift John's corpse up and sit him in his wheelchair. Two actions. No different than putting a sack of potatoes in the shopping trolley. That's how I thought of it; I had to. If not I would never have been capable of doing it.

For almost nine hours I pondered over my task: how to do it and what it would be like? How would John's body feel? Light or heavy? Stiff or floppy? Warm or cold??? A thousand thoughts, more, yet still nothing nearly prepared me for the trauma I would experience as I struggled to get 180 pounds of dead flesh from point A to B.

The very first thing that got me was the smell in the living room. It wasn't strong nor unbearable, but pungent and rotten. But not rotten like bad meat, this was different. It kinda smelt like a disused latrine. The only thing I have ever smelt which is mildly comparable was when father used to clean out ducks at the kitchen table. He'd slice, cut and wrench out dripping handfuls of bowels and internal organs then slap them down on top of necks and severed heads in a semi-transparent bowl. Sometimes Mother would help him, but she just drove her hand right up the birds arus and pulled everything out in one violent movement. I remember being disgusted by bits of liver and thick congealed blood dangling from around her wedding ring. Well, it smelt like that – something sickly and which the nose knew was no good.

After the smell there was John himself. He lay there, exactly as I had left him, the only changes being that his face had badly discoloured and he looked like he had shrunk. That may seem odd, but that's what it looked like. Initially it was difficult to touch him. Something told me that my hands should not come into contact with his body. There seemed to be more of a moral dilemma in touching his corpse – moving the evidence – than there had been in the actual killing itself. The murder after all was just a reaction. I had hit him in fear of my own life and he'd gone down. But to then, four days later, move the body is something else entirely. In fact, it is probably the stupidest thing anyone can do. Nevertheless, I did it.

At first I tried to roll John's body over with my foot. It was useless. His flesh just spilled over me and he was impossible to turn. The only way to do it was to lift him from the underside. So, I knelt down and made to roll his corpse over, ready to eventually lift it into his chair. That's when I saw and smelt things that I know will effect me forever - death in all it's inglorious pomp.

John's body was cold and heavy. It felt like it was weighed down with ballast. Just to swing an arm over was a huge task. And that wasn't all. John's body didn't move as one would expect. There were strains and forces on it which seemed to resist simple placements. For example, some parts bent the wrong way, while other parts did not bend at all. You see in films people lifting up someones arm by the finger and letting it flop down, but that would have been impossible with John. If I'd have done that the finger would have dislocated under the weight. With no help from the body it's a very awkward thing to try to move about. It was things like that which made it such an horrendous task. And that was only the start.

Another God awful moment was the foul odour which floated out from John's mouth. Where I had manoeuvred the body, the excess air must have somehow got squeezed out. But this air was rancid. It was like John's mouth was the city's main sewage outlet. It was so obnoxious that it caused my eyes to sear and wince up with tears. And neither did it happen just once. Every time I touched the body it would waft out and make me retch. It was so awful that I had to finally wrap a scarf around my mouth and nose in order to continue.

Along with the smell was the head itself, smashed half open from the fight. I tried my hardest not to look, but there was something inside John's skull which kept catching my eye – a grey matter which had bubbled out the opening and resembled the bladder from inside a ruptured football. Then of course was the face. ¨Pale white on the right side and dark purple and bloated on the left. It seemed that from the position John's body had kept, that the blood had all drained into the downside of his skull. Then there was the prolapsed eye (now almost black) and the other, the left eye, which stared off-centre out into some place which the living cannot see. But the worst thing, more than any of that, was John's abdomen. Right in the middle, there was a huge bluish green circle. It was slightly blistered and the skin looked lubricated and slippery. I had the feeling that if I pressed on it my hand would go right through. I think it was that producing the stench: the internal organs decomposing and liquefying. John's intestines (the bacteria at any rate) which used to break down food, was now breaking him down. He was eating himself away. Fuck, it was horrendous, and I was responsible for it all.

I suppose that is half the reason why murder is so terrible. When you see it like that, what happens to the human body after death, it is a huge trauma. It's why we have a history of chucking people into mass graves, and is also why the most guilty are those who order death but who never actually see it. The guards and the clean up squads have their consciences to live and contend with, but the orderer has nothing but a cross against a name and then another dinner party to realize the horror of what he/she has done. It's easy to kill if one can just walk away, because it's mostly in the clear-up operation where we see death and understand it and can reflect on it and see our own mortality in it. It is the aftermath which is traumatic, not so much the felling of the victim. And I'm not sure what I am. But I know John's death was an accident. If I am left with nothing else in this world, at least I will be left with that.

Wrenching John up off the floor, having his spine dislocate as I tried to get him into his chair, was not an accident though. Of course I didn't want to damage him, but I was now pulling him around with such force that I must have snapped every other bone in his body. I just wanted it over with. With the movement there were also strange things going on under his skin – little ruptures and broken vessels which wriggled away like worms. When the body was finally in the chair it just collapsed and sat there looking awfully dead. Still, from a distance and three quarters hidden, and with a little propping up and maybe tying or supporting his limbs in place, I was certain I could make him passable as the retard he pretended he was. For the moment my work was done.

#

Just like yesterday morning I watched Brian arrive. He twisted up the garden path with his soft little face all awash with fresh sexual rashes. I let him ring two and a half time then opened. I didn't speak just gave a murderous stare and silently blamed him for everything.
  “Aw, Tristy, hee hee! Is John there? I've a rather special letter for him!” I flushed white with horror. Not for one second had I entertained the thought that the letter could be for John. I couldn't even say he was not here. He was sitting just off my shoulder behind me... smoking. “F-f-for J-J-John? A recorded letter for John? To sign? Is that it? You're sure?”
  “Hee hee, wouldn't you fucking hate that,” snarled Brian “a licit reason for me to touch his hand. But actually no, the letter's for you, but I will have a word with John while you do it... that is if you've not locked him in again, hee hee!”
I regained my composure, breath and colour and stood tall in the doorway. “John doesn't want to see you today, Brian! If he did he'd be out in the yard. He said that until you grow up a little he will not even put himself in your vision. He told me to tell you that expressly! Now where do I sign?”
Brian made a cross which looked like an AIDS awareness ribbon on the bottom of the paper. “Just there, Tristy, then the top copy's yours... your death certificate, hee hee!”
As I signed Brian's form I stepped a little aside allowing his eagle eyes to see behind me, down the hall, and just off to the left the back of John's head poking over his wheelchair. If all went to plan there would be smoke rising up from the cigarette I had lit and placed between John's lips.

Of course, Brian took the bait.
  “Aw, and if it isn't the man himself... The one who expressly doesn't want me to see him, Super Dong, lurking in the shadows an' doing Gawd knows what to himself, hee hee.. Oh, you're such a pathetic cock, Tristy... bitter and mean and spiteful and jealous! Hey, John, why don't yo....”
And at that I pushed Brian's carbon copies into his chest, slammed the door and screamed “Fuck off Brian, you've done enough damage... John doesn't want to see you!” From the spyhole I continued watching. I wanted to be sure Brian had swallowed the worm and disappeared with the hook. He had. I could tell by the way he smiled and gave a camp, victorious turn out the gate.

With him gone, I pushed John back into the living room, closed the door, and sloped off to the bedroom. For the moment the letter could wait. I chucked it down on the dresser alongside Jaw's bowl. Jaws looked at it then retreated back as if it was some thing that could gobble him up. I removed my pants, flapped my penis into an erection, then crawled into bed under a mountain of blankets. I masturbated twice then had three panic attacks. It was all coming to a head. Decisions were about to be made.

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