Or Maybe He Didn't

Hans Bellmer, La Poupée

In the morning he was sweat. And the place beside him was empty. And it was eight thirty six.

As happens the dream didn’t remember itself until he was showering. White foam conjuring sticky beaming blood.

She was late getting home. Past two. And she hadn’t called. And he’d been down that road too many times already. And the dog had pissed on the carpet right beside the hope chest and didn’t that just say it all.

So he’d screamed at the top of his lungs not worried about the neighbors. His vulgarity raging. Her eyebrows defiant. And she was wearing eye liner and lipstick and blush and a fresh coat of opalescent polish on her pretty little nails. She was the part playing beautifully.

And though he’d never done it before and couldn’t have imagined it happening he clocked her one on the left temple and another on the right in a quick blow by blow. And she stumbled backwards into the box fan and landed hip side on the carpet. A blade had broken its plastic hold and went ca-thunking into itself until it gave out completely. And from there she looked so subservient he almost smiled and forgot about the rest of it.

But instead he kicked her three or four times hard in the legs and landed his knees on her chest before she could rise. And then he was pummeling her like waves on smooth round rocks. Lapping. And she was leaking red from various holes. And he was smiling. And she was blacking out.

The blade was weightless in his hand and was a gift from her years ago. And because she’d done some research before purchase it was still adolescently sharp. So it sliced right through her neck and only needed the slightest knock of his palm to completely crack the tiny vertebrae holding her all together. Rinse repeat he’d cut her dangling arms and her lovely legs from the stump of her body so that now she was all parts and pieces and spreading liquid.

He remembered the clock still reading past two and thought how fast things can get out of hand. But all the check book balancing and vegetarian cooking and precise scheduled weekends had taught him to be neat and thorough and ceaseless. So he dropped her a bit at a time into a black garbage sack and dropped the whole thing into the dumpster and covered it with yesterday’s lawn clippings. And though the steam cleaner had never worked well before it cleaned up every last drop of blood from the floor. But he left the symbolic piss stain right where it was.

And then he’d crawled back into the dreamer’s bed and fallen asleep to the chirping of summer crickets and the stirring of hot air in a fanless room. But he slept cool and determined. And woke at eight thirty six. And the place beside him was empty. And he was all sweat.

J.A. Tyler's work has been published in numerous journals including Sein und Werden, Arabesques, Thieves Jargon, The Furnace Review, and AntiMuse and, along with other honors, his short fiction recently received several Editorial Nominations for the 2007 StorySouth Million Writers Award. Chapters from his first novella are available at Ragad, Blue Print Review, Cezanne's Carrot, Artistry of Life, Sage of Consciousness, and Poor Mojo's Almanac(k). Check out all the details or subscribe to the reader's list online at www.aboutjatyler.com.

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