Sunday, April 29, 2012


“It Was a Very Good Year” by Frank Sinatra blared over the speakers at Detective Carter’s retirement party. After twenty years of serving his community, he was pushed out of the force due to an overall lack of results in his later years, so you could safely assume that this song was ironic considering the circumstances.

He glanced down at the newspaper in front of him and read a disturbing headline, “SERIAL KILLER STILL AT LARGE, CLAIMS SEVENTH VICTIM IN TWENTY DAYS.” His wrinkled face screamed a hellacious existence; he’d been beaten and battered by the game of life. His bristly moustache had remnants of alcohol resting within. Detective Carter shook his head and ordered another shot of rum. The bartender glided over to his seat and poured it for him, and continued to do so after the shot pourer stopped at one.

The detective spoke, “I’m not paying extra.”

“With your pension? Ha. You should be buying the whole bar a round.”

“Funny.” He tipped his head back and swallowed the rum without hesitation. “Fill me back up, I’m going outside to have a smoke.” Detective Carter turned in his chair and reached for his jacket to brace himself for the cold Yonkers autumn.

As he walked towards the exit, he felt a dark presence enter him to his very core. He felt it deep within himself, yet proceeded to push the door open. Once outside, he reached inside of his coat jacket for a fresh pack of Newport 100’s. He did his ritualistic exercise of packing the cigarettes, three times from each direction. He tore off the cellophane that enclosed the pack and tossed it to the ground with no regard.  

“Littering is not good, detective.” The man behind the voice stepped out from the shadows and stood two feet from Carter.

“Do you know who I am?”

“Should I?”

“Considering you’ve spent the last year and a half trying to catch me, I’d say you should, yeah.”

The detective’s mouth sat agape as the man strided over to him to look him in the eye.

“How does it feel to know that I’m not close to done? I’ve perfected my craft, more than you could say for yourself. You’ve exhausted every method to catch me, yet it can’t be done? Why is that, Jon? Want me to fill you in?”

“Be my guest. You’re somebody else’s problem now.”

“Ha. That’s funny. You’re funny, Jon. You know something, detective? And I use that term as loosely as possible because you’re nothing short of a living, breathing punch line. You’re an old washed up drunk who couldn’t catch a seven year old playing freeze tag.”

Jon let out a deep sigh, clearly becoming agitated at the words this man was lashing at him.

“What’s the matter, getting under your skin? Truth hurts doesn’t it? Now let me cut to the chase here. Ha, what a turn of phrase, huh? Maybe if you’d done exactly that I’d be rotting on death row right now, but no. You didn’t have what it takes and never did. You’re a disgrace to your profession and the force both. You should be ashamed of yourself, Jon.”

“Say what you need to say and get the fuck out of my face.”

The man let out a sincere belly laugh and leaned back against the wall. He turned his head towards him and spoke freely.

“You’ve spent the last, what, fifteen or so months trying to get me, Jon? What’s one thing you didn’t do?”

“Enough with the riddles, either say what you need to say or leave me be.”

The mysterious man took two steps back and walked in a short circle. He stopped and gathered his thoughts before letting them out into air between them.

“What you did wrong, what they all did wrong, is that you and everyone else who is on my trail neglects the notion of thinking LIKE me. Think like a ruthless, homicidal maniac. I know, it’s not easy for you heathens to do such a thing. I want to be caught. I want my name to live in infamy.” He took a turn and began to walk away. With his back turned towards the detective he said, “My name is James Altiwood and I will turn over the ends of this Earth to prove my point… and you will witness it. Have a good night, Jon.”

Jon disappeared into the shadows of the night and Detective Carter stormed his way back into the bar. He was furious. That was until he reached his seat, rum on the bar in front of him. He allowed the shot to slither down his throat. He sat back and went through what James had said to him in his head. As the words spun around like a rampant tornado, he stood up at once and placed a twenty dollar bill on the bar. “Here’s your tip, have a good one.”

About an hour had passed before Detective Carter pulled into the Home Depot parking lot. He stepped out of the green Ford Taurus and made his way to the automatic doors. The sliding doors opened and he walked through them with dark intentions in mind.

He thought to himself, “first things first, garden department. James wants me to think like him, then that is exactly what I will do.”

He did just that, once stumbling upon the garden department he came across a teenage boy wearing an orange Home Depot smock. As Jon called for his attention, the boy turned in his direction. His hair was a mess and he wore a plaid shirt beneath the smock. The worker’s name tag read BILLY. He asked if Jon needed any assistance. Jon shook his head yes and asked where he could find a hatchet and a shovel.

As Billy directed him to the hatchet first and shovel next, he thought to himself that he may have just waited on an aspiring serial killer. He was right.

Monday, April 23, 2012


He awoke on a park bench, sitting next to an old man wearing a surgical gown.

“It’s about time you woke up. You must’ve been laying there for hours.”

He sat up and shook his head, perhaps knocking the cobwebs of slumber away from his brain. Putting his head in his hands, he seemed to be confused.  He was clearly disoriented and eventually asked the man next to him how he had gotten here.  When no response was given, he turned in his direction and realized that he was gone.

The man rose up and strolled down the pavement and came across a young kid playing alone in a sandbox. Scratching his scrappy beard and fixing his Marc Jacob suit to get the wrinkles out, he stopped and let the moment fill him, past memories overcame him. Memories of similar times, he staggered backwards and had to sit under a nearby tree to collect himself.

“Hey kid, where are your parents?”

He turned his eyes to the child’s direction. Again, the child in question was gone. Out of the corner of his eye, the man noticed a water fountain. He figured that maybe he was just dehydrated and was in need of some water.  He stepped over to the fountain and leaned his head down, taking in the water flow.

A brown SUV pulled up nearby and approached the old man that he had spoken to earlier. Six men, all wearing different colored hoodies huddled around him and began to assault him until he collapsed to the pavement. He tried to speak up and say something, perhaps save his life. The words would not come to him.

Putting his hands on his head, he let out a shriek of rage, frustrated with the ways of this world. He tried to run over and assist the dying man, but he stood up and walked away as if nothing had happened. The SUV circled the area. The old man in the surgical clothes waved them down and they pulled up in front of him, opened the door and he hopped in the van.

His head spun. “Where the fuck was I?” he thought to himself. He turned around and saw a woman before him.  She was gorgeous. His first thought was that she was an angel, but she lacked the wings of one.


“Who are you?”

“Shouldn’t you be asking yourself the same question?”

“What? No. My name is Sheldon Jameson and I live in New York. This clearly isn’t New York, so where the fuck am I?!”

She chuckled and walked around him. Her blonde hair was kicking in the wind, dancing, teasing him.  I told her to have a seat with me on the bench nearby but she declined.

“I will stand by this tree, though.”

He didn’t argue with her. Sheldon made his way to the tree and leaned down next to her, back against the tree.

“How long have you been here?”

“You tell me, silly boy. This is yours. All of it.”

“What? No. I’ve never been to this place in my life, how can it be mine?”

“It’s mine too. Yours, his, the boys, it’s everybody’s. We made this together.”

He rose up and was visibly agitated with how this conversation has went thus far. His face turned a brighter shade of red as rage began to take over.

“Listen, lady. I don’t know you, you don’t know me, now stop breaking my fucking balls and tell me where the fuck I am!”

“Calm down. What is your name?”

“James Sheldon.”

“What’s that? But just a few moments ago you said your name was Sheldon Jameson. Who are you, again?”

“My name is Sheldon Jameson and I live in New York.”

“Are you sure?”

“…No. No, I’m not. What is this place?”

She motioned her finger to tell him to look behind him and what he saw startled him. There stood a seven foot man, a near giant, telling Sheldon, or James, to come with him. Without a moment’s hesitation, he did so.  They walked together down a paved pathway and eventually reached a forest so beautiful that it actually took his breath away.

He needed a second to collect himself before he could continue on. The giant kneeled down before him and placed an arm on his shoulder, which seemed like a twig in comparison.

“What is wrong, my friend?”

“I am not your friend. What is with everyone here calling me that? I don’t KNOW you people. Why am I here?”

“Didn’t you used to ask yourself that question a lot? I’m sure many of your kind have. It must be a quite the transition for you. You have no idea where you are, or the beauty of it. Do you even know where you have been?”

“Why should I care where I’ve been? I’ve been to a lot of places. Chicago, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, California..” he was cut of mid-sentence by the seven foot man with silver locks down to his waist.”

“I have heard stories of these places that you mention, but that is not what I mean. You are far beyond the land you once resided in. Are you ok to continue our journey? There’s something you must see. If you cannot keep up, I will carry you.”

“No, no, that is not necessary. It’s just… this place. It’s astounding. I’ve never seen anything so beautiful, so pleasing to the eye.”

“There are many places like this here and I’d like to show them to you. Come.”

Sheldon, or James, stood on his feet and began trekking through the forest with him again. He asked for his name, and he said it was Samuel. They made small talk for about a mile or two, mainly about what life was like back home for Sheldon, or James.

“We’re here” said the monstrous man. “Follow me.”  He walked behind Samuel as he forged his way into a lavish castle. He had to use a handful of different keys to open the door. This prompted Sheldon, or James, to ask just what was so important in these quarters.

“You are.” Samuel said.

Samuel pushed open the stone door and told him to go inside. He followed his orders and ventured into an empty room.

“Is this a joke? Why am I in an empty room? Explain yourself.”

“Give me a second. First of all, what is your real name? I ask you this once.”

“My name is Sheldon Jameson and I live in New York.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes. My name is Sheldon Jameson and I live in New York.”

“Step forward and stand in the middle of this room. When I tell you to look up, I want you to do just that. Do you understand me?”

Sheldon nodded in agreement.

“No. Tell me that you understand what I just said to you.”

“I understand.”

Samuel stepped out of the room and into a corridor nearby.

“Sheldon! When I flip this switch, I want you to look straight up, you got me?”

“I got you.”

“Look up.. now!”

Sheldon looked up and saw a bright light, actually a variation of them. Purple and blue lights colored his figure. Tears came over his face and he stepped away from the light. Samuel came out of the darkness and stepped forward, approaching Sheldon.

“Is this heaven?”

Samuel giggled to himself and said bluntly, “no sir, you were already there.”

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Letter To You


I don't get how you thought that being your friend was my goal. I'm not saying that I didn't like being your friend. I can be anyone's friend, but not yours. Our relationship is too deep for friendship. It's painfully obvious that we want different things and I can't stand for that. I can do a lot of things, but I can't sit idly by and watch you give yourself to other people who don't deserve you. Yes, I feel entitled to have you. I'm sorry that I feel that way, but I do. You won't find another me and I won't find another you. Ever.

I know that opening up is not easy for you, and it's not easy for me either. From the beginning I knew that you were a special person. What does it take to get you to love me? You say that you do but never show it. I always did. I did everything that I possibly could to show you just how great things could be between us. I remember you asking what I expected out of seeing you. I got what I expected. A great night, we laughed and drank and had a lot of fun.

I don't feel like any of this was a waste of time. At all. Getting to know you, seeing you smile, making you laugh will always be a part of me. I thought progress was made that night. I guess I was wrong. One thing I don't understand and never will is how you feel that everything was meaningless. Just another guy seeing you. You knew what I wanted. It was you. It's always been you. It still is, but you made it clear that it can't be.

Knowing that you can go around and be with any guy that shows an interest but not me is incredibly hurtful. What did I do that was so wrong? I feel that we had a real honest to god connection. You say that you loved me in a special way, but you were always distant. Why? Why did I have to go to extreme lengths to get your attention? I'll never understand that. I'll never understand how we can have what we had and you just brush it off like it's nothing.

I said what I said because I was really upset with you. I want this to work. You don't. And that sucks. It really sucks. Everything that I said was true. You don't care about me, what I feel or what I want. You never did. It's always been about you and that's not fair. You say that these words hurt you, but you do nothing to prove me wrong.In a way, it's not even my place to say things. But when you look at it, it is. All of the effort, love, money and time is lost on you.

Is it because it's me who does it? Why can't you see yourself with me? We get along so well most of the time. It's like everything I've ever done gets pushed by the wayside and I really don't get it. I try to. If somebody did what I do for you, I'd be the happiest person alive.

I don't want to hurt you, Sarah. Never have. Shit happens, though. I wanted to take you away from all of the bad things that bring you down.. but you don't want it. You don't want me. I can't be your friend. This is really an all or nothing situation. You can't tell me that you want to run away with me, that you know that we're more than a passing opportunity, that you want me as a partner for life, and expect me to be ok with being your friend.

I've never loved anyone more than I've loved you. I show it, I prove it, even in anger. Would I do what I did if you didn't matter to me, if I really didn't love you as much as I say I did. You won't even give this a chance to work. You put the brakes on us before we could even start the car.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Thank You

Seven months ago I was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. They gave me a year to live, but I’ve been in high spirits as of late. I declined treatments to help ease my pain; I’ve come to grips with the fact that my days are numbered. My days remain the same, for the most part. I roll out of bed, sheets and blanks scattered around me from the nightmares that plague me.

Next week will be my last on Earth. I know this not because I am some all-knowing oracle figure. I know this because it has been arranged. I want to die with dignity. I told my son that I wanted to sell an old record player that I had laying around and he taught me how to make an ad on Craigslist. I didn’t blatantly say that I would like to be murdered. In fact it was never mentioned at all. It would have been removed before I clicked send if it had been. About a week went by before I was graced with a response.  He wanted my record player.

The day that we met was a beautiful one. Clear skies, the shadows sprawled across the park as children played until they felt exhaustion overcome them. It was 2 PM when he strolled into my area. He sat next to me on the bench after realizing I was the only old man sitting with a record player on a bench. Extending his hand, he greeted me by saying it was a pleasure to be in my presence. I returned the sentiment and I showed him his object of desire.

He was very happy with it and when he reached into his pocket to pay me, I objected.

“Keep your money, let’s just talk.” I asked him for his name and he told me it was Richard. I reciprocated by telling him that mine was Thomas. Reaching into my interior pocket of my blue jean jacket, I pulled out of a flask of whiskey. He remarked that I was a little too old to be drinking swill from “one of those,” as he put it. We had a laugh and I took a swig, passed it to him.

“Ah, what the hell, why not?”

He tipped his head back and enjoyed the taste, I could tell he was savoring this. Maybe this meant more to him than it did to me. He handed me the container and I slipped back into my jacket.

“I don’t have much time left, I’m dying. I’ve had a brain tumor since last summer. I’m 85 and suffer enough. Will you help me?”

“Help you? How so?”

“You know how. I know all about you. How you’re struggling to make ends meet. You’re about to lose your home and possibly your family. Let me help you… help me help you.”

“How’d you find all of this out? We’ve never met. You’re old. You suck at technology.”

I chuckled.

“Don’t let my wrinkled face fool you. I was a private detective for 25 years before I was forced out by the powers that be.”

“Why? You must’ve been good at what you did if you stuck around for a quarter of a century.”

“Yeah, too good. Let’s just leave it at that. Walk with me.”

We rose up and took a walk around the park and I told him how I’d like things to go.

“I barely know you. You’re asking a stranger to kill you.”

“And asking a loved one to do it would be better?”

Richard sighed and continued to stand his ground, “You stand there in your denim garb, stupid fucking look on your face, asking me, a guy that you’ve never met in your life, to murder you in cold blood. Keep your fucking record player, I don’t want it.”

Richard let go of the player and it smashed off of the pavement, breaking into multiple pieces.

“Well that was disrespectful.”

Richard turned to walk away. I had to stop him. “Don’t do this! Come back! Please!” He stopped to look back at me. He made his way over to me at a turtle’s pace. The view from behind my glasses improved as he rejoined my presence.

“I’m not going to beg, Richard. There will be another but I want it to be you. It has to be. With one small bend of your finger, your problems are solved. I’m willing, it’s not murder.  God bless Dr. Kevorkian. God bless him, I wish he was still around to help me. I’m sorry that I’m asking you to go through with something like this, it must be tough for you. I get that. It’s just…”

He cut me off mid-sentence.

“I’ll do it. I’ll do it. When and where?”

“Next week. As long as I live to attend my grandson’s birthday party, I don’t care when. I don’t want to know. I just want it to happen.”

Richard mulled over the instructions and shook his head in agreement. “So tell me if I’m wrong but you want me to just randomly murder you? Do I get a house key?”

“I’ve already had a copy made.” I dug into my back pocket and grabbed for my wallet, opened it and gave him the spare key.

Days passed and I lived to see my grandson open what would prove to be last gift he’d receive from me. I’ll always remember his smile. I sent Richard an email afterwards telling him that the money had been wired to an account in Switzerland.

I gave my son a hug and told him that I’d be back, I was just going to grab some coffee from the shop on the corner that served the community for the past thirty or so years.

It was a dreary day, one huge cloud shielded the sunlight. As I laid my feet down on the pavement, I heard the distinct sound of a gun cocking.

This was it.

The door swung open and my son, Darrel jumped on Richard’s back. The gun kicked across the street and landed by a blue Oldsmobile parked nearby. There was a scuffle, Darrel was winning. He pinned Thomas to the concrete and reached for a brick nearby.

I didn’t stop him. I sat there and watched as my son pounded his face time and again. Small puddles of blood seeped around the sidewalk. I looked down to see the substance filling the cracks at my feet.

I looked at my son and nodded in approval. I looked down at Richard.

“Thank you.”