The Killer Turned Blue
by Jon Vreeland
“Open the fucking door!! You bitch!!” Leah crouched on the other side of the door, the phone clasped tightly in her hand. She was trying to call the police but couldn’t bring herself to do it, especially in this town where they NEVER leave a domestic call without taking the guy with them, sometimes to a friend’s or relative’s to sleep it off, but mostly to jail. She knew if Craig went to jail she would be beaten badly whenever he got out, and he always fulfilled his foreboding promises. “Open the fucking door!! You whore!!”
The next day Craig woke up and the house was quiet. He had, without a doubt, the worst hangover he had ever felt, tasted, endured in his pathetic life. And the world was soundless. And he was on the couch. And the sun shone through his window, slapping him in the face. His eyes bled. The taste in his mouth abysmal. Like someone had shit in his open mouth.
He lit a smoke.
He still had a full head of brown hair, a hairline that crawled down his forehead towards his brows, towards his green eyes, instead of crawling to the back of his aging skull. Craig ran his fingers through it like a comb for a minute or two, which was the extent of his morning prep; and his crow’s feet on the side of his always tan face—tan from the sun—gave away his age. An extremely shattered and tired, fifty. “Hello?! Leah!?! Are you there?!”
“Leah!! Answer me goddammit!!”
“Leah, Leah please I need help, help me up Leah!” He chortled and cried.
But she didn’t answer. Just the stillness of dawn and its scathing beauty filled the morning air.
“Leah you cunt come help me!! I’ll k-k-kill-l-l you you bitch!! I hate you!!”
Craig lay like a drunken slug, waiting for his wife to help him up so he could get into bed, sleep it off for the day…
He crawled to the stairs.
He pulled himself up to his knees.
He called her a bitch again. The sun still laughing, licking his face like a dog in heat.
He made it to the first landing.
He told her to start running.
Three quarters of the way up he stopped, puked, lay in it. Exhausted, now at the top of the stairs on his hands and knees, covered in vomit like a table top pose in yoga, he yelled “Here I come Bitch. You better be dead already!”
He opened the door…nobody there.
He stumbled over to the guest room and kicked it open…nobody was there.
He walked to the third door, the kid’s room, kicked it open, and saw nobody but had a feeling someone was in there.
“Hellooo??” Sounding creepier than ever, like the hangover perished and he obtained super demonic powers—a puke covered demon with green eyes lurking in the kids’ room like Nicholson in The Shining.
“Here’s Johnny,” he even said, chortling clichés like the demented soul that he was.
He started to leave, stumble out of the room, and through his drunken eyes he waddled towards the stairs, clipping his foot on the top, tumbling over and hitting his head on the corner of the landing then rolling all the way down to the bottom where he lay inertly, bloody, his neck broken, his air pipes closed off, turning bluer by the second.
He couldn’t move.
He couldn’t breathe.
He could only see straight up.
He lay on his back, staring up at the cottage cheese on the ceiling, knowing he was going to die right then and there, without a reprieve from anyone, not even God; the last time he attended church he had fallen asleep for the entire service because he didn’t believe. Plus, he kept farting, loud and potent, during Father Rick’s sermon, while he sat in the front row reeking of booze, embarrassing himself worse than before when he threw up on the altar boy’s shoes while the adolescent members plodded their, hopefully still virgin, asses down the aisle of their family church, carrying everything holy, everything feared.
As he lay there on his back, gazing at the cheese-curdled firmament, he feared that’s as far as he would get because of the way he lived his decadent life. Just then, his daughter Suzie, only five years old, walked up to her now crippled daddy. Craig could see her face looking down at him, smiling at him, her blue eyes shadowed by her long black hair. “Daddy you want to play dress up?” She asked with her sweet and soft voice.
He couldn’t talk.
He couldn’t breathe, his air hastily diminishing.
He had a broken neck.
He was as blue as the sky outside.
He tried to mouth his lips so he could tell Suzie to get some help but she didn’t know the difference. Suzie saw him lying there all the time, drunk, passed out, and even just lying there laughing like a madman, so Suzie didn’t think anything of it.
“Okay daddy. I’m gonna put on some lipstick for you so what color do you want?” she asked, holding up red and black lipstick.
“How about red? It’ll match your blue face!” She applied the lipstick carefully, then asked if he wanted eyeshadow and mascara and when he didn’t answer, her applying it ensued.
“You look pretty daddy. I’ll go get Mommy.”
When Leah walked up to him he was dead. Leah just stood there. Staring vehemently at Craig’s cadaver, blubbering, her arm wrapped around Suzie. Suzie just gazed and twisted the lipstick over and over and over again, staring catatonically at the penetrating red, evoking her dead father’s sardonic lust. He was lying on the floor, no longer blue, but white as a ghost, with a face full of makeup. They were not going to miss him.
Leah was sure of it.
Jon Vreeland was born in Long Beach, CA, and raised in Huntington Beach where he became an accomplished musician and struggled with addiction most of his life. He has over twenty publications and a poetry chapbook titled Laughing in Your Sleep. Vreeland resides in Santa Barbara with his wife and two daughters and attends Santa Barbara City College.