call me napoleon
An original story by Anna Lvovsky
      The man sat in the armchair and admired the gun in his hand. The metal gleamed sharply, neatly, and yet despite its surface it held no reflection of him. Just shades of gray with brilliant streaks of white where the light was reflected. He shifted his weight in the chair. The rays of dusk shone through the curtains into the darkened room. His feet tapped impatiently, and yet infinitely slowly, on the crimson of the carpet. The pungent crimson seemed to spread through the room, filling the walls with its tangibility. The entire room, he noted ironically, had a feel of death. How fitting it all was.
      The clock on the wall ticked in rhythm with his feet. He did not even have to look up to know what time it was. Seven thirty-one and fifty-eight seconds. Seven thirty-one and fifty-nine seconds. Seven thirty-two. It was so monotonous, time. Each day was exactly the same, starting at twelve, ending at twelve, and beginning all over. The sun rose and the sun fell, everyone doing precisely what they did the day before. Each day was exactly, exactly the same.
      But today was going to be different. He rotated the gun in his hands. Some changes were going to be made, some big changes. The routine would be gone, buried, eradicated. Of course a new one would quickly come and take its place, but it would be different, and that was that mattered. Perhaps it would become exhausting after a time, but for now it would be new, and that made all the difference. Not like yesterday, and the day before that, when he knew everything that was going to happen before it ever happened, everything that he was going to do before he ever did it. He could see his whole life in front of him, as if it were laid out on a sheet of paper, two-dimensional, flat. Everything was in front of him, and it meant nothing to him. He remembered caring once, but it was just that, a memory, hidden with all the other memories, lost, and without anyone bothering to look for it.
      He knew Judith, as if she were a fact he could memorize. Knew her mannerisms, the click of the tongue, the way she repeated herself when trying to make a point, the way she saved a compartment in her purse for nothing but pens and lipstick. The way she would go to one of her friendsí houses each Saturday, to talk about husbands and recipes and sales. The way she would always triple the pepper in each dish she cooked, the way she constantly left her shoes in perfect formation in front of the door. He knew her expressions, her speech, the faces she wore. The knowing smile. The cocky smirk. The disapproving frown. The negligent sigh. The indifferent shrug. The shrill, piercing scream. The prim pursing of the lips. The egoistic demands. The feigned surprise. The nonchalant ire. The way her brows raised in unconcern. The way her nose creased in irritation. The way her eyes filled with horror and terror and disbelief.
      He knew her so well it made him sick.
      It was all so old, her and the life he had with her. He could unfurl it in his memory, so much like a scroll, a poster, with everything simple and clear. Everything spaced out, with labels under each picture. Everything was so mundane, so repetitious. Get up in the morning, shower, drink the same bland coffee, get into the same old car, drive to the same old building. It was so tedious, so iden--a scream, an ear-splitting shriek--tical to every other day. Park, and up the elevator to his office, twenty years at that same office, with the editors and the secretaries and the errand boys, all changing and staying exactly the same. Sitting at the same desk, and--and the loud, cracking noise, the deafening noise--and doing the same thing he had done for all the twenty years, doing nothing. Then leaving, driving home in the middle of the rush hour no matter when he left, and taking out his key, and--the white and the red, the scarlet upon the--opening the door. Putting down his briefcase--and the gun, getting the gun--, picking up the paper--in same chair, waiting for her to come home--, putting it down, waiting. And watching the door knob turn, and, and her coming in, the same as yesterday, and the day before. And then the scream, and the gunshot, and the blood seeping into the white carpet, and the laughter following him until the dawn.

Copyright reserved 1999 Anna Lvovsky []

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