By Molly Parker
Fucking women. Stupid, glorious creatures he so loved to adore, but were incapable of the slightest bit of empathy. Most eyed him with a look of uncertain pity, some physically recoiled from his person, and all of them, at some point, rolled their eyes. How he hated that dismissive gesture. It was inevitable. He would approach them with an aura of positive energy surrounding him, filling his heart with hope, and say something sensitive and understanding. They would roll their eyes. Damn them! He was not the one who scarred them, caused the pain which rendered them unable to trust. He only wanted to find a companion, his treasured companion, and try to move along with his life with her by his side. He had had his share of scarring occurrences in his short existence. He knew how it felt to be both used and discarded all at once, left feeling damaged and inadequate. He knew the pain of being rejected by those morally obligated to be his family and care for him. Yet, despite the unfortunate hand he had been dealt, he knew better than to transfer the blame for these events onto people completely uninvolved in hurting him. They were not there; how could he feel negatively towards them?
Strolling down the streets of the metropolis he called home, he reached tentatively into his jacket pocket in order to re-establish in his mind what object was held there. During that millisecond he knew only that it was heavy, causing the jacket to hang askew on his shoulders, pulled down noticeably on the left. When his hand closed over the handle of the hammer, the wood smoothed by years of hard use, sincere surprised registered on his face and remained there while his fingers made acquaintance with the cold iron of the head. What in the world? What was he doing with a hammer? More importantly, who carries a hammer in their jacket pocket? This guy, apparently. He had no recollection of putting it there, a fact which frightened him deeply. Could this be connected with the blackouts he had been having as of late?
The city hung in a beautiful limbo between the purple night sky and the garish lights of the commercial establishments lining the block, providing an ideal environment for this brief flash of nostalgia. He was quickly taken back ten years, seven months, and eleven days to the moment he realized he was in love with her. Norma. They had met in the parking lot behind the church where local AA meetings were held, both waiting for a parent to emerge miraculously purged of the demons who tormented them and their sweet, impressionable children. Norma was breathtaking in her Nirvana t-shirt and ripped-up jeans, her hair in casual disarray. He wore a Metallica t-shirt and a dopey smile. It was love at first angst. They spent the rest of that fantastic evening hiding in the heavily-wooded lot which made up the rear perimeter of the church yard, smoking and bitching about their respective alcoholic parents, his mother, her father. For him it was less like finding a love interest, more like finding a home. A place to feel welcomed, supported, cared for. God, he loved that girl. Worshiped her was a more accurate word for it, really. And who could blame him? His entire life up to that point had been spent in vain trying to gain the affection of a single woman, and here was a girl who accepted him, as he was, at first encounter. His love for Norma and his hate for his mother grew in equal amounts, both heavily affected by the other. Mother. What a joke.
He and Norma were immediately inseparable. Their idealistic romance continued through high school, until their junior year. It was February, and they had been having sex for just over three months. They made love with caution, mindful of the horrid upbringings they had both endured due to being raised by people who were mere children themselves. In spite of the care they took, a life was formed within his lovely counterpart, equals parts Norma and himself. After their initial shock and fear subsided, they locked eyes and came to an agreement: they would escape this fruitless town and lay roots elsewhere, thereby shielding their microscopic child from the family and friends who had so long dragged them down. It was a perfect plan, trimmed in the excitement that only utter cluelessness can provide. Until Norma’s father found out, that was. He opened a letter addressed to his daughter, as was his normal routine. It was the official results from the women’s clinic, having been sent to the house despite Norma’s desperate instructions against it. No one can know exactly how he reacted upon initial discovery, but when the boy and Norma came walking up the driveway, home from the library, her father was waiting on the porch with an aluminum baseball bat. Norma screamed for her young suitor to run; they both thought he was her father’s intended victim. He wasn’t. Her dad came after Norma like an enraged bull, laying blow after blow upon her back, her head, her stomach. Especially her stomach. He remembered how Mr. Malevo’s skin was slick with sweat when he jumped on his back from behind, punching wildly at his face and arms. Her father threw him, with the strength of a volatile drunk, ten yards down the driveway. His head bounced viciously against the asphalt. He regained consciousness just in time to witness Norma hemorrhaging in the grass just out of his reach. She smiled at him as she took her last breath, her life, and the life of their baby, extinguished in front of his very eyes. Hate bloomed within him, quelled only when a merciful darkness finally overtook him.
The man took a deep breath, and shook out his arms. He despised reliving that day. The strongest emotion, however, was regret. Regret that he never went back to avenge the death of his beloved jewel and their love-child, a child conceived of actual Love. Ever since then, he was plagued with fantasies of murder, of taking a blunt object and ejecting the life out of that man, that abomination. How dare he? Who the fuck was he to make that sort of decision? He never deserved to have Norma as a daughter. The man wavered unsteadily on his feet, sensing the darkness trying to steal time away from him again. At last, he submitted. No one was there to watch him fall.
Oh holy hell. That dumb sonofabitch went out walking again, didn’t he? I swear to fucking God, he is such a pansy-ass wuss-ball, if I could get my hands on him I would wring his stupid little neck. He gets all emotional and escapes to the fluffy pillows in the back of our mind, leaving me to step forward and deal with whatever injury we may have incurred when he “fainted.” How I hate that fucking bastard. Leonard is his name, in case you wondered. He hates it, and I don’t blame him. You can call me Leroy. Bad, bad, Leroy Brown. I will kill a mother-fucker before I let them disrespect me, you can goddam believe it. So really, I should be thanking Leonard, for here I am, on the dark streets of my wondrous hometown, with my trusty little hammer in my pocket. I can’t believe he didn’t dispose of this, especially with it being all covered in blood and chunks of that old man’s brain. Maybe he didn’t even know it was there. Maybe he did. Maybe, deep down, he realized that I’m here, and that I only want to make this all go away for him. I kill people to cleanse my(our)self of our past, as a way to let out some of this fucking rage that’s been holding us hostage all these years. He seeks Norma, I seek death.
Molly Parker is a wife,mother, and Criminal Justice major.