Sunday, August 21

Mr. Happy Puppet Head has decided that he is the type of person who can kill another without remorse. So now we're hosting a dinner party. A Murder Dinner Party.

The only guest is a Large Bug. Mr. Happy Puppet Head wants to start at the beginning and work his way up.

There is a pot of stew on the table inbetween us and our doomed guest. The stew has been heartily poisoned.

"So," I ask. "What's your name again?"

"What's in the pot?" asks the Large Bug. "Smells awful."

"I think you'll like it," answers Mr. Happy Puppet Head as he ladles out a spoonfull into the Bug's bowl.

The Bug examines it carefully and looks up at us. We are both staring at him from across the table. "Why aren't you guys having any?" Our bowls are empty.

I wait for Mr. Happy Puppet Head's answer. "Um..." He looks at the empty bowls. "We don't... um..."

The Large Bug studies us intently for a moment before proclaiming, "I need to use the bathroom." He hops off the table and scuttles down the hall.

"You think he's on to us?" asks Mr. Happy Puppet Head.

"Looks like it," I answer.

"Oh, shit. Do you think he noticed that?" Directly out the window is a small open grave with a wooden cross jutting out of the ground at the head. A gardening shovel lies next to the freshly turned pile of dirt.

"I don't know." I pick up a piece of garlic bread and take a bite. I'm pretty sure we didn't poison the garlic bread.

The Bug comes back and we all look at each other for an extremely long moment. I take another bite form the garlic bread. It crunches loudly between my teeth.

"Well, guys," says the Large Bug. "I'm going to head out now. Later." He hops off the table and scuttles over to the front door.

"I'm going to order some Chinese," I tell Mr. Happy Puppet Head.

"This isn't done yet," he tells me, a coldness in his voice. "I nailed the doors and windows shut and sealed any and all cracks and holes. He's not going anywhere."

What ensues is hours and hours of chasing and hiding and creepiness. I try to watch some TV, but my best friend roaming the house with a Butcher Knife in his mouth really bothers me. "I don't want you killing that bug," I tell him.

"What?" he asks around the Knife Handle.

"Let the bug go, I'm trying to watch TV." But he ignores me and continues his hunt.

I wake up to a skittering sound in my room. I sit up and a sharp pointy thing is pushed up against my throat. "Don't say anything," the Bug whispers.

"I'm on your side," I whisper back.

"How do I know that?"

"Look, I'll just open the window and you can get out."

Which I do. I let the bug out. Mr. Happy Puppet Head wanders the halls for days on end, not sleeping or eating, knife clutched firmly between his teeth. At some point he draws those black lines under his eyes like he was in Vietnam or something.

The hunting eventually turns into an unsettling sort of wandering. Mr. Happy Puppet Head sinks into a deep well of depression as he mourns the loss of his prey. I tell him we can invite someone else over to kill. I tell him we can always try again. He eyes me suspiciously.

This goes on for almost two weeks before he wakes up one morning on the floor in a puddle of his own vomit. He finds what he claims is a mouse that he purposely drowned in bile. It is clearly a clump of his own fur. We hold the funeral in the backyard, the grave already dug weeks in advance.

"You know," he tells me afterwards. "I do feel a little bad."

"Maybe you should stop," I say. "Stop the murdering."

"Maybe," and he gives me what could be described as a mischievous wink, but that's a trite way to end a story.

No comments: