Friday, 15 August 2014


 "Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves.  But deep down the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune." - Carl Jung

The driveway and sidewalk to the street were still completely blanketed in snow.  For once there were no cars coming down the street.  Typically they would run to the end of the cul de sac and then turn back. Only lost people seemed to come down this way. 

Richard sat in his room, his old room, looking out at the blinding white in front of him. Ivan had changed the lock to his room before, but he and Marty had recently managed to find his tools in the basement and removed the lock and then placed on the new one.   
Richard Brewer shook his head, thinking over the past few days. “No one knows,” he figured. “How can they at this point?”

He had a home, for once did not have to worry about money. Ivan's death had liberated both of them. They knew it, even if it felt wrong. He may have killed before, he was not so sure. In the Falkland's he had fired his gun numerous times at the position of the enemy, taken part in shelling and had thrown grenades down a hilly valley where they were taking fire from. It was possible, even likely, that one of his bullets or grenades had hit someone.
“That was different,” he told himself. “That was war. Is this war?”

He started remembering how he had felt after he had gone home after his service. It was then that he became active in the peace movement. One of the main lessons he took from that was the very real absurdity of fighting and killing, possibly even dying, for one's country. It really meant doing these things for the ruling classes. Whenever one fought for the state, he had come to believe, one really fought for those in charge, those with money and power. Even in Communist countries one was killing and dying for the Communist Party members, the new ruling class who had replaced the old one through revolution.
“Ah yes, revolution,” he thought next. “War is when you are told who your enemy is. Revolution is when you figure it out for yourself. Revolution then. Class warfare. Ivan the Terrible was my landlord, a petite bourgeoisie, a landowner and Marty and I have just overthrown him and taken his estate, such as it is.”
Marty and Richard had talked more about turning themselves in. Both were afraid to do it. Richard had acknowledged that if they had done so, their sentence would likely be less than if they continued to hide the body and got caught later.
“But will it be found?” Richard had asked him.
“Will he be found,” Marty corrected. “This is a person we're talking about.”
Richard nodded. “Yeah, I know, I know, Marty,” he sighed. “Why don't we just wait and see?”
Marty wanted to find Ivan's money. He wanted to know what the money was for. He refused to believe it was just for rent. Marty told Richard that they could sleep on it, the decision, horrifying as it was. Richard saw a look in Marty's eyes that he had not seen before. It was hard to describe, just a glimmer of something. He wondered if it was hope, or perhaps dread from having done what they had done.
Richard knew that there was no rush to turn themselves in if that was what they chose to do. There was no way they could leave the house with the deep snow outside. Even a police cruiser could never make it's way there. The city was busy clearing the major streets, at least according to the radio. All of Toronto was temporarily paralyzed.
Ivan's death was not on the list of the city's priorities, not when the ice storm of 2013 was underway. Richard shook his head as he heard Marty's new saw buzzing from across the way. 
Richard tried writing his novel to get his mind off of everything, but it didn't help. He kept seeing Ivan's mangled corpse underneath the mannequins. When he went to take a shower, thankfully a warm one (the heating was still working), he continually imagined himself in a mass prison shower. He gripped onto his bar of soap tightly as he finished.  Stepping out of the shower, he began to wonder if Ivan had had some prepaid heating bill plan or if someone would be calling Ivan's cellphone or coming by the house in a few weeks. At the time Richard was just glad that the water pipes had not frozen over in the storm and burst.  Any repairmen coming over, even if Marty found a way to the money to pay them, would arouse possible suspicion. They could always say that Ivan was out and had delegated them, the tenants, to pay for the repairs with his money.
“Play dumb,” Richard said as he wiped himself dry with his towel. “Just play dumb.  This is our house now,” he told himself as he returned to his room. “If we play dumb we can be fine. Just play dumb. Feign ignorance.” He knew it was hard for two intelligent people to pretend to be dumb.  It would have been easier for Nicky.
He took a pause in his drilling, already sweating despite the cold. By now he had drilled one long line directly down on the wall. Power tools were not exactly Marty's forte. He had never really used them in his life.
“I'm not good with my hands, ask my ex,” he always said as a joke to contractors when he was a security guard. 
The plan was to drill an entire doorway. He wanted to see what was in Ivan's room. If there was money, he wanted it.  He reasoned that theft was nothing after murder, even if it was just manslaughter.  Now he was no longer panicked. In fact, he felt eerily calm.
“Imagine that money,” he thought to himself as he started drilling again. “Just take it. You can go anywhere with it. You don't have to stay here. You can do anything with it. You can flee to the states, pay your way through, get a fake ID, do anything with it. You don't have to live at the beck and call of others anymore. You can be your own man.”
He thought back to the moment he had pushed Ivan into the window well. That moment kept playing itself over and over again in his mind. Usually when Marty did something bad, hurt someone, he felt terrible about it afterward. Ivan though, he just kept yelling after Marty had pushed him. It had only enraged Marty rather than make him feel sorry for him. Richard coming over to his side with the cinder block, that had only soothed him, made his actions feel clearer.
He continued drilling. The last two days unfolded in his mind. After he and Richard had seen their apparently new room-mate they both panicked again.
“What do we do?” Marty asked Richard as if Richard somehow had all the answers.
“I don't know,” he replied, sounding like he was freaking out just as bad. “I didn't know anyone else was here. I thought it was just you and me!”
“You said they were all gone! Shit! He's got to have a cellphone! He's going to call the police if he hasn't already! Even if they can't get here because of the snow, they know!”
He tried writing again after his shower, nothing.
Nothing could make him feel calm enough to continue his story. The events of the past two days kept repeating themselves over in his head. He remembered walking in on Ivan and Marty, the makeshift greenhouse in pieces all over the snowy backyard. Even for Ivan, this move seemed cruel.
“Ivan,” Richard sighed, shaking his head. “What is wrong with you? Or rather, what was wrong with you?” 
When they had seen their new room-mate in the basement those two days before, Richard's heart skipped a beat and started thumping, making him feel like he was ready to have a heart attack. “Who's this?” he asked himself. 
“What do we do?” Marty asked at the time, after he screamed about the room-mate possibly having called the police already.
Richard had shrugged in reply, completely dumbfounded. “He's had a body in front of him for what, almost two days?”
“Christ!” Marty shouted.
“Don't shush' me! We're in this mess because of you.”
“Me? Was I the one who pushed him in?” Richard asked, trying to control the volume of his voice.
“Was I the one who brought the cinder block?”
Richard wanted to yell at him, but he held back. “Shit, well,” he said instead. “Keep your voice down. We're in this now. Shit. Shit. Shit.”
“Hey Richard, have one of your P.T.S.D. episodes, why don't you? Go kill him and be done with it, then we cover up our crime.”
The urge to push Marty against the wall increased. Richard stared at him, feeling the heat coming to his face, this time not from sickness, but from rage. “Shut up, Marty,” he snapped quietly, moving forward towards the new room-mate's door.
“What, Richard,” Marty called after him. “What are you doing?”
Richard smiled, saying the words without thinking. “Killing him, like you said.”
“Wait!” Marty ran upstairs to the kitchen.
“Shit, shit, shit!” Richard thought in his mind. “What the hell are we going to do? If Marty gets money, will we buy him off? We can't do it. We can't harm him, not again.”
Marty returned to the basement, his left hand in his pocket. “Let's talk to him, find out what's going on.”
Richard nodded. “Okay,” he said. Maybe they could tell him it was an accident.


Knock, knock.
“Hello?” Marty called.
“Hey?” Richard echoed.
“Just a minute!” came a soft voice from within. 
“He sounds pretty chill for someone with a body in his window,” Marty whispered to Richard. His room-mate nodded, while Marty reached deeper into his left pocket.
The door knob turned. As the door opened Marty felt a stinging sensation in his nostrils. Something foul was inside. As the man opened the door to the room fully Marty saw what it was. The room was a mess. It was about the size of Marty's room, a mattress on one side, loads of bookshelves on the other. On the floor were plastic bags full of stuff; empty Gatorade bottles, pizza boxes, chip bags.
“Hey?” Marty said. “You live here?”
“Yes,” said the man as he poked his head out from behind the door, nodding once. “Do you?”
“Uhhh, yeah,” said Marty.
The man gave out a hand.
Richard and Marty looked at each other. The way the man reached forward with his hand was odd. He had just stretched out his hand in front of him, not giving it to one or the other. Richard grabbed it. The man turned himself towards him.
“Hi, my name's Tony,” the man said in his soft voice.
“Richard,” said Richard.
“I'm Marty. How long have you been here?”
“Just a few weeks,” said Tony, reaching for Marty's hand. “Where are you guys?”
“Upstairs,” said Richard. “Welcome.”
As Marty took his hand he took a second to look past the man. He didn't want to, but something forced him to. He saw the window at the far end of the room. The mannequins made it hard to see, but he could still see Ivan under them. His corpse had his head turned, facing into the room, his face white and frozen in a look of fear, his eyes and jaw still open. Marty looked at the floor, not wanting to ever see that again.
“So you've met Ivan?” Richard asked.
Tony nodded, his eyes starring off past the two of them. “Yeah, bit of an odd man, but whatever, I got to pay to live here. Not so bad.”
“Yeah,” said Richard. “Not too bad.”
“Okay, well, nice meeting you guys,” said Tony, turning about. Marty noticed it now. He walked with a stick. “See you guys,” he said, turning around again, flicking his free hand about to reach the door. After a few seconds he managed to reach it and close it.
Marty knew that Tony would not be "seeing" them. He was blind.
Marty and Richard gave one another another look before heading upstairs to the kitchen. Once up there Marty placed the butcher knife back in the sink.

He walked outside to the kitchen again, realizing that he was unable to write any of his novel. There were too many other things on his mind. Sometimes when he was experiencing hardships and challenges he wrote his fiction very well, but this situation was too much. He felt overwhelmed. The sound of Marty sawing in the room across didn't help things either.
The image of Ivan's gaping face kept popping in his head. The thought of Tony, down there in the room, a corpse lying in the window, continually came to mind. What luck, Richard thought, for both Marty and him, but also for Tony, that he was blind. The drilling noises stopped.
Marty's door swung open from across the kitchen.
“Alright,” he said, wiping sweat from his brow. “I've done it.”
Marty nodded. “I've drilled and then sawed a little doorway into Ivan's room.”
“The money?”
He shook his head. “It's not in there! I only saw his bed and a pile of papers on his desk. There was nothing under his bed. The money must be somewhere else in this house.”
“Or not at all,” said Richard. “I mean, he could've put it all together to pay someone, or something.”
Marty sighed. “Shit then. What are we going to do then, Rich?”
Richard had no answer.
The door to the side creaked. Both of them looked over, then at each other.
“Oh my God! It's cold out there!” the boy cried, stepping inside in his big winter boots, flinging snow pieces around the kitchen as he came in.
“Nicky!” Richard and Marty yelled at once.
“Wow! I've never had people so excited to see me! How are you?” the littler guy said, setting his knapsack down on the kitchen table. “Anything interesting happen since I was gone?”
Richard and Marty exchanged looks, then both at once replied: “No.”
“Okay, well, I've been on vacation back home, but I'm back now!”
“We thought you moved out,” said Richard.
“No, not me! I've been gone a month though! I owe Ivan this month's rent.”
“Well, he's not home right now, Nicky,” said Marty, looking at Richard.
“Don't look at me, Marty,” Richard thought. “Stop it. Nothing happened. There's no reason for us to look at each other.”
“He said he'll be gone for a while,” Marty continued. “You can pay his rent though by sliding it under his door. He told us that.”
“Oh okay!” said Nicky, pulling out his key from his pocket. “I guess I'll go in and get settled and then get the money together and slide it under, if that's what Ivan wants.” The younger man smiled at his two room-mates again, and then opened up his door and went inside.
Richard smiled at Marty. “You clever fuck.”
“I'm getting my money.”

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