“Dopo L’Esplosione” by Geoffrey Thomas
Mondays Are Murder features brand-new noir fiction modeled after our award-winning Noir Series. Each story is an original one, and each takes place in a distinct location. Our web model for the series has one more restraint: a 750-word limit. Sound like murder? It is. But so are Mondays.
This week, Geoffrey Thomas sets out on a mission.
It’s three in the morning, the orange sulfur lamps bleach the black sky, and for a moment I think it’s the sun rising over the skyline, but then the darkness recedes back into my vision. It’s always night here; this place never sleeps. The buildings buzz with slow animation. I’ve gotten used to the industry: the constant smell of oil, kerosene, gas, the sound of metal on metal, those anonymous mechanical operations from plants and factories blur into one soundscape of never-ending noise. A lone horn signals the end of a shift, an emergency, lunch, smoke ’em if you got ’em. Here nothing changes for the better. Not from what I’ve seen. Someone might tell you differently, that things have gotten better, but they never lived here, they report from the outside, and if they ever set foot in this place it’d be to cut a ribbon.
She’s the only thing worth getting up this early for, day in, day out, the only reason I’m working on that boat at the edge of the land. Typically I’m not up this early to leave for the docks. They put me on a special schedule for the past five weeks, all on account of my “earnest, affable performance”—do what they tell you without complaining, don’t come in drunk, work so hard it makes you bleed, and we’ll increase your pay 100 percent. But I ain’t going to work this morning. There’s something else I intend to do. Something I’ve been planning for a long time now. Something she deserves.
In passing she told me where he worked, how long he would be gone, and her suspicions of who else he was fucking, but I never told her what I was going to do, she can’t know it was me. I pieced together his schedule from when he left the house until when he usually came home, then I followed him to know just the right time to kill him. But my body clock wakes me up in-between the light and the dark, so I walk around the block to tire myself out before sunrise.
I see a slender black cat cross my path. It stops as it reaches the edge of the sidewalk, turns around, and gives me a heavy look. There’s an old Chinese woman sitting on her patio smoking a cigarette; I smile to her, and she smiles through a cloud of smoke. I start to recall the underpass where I imagine the hit. I pace myself, trace the route I’ve taken at least twenty times to make sure I’m set. It’s not that I’m nervous—I’m prepared, I want to be with her forever, my Moira, and this is the only way. After this is done we can finally be together.
After twenty minutes of walking I realize I’ve gone further south than I had wanted, and instead of feeling tired my mind is racing, my body is ready to work. It’s no use trying to wear myself out, this ain’t working. A buñuelo and a cup of coffee sets my mind at ease, calms my stomach. I sit at a booth inside the twenty-four-hour Ecuadorian bakery cafe, the walls are lined with mirrors, tall, greenhouse plants mask the front glass windows. A muted telenovela plays on a television, rotating lights flash between red, blue, and green, they leap to reflect off the mirrors. The limp waitress lifts her resting chin from her palm and goes into the kitchen. I hear her talk with a man—the baker, the cook, someone that makes her laugh. She’s asleep right now, unaware of how much her life will change today. I imagine what her lips look like—soft, tender to kiss. I imagine that soft blue light of the moon falling on her gentle face, her tits, her long legs and supple ass.
The conversation has stopped. My cup’s dry and the waitress is still back there, so I fix myself another cup of coffee, peek into the kitchen, and notice the waitress and the man are deep in a whisper of a conversation that melts into a series of long kisses.
GEOFFREY THOMAS is an artist currently based in Brooklyn, NY. Thomas works in fiction, photography, and illustration.
Posted: Dec 14, 2015
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