Reason: Part Two
As things stand, I am too stunned to react as I normally would. There are no words to adequately describe the depths of my newfound malice. Even now, my thoughts are not quite correct. And so I do the one thing that occurs to me: I laugh, but not for mirth. Something else moves me.
“Uhh... how about I call you again later.”
She seemed rather off-put. Oh well, things are sometimes too amusing for her. Who could imagine the power of the act, from which a peculiar form of pleasure derives? Her tears, though saline, seemed so sweet to me. I wonder if, amidst the many desires involved, others are driven by this same reason in the deeper wells of their souls? Though it may not be acknowledged, does it still exist for everyone, or am I alone in its appreciation? Let my vanity wax full, for I’ll be relieved by this delight.
“Can you talk?”
“Of course I can. Whatever made you think otherwise?”
“I was worried. You see, the last time you tried, all that came out was psychotic cackling.”
“I feel it got my point across eloquently enough.”
“Well, some of us require a little more content in order to properly call it speech.”
“‘More matter, less art’?”
“Never mind. So what do you want to hear?”
“That’s better. Tell me what went down at the club, and remember: use your words.”
“For starters, you happened to use an appropriately inappropriate set of words.”
“Shut up. You’re kidding, right?”
“By Gis, I am not. Nor will I be able to continue ‘speaking’ by your definition.”
“What? You can’t leave me hanging like this.”
“In that case, I shall cut you down.”
Now we find the predator in the den of his prey. More specifically, he’s in her bathroom, amusing himself with the contents of her medicine cabinet. Maybe you’ve considered the question of medical privacy in terms of greater government oversight, but you may as well shout your ailments from the rooftop if you keep your prescriptions above the sink. Of course, you probably don’t expect your visitors to rifle through your possessions at the first available opportunity. People can be so trusting.
Aspirin, Tylenol, Sudafed, boring, boring, boring... wait, what’s this? Lithium? Jesus Christ. And here’s the Wellbutrin right next to the Celexa. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. Hmm... iron supplements. Let’s do some arithmetic children: weekly bloodwork plus anemia equals track marks. That would explain the long sleeves. A pity I didn’t notice earlier, but then again I was somewhat distracted. Perhaps this girls isn’t so tedious after all.
“I think I’m in love.”
“Really? Are you going to tell her?”
“Why would I? This doesn’t concern her.”
“Okay... care to explain?”
“Oh! You thought I was in love with her. I forget myself sometimes. To explain: I’ve fallen in love with myself.”
“Well, that should do wonders for your ailing self-esteem.”
“Indeed it does. Though I suppose I owe you and her thanks, but don’t hold your breath or anything. After all, I pride myself on ingratitude.”
“You’re saying I had some part to play in this?”
“Of course, without your sage advice, I would have just crawled back into my dark cocoon. Now this butterfly will soar.”
“I think I would have preferred more thyme.”
“Oh look, you made a pun! An old dog can learn new tricks.”
“Are you calling me a bitch?”
“Wow! See how wit grows.”
“Couldn’t have said it better myself. You’ll be sad to hear I’m leaving my little mistress, but not before a nice goodbye romp. I believe she’ll be much more entertaining without me.”
“But why? I thought you were having fun.”
“Oh, I am, but I’ll have a lot more fun dumping her. You see, it turns out the dear little thing isn’t quite right in the head, and you know how I like to giving things teetering on the brink a solid shove into the abyss.”
“I think you’re not right in the heart.”
“Au contraire. Look and see for yourself: there’s nothing left in there.”
Now we watch as the lion strides away from his kill. He’s still smiling, but this time the display is genuine. Having consumed his pride, he is sustained by her destruction, emotionally speaking of course, for our hero is no criminal. One need commit no crime in such commitments, or the breaking thereof, and still leave his victim committed.
One should also note the warmth in his smile and the honest comfort it reveals. Here is that rare moment when no guileful tactic obscures his feelings and the full measure of his heart is made plain to all who would see. The predator, now fulfilled with the main course of his prey, waits patiently for his desserts, which, just or no, he shall devour eagerly.
“Now we sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor.”
“You say that as though it were difficult.”
“Hey, just because I thoroughly enjoy my exploits does not mean they are without effort. Have you any idea how hard it is to keep a straight face when doing the whole ‘it’s not me, it’s you’ routine?”
“Isn’t that normally the other way around?”
“Whoever said I was normal? Anyway, given her mental state, I doubt she even noticed at the time. I suppose it may occur to her later though.”
“Which, let me guess, was exactly what you planned.”
“You continue to astound me with your observations. Have you ever considered a career in profiling?”
“You really get off on this, don’t you? I’m beginning to regret my words of encouragement.”
“In all fairness, I do believe I gave you full warning.”
“Are you trying to hold me responsible for this?”
“No, you were merely my inspiration. My actions are my own. But feel free to take what credit you like, especially for her latest correspondence.”
“She wrote you a letter? I can’t believe she’d actually want to communicate with you in any way that didn’t involve expletive-laden screaming.”
“Oh, the content of the letter wasn’t all that interesting. Basically, she wanted me to know how I hurt her and all that rot, making the naive assumption that I don’t already know exactly what I’ve done, but that’s not what I found so amusing.”
“Well? What was so special about it then? Spill it.”
“There was blood on it.”
If you’re interested, the letter is currently residing in my trophy box, carefully secured in plastic. I still take it out and read over it, savoring the bitterness and betrayal it contains. I often fantasize about burning it in some pseudo-ritual of forgetting, but the memory is too dear to part with. Of course, destroying the letter would be a wonderfully dramatic show of contempt, but one must cherish the treasures one has.
By now you may have reached the conclusion that I’m some kind of monster; a sadist whose exploits are less than admirable. I really can’t blame you for such an analysis. It’s not like my actions were terribly constructive or beneficial to anyone except possibly myself. What you need to understand is that I’m not the sole bearer of responsibility here. That same reason that drove me to a simple act of malice is no different than the one that served as basis for her desire for me. Sure, the particulars were different, but never forget her complicity in this charade. I never employed force of compulsion with her. In all honesty, she came to me. Remember?
I’ll forgive you for blaming me. It is only too easy for the one who gets hurt to assume the mantel of victimhood. Take a moment to think about it and you’ll realize who is really to blame. Is the one who cuts herself the victim simply because she is the one to bleed? Certainly, my actions influenced her decision, but the choice was ultimately her own. People find it so difficult to take responsibility for themselves, especially when they are forced to endure the consequences.
And feel free to examine her part in this fiasco. If you look closely and without prejudice of her injury, you’ll see that she was as manipulative as I. Well, she tried to be at least. Of course, her goals differed greatly from mine, and you may even think of hers as admirable, but that does not excuse her means. We both wanted something and we both were willing to abuse the other in order to get it.
This is why I cannot hold myself accountable for what happened. You would feel likewise were you in my position. This is not to say that I did not expect things to turn out as they did, but as she suffers the consequences, so too does she suffer the blame. And so when I drive past her house and see the ambulance parked in the driveway, I know it’s not my fault.