I Take His Picture

I take his picture in the basement of an old mansion.

There are no lights.

The floorís dirty.

Later, Iíll create a folder on my laptop and place the picture in the folder. There will be other pictures, but no other folders.

The boyís dead but not bleeding. Iím very careful.

"Goodbye," I say to the boy. I put my camera away. "Iíd like to say it was an accident but it wasnít so I wonít say that because it would cheapen your picture probably and I might have to delete it sometime or feel guilty or something and you wouldnít want that." Sometimes I talk to comfort people.

My cell phone rings. "Good job," Bronson says. "Did it go exactly as planned?"

"Of course." I open the basement door which is low and sloping and I step outside. Itís morning. The sunís low on the horizon and hovering quietly away. "Do you have the package?"

"I have the package."

"Okay, then."

I put my cell phone away.

I lied about the folder. I have many folders and many pictures on many laptops in many apartments. The apartments are all mine, as are the pictures.

I pull my jacket tight to my body and walk along the highway. There are no people, only tall streetlights. The gravel makes noises. Ahead is my car. I get in the passenger side.

"Youíre ready?" Lemmy asks.

"Yes."

"No evidence?"

I donít answer.

"Then weíre ready for phase two."

"Yes," I say.

"Good." Lemmy starts the car.

Lemmyís my little brother. I slowly pull my gun from my pocket. "Iím sorry," I say.

Lemmy turns.

I shoot Lemmy in the face.

Thereís blood and other things, parts, and I scoop the parts and wipe the parts and gather parts into Lemmyís shirt. I drag Lemmy out of my car and lay him on the ground. I shoot Lemmyís mouth and destroy Lemmyís mouth. I shoot Lemmyís hands and feet and I shoot Lemmyís face again and now when I look at little Lemmy and the pieces of Lemmy I donít know him and I know that no one else will know him either.

I take a picture.

My carís running. I sit in the driverís seat.

I drive. This is phase two.

My carís a mess. There are blood streaks in the windows and Lemmy-parts I missed. I step on the gas. My car moves quickly and I wheel it around corners and change lanes. My hands are sweaty. My cell phone rings.

"Hello."

"Youíre coming," Bronson says.

"Yes."

"You destroyed him."

"Of course."

"Okay, then."

At Bronsonís house I set my car on fire.

Earlier we dug a pit. I drove the car into the pit, and now the fire. Bronsonís waiting on his front porch in a thick white bathrobe and I imagine myself in a matching bathrobe, very soft and comfortable and sitting quietly at home, watching television with the lights off.

"Youíre bloody," Bronson says.

"You should hug me."

"Maybe after you shower."

"If I shower I wonít want to be hugged. Iíll want to be alone."

Bronson steps down the porch-stairs and walks slowly to his backhoe-loader. Thereís a lot of smoke now. He starts the backhoe-loader. "Move," Bronson says. "Youíre in the way."

I move.

Bronson uses the backhoe-loader to push dirt into the pit. He covers the car with dirt and smoothes the dirt and parks the backhoe-loader. Now we lay fresh sod over the bare dirt. I remove my shoes and walk barefoot in the sod whichís very green and comfortable. I start to sit.

"No no," Bronson says. "Take off your clothes. Weíll destroy those also."

"Of course," I say. "But first you take a picture." I hand Bronson my camera.

"Will you pose?" Bronson asks. "Think about Lemmy," Bronson says. "Think about me."

I try not to laugh but I canít help it.

"Good," Bronson says. "Sexy. Now roll in the grass. Roll in the sod."

I take off my clothes.

Bronson takes more pictures.

I carefully fold my clothes and set them on the backhoe-loader. Iím naked and posing and Bronsonís taking pictures and I imagine taking the pictures of myself so that Iím Bronson and Iím watching me and my breasts are floppy probably and blood-covered and there are little bits of Lemmy on my nipple and neck and little boy-bits stuck to my toes and in my naval. "What do you see, Bronson?" I ask. I donít listen to the answer. I imagine Bronsonís naked body and shooting Bronsonís naked body and I think that if I were to shoot Bronson I would shoot his bellybutton first. When I touch my bellybutton I think about knots and I imagine untying my bellybutton and my liver and lungs and pancreas flopping out in front of my, or maybe intestines and stomach, and piling there while I watch. "What do you think about bellybuttons?" I ask Bronson.

"Theyíre okay."

"Could you untie one?"

"Is that possible?"

"Could you untie mine?"

"I donít think so."

"Good," I say as I grab my gun. "Itís time." I aim the gun and Bronson looks suddenly very tired. "Take off your robe."

"Why?"

"Just take it off."

Bronson takes off his robe. "This isnít very funny," he says.

I aim my gun.

I shoot.

Ofelia Hunt