By Nicole X Allen
“I see you when you’re sleeping.
I know when you’re awake.
I know if you’ve been bad or good. So be good for goodness sake.
I don’t know, man. It sounds creepy”
“First, Christmas songs ain’t creepy. Second, you don’t get it, do you? I have a secret admirer”
“Those never work out well”
“How d’you know? They could work out alright, but you never hear about those ‘cause they don’t end in doom and gloom”
I look at my friend, the gleam of excitement shining in his eyes. He genuinely isn’t scared by the note.
He should be scared.
I’m going to kill him.
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. I have to stay in character after all. The concerned friend. Although it seems I need not bother with this buffoon.
“Look, I think you should take this seriously. Hand it into the police” Of course, they’ll never find anything.
We’re in the kitchen at work. The office have really outdone themselves this year. The space is decked out. The kitchen less-so but you can tell it’s Christmas from the amounts of food that’s made its way in here. Cheese and crackers, selection boxes, home-made cookies for all to share.
Each and every one of them have the exact same things in their own homes.
Outside of the kitchen they’ve got brightly coloured tinsel that encase the computer monitors, a lone decorated miniature Christmas tree which sits sadly in a corner of the office, plus chatter on what parents are getting their kids for the big day.
“You’re nuts! Some chick finally admits she’s interested in me, I ain’t about to scare her off by calling the police!”
“Well, I think you’re deluded but alright. How do you plan to track her down?”
“The note was posted through my door. Maybe she’ll come back, we can wait for her to show up!”
“You can help me!”
I falter for a moment. The buffoon caught me off guard. “Well now, who knew that all these coffee mornings in the office would come to this?”
“Quit it. Makes sense, if I fall asleep you can stay awake to catch her in the act!”
“Ask someone else”
“But I’ve already told you. Besides, someone else might tell someone else and scare her off”
“This lady sounds rather jumpy”
No, I think to myself. Absolutely not. I refuse to give up my evening for this buffoon and some girl who doesn’t even exist. I will not do it.
“Thanks so much for this, I really owe you. Anything you want!” the buffoon says as he hands me a beer.
I laugh, I’ve perfected the co-worker laugh “I’ll take your life for a start”
“Now that’s the spirit! Call the police” he chortles as he walks to get the phone “I’m gonna order a pizza”
You have to give me credit where credit’s due, I did try to warn him. “So, we just have to wait around to see if she shows up?” I ask my victim.
“You get free beer, free food and free reign over the TV. What more could you want?” he holds his phone to his ear and places the order.
Your head on a platter, or at least a coaster for the beer. I survey my surroundings. The man is a slob. Clothes strewn about the one bedroom flat, dirty dishes that look a week past their expiration date. Has the guy even bothered to hoover since moving in? Not to mention I nearly choked on the stench of tobacco when I entered.I’m doing him a favour.
“You don’t have people round often, I take it?”
“Who cares? I ain’t got anyone to impress” he puts down the phone, a cigarette hangs out of one corner of his mouth as he talks through the other.
“Yet” I grin and tip my bottle in his direction.
“That’s right my friend, yet” we wait for the clink of our glasses then take a sip. Such odd customs, but so easy to learn.
It’s later. Much later. He’s asleep. Was it the beer? Who sleeps when someone you barely know in your house? Another cigarette hangs from his mouth.
I could kill him.
I will kill him.
Should kill him now? Right now? Right this second?He’d never see it coming. No-one even knew I was here.
I could just walk out afterwards.
Too easy, where’s the thrill? He’s the Jerry to my Tom after all, and I want to play a little while longer.
I should have killed him in his sleep “What does it say?”
Let’s go out and play
I’ll meet you on the corner of Broderick Close today
She didn’t say what time”
“It probably didn’t rhyme” Believe me, I tried.
“This is perfect! I can get a look at who this chick is! Can’t believe you fell asleep, by the way”
“Long day. I’d better get home, the other half took a lot of convincing for me to be here last night”
Yes, I have a partner. We all have some sort of camouflage. Some wear make-up, others hide behind baggy clothes or some even a gun. Well, this is mine. We’re even thinking about having kids. It’s all rather exciting.
“Yeah, well thanks for stayin’. You weren’t any good, but I guess I still owe ya one”
He ran a hand through his hair and grabbed lighter with the other, a prickle of heat kissed his lips as the flame licked the paper of yet another cigarette. As he let out a breath of smoke I saw him clock something on the ground. Something I’d left for him.
“Another note.. Figures” he said, and read aloud.
I know if you’ve been bad or good-”
He stopped suddenly, I could almost feel hairs raise sharply as I allowed my breath to linger near the back of his neck and finished for him “But I’ll kill you anyway”
“Hey, did you hear about Ed Duel?” my colleague asks, gesturing to the front page of my paper.
“Yeah. They say he’s been dead for three months. Neighbours called about the smell. Can’t believe they don’t know who did it”
“A real shame. A bit loud but seemed like an alright guy” I nod in agreement. “Can I talk to you?”
“Sure” I take a sip of my morning coffee without looking up from my paper.
“See, I received this note”
A slow smile warms my insides. I school my features and lower my newspaper “I’m all ears”