I was sitting there ever so nonchalantly eating my absurdly large portion of Hawaiian BBQ, watching darkness slowly approach. The ceiling fan above me was whirring, breaking the stale silence in the room. Every so often it would begin to wobble creating a concave air pocket with its blades as if it was taking a deep breath to continue on with its never-ending duty of keeping me cool in my own private hades. I sat in the middle of the small kitchen, on the wooden chair with a creaking, broken back, left leg flung over right, slowly masticating on the piece of meat in my mouth. My tongue searching and sucking at the strands of meat wedged between my teeth.
Whirr, suck, creak. Whirr, suck, creak.
Those are the sounds death makes as it approaches through the broken tile on the lopsided floor of an empty kitchen in the hills of Highland Park.
On the counter in front of me they marched on, caring about nothing more than survival. Restless and determined with a wild kamikaze spirit, they moved their legs across the sleek tile. Greeting each other with hurried furor.
Hello. Is that you Tom?
How are the rest of the men?
Very well. Godspeed.
Whirr, suck, creak.
Soon they will be no more. There was a strange calming sensation running through my core. For days they had been the source of my agony, causing me fits of frustration and pain. My small yelps in the middle of the night awakened no one in my lonely quarters and were carried away by the whirring of the ceiling fan.
Perhaps this is why I wanted them dead.
Their presence was a menacing reminder me of how alone I had been for the past few days in that lopsided studio with broken tiles, in that big lot with dusty pathways, in that big city with rolling hills, in that big state with crashing shorelines, in that large and confused country, in the bustling world...
in the quiet universe.
Their determination haunted me. It possessed me.
So I ended up sitting there, in that kitchen, watching them die. I lured them in with peanut butter laced with poison to take back to their colony. To their women and children.
I had no remorse.
I tore a piece off of my Hawaiian BBQ and licked my lips.
I knew they weren’t going to die there, in front of me. I knew their hurried determination would give them no clue as to what they were feeding on. I knew that somewhere in the quiet universe, I was disrupting the symphonic chaos that is life.
Perhaps one of them figured it out, perhaps it was seeking justice or looking to reason with me; marching itself up my leg, through the pant folds and over the perilous loose lint, up my forearm and stopping on my knuckle that cradled the now lukewarm Styrofoam box.
I closed the box.
Whirr, suck, creak.
I lowered my head to take a closer look at the renegade and said the only thing I knew to say before I placed my heavy cold finger upon his head.