Awfully Different Without You

I’ve been playing this song on piano for most of the day. I apologise for the shortness of this post, but every day can’t be exciting, try as I might to make them so. I miss you today, Laura. It’s getting close to that time of year again.

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Mary Jane & Me

Ah, I’m so relaxed right now. I finally convinced Hannah to let me out of my bed. She takes such good care of me but I am very protective and possessive of what little freedom I have. That may explain why I’m perhaps overextending myself by smoking marijuana at the moment. It’s interesting to psychoanalyse my own self-destructive behaviour as I engage in it. It’s almost like an elastic snapback; after being confined to such narrow parameters of existence for so long (though not so long, in relative terms), I’ve not just run (or rolled) back to my original position, but continued all the way to the other side, as if my freedom was a position on an axis, and rather than restore my old co-ordinate, I doubled the difference. Having been forced by powers outside my control to limit myself for my own protection, I now feel compelled to the opposite and abuse my freedom in a self-damaging way.

But that raises an interesting question; will I always do a running leap away from unfavourable circumstances and will I always do then in this elastic, reflective fashion? And if my current circumstances, a self-imposed captivity, become unfavourable, will the snapback come in the form of a freedom motivated by outside factors?

Probably not. No one ever figures out the end of the story in the middle. Not in real life, anyway.

 

The First Day, or Eight

When I think about how those ten years ended, I have to think back to when they started; the 30th of June, 1993.

We awoke just after midnight to make our preparations. We packed up all the food and equipment we would need for the expedition, which was to last only eight days. I made a big deal of packing a large bag of aniseed balls, since this was back in the days when I didn’t have a nurse putting them up on a shelf out of my way. Benjamin brought what was then considered a very modern camera, hoping to catch the Tree Walker on film. Winston brought a large rifle, just in case. Hans brought his cane.

We spent eight days in the Black Forest. At the end of those eight days, we emerged sans Hans, Benjamin’s camera in pieces somewhere in that vast expanse and Hans’s cane in his hand. We emerged eight days later into the white snow…

…of February 23rd, 1994.

Victim #5

The final victim. The closing act of Benjamin’s circus of psychosis.

Benjamin brought us along when he decided to explain everything to him personally. All the other murders, they had been for him. Benjamin had eliminated everyone who threatened him, everyone who had hurt him. There was nothing left to stop him dominating the toy market, nothing left to stop him reigning supreme. Nothing but Benjamin.

He was horrified. How could Benjamin do this? He had respected that rival, he had loved that ex-wife. They were parts of his life. Had he anything to do with the ex-fianceé’s boyfriend’s death? What madness had he been consumed with? What had possessed him to–

Benjamin snapped again. He beat his father to death with Hans’s cane. That’s when Winston and I turned on him. Now we had the leverage. We argued intensely but, in the end, Benjamin had lost. We went our separate ways. It was the end of ten years of comraderie and conflict.

A month later, I bought my publishing house and started down the same road all over again.

Victim #3

A rent boy who had been blackmailing Benjamin by threatening to tell Benjamin’s traditional, conservative father about their liaisons. Of course, Benjamin vehemently denied that that was his motive. The rent boy was lying, he claimed. Winston and I humoured him out of fear but it wouldn’t have taken Paul Ekman to tell the only person telling lies was Benjamin.

At any rate, Benjamin’s orders were slightly more complex this time. We were to kidnap the rent boy and bring him back to the room where Benjamin was staying, leave him for an hour and ten minutes (the extra ten minutes presumably being for a post-coital cigarette), then return, collect the rent boy and drown him in the Volga.

And that’s what happened. It was, in many ways, a flawless execution.

Victim #2

A business rival of Benjamin’s father, who had been slowly but surely outpacing him. Benjamin was more specific this time. He had to meet his end in flames.

We scaled the walls of his estate with ease; spending most of a year in the Himalayas does a lot for one’s physique. Once we were over, it was relatively easy to cross the lawn and find an open window. Clearly, the man didn’t think much of security, but then, who would want to kill the owner of a chain of toy stores?

A psychopath, that’s who.

Once inside, Winston went to wake the man’s children and get them outside while I went to do the deed. He was alone in his bed, having lost his wife to cancer years beforehand, and I watched him for a few minutes before getting busy finishing the job that cancer had started; orphaning his children. As I walked around the bed, pouring napalm on the mahogany floors, I almost took out my gun and shot him. The kiss of hot lead would have been sweeter than the burning embrace of fire. But if Benjamin had caught wind of it, the jig would have been up, so I just finished filling the room with napalm, then stepped out and threw down a match.

Out in the garden, Winston shielded the childrens’ eyes as best he could. All these years later, those poor children don’t realise that the mysterious masked man who saved them from the fire was actually an accomplice in their father’s murder.