Jonesy had just come ashore from surfing when he greeted his friend at the door.
“Eric! What’s up, mate!? How was the week-long sex fiesta!?”
Mitchell Jones was from Australia. The pair had met while attending university. Jonesy’s father was an American who met and married Jonesy’s mother, an Aussie, in the space of four
months when Jonesy’s dad was traveling the East Coast of Australia with nothing but his surfboard. Jonesy came to America for university and never left. Jonesy wore an unkempt flaxen mullet. He would often, every chance he got, flick his half-mane from side to side.
“Birds larrrve the mull when you flick it,” Jonesy would tell Eric.
Jonesy sported a tall frame and a wide back from surfing. His back streamlined into a tight waist, where his “V lived”. Jonesy would tell Eric, “Birds larrrve a good V.”
Jonesy had freckles, which he referred to as beauty spots, and was permanently dressed in a soft golden tan.
He was quite a handsome fellow and did very well with women.
“Ya hungry, mate?” asked Jonesy. “I’m about to make some chicken and avo.”
Eric believed that Jonesy’s diet consisted purely of chicken thighs and avocado. He had neverseen him eat anything else. Joney’s favorite drink, kombucha, typically the finishing touch.
“Yeah, I could go for some food. I missed lunch. Do you have anything to drink?” Eric asked.
“Maaate,” Jonesy smiled, turning to Eric, “I just bought two of the most splennnndid boochaz. I was planning on saving em for a bird, but no wozza! We can tuck into those. Honeycrisp apple, mate. To die for!”
Eric had become fluent in Australian slang over the years, and when learning it at university, it became his favorite dialect to speak.
Eric was a beautiful man, tall with golden brown skin, boasting a hint of espresso in the summer months of the year. He wore a shaved head with a thick, dark, grizzly beard that made his mahogany eyes beam. His face wore several scars from his childhood. These imperfections somehow managed to conjure an even more alluring appearance. Eric was very fit: his physique a long and slender manikin of muscularity.
“Are you still writing?” Jonesy asked Eric. “I remember you sneakily writing at uni, you mysterious bastard! I know you hate your job. And you’ve got enough cash in the bank to write something. What’s the deal?”
“Vicky wouldn’t go for it, man. She thinks it is too risky. She loves telling her friends and family how good my job is and how much money we have,” Eric answered.
“For someone so smart, that is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I thought being smart and thinking deeply was meant to be fun for you,” Jonesy laughed. “Let’s go for a cruise and see
what the tide’s doing. If it’s looking good, we can go for a paddle. A decent wave could cheer up a fellow with no legs who wants to be an Olympic sprinter.”
The two jumped in the car en route to Malibu. The road leading to Malibu bends and breaks like a gymnast, curling around sharp, strident vertical walls of rock. Adjacent to the towering
contour of the running rock wall rests an abrupt precipitous decline falling into a deep valley.
Jonesy ripped through the corners, claiming he had ‘local knowledge’ of the angles.
As Jonesy swerved around a tight corner, a police officer parked on the other side of the road, hidden sneakily within a resting area, had a front-row seat to Jonesy’s ‘local knowledge.’ Jonesy pulled over, awaiting his likely expensive ticket.
“Hello, officer,” Jonesy said, greeting the officer with a polite grin.
The officer, without the slightest expression upon his sunglass-covered face, asked Jonesy, “Do you know how fast you were going? License and registration. Your buddies, too.”
“Officer, I’m not even driving?” Eric responded, ducking his head to make eye contact with the officer.
The officer leaned down, taking off his sunglasses, revealing deep blue eyes. “Did I ask you to talk?”
“Mate,” said Jonesy, “here’s me license and me rego. Let’s just bring it down a tone and get this ticket sorted. I’m sorry I was speeding. It’s completely my fault. He has nothing to do with
Although a valiant attempt, the officer asked Eric to step out of the car.
“Hands on the hood!”
As the officer began to pat Eric down, Jonesy looked on, bewildered. “Officer, is all that necessary, mate?” Jonesy said, exiting the vehicle.
“Mitch, get back in the car, man,” Eric spoke swiftly, feeling an unwanted energy brewing in the presence behind him. “It’s cool... Just get back in the car.”
“Nah, mate. Nah! This is wrong. Officer, he wasn’t even driving, and he lives down the bloody road!”
The officer looked up from the hood of the car at Jonesy. “You expect me to believe that this guy lives here in Malibu! HA!”
Eric’s blood began to boil.
The previous fear he had felt was now rage. “Don’t worry, Jonesy, our friend here is a hard-working fellow. It’s not his fault his salary is so tiny. I’d probably be mad, too.”
Eric felt the cop breathe in and out heavily: the cop had grown so close to Eric that the air from the officer’s nasal disagreeably tickled the flesh of his neck.
Eric was then thrust to the ground. “Stop resisting! Stop resisting!”
Eric’s face met with a rock on the way down: bloodied and in shock, his body swooned. Eric felt his hands behind him being aggressively cuffed, receiving blows to the back of his head and
upper back from any limb the officer had free. Eric felt pain: but none deeper than the pain he felt knowing he let his ego get the best of him, putting him in a position so many others had been
before. Beneath the boot.
“You’re free to go,” the officer said to Jonesy. “Your clever little friend here is coming with me.”
Eric was pitched into the backseat by the officer, vitiated, and marred. Jonesy looked on helplessly, the patrol car curling around a gorgeous rocky bend.
Eric felt no more trapped sitting in that jail cell than he had outside the jailhouse doors. Eric knew he would be soon bailed out by his wife, Vicky, so he chose to cherish the solitude within the bars of a cage. He didn’t pace or wander like a lion in a zoo. He sat. And thought. He felt a violent clash within. Eric, having a white father and black mother, believed he had two souls living within him. One soul, the white soul, forever seeking to enslave the other, the black. Eric
clung to the black soul with all his might. Life in a white man’s world ceaselessly attempted to beat it out of him. Not always physically, but mentally, too. It was funny to Eric. He usually received unctuous remarks, stating he had “the best of both worlds.” He always found that thought strange: one of the worlds had so much more brightness in it than the other.
The same cop came to the cell where Eric resided, wearing a nefarious smirk. Eric was so deep in his thoughts he didn’t even see him.
“Hey! You’re free to go,” said the officer.
As Eric walked past the officer, the cop murmured, at a low enough volume so that the other officer in the room doing paperwork couldn’t hear him, “Next time, don’t resist.”
Vicky, governed by her distress – and maybe somewhat intoxicated – was waiting in the lobby as Eric collected his things.
“What happened!? What happened!?” she yelped, laying eyes upon Eric’s bloodied face. The blood had now dried, leaving an unsettling stain upon a beautiful surface.
Eric withdrew into himself after that night, providing laconic responses to his wife’s many questions. Eric didn’t speak a full sentence to Vicky for weeks, further detaching from the world outside of his mind. Vicky, frightened and lonely, aware that their dyad of love was as disconnected as it had ever been, called her mother to visit. Her father joined.
Both Vicky and Eric hadn’t spent much time with either of their parents since Eric’s run-in with the police. Eric hadn’t seen or spoken with his mother at all. Vicky hoped that forcing Eric out of his shell would somehow bring him back to the world. Back to her.
The conversation had been minimal over dinner due to the magnificent meal that now rested in their brimful bellies. Vicky had compelled Eric to make his favorite dish that everybody always worshipped. Dessert was made to wait as they let digestion commence its toil. The room fell silent a few times, with Vicky fueling vigorously the conversation as Eric was wholly distant. Eric simply echoed the behaviors around him, never fully engaging in any of the subjects
the table discussed. Eric was entirely withdrawn.
Vicky had never seen him in such a deeply introverted state. Her father noticed. He and Eric never got on that well. Spying an opportunity to plant a dig that everyone knew would come
eventually, Vicky’s father couldn’t resist.
“So... How’s our little jailbird doing? Make any nice friends in there?” His tone was light but provocative.
Eric found the comment the least bit diverting. Eric darted to the end of the table, grabbing a butter knife. Bounding toward Vicky’s father, Eric maneuvered the rounded blade in his hand to ensure the butt of the knife was facing the floor, his hand gripping hermetically the stainless steel portion of the blade. Eric didn’t want to kill. He craved for the imminent events to flood the mind
of Vicky’s father before festering there. He desired to maim. His feet were bouncing off the floor: each step with purpose. He finally came close enough to strike! He felt the body enervate beneath the cutlery’s blunt edge. Again, he swung, more violently now that the body he was attacking had nowhere to move, pressed against the floor by
Eric’s free hand. He felt the body writhing below him, weakening. He had finished with the body. Now he wanted the soul! Eric swung and swung–
“Eric! Baby! Are you there!? Eric!” Vicky said, tugging on his arm.
Eric climbed out of his imagination. He had always savored his imagination’s untamed ways; however, he had never imagined something so vividly dark before.
Vicky walked out her parents the following morning. Eric seemed to have gone on an early walk as Vicky awoke without his body next to her. Vicky hugged and kissed her father and
mother, then waved her parents goodbye.
Vicky was stunning. Her flowing scarlet hair tenderly fell onto her shoulders. Her eyes, her eyes... Eric loved her eyes. They were an astonishing turquoise, as vibrant as a postcard’s shore.
Her nose was subtle, faultlessly proportional to her face, guiding the content observer to her
plump red lips. Her clothing always hugged her body in the right ways, twisting and turning around her voluptuous figure like a winding mountain road. She felt lonely.
Vicky turned to alcohol to cure her loneliness. Vodka: her companion of choice. Glass after glass sent her spiraling into thoughts of her own. Eric had been acting strange even before the direful altercation with the law. In a trice, a notion came to her. She obliged, slowly walking up the stairs towards Eric’s home office. Eric hadn’t been to work for weeks, obviously still digesting the awful experience of being confined to a cage. His office door was closed.
Had he been here this whole time? Vicky hadn’t heard a sound.
Vicky knocked gently. No response. She knocked again – the same reply. She cautiously opened the door: the room was vacant of any human presence. She shut deftly the door behind her, just in case Eric was to come home. Vicky now experienced the feeling of being encaged, enclosed in Eric’s private space.
Eric had always been reticent concerning what he kept in his home office. The only time Vicky had ever explored his home office was when being bent over his desk. Vodka made Vicky
She collected herself from her ever-so-distant passions. Eric hadn’t spoken to her, let alone touched her in what seemed to be an eternity. She tenderly searched his drawers to find something that would help explain what he had been thinking the last few weeks. She knew he kept a diary somewhere... Nothing. She searched and searched, her eyes scanning as her ears listened. If Eric found her prying through his belongings, she didn’t want to imagine what might arise.
She began to tire. One last look. One last look...
Vicky performed zealously a final sweep of the office. Nothing. Yielding, she put everything back neatly, closing all the drawers. What was that? When shutting one of the drawers, she felt
her finger touch the fringe of what felt like a mechanism. She opened the drawer, laying down on her belly to see what her finger had stroked. A small switch. Bewildered – and yet oh so beguiled
– she flicked the switch. ZEP! A curt noise from behind her caused her body to convulse in fear.
Breathing heavily now, she turned slowly, not knowing what may be waiting behind her.
Nothing. Her breathing steadied. As she grew calm, she spotted something: another drawer! That must’ve been the origin of the sudden noise. She had never seen something so furtive. She was scared to look. Maybe she wouldn’t like what was in there. But she had to know. What on earth could my husband want to hide so well?
She crawled on her knees to the surreptitious drawer. Her hand entered slowly, picking up what seemed to be a diary. That’s strange. I have read from Eric’s diaries before. All his poems
and thoughts. I have never seen this book.
She opened the first page, revealing a brief piece of writing. Valiantly, she read.
If One can’t savor a beautiful life, One must award himself a romantic death.
Footsteps! Footsteps! Vicky needed all her senses to read what she had just read. Her ears neglected to alert her of Eric’s arrival. Footsteps! Coming right for her! Her face florid. Her limbs frozen. She couldn’t move! Her body and mind were apoplectic. Footsteps! She gathered herself. She had to! Footsteps! She threw the book back in its confidential home, nimbly clicking
the switch with her foot. ZEP! She wanted to cry. The sound. She forgot the sound! The footsteps stopped. Silence... The entire house went quiet. Vicky’s entire body was completely still and drenched with fearful sweat. The footsteps, slow now, continued in her direction.
Window! It was her only option. She opened it, welcomed by a settling breeze.
While closing the window behind her, she saw the doorknob move. She let go. She had to!
The window lingered slightly open, and forehead sweat began dripping into Vicky’s eyes. She couldn’t wipe them away – she couldn’t move. Eric was standing at the window.
Vicky had pulled her body as close as she could to the vertical surface beneath the aperture.
Eric couldn’t see her. Vicky’s arms were shaking from bearing her entire body weight. Eric closed the window. She could hear him: he was looking around his office. Vicky took her
chance, what could’ve been her only, propelling robustly from her hideaway. She had got away –though it wasn’t over. Vicky still needed to get back into the house without Eric seeing or
Her vodka bottle and glass were on the counter, and her car was in the driveway. He’d expect I was home. If I can get into the house somehow undetected, he wouldn’t have any reason to suspect I had been in his office. “You can do this,” she whispered in hopes to calm herself.
She dashed to a window to see if Eric had come downstairs. There he was. He was looking for something, someone: he was looking for her! The goosebumps on her body had been with her the whole journey. She saw Eric go into the bathroom. Her mind screamed at her, GO NOW!
She galloped across the grass, only slowing her stride when reaching the pavement. She walked into the house. Nothing. There were no witnesses to her entry. She did it. She continued her unnoticed endeavor, returning to her unfinished glass.
Vicky shrilled, smacking her glass off the table. Her eyes watched it smash into pieces. She didn’t want to turn around. Eric’s voice came from behind her. Had he seen me?
“Where have you been?” asked Eric.
“Oh, just looking over the garden.”
Eric knew Vicky hated everything to do with gardening.
“I’m sorry,” Eric said. “I’m sorry I’ve been reserved these last few weeks. I haven’t been feeling like myself.”
He kissed her on the forehead and walked up the stairs back to his office, shutting the door.
He didn’t see me! Or had he?
How dare she go through my office. And it seems she found my book. How much did she read?
The plan Eric had been formulating over the last few weeks of his siloed existence would now have to be enacted promptly. There is no telling how much of the book she had managed to read.
Eric walked past Vicky, not offering the slightest acknowledgment of her presence, before getting into his car and driving off.
Vicky, acting upon instinct, followed.
“Morning, maaate! To what do I owe the pleasure?” said Jonesy. “When is the last time you had a good sleep, mate? Ya hungry? I just bought some fresh avo.”
“I’m fine, thanks,” Eric replied. “Mitch. I just wanted to tell you that I’m going to write that book I always said I would.”
Jonesy jumped with excitement. “Ah, maaaate! That’s the best thing I’ve heard all week! What’s the plot, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“A memoir... All the gloom.”
“Yeah,” replied Eric. “Life.”
His eyes navigated down to what seemed to be Eric’s idea of a memoir. Jonesy thought he was speaking aloud, but no words ever came from his mouth.
Life: innocence, pain, sorrow, death.
Jonesy shook off the chills that ran down his back, thinking something must be wrong. He darted out of the house, swiping his keys on the way. Jonesy jumped in his car and headed
straight for Eric and Vicky’s Malibu home.
The author wishes to remain anonymous.