Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Harbinger Part 1

He colour-codes his Tupperware, organises his pantry bottles from tall to small, folds his towels before he leaves, plumps  his cushions, arranges his shoes in neatly rows. Yes he is a tidy man. A clean man. Not one to understand the slovenliness  of others. Not that he hadn't experienced it. His flatmates of years gone by had driven him insane with their slatternly habits.

Laura refused to stack the dishwasher or remove the hairs from the drain. She splattered mascara on the mirror and spat toothpaste unrinsed  into the sink. She discarded shoes where she stood, never placing them perpendicular to the wall.

Michaela rarely flushed the toilet at night and had an "If it's yellow, let it mellow" rule disguised as being 'green'.  He gagged when she cooked, poisoned with the thought that her hands might not be clean and never consumed anything she prepared for fear of contracting some exotic parasite.  Both had disappeared long before their lease expired. For that he was grateful apart from the lack of assistance with the rent.

Now Mel? She was sweet in that 'girl next door' respect. No rare beauty but a pleasant and symmetrical face, and most importantly, well-presented, fresh smelling, neat and clean. Someone who appreciated his fastidiousness and respected his space.

He of course, utilised the master bedroom, with an en-suite in sparkling white. A taintless metal-framed bed, well clear of the floor and adorned with a hypoallergenic quilt, covered in the purity damask. Perfectly plumped European pillows embroidered with his monica and a single chest of drawers containing neatly folded Polos, shorts and socks. His sliding wardrobe doors revealed autistically organised shirts in descending colours. Like a pantone pallet, all were diminishing shades of blue through to luminscent white. His shoes stacked like sentries on a rack, his ties carefully placed. Three suits freshly pressed and still protected with dry cleaner's wrap.  The only feature distinguishing his picture-perfect room from an uninhabited display home was a kindle on his bookstand with a copy of "Richard Platt's, Crime Scene: The Ultimate Guide to Forensic Science " at the ready and a single orange Gerbera in a vase. Artificial of course, the thought of mirky water and stray pollen was unthinkable.

The second room, his office, allowed him to work from home. A pristine Ikea computer desk was positioned against the window, nothing cluttered the surface of his desk other than a mouse pad and a web cam and a purpose-designed carryall for a solitary pen and newly sharpened 2B pencil. A compact wireless printer sat upon one of the shelves, shining black and dust free. A small two-seater couch leant undented by use against the wall, still with its showroom smell. The floor completely tiled in inoffensive cream. He'd seen the filth emanating from carpet within the cannister of his vacuum and had since never entertained that choice of floor covering in his home.  A holland blind drawn down against the easterly facing window was transluscent to let in light but easily cleaned should any offending dust particle choose to settle. This is his 'space'. This is where he's found. This is where he's untouched and untainted by the filthy world outside.

Mel took the third room. Spacious and spartan but immaculate. Again the window sheltered with transluscent holland blinds and a single small but modern mirror on the wall adjoining his office. She'd brought a bed and drawers but he had insisted she leave her other acoutrements in storage. He had all she needed and she was willing to comply.

They were a couple without being a couple sharing interests and time. Both living separate lives but coming home together. They enjoyed the same music, television, films and he loved spending evenings with Mel. Tidy to the core and aware of his penchant for taintless immaculacy, she was indeed the perfect flatmate.  Until 'he' came along.

Tom began  visits sporadically, at first polite and distant, he and Mel would retreat into her room and do what lovers do. It bothered him to know that this man was in his house, sullying her sheets, spreading his germs, contaminating the very air he breathed.  Within weeks, Tom was a regular visitor, his beer in the ' fridge, his shoes scattered carelessly under the couch. Late night clothes hurriedly divested from their bodies en route to the love nest leaving a scattered trail towards her door, then left  lying dormant until morning, his smell permeating the air and his voice muffled behind the walls.

He spent hours in the office to avoid this malodourous man and could hear the bedroom pounding with the athleticism of their sex. His little 'girl next door' had an appetite for variety and a vocal repertoire to match.

He began to imagine each position they took, guided by her voice. Deep and low when penetrated from behind, loud and free when she was on top as skin slapped against skin. Even when she was alone he was curious about the buzzing emanating from the wall. It was time to take it one step further.

At first he justified his watching through the tiny aperture to  ensure no  wine was being spilled or post coital feasts sullying the room but soon he began to enjoy these performances to the point where he became erect and pleased himself, of course a box of tissues always present to absorb the fruit of his wayward hands, followed by a vigorous cleansing shower to wash away his guilt.

In times when he was absent, he knew they ventured beyond their bedroom.  Cushions were depressed, crumbs on the kitchen bench, an empty plate left in the sink. They'd copulated on his couch and left a nasty little stain and a pretty diamante adorned g-string had been abandoned behind his cushions, which of course he kept. There were wine bottles on the windowsill and burnt toast scrapings on the neglected cutting board. Tom was a slob of huge proportions and corrupting his clean queen.  He left the bathroom strewn with shavings and wet towels on the floor, left toiletries on the vanity and adding insult to over-familiarity hung his grubby towelling robe behind the door.

He scopes his immaculate kitchen, it's sparkling grey granite surface gleaming speckless in the waning afternoon light and bearing nothing more than a rarely used Krups Espresso machine and a wooden knife block housing his precious Mundail knives. He inspects every blade and tine and his imagination runs wild.

He imagines doping the lovers' midnight snack before donning his disposable hazmat suit in preparedness for his hideous act. He imagines a well-placed incision below Tom's unshaven neck, perhaps another in his groin. He imagines inserting the hose and trocar with which to drain his fluids. He imagines muffling Mel's screams as she wakes to a cooling corpse. He imagines dismembering each bloodless cadaver into neat butcher's cuts, arranging pieces in a hard plastic lined box like the one his providore sent containing a side of pork. Twin to the box now almost empty in his freezer.  He imagines the orgasmic thrill of cleaning with Virusolve, cathartic and delicious.  He imagines using his wet and dry vac to clean the walls, the floor, the ceiling and passing a black light with slow precision over every surface to ensure it's antiseptic with no DNA residue remaining. He  imagines burning fabric evidence in his basement incinerator.  He imagines bleaching each knife, cleaver, container and hose before returning them to their appropriate recepticle. He is after all, a tidy man.

Posted for Tenth Daughter of Memory "Below the Neck" Part 2 coming soon!


  1. Duh dah dun!

    Tom's such a dirty bastard...

  2. I knew I didn't like men with OCD.

  3. Ya gotta watch those guys all prissy on the outside. I knew he was warped.

  4. oooh great portrait of an obsessive compulsive peeping tom creepster!
    you've such an eye for detail - i must learn what are holland blinds and mundail knives...