Wrong Man – Kyle Kirshbom
December 30, 2021
I can hear trumpets before bed.
“Hey fucking bitch, get back here!”
“Fuck you! You always do this!”
“What? What the fuck do I do?”
A back hits the wall.
“You fucking lunatic.”
I wake up in a sweat. I get up, putting on my striped blue boxers. I leave the sheets as they are. I brew Folgers, sit on the couch, and stare at the blank TV for an hour until I realize what I’m doing.
A knock at my door.
It’s the police. Their lights are flashing in my living room like a depressed girl’s apartment. I grab a shirt and open the door.
“Hey buddy, I’m with the police. We’re responding to a domestic dispute that occurred early this morning. Were you here all night?”
“Alright sir. Well then I’m wondering if you would be willing to come down to the station for questioning.”
In the back of a police car, stopped at a red light, I stare through the window at a mall where I used to buy shirts and perfumes.
At the police station.
“The thing about it is all of your neighbors called us last night. Do you know why they called?” He’s not wearing a uniform, but he seems like a cop. He isn’t exactly in charge, but in charge enough to be talking to me like I’m a child.
“No.” I think I’m making perfect eye-contact, but can’t be sure because his eyes are moving every direction.
“That’s surprising. It’s very surprising because all of your neighbors could hear screaming down their hall. One woman even said she thought she heard someone being shoved up against a wall. All your neighbors made a call. Except for you. You see, it’s really, mostly, so surprising because you live right next door to the couple who fought so loudly last night that it kept your neighbor’s up, except for you. Doesn’t that surprise you, slick?”
“Okay.” Slick? And why was he rhyming?
“You were the only one, and you surely heard what was happening. It kind of makes you wonder, what kind of person hears a couple fight so violently, but doesn’t do anything?”
“It didn’t seem like it was my business.” Jesus christ.
“Well, you see, that’s not totally true.” He bends over to spit in his styrofoam cup like he needs to tell me that he can do or say anything he wants, but I’m the real garbage. “It’s your responsibility, bucko, to contact the police any time there’s a potentially life threatening situation happening.”
“Alright?” I’m an adult.
“No, I don’t think it is alright. That man, your neighbor, killed his girlfriend. We got him locked up in the back. We just couldn’t get there in time.”
“What about all the calls my neighbors sent you?”
“All the what?”
“You said everyone but me called the police last night.” “What’s your point, skip?”
“I don’t understand.” What were they waiting for?
“I don’t understand it either how a person can listen to a domestic dispute without contacting the police. Right on the money there.”
“But you wouldn’t have made it in time anyway.”
“Who’s to say really. All we know is that a young lady died, and her neighbor never made the call. And that’s good enough for me. You’re a special kind of despicable. Doesn’t even make a single phone call. I’m sick of looking at you. Get him out of my face.”
The cop spits in my face and says, “Don’t you even care that she’s dead?” I’m picked up and two different cops drag me to a cell. My neighbor is in the one across.
“Guess you heard what happened.”
“You wanna know why I did it?”
“Fucking bitch, let me tell you. She was this neat freak right, and so would be obsessed with making sure the place was always clean. But I was like, bitch a place ain’t going to just stay clean forever, it gets dirty again. That’s nature. So if the sink isn’t pristine like she had it a week after she cleaned it she goes and blames me even though she knows that she uses it just as much as I do. She’d wrag on me all day and would just never shut the fuck up about cleaning. Cleaning. Clean this, make sure you do this SHUT THE FUCK UP. I say one sarcastic thing, and she goes fucking crazy. Unhinged, that fucking cunt. Think she had mommy and daddy issues. Victim shit. One day, and I guess that day was today, or last night. Man, I don’t know what fucking time it is. I just couldn’t take it. She fucking ran at me, ready to say some shit, so I fucking grabbed her by the neck and squeezed that shit as tight as I fucking could. Slammed her ass against the wall and I rang her neck like a doll until her eyes nearly popped out. She’s yelling at me. I tossed her ass on the floor and clocked her a bunch in the jaw. She’s screaming and whining so fucking loud, it was really fucking annoying, and pretty fucking late to have to listen to that shit, so She layed on the floor twitching like a fucking retard bitch with thick white shit coming out her mouth. I was fuming angry because she was getting it on my flooring. Like I’m going to have to clean her shit up for her? Lazy little cunt, y’know? Coming at me for how fucking dirty this place is. Fuck that. I took my boot and sort of scooped up her shitty spit off the floor back onto her face where it belonged. She always liked when I called her a slut. Her body’s wailing like a fucking tourettes baby, so I kick her in the throat so hard she starts to wheez. I think I broke her fucking windpipe cause no more white spit shit even came out. She was trying to talk, grabbing at everything, trying to get up. It was hilarious. I laughed harder than a faggot on meth. But that shit got old, quick. I walked over to the kitchen and turned the speaker on. I picked a jazz station to play, to try to muffle the sounds. I grabbed a pan. I just bought it, and haven’t even used it yet. Non-stick. I bashed her fucking skull in with it about 15 times, nailing the bitch, and now her shit’s flying every direction. It was like a Pollack painting, it was fucking gross. I caught her brains sliding down the wall, blood covering my boots and splatter on my pants. I mean you should’ve seen what was left of her. Don’t tell nobody but I thought about fucking her body too. Just to know what that’d have been like. I’m not crazy, I obviously didn’t fucking do it. But I could’ve. Besides, it already was starting to get bright out. And I knew there wasn’t going to be any way of hiding this shit. Haha, why would I even try? Fuck that stress. Figured everyone in the building heard me anyway. You must have heard, right?”
“A little bit.”
“The jazz didn’t muffle?”
I stare at the cracks in the floor. Some of the cracks are deeper than the others, like someone thought it was smart to try to dig out. They didn’t make it far. There’s just a shadow in the crack where they left off. No light can get to it.
“Hey man, so if you heard why didn’t you call the cops? Why didn’t you do anything about it?”
I don’t say anything. I lie down on the bench, and stare into my eyelids, trying to wash out the screams.