Friday, 13 April 2012

Friday Flash - Regular Guy

My name is Henry Carpenter and I am just a regular guy. I tell myself this for twenty minutes every morning, beginning at 8:02, and I repeat the mantra again at 6:36pm. If I tell myself this, I do not hurt people. If I don't...

An insurance salesman called at 6:34pm. I didn't realise what he was selling until it was too late - normally I don't even answer those calls. I hung up when I saw it was 6:38. I said my mantra all the same, but there was blood on my shoes the next morning, and a claw hammer was missing from my garage. I found it the same day the missing woman reports appeared. It was wrapped in plastic in the trunk of my car. The hammer, not the woman. They never found her. I always feel guilty about that. The remorseful part of myself wishes I could remember, so I could let someone know, and the families would have something to bury. But the remorseful part of me is weak, and I do not remember.

Eight months passed before the next incident. A power cut damaged my alarm clock and I slept beyond 8:02am. The next day, a man went into an underground parking lot, but he didn't come out. That night, I couldn't find my straight razor. I didn't look very hard for it. They never found the man or the razor, and eventually people said he simply ran away with a secret lover. I do not remember what happened but I doubt that is true.

Four months later, I was on a business flight to Europe. The time zones threw my system out of line. I woke up in a strange hotel with a corpse at my side. Bleached blonde hair, blackened green eyes - not my usual type. The remorseful part of me wanted to report it - that was the first time I'd been faced with what I'd done. Instead, I slipped out of the hotel and disappeared into the early morning shadows. I told myself that no one would miss a prostitute. As far as I know, no one did.

These incidents keep happening. I say my mantra for weeks or even months at a time and all is well. But real life has a habit of breaking a pattern. I have moved three times over the last year. I meet people in bars and they ask me why I move around a lot. I tell the men that I am escaping from bad women. They laugh, and welcome me into their circle. I tell the women that I am a restless nomad, always wandering, and searching. They cluck and fuss, and seek to be what they think I need. I am sure I have left behind more than bad memories and broken hearts - I simply don't let myself remember.

I do not know why I am telling you this. None of it really matters because, like you, I am just a regular guy.

I could be anyone you know.

21 comments:

Helen said...

Oh that's scary. A face among a crowd, nothing unusual about him, you could be standing next to him. That idea is scary because it could be a reality.

Very well written Icy. ^_^ The best sort of horror is the sort that you could imagine could happen. That frightens.

Peter Newman said...

I guess we all tend to think that we're normal.

I like stories that look at the darker side of people.

Harry said...

Seems like a regular enough fellow. He kills with clockwork regularity anyway. Whenever they do turn up one of these types, the neighbors always say he was just a regular guy, don't they? Creepy cool look at just what regular is, Icy!

Janet Lingel Aldrich said...

Icy, you are the queen of "getting under my skin" creepy! Really well done.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Helen - This is the thing with the more 'slasher' side of horror. It could actually happen...

Peter - Oh I know I'm a whole hatful of crazy!

Harry - Exactly! No one ever suspects them because they seem just so mundane and normal.

Janet - Huzzah!

Tony Noland said...

A face in the crowd, nothing more. His mild remorse is somehow much more creepy than no remorse at all.

John Wiswell said...

Reminds me a little of the "mayhem" insurance commercials we have in the U.S. Very neat take on the inevitable Hulk-like horrors.

Larry Kollar said...

Most excellent chiller this week — just a regular guy, he could be anyone. Until he brings the hammer down…

Eric J. Krause said...

That last line really makes this one, Icy. Very cool story. I'm not sure whether I'm rooting for him to make it or not...

Steve Green said...

I once heard the question "What does a murderer look like".. and the answer? They look just like you or me.

Food for thought.

Nice on Icy.

Steve Green said...

Ooops! I meant Nice one Icy. ^^^

Aidan Fritz said...

Chilling final line. The opening really drags you in with the paradox of his regular guy routine.

Katherine Hajer said...

What really brought this one up to the next level for me was the repetition of how he doesn't remember the details even though he seems to know he's done the deed -- things like the "missing" claw hammer. I've had the bad luck to meet some violent people, and they all had that trait -- if you confronted them with something bad they'd done, they'd always say they couldn't remember, as if that would make it go away and negate the physical evidence.

Excellent.

Richard Bon said...

Reminded me a little bit of American Psycho, though admittedly i only ever saw the movie, never read the book. I wonder why those exact times of day? Just OCD or something more? Good character who could easily fill a longer piece, i think.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Tony - That's what I was going for - he WANTS to care but just finds he can't.

John - Thanks!

Larry - I think that's what makes this kind of fiction scarier - it could be anyone. Hell, it could even be the person reading it...

Eric - Haha he's a weird type of anti-hero!

Steve - They look like anyone you could meet - that's the problem.

Aidan - Thank you :)

Katherine - I think he remembers more than he wants to, or will let himself. I've had people who always claim they can't remember when they're confronted with something bad they've done but it's such a cop out!

Richard - I've both read the book and seen the film and if I'm honest, I prefer the film! Who knows how he even discovered those particular times of day.

daniellelapaglia said...

It's chilling in it's simplicity. Very nicely done, Icy.

brainhaze said...

Wow what a great piece - Its similar to being a werewolf and the full moon - he never knows when it will hapen, or what, or who - but it will happen. Loved the lasst paragrpah a lot "I tell the men I'm escaping...." genius

ganymeder said...

Chilling, especially the last line. This could be true.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

There was a period of time when it seemed like every profile of serial killers started with, "White male, age 25-35, single, lives alone, has a steady job, but is quiet and keeps mostly to himself...."

Yup, that was pretty much describing me. Which, I suppose, either indicates how vague the profiles were or how easily I might have a dark side no one knows about.

jackkholt said...

"I told myself that no one would miss a prostitute. As far as I know, no one did." My favourite line(s). Says a lot about him, and society, I think.

Great stuff, Icy.

clitonteef said...

Just being a regular guy. Anyway feeling remorse wouldn't have solved the problem? It has happen it has happen there nothing to do about that.

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