“You know,” Plimpton said walking around the large rectangular wooden table, “I once knew a guy who kept his wife’s heart in the freezer next to two pieces of cake that they saved from their wedding. It was white with almond frosting- the cake, not his wife’s heart. Nope, he kept that in a small black index card box, lined in yellow velvet. Really made that heart stand out when you opened it. I mean, the frozen purple of the thing set against the bright yellow felt. It was really an attention grabber, let me tell you.” Plimpton turned and faced the double sinks. They were stainless steel, old and worn. Rust stains had begun to form around the base of the faucet that straddled both basins, and the two knobs were turning green beneath their edges. A smear like melted chocolate ran down the steel divider on both sides, like an ugly reminder that the kitchen was too hot this time of year. The kitchen was always hot. Nothing lasted in there.
Plimpton stood and ran his hands, rough and fat, under the hot water and he looked out of the kitchen window above the sink at his back yard. It was quiet this time of night and the moon hid behind the clouds in anticipation of what was to come. The moon knew his intentions, and so did she.
He turned off the water and dried his hands on a dish towel that was hanging from a hook beside the sink on the lower cabinet door to his right. He shook the towel and flung it across his shoulder and reached up to his bulbous bald head and pulled the goggles down over his eyes. He was all forehead and very little face. He wasn’t deformed nor was he what he considered to be an ugly man. On the contrary. In fact he found himself to be quite dashing and well proportioned, if only that meant that the majority of his head was above his two rather small, beady, black eyes. His hair had fallen out long ago and this, in his own estimation, just added a sophisticated look to his appearance that, up until that point, he had been lacking. Indeed, at five foot six inches tall and one hundred and ninety pounds, Plimpton looked like a small blue balloon, caught in a fan, as he wobbled this way and that, adjusting his goggles that of course immediately fogged up once he had put them on. The heat in the kitchen was almost unbearable.
He took the goggles, which were not like a chemist’s goggles but more like goggles you buy at the dollar store to swim in your back yard plastic kiddie pool, away from his eyes. He wiped the insides of them with the tip of his white butcher’s apron, though he never had the patience to properly learn a trade as skilled as that. No, Plimpton was a simple man who enjoyed the simple things in life. He liked a good cold beer in his hand, a good tune, perhaps something from the Doors playing on his record player in the living room next to his favorite chair, a lime green recliner that was moth eaten but, oh so comfortable. Plimpton also enjoyed watching his Bearded Dragon, Petunia, chase big, fat, black crickets across the kitchen floor, as she was doing now. The cricket’s chirps stopping abruptly as the chase began. She ran in an ancient manner, one that evolution had perfected, her short little legs flying out in front of her as she kept her body close to the floor. She flattened out like a sole when she was frightened, a natural but superfluous defense mechanism. Bearded Dragons have no teeth and are not aggressive. He liked that about Petunia. There was too much aggression in the world already.
He let the goggles hang below his scruffy, double chin, sparsely inhabited by long, scraggly, gray hairs that made him look like a cancerous old troll, and walked into the darkened living room from the open kitchen doorway. He lifted the soapy plastic lid to his Delco Electrolux record player and put the needle gently down onto a forty five of L.A Woman and, just as gently as he had opened it, shut the lid, turned the volume up just enough to where he thought he could hear it from the kitchen, and walked back in to continue his evening.
He approached the table and pulled two vinyl surgical gloves from out of a small cardboard box on the counter by the sink. He blew into the end of each powdered one and gingerly slipped them on his thick, stubby hands. He looked down at her, “How we doing?” He started to slowly sway with the music as it began to play. He loved Jim Morrison and the Doors. He loved everything about them, their music, their poetry, their youthful defiance of authority and most of all, their willingness to break on through. She mumbled something he couldn’t quite understand. “Oh goodness. I’m sorry,” he said bending over her thin, trembling naked body. “Let me get this for you.” He pulled the gauze from her mouth in a long, quick jerk. He had shoved several wadded up pieces down her throat when he had started in order to keep her from biting her tongue off, though he was very careful to make sure she could still breathe. That’s why he had put a tube in there as well. An ounce of prevention and all that, you know. He removed the tube as well.
“Why are you doing this?” She managed to whimper out. Her throat was sore and her lips were dry and cracked. Her green eyes could not focus on the details of the room. She must have been drugged and was still feeling the effects. There was no way for her to know how long she had been on his table, but it felt like hours. Her legs, though long and lean, were numb and her chest was on fire. She hoped that she was having a heart attack and all of this would be over soon. But she knew she wasn’t that lucky. If she was a lucky girl, she would never had gotten into his truck as she was walking. She would have called triple A and waited for the tow truck, but it had been a long hot day and she had just wanted to get home. She could always come back with her husband the next morning and change the flat. He would have had it done in no time, and none of this would have happened, but, she wasn’t that lucky. He looked down at her staring up at him. She was in fact quite beautiful by modern standards. She was young, not thirty years old yet. Her stomach was flat and her breasts were large. She obviously hadn’t had children yet, or at least if she had, she kept herself in good shape. Her manicured nails and styled short hair depicted a professional attitude. Perhaps she worked in an office. Maybe she was the boss. No matter. In this moment, he was God. She had the same scared, sad puppy dog look in her eyes that they all did. This is what sickened him the most. They were all beginning to be the same inside and out. One of these days he would find one that was different, but for now, he had to find out. He had to look. He just had too.
He loomed over her on the table and drew a small mark just above her eft breast with a black magic marker. He put the cap n with an assertive smack. “Why? Why? Why? Everyone asks why. Everyone wants to know why, but no one ever asks how. Nobody ever wonders how. Do you think this shit is easy? Hell no. It takes focus. It takes study. Not everybody can do a thing like this, I just make it look easy ‘cause I’ve done it so much. Why? Fuck Why. Ask me how. Go ahead, ask.” He stood back, chest heaving. That was a rant he didn’t expect to have, but it was smoldering inside the kitchen and it was late. He was getting tired and just wanted to finish up so he could go and lay down on the coolness of his bed in the darkness of his room. He calmed briefly and continued. “You know, I ended up putting dad’s heart into the freezer right next to mom’s. I knew those two would be together forever. They really loved each other. They were such a fun couple.
“You’re insane,” she croaked out through parched lips and a tongue covered in sawdust.
Plimpton put his goggles back on and grabbed the cleaver from the corner of the table at her feet. He smiled and winked, “Well, it’s all relative don’t ya know.”