STORIES

by Antoine Bargel

A Misunderstanding

“I like my character,” said the blind man to a can of beans, “after seventy-two years I still don’t own a pair of pants.”

“I’m over here,” I said with just a bit of scorn in my tone. I wasn’t going to tolerate any of the usual bullshit. That old refrain about being a free spirit, when one owes to society more than their miserable existence is ever capable of producing, brings a taste of ashes to my mouth.

“Why don’t you save us the trouble and take your own life? I have needles or pills, as you’d prefer, in my briefcase.”

The blind man still hadn’t measured the severity of his circumstance. Rather than heed the absolute intent of my speech, he elected to attempt a comical exit:

“Robert, don’t speak like this to your father. You know it makes me feel queasy. Bring me a banana milkshake.”

Such ludicrous tricks are often endeavored by individuals who understand that they are about to die. They try to personalize the interaction, however they can, hoping to draw humanity from the unfathomable depths of their prospective murderer. Tough luck: I possess no more of that sentiment than if I were made of steel and electronic parts, despite being entirely cellular, organic even. My genes have been free-range farmed, not floated in the infectious bean sacks of this banana lover.

“YOU KNOW WHERE YOU CAN STICK YOUR FUCKING BANANAS!” yelled I to express my disgust and, at the same time, bring the man back to reality. “I’m going to kill you if you don’t do it yourself,” I added in a raspy voice.

“Come on, Bobby, you know I’m going to die soon. Can’t you just wait a little more? Do you really have to have this money now?”

Of course. The whining stage. It pains me to mention, but almost all of them go through some form of lamentation, supplication, and unmitigated humiliation They will make up absolutely anything in the desperate hope of escaping their fate. I wish there were something I could do to improve this part of my job, which I find rather unpleasant. In truth, there is only one way to move on to the next phase, so I stick my fingers in his eye sockets and pull his head back against my chest.

“In the name of God, Robert, behave yourself!”

He still sounds like he thinks he’s my fucking father, so I slip my elbow under his head and snap his neck.