This story is by Mike Conradt and was part of our 2019 Summer Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Silence. It swept across the room like a fast-moving flood giving the air an unnerving heaviness. Marisa and Chris stood quietly with their mouths open, while Jason showed little emotion. Their faces grew pale not comprehending the event which just happened. It was beyond their grasp. A firecracker sound and then silence.
Alan lies dead on the living room floor of the well-kept apartment. He had just arrived and while Jason, arriving earlier, immediately started an argument with Alan. It escalated into a shouting, then a shoving altercation. Chris tried to intervene. Too late. Jason pulled the .22 caliber derringer, put it to Alan’s forehead and pulled the trigger. Alan fell dead instantly, eyes still open. Chris backed away. Marisa stared in shock.
Slowly Marisa put her hands to her face and utter a low guttural sound. She felt like screaming but nearly fainted. She took a deep breath and then was quiet. Chris turned to look at both Jason and Marisa then back to the floor. His breathing rapid and difficult. Jason looked casually on, then a small almost indiscernible smile come across his face.
Jason turned, and smiling broadly said; “Well, well what have we here.” He started to walk across the room looking at the body then turned and looking at Marisa and Chris said. “You look astonished, scared, are you?” Marisa turned and looked at Jason with eyes of horror. Jason just smiled.
“Good riddance.” Jason said in a loud voice, “He deserved it.”
“But Alan was your friend and our friend too.” Said Chris turning toward Jason.
Jason walked closer to Marisa and Chris, a kind of a saunter, his face authoritative. He stopped in front of the body and nudged it with his foot. Still soft. No blood from the wound or very little. Easy cleanup, getting rid of the body, not so easy. They had friends coming over later for drinks and, oh yes, the ever-popular football game would be on.
Jason, now on his haunches studied the body. He looked up at Marisa and Chris questionably. Finally, He smiled and calmly said, “What do we do with the body?” He seemed perplexed. Suddenly out of answers. Almost absentmindedly he muttered quietly as if to himself. “Jo and Marty will be arriving soon. This cannot be here when they arrive.” Marisa looked at him in complete horror. A killing in their apartment and now a body to dispose of. She began to shake losing her ability to speak.
Chris mind was numb. He looked at the body lying on the floor. He wanted to run but where. Guests would be coming soon and he…. he had no idea what to do. He bowed his head and at times felt like he would faint. He needed composure and there was none.
Jason went over and sat down on the couch smiling. “The decision is up to you two.” He said, “Do we leave the body on the floor, cut him up or hide him.” Laughing He got up. Slowly walked to the body and bending down closed Alan eyes. Then standing up with a maniacal smile said. “We don’t want him to see what we are doing, now do we.” Jason started to laugh.
Marisa now fighting for control said: “I know what I am going to do, I am calling the police.”
“I wouldn’t do that.” said Jason. “with all that weed you have in the closet, yea, dealers, a drug deal gone bad is what they will think. I will even vouch for that.” Screamed Jason. Chris and Marisa looked at Jason, frighten, their heads clouded, commonsense thinking skewed. “I have an idea.” Said Jason a little calmer, “let’s stand him up behind the drapes, or we could set him up in a chair like he’s passed out.” Jason laughed, “wouldn’t that be something. He’s a real life of the party.” He laughed even harder, barely able to contain himself.
“You’re crazy.” Yelled Marisa. “Your propensity to violence goes beyond my comprehension.” Chris grabbed her and held her in his arms. She turned and buried her face in his shoulder as she sobbed uncontrollably. “I don’t believe what I am hearing.” Said Chris. “Well,” said Jason, “we have better be thinking of something because Marty and Jo will be here soon.” He laughed and walked around the room, looking for some inconspicuous place to put a body. Alan wasn’t tall, but short and skinny so it shouldn’t be hard. “I have a great idea,” said Jason, the couch has a pull-out bed doesn’t it, I know it has, I slept on it before, what if,” he trailed off and smiled at Chris and Marisa then started laughing.
“Oh no, no, no.” cried Marisa, “you are not putting him there. What kind of a monster are you?” Chris was speechless. Marty and Jo will be arriving soon. He pulled Marisa closer. He felt a sense of panic or craziness overwhelming him. He whispered in Marisa’s ear, “we have to do something, we don’t want Marty or Jo to see this.” Marisa sobs became more intense, losing her sanity would be a gift from God.
Finally, Jason walked over pulled the sleeper out of the couch and turned to Chris. “Well, are you just going to stand there, help me.” Said Jason. “Chris, don’t you dare help him.” Cried, Marisa. Chris stood still, staring at Jason. “Fine, I will do it myself.” Said Jason sarcastically. He picked up Alan by the feet and drug him to the couch. Then pulling out the sleeper he hoisted Alan, feet first into the couch. He shut the sleeper, looked the couch over and noticed it looked a little lumpy. He sat on the couch trying to smooth it out. Jason laughed. “Nothing like smoothing out the lumps eh Marisa,” Marisa said nothing.
The doorbell buzzed and everybody froze. Finally, Jason said, “Well, answer the door.” Reluctantly Chis opened it and invited Jo and Marty in. Jason smiled and said’ “A big Hello to you all.” As he waved his arm. “Hi, how is everybody.” Said Marty.
“Fine.” Said Chris solemnly. “There’s beer in the cooler Marty, how about you Jo, what you like. Who else needs a drink?”
Jason piped up, “I’ll take one, only make mine a bourbon on the rocks. It has been a tough day. Chris gave him a dirty look.
Marisa grabbed the bottle of wine from the cooler next to the couch and poured her and Jo a glass. She was shaking so much she could barely hit the glass while she poured. Jo came over.
“You ok.” Asked Jo.
“Yea,” said Marisa. “It’s just a bad day.” She did not comment any further for fear of collapsing. Jo could sense the thickness in the air. Nothing felt right; something was wrong. She went over to Marty’s side, listening to the men talk. The conservation was limited, and Jason was being boisterous, more so than usual. It was small talk, about sports. She looked at Marty and tried, without saying anything, to convey her uncomfortable feeling. Marty looks at her and failed to comprehend. But Marty did think Chris and Marisa could more hospitable.
Finally, Jason said, “Let’s all have a seat. I am a little tired with all this standing around.”
Marty looked around. “Say where is Alan?” he asked, “I thought he was coming.”
“Oh, He’s here.” Said Jason and began to laugh.
“He is, where?” asked Marty.
“Sit on the couch and let me tell you.” Said Jason starting to laugh a little harder.
To the astonishment of Marisa and Chris, Jo and Marty sat down on the couch. Chris stood frozen while Marisa began to shake.
“So is Alan here?” asked Marty as he moved around trying to get comfortable. “This couch seems to be a little lumpy Chris.”
Jason started to laugh hysterical, to the point of nearly collapsing on the floor. Marty looked at him with some uncertainty. Chris turned and looked out the window. His mind started to wonder, just wondering about nothing. He was numb, both in body and mind. Finally, he said, “Yes Alan is here.”
“Where?” asked Marty.
“Oh, he’s inside the couch.” Said Chris still staring out the window.
“Inside the couch?” Said Marty curiously.
“You are sitting on him.” Laughed Jason. “don’t you get it, he’s dead.”
Marty and Jo looked at each other, not quite comprehending. Nothing was moving in the couch, but it felt…like lumpy. Jason laughed uncontrollably. Suddenly Jo and Marty went stiff, unable to move. Marisa, in shock, dropped her wine. Jason’s laughter rose to a level of hysteria. While Chris wondered what kind of bird that was outside on the windowsill. Silence.