The Displacement Artist


07 Dec
07Dec

Another drive home after the deed is done. 

I say deed, it’s just my job. A little earner on the side. 

It is what I am paid to do so it is not an act of my choosing as such, just a necessary dirty job and as the old cliché goes, someone, has to do it. 

That someone, is me.

When I pull the switch, when I send those currents coursing through their body until dead, I maintain a calm steady easiness. It’s called being a professional. 

The first time I flipped the switch for some delinquent murderous psycho, well that was hard I must admit. Real hard. But then I thought why the fuck should he get a pardon or an easy ride in some cosy cute fucking prison? 

No sir, that son of a bitch broke into a convenience store and blew away a young college kid working behind the counter, before turning the gun on three customers. He killed two and crippled the other.

So uh, excuse me if I don’t shit it over that evil monster. 

Once it was over, the rest came easy. Logic kicked in you see?

These sick fucks deserve it. 

I can’t go around killing people like that, indiscriminately. Hell, I even worried for that first guy when he merited nothing. 

What a fool I was. 

Today was my twenty second execution and it was as uneventful as the others.

“Apart from the paintings.” 

Nice and easy, job done, while inside of me a cold calm takes over. 

That has been the way. I can retreat into my own sanity while the latest mad dog squirms and jives in his chair. Then nothing.

Some of them used to try screaming for mercy or sympathy, a last moment reprieve while others did nothing. It made little difference to me. 

A former friend of mine, Todd, he went all fancy on me, he said that some of these so called people have mental health problems. Talked of all sorts, fucking multiple personalities and schizosomething, I don’t know. 

Sounded like a load of pampering horse shit to me and it didn’t save those fucking victims did it? No sir. They are dead and then people like my former buddy have the cheek to say, ‘Eww, let’s look after em, let’s study them so we can see the why and what for.’ 

Waste of fucking time. 

We drifted after that conversation. He found himself a woman, had himself a son and daughter. I told him straight when visiting them one day, ‘Them kid’s best not ask to sit on my lap, I ain’t having that wife of yours shouting ooh wee look he’s a goddamn child fiddler!’ 

That’s the way of the world now. A man like me, hard working all his damned life, never harmed no one who didn’t deserve it, can be accused of all sorts while murderous freaks deserve our understanding and time? I can tell you who sounds crazy based on that. 

Well, now it’s just me and I’m fine with it. The more time I spend with people, the further out I feel. 

I used to have a beer with Todd a few nights each week, he’d come on over to the trailer and we’d laugh about them good ole days. We both started off in construction and we had a colourful life, let me put it that way. 

We could handle ourselves in any bar room brawl and we mixed it with the best of them. But, that as I say, that was before Todd got all educated on me or got to thinking, as he was fond of saying. ‘Oh hey, Randall, I got to thinking,’ he’d say before coming out with some new age bullshit or spewing some science jargon. 

He got to lecturing me about the death penalty, all these findings, talking about people with head injuries and traumas effecting their behaviour. Of retard kids who didn’t know no better and needed proper help. How we should help em and learn some, not execute them. 

He pleaded almost. Won’t you help them? Think about it, please? 

But I was so angry on the inside that I just switched him off. When I couldn’t switch him off, when his words started getting through somehow, well instead of killing the son of a bitch for the insults and downright impoliteness of lecturing me in my own trailer, I broke contact. Told him in so many words where to fucking go. 

I used to miss him on the nights after an execution, when we just chewed the shit and laughed about whatever. It was a nice distraction in a way, not that I needed it mind you for I was at peace, you understand.

So recently, after my work is done on nights like tonight, I get home and have me a few beers and smokes…then I get to painting. 

Strangest thing, I don’t actually remember the painting part but the colour filled canvas is there in the morning alright. I have me quite the collection now. 

It’s like I switch off altogether, don’t think a goddamned thing. Like I don’t exist. I’ve no idea if the paintings are any good, I don’t much care really. They give me something and that is what counts, although, I’ve no idea what. 

“It’s called displacement behaviour, Randall.” 

You get to fuck Todd. 

Some friend, not content enough to ruin our friendship he’s also left some of himself in my head. 

He’s not the only one in there digging around neither. Todd will be quiet once I get in and set up for painting. 

Only slight problem I have these days, is these paintings of mine sort of scare me some. Sounds silly I know but when I first started painting them, I barely cared or looked at them. Not for long anyways. Just a glance for a short while then I’d tuck them under the bed. 

But not now. I get up in the morning and stare at them for ages. They looked other worldly to me and this morning, before driving off, I put them altogether and they seem to make a bigger picture. 

Made me nervous looking at it for a while before I put them from my mind and had me a liquid breakfast. 

“They are coming for you, Randall…” 

Shut the fuck up, Todd. 

“You were always a useless dirty faggot, I should have buried you at birth.” 

I don’t like that voice. Daddy was a bad man, he may have killed Ma. I can’t be sure, I just used to hear scraping from the basement or her ‘special place,’ and Daddy used to smile, especially when I told him the scraping had stopped one day. 

I pull up in the park, everyone is sleeping or passed out. None of them aware of the work I’ve done this night.  It is challenging to be an unsung hero. 

I get inside and grab me my beers, time to get through the twelve pack and see what comes out on canvas tonight. When I put them all together this morning, those paintings, and I don’t wish to dwell on this too long…but all the dark swirls and smudged blood finger prints, the blossoming explosions and black wavering lines, all made sense. The paintings covered the entire side of the wall. 

As I stare at them now, paint at the ready and as the beer softens my anxieties, those swirls almost dance in front of me. 

“Let’s paint me some more, Randall.” I always hear that layered voice before I lose myself and… 

                                                                  * 

My word, where are my manners. I fell away again. 

I warned you, once the painting starts I just about disappear. 

My head bang’s like a fucking a drum. What did I produce last night I wonder? 

I don’t have to look far, its right up there on the wall with the others, and boy it completes the picture alright. There they are, the dead ones, those I killed in the name of law and justice. 

I know it is them because of the sound they make. 

On my wall, looms a large bent head and face with enormous fluid charcoal eyes and an eternal mouth. Its stretching as I tell you of this, that mouth is a hole leading to somewhere just awful. I can smell that place from my trailer and it is wrong. 

I burn the lot. Trash, nasty trash. 

Think I’m going to drink some more once this headache passes. It’s a doozy, like someone crammed my heart into my skull. 

“Maybe the thing on the wall did just that.” 

Todd again. Why won’t he just fuck off for good? 

“You’d have to have a heart to begin with I guess.” 

Fuck this, I’m going for a walk. The woods, the air is clear there and free of noise…and of Todd. 

I feel better already, the banging in my temples is easing and I’m starting to feel fresh. No more bullshit voices. 

Sat here deep among the trees, I feel peace. 

A twig snaps behind me and wakes me. 

I know it’s no animal. I can tell because of the way my skin feels. Swallowing seems real hard and the woods are too dark as I turn around to see what lurks.

It’s the thing from my painting, the way it moves brings on nausea. 

It shifts on unseen legs that must be broken or deformed, dragging soundlessly along the forest floor in awkward yet precise movements. It tilts that long head to the side, staring at me. 

I stare right back. 

“You need to fucking run, Randall. This ain’t no displacement episode. That thing is real.” 

Fuck you, Todd. I’ll stay right where I am, you know nothing. Never did, you snowflake.

The thing shifts around me, closing the space as it circles. The air crackles with an electricity, coming up from the ground beneath me in pulses. I can feel the vibrations. 

“Maybe you’ll see Mama again, Randall, you little fuck. Say hello to the dumb slut and keep her warm for me won’t you. Daddy is going to be along in no time at all.” 

You stay out of this Pa! 

The head remains tilted as it gets closer. 

Too close. I see the giant holes where eyes should be while that mouth, that gaping horrendous mouth is filled with swirling rows of teeth. Only, its teeth are needles, endless rows of them chomping down and releasing some sort of solution in amidst its own blood filled lacerations. 

I’m screaming. 

The space between us closed and it is upon me. 

I don’t want to die alone out here. 

This thing will open me up. 

Won’t you help me? 

Please? 


The End

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