The Impressionists #4 - One Night Only
Here's an extract from the fourth short story from The Impressionists. This one is entitled "One Night Only." In it, Denny, a prisoner on death row in an Alabama State Penitentiary spends his final moments reviewing his career as a serial killer in an interview with himself.
One Night Only
I know you can hear me. You’re not so good at pretending, either…I saw ya flinch on the last one.
How thick d’ya figure that glass is then? Thick enough to stop me? Probably. Not so thick as to stop my voice gettin through, though, is it? Your little jump gave that away.
Come to think of it, this place is probably more miked and wired than a fuckin TV studio. Mike’s everywhere, right? I bet even your name’s Mike. No wonder you jumped. Bet my voice was really loud, eh? Mike?
How about if I whisper? Is this better? Can you hear me now?
How about that, eh? All this just for me. The lights, the microphones…my very own little stage on which to give the performance of a lifetime.
One night only, of course.
So, come on, ask me some questions. Go ahead, fire away...or should that be stab away? No...nothing? Cat got ya tongue? All right, I'll ask 'em for ya.
So, Denny, how exactly did you come to find yourself in your current circumstances?
Well, that’s a very good question and I’m very glad you asked it. You see, Mike…can I call you Mike?...thank you…the thing is, Mike, I killed some people, you see…quite a number of people, as a matter of fact, and, well, you see, these other people found it, uh…how shall I put it?...un-ac-cept-a-ble.
I see. That’s fascinating. And how many people did you kill, exactly?
Exactly? No one knows…except me. And I’m not telling.
Sorry…that goes to the grave. Secret. We all have one or two we take with us, don’t we?
Yes, yes indeed. So tell me about the first time.
The first time, the first time, yes, yes, yes…well, well, well…the first time, yes, well, I’d been thinking about it, you see – about killing someone – for quite some time. Quite some time. Years, as a matter of fact. And then one day I just decided to do it, just because I could, and…because I wanted to know what it felt like, and because I had the ability and the intellectual curiosity, and because…well, I think it’s fairly safe to assume I was probably having a bad day.
But you knew it was wrong, Denny?
Wrong? What’s wrong? It’s only wrong if you choose to call it wrong. Same as right. Someone decides what’s called wrong and what’s called right. They just give it a name. They say that that’s wrong and that’s right, that’s yours and that’s mine. Doesn’t mean they’re right. It’s just a choice. Look at him in there – he’s about to kill me, and what’s more he’s being paid to do it by the same people who say what I did was wrong. So you tell me? And no one paid me. And I wouldn’t say he looks particularly bothered about it either, would you? Look at him, shuffling around in there like he had all day.
Hey!...Hey!...HEY! I DON”T HAVE ALL DAY!