We were lying in bed.
I was under the blanket and you were not. This is ordinary. This is normal. This is good.
My mind a robot. A bee a robot. Language a robot. Keep calm. These things come in threes, come in waves,let them wash over.
Language bee. Death bee. Together bee.
I asked you when you think you first realized death existed, which is not the same thing as the first time you actually realized death existed.
But it's a placeholder.
You were very late in noticing death.
This worried me at first. Then I was jealous.
I was half your age when I started to think about death.
Probably you are wrong. Probably you knew much earlier. But probably you were indifferent in that survivalist way of yours.
Do you think it's people talking about death or more seeing it? I mean the thing that makes it real to a child.
You weren't sure and really didn't care.
Possibly it was when I became a killer. Possibly it was me as a very small human killing a thing. A bug or something. Or seeing something kill something. Because killing is pretty natural to a child. Or maybe it was an animal I saw attacked in a documentary, where death is considered educational. Like Bambi. "Behave because your mother could die any day." A world of hunters. PBS? Or maybe a cat next to you on the floor where you lived as a small human being, since small human beings live mostly on the floor. Or a cat killed a bug that stopped moving. Or a bug your brother stepped on. Someone on t.v. being graphically murdered. "Why isn't this thing moving anymore?" Put it in your mouth because now it looks like food. Listen to your mother scream.
On t.v., they talk about kids who saw their mom or dad murdered. Or saw the aftermath. When they were two or three years old. Many adult killers think it doesn't matter, since the kid can't explain what he saw to police or himself or anyone else. It's like leaving a dog or cat with a fucked-up mind at the scene of a murder. They're eternal three-year-olds too.
Some killers seem to take delight in leaving images like those trapped in a child's mind.
One mother was stabbed to death and lay on the living room floor for several days while her three year old walked all around her and tracked her blood through the house. He'd go get food that he could reach. He'd vacuum with his toy vacuum cleaner. Vacuum through the bloody carpet and trace her shape like an evidence technician. Spill Bugles from a box onto her body and into her congealed blood soaked into their thick green carpet.
Finally someone opens the front door.
I told you I think what I remember was a circus and an earthquake. On television. News report.
I believe it was an earthquake in Romania (how am I even remembering this?) and my mother tried to explain it to me. Many had died since they were at the circus. Many were small children.
Like Voltaire after the Lisbon earthquake, I had questions.
My mother threw her hands in the air. She was mentally ill and God kept her busy in other ways than explanations, which she found difficult then.
I also remember a woman hanging from a crossbeam. Maybe this was a dream. It was around the same time as the earthquake and circus memory. Maybe it was also on t.v. I remember her hanging there and her head crooked to one side and her expression. I think it might have been a horror show that came on at night.
I remember after I had internalized these images,a weird transference occurred. I began to be afraid of the plastic bottle of laundry detergent in the basement.
The woman on the bottle of Downy in the basement reminded me of the woman who had been hanged or had hung herself. I have no idea why. Maybe she physically resembled. Maybe it was the way the woman on the bottle was swathed, hidden, and peered out mysteriously with a disturbing smile.
I knew she wasn't coming back except as images. I think that was the horror getting through right there.
Our basement was dark and dank with a concrete floor and its cinderblock walls were painted a pale luna moth green.
I think I was four. I remember the terror I'd experience when I saw the bottle. How I'd run upstairs.
She's no longer on the bottle.
Death is laundry.
I suppose that does make a kind of sense. Everyone is forced to do laundry when someone dies.
You told me that this is exactly the sort of thing you'd expect me to say. Since I'm crazy.