Busy Monsters

By WILLIAM GIRALDI  |  July 20, 2011

All this I appreciated. But I wouldn't have to worry about sneaking in after Marvin got home because Gillian had a key to his house. And I wasn't much concerned with an alarm because I figured a guy who owns an arsenal of firearms would feel protected aplenty.

The whole way down to Virginia, I listened to Nina Simone to comfort the shebang inside me. If I were a man given to the depth of philosophy, this would have been the time: more than eight hours in my cushioned car, a killer's knife tucked into my boot, on my way to commit a capital crime, all for the love of a woman and, sure, an uninterrupted existence. Of course I considered the law and my soul, but neither seemed very vital just then. I had thought about sad Macbeth and his dagger since I had spoken with the priest, but the story had stopped spooking me. Actually, I remembered some of the lines Amanda Jove had highlighted; the demented king was actually allowing me some courage:

"I have supped full with horrors. Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts, cannot once start me."

Indeed.

"I am in blood stepped so far."

What a boast.

"Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Still, my palms would not stop sweating; I had to slip on leather gloves just to grip the steering wheel. Then, an hour or so from Marvin's house, I spotted a billboard off the highway: See the Giant Squid. I slowed and made a mental note of the exit: 43. There was a painting of the red beast that made it look profligate, guilty of crimes greater than mine. Gillian would not have approved of this artistic rendition. The giant squid exhibit was a sign — right? — but of what I could not say. I don't make my way in the world in accordance with signs, though I'm sure the deities sometimes function that way, just not with me. One needs to be a pretty special person to receive a sign from on high, and despite some scant evidence to the contrary, Charles Homar is just not that special.

Darkness started and I did as Groot had instructed: drove a mile from the mailbox, parked at the far end of a recently built strip mall with the requisite drugstore, pizza place, and Chinese food joint. The frosty March night showed my breath to me; the emotions at my center were an assortment of the reptilian and numinous: you know, fear of the practical combined with spiritual certainty. What would a man like me think about walking a mile on that empty stretch of wilderness road, going to do the dastardly deed I had in mind? I tell you, insofar as it is possible for a person's cranium to be a void, mine was. There's no telling what the noises were in the empty cockpit of my mind. If I quivered, it was not solely from the chill of that strange Virginia gloaming, trees everywhere thick and spooky.

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