Don’t invest in the character of Ken MacGregor – he’s gonna die. Horribly so. I’ll introduce him to you nonetheless, but as I shall imminently be discarding him, so should you.
It’s Experimental Fiction 101, here – and Ken’s the ideal subject. He is, quite simply, a guy who dies in the end. There’s no twist – hell, there’s scarcely a plot. There’s barely even a writer for this one, being that I’m leathered and stuffed on JD and Diet Coke and fat fuck pizza. Extra cheese. Pepperoni and streaky bacon. BBQ chicken. You can picture it, right? If it died, it’s on there.
Can’t … move. Undoing … belt. Pants … coming off.
Aaaand … that’s better.
Don’t get me wrong -he’s all right, is Ken. This isn’t a vengeance gig; he hasn’t done anything to me. Not really. But I just don’t trust writers. They get up to all kinds of weird shit. Some of ’em stink. I have Ken right here with me now, as it happens – and he’s about to become a funny smell in my basement.
I’d always wondered how best to kill someone. Or, more specifically, how to kill someone and get away with it. Yeah, there’s the whole Do Not Get Fucking Caught thing, but could I get away from guilt? Would I be able to live with myself? And after minutes of turmoil, I decided that yes, I would. Yes, I could. If I could get a story out of it, I could live with anything.
I can do whatever I like, really -the Ken is my oyster. And it’s not like he’s gonna nick the idea off me, is it? Dead writers can’t plagiarise. But should I slaughter first and stick it in a story later? Or do I sit there and make lists of possible hows and whens, before doing the actual killing thing? Either way, I know this: if I’m gonna give it the works, I need to prepare for potential spanners.
This means I’ve had to prepare. Now, as anyone who knows me … erm … knows, I don’t plan ANYTHING. Every single fucking thing I do has to be wung. And winging it has got me this far already: I have the weapon, I have the set-up, I have the victim. I just need to go through with it. And I will go through with it. And you will learn to embrace my love of italics (you’ll soon come to appreciate my love of parentheses, too – but I might save that for next time).
It may help if you learn a little bit about the fucker first. I mean – it’s not like I need you in my corner, but y’know –exposition and shit.
Ken’s penchants for communal dogging, sausage-baiting, and swinging with pestilential lardboys aside, he does have a few features which might, if you are forgiving and open-minded, ultimately be considered redeeming. Good Dad, I’m told. Pretty decent husband, I understand – aside from the whole lardy unfaithfulness gig. But have you seen those pictures of him? Every third photo has him grinning like he’s just slowly peeled off someone’s face. And in every second one, he looks like he’s about to eat the peelings. And yeah, I’m well aware that this puts me in a potentially dangerous sitch, but STORY. Stay with me, guys.
All I know is that currently, Ken’s arse is tied to a chair. You won’t catch me describing the thing for seventeen pages – it’s just a fucking chair. Doesn’t matter which type of wood it’s made from, or which room he’s in, or whatever the fuckever he’s tied to the chair with. You don’t need to know about the sounds the chair legs make as they scrape across the floor (we’re talking Chewbacca, by the way).
Neither do I need to tell you about the chinks in the vertical blinds that hang from the tiny basement window enabling rays of light to illuminate particular segments of the floorboards. And I definitely don’t want to ramble on for sixteen pages about the temperature of the room just so I can crowbar in some imagery about visible breath. Because atmospheric, yeah? You can picture it, right? Let’s move on.
Although I’ve gagged the fucker, the volume of his silence speaks … well, volumes. He knows he’s got it coming, the twat. And I’ll tell you the exact kind of twat he is.
I’m reminded of that time we were in the pub down the road. Well, one of the times we were in that pub down the road. Him, me, and his favourite barmaid. Huge Jugs McGinty, they called her. It wasn’t the most inventive of nicknames, but there it was. You can pitcher her, right?
We were having a pint or six. I was on the blackstuff, and he was necking whatever the cheapest ale was that day. That’s precisely how he used to ask for it, as it happens. Jugs’d ask him “what’s yours, fella?” and he’d go “cheapest and nastiest.” Didn’t care. Liked his ale like he liked his women: cheap, wet, hoppy, fermented, and I’ve forgotten where I was going with this. Oh, right – yeah: Ken being a twat.
In between burps, (he could belch for Britain) he was perving at Jugs and getting all melancholy. Telling me how beautiful his ex-girlfriend had been. As in WAS. Used to be. Had been. She was no more. Probably coz he’d killed her in the fucking woods or something. Fucking psycho.
“Long blonde hair, she had. Just like Jugs over there. Right down to the waist, it was. Looked like Brigitte Bardot, she did. Of course, that was three decades ago. She doesn’t look like that now.”
Of course, I had to ask. I was going in. “What’s she look like now?”
What a twat.
Bit of a punbotherer, too. Jesus – enough, already! Leave. The. Words. ALONE! And he’s such a wanker about it. He once wrote a whole story just so he could crowbar in some wordplay at the end. E-mailed it to me in some kind of passive-aggressive pun-off, the weirdo. You should’ve seen it. A great big high-falutin’ rootin’ tootin’ convoluted set-up, with a cheap little gag as the payoff, which he’d clearly used as inspiration for the whole sorry story. I mean – who does that?
This is the sort of stuff that distinguishes yer average hacks from the literary geniuses. Not that you’d care – none of the dude’s characters are likeable. He swears like a motherfucking cuntdragger, which, as I am sure you are aware, is highly unoriginal and shows a clear disrespect for the beauty of the English language. All that shit tends to do is expose how bollocks a writer you really fucking are. But I know you know this. And you know this because I know this. And so does he – but he continues to write shite.
Not for him the kind, well-rounded characters you can get on board with, either. He prefers the self-loathing sort of protagonists– y’know, those completely unsaleable sorts of stories about horrible people who keep pigs and kidnap children. Yo, kids – come and see my puppies.
But this is all good. All these weirdnesses are good. It meant that getting hold of him was easy. I know his sort – they’re unashamed promotion-whores, that lot, so all I really needed to do was lure him over to my place in a not-so-easily-turndownable and most definitely lurey way. Easy: Yo, Ken. Come and see my bookshelf. You’re on it.
Every writer loves being beshelved right next to their heroes, so I messed with alpha-order and fucked the OCD off for a day. In between Dan Brown and EL James he went – y’know – proper writers, like. Ten copies of the same MacGregor. Can’t remember the title – something like Chainsaw Slaughter in the Fucking Woods While Grinning Like a Madman or something like that. Or maybe it was Death by Eviscerating Someone Really Fucking Slowly (and over-writing about it).
I had to do a bit of track-covering –all the obvious things– to make sure I wouldn’t be linked to him. Went through his phone. Turned off the location thing. Deleted all our messages. Lined my walls with polythene, and other As-Seen-on-TV sorts of things. Ad-libbed an ad-hoc alibi and posted it on social media. He, of course, about to be dead ‘n’ all, won’t be telling anyone about our little rendezvous – but I’ll nick his phone later and make some shit up about his being in fucking Chicago or Bognor bleedin’ Regis or wherever the fuckever.
All that hard work was merely scene-setting, if you will. Everything’s better when I just sit back, smell the Ramen, and see what happens –and how. I never felt satisfied at dinner parties unless I’d scratch-made the sauces, hand-kneaded the bread, and caked the cakes. The fact I hadn’t laid the eggs myself used to bother the shit out of me.
I just needed to see if it could be done – and how well. Will it be a good story? I don’t even know. But finding out is the exciting thing. And I get to make my first kill. The great thing about writers – well, ‘writers,’ is that their evil hides in plain sight. Some of ‘em bounce around on social media for a laugh and post shit like “tonight’s exploits included slitting a woman’s throat and burying a guy alive.” I fuckwithyou not – they could confess to all kinds of shite on there and no-one’d bat an eyelid.
Ken’s Facebook page was exactly like that. Aside from the psycho photos, he’d go into detail about every single fucking thing he was writing. Word counts, the lot. He went into this whole fucking diatribe once, about how he’d just strangled someone in their bed, sliced ‘em up in the bathroom, minced ‘em, cooked ‘em, ate ‘em. He had all these hangers-on going, “yeah, maaaan. Sounds great. Can’t wait to read it.” Hmm. ‘Read.’ Yeah – sure. Coz it’s just a ‘story.’ Fucking psycho.
Now, I suppose I’d better get down to it. You wanna read the gory bits, right? Well, there are many interesting ways to explain how Ken lives to death. Because I will kill him. He does die in the end, I promise you.
He knocked on the doorbell (yes, really – he’s THAT weird) at 9 this morning – bang on time. Made a beeline for the bookshelf, exactly as anticipated. Offered him a coffee, but his stinkin’ hip flask told me to fuck off. I dunno what was in that thing, but it caused him to cough up his metatarsals.
Once he’d recovered, and once I’d wiped all the phlegm off my face, we made some lame-arse chit-chat about nothing, and exchanged photos of our kids. Except neither of us could be arsed looking at the pics. I was more interested in killing the bastard, and, if truth be told, his grinning eyes said he probably had a similar idea in mind. But about me. Just to be clear.
And whilst he was ogling himself in the mirror that was my bookshelf, I realised I had to get in first, seeing how I didn’t wanna be minced and munched like one of his ‘characters.’
Hiding in plain sight made it soooo fucking easy to nab the twat, though. I told him to take a pew, in the creepiest room in the house (under the house, really, but whatevz). I suggested this would be the ideal place to torture someone – it’s virtually sound-proof, comes complete with slop bucket and mop, and there’s even one of those old coal chutes for chucking food down or whatever. You could hole someone up in here for months, I said. Telling it like it is has always been kinda my thing – and with Ken, it was like a double-dog bluff or something.
Horror writers are the easiest prey of all. You can bring ‘em down to a rank, fithy basement, expose the makings of their imminent doom, and they still won’t get it. It just doesn’t click. In their minds, they’re going “ooh – great setting for my next story,” or “I wonder how—”
And that was it. As soon as I saw him drifting off into author mode, annotating the pages of his brain, I was in. Didn’t need any sedatives, needles, or knocker-outers; writers do tend to become lost in their own worlds. But Ken was about to be found. This would be the making of him; he’d snuff it in a way that only he could be proud of.
“Sit here. D’ya think this’d make a good starting point for a torture porn piece?”
He nodded –with just his weird fucking eyes alone– and sat down. You know – in the chair. The chair whose ropes dryly anticipated his fleshy limbs.
“Lemme see if it works for real. You see it in movies all the time– people strapped up, strapped down, or whatever. See if you can get out of this.”
He couldn’t. Ken being Ken, though, he didn’t panic. (What? I did tell you he was a proper weirdo.) We just sat and had a right old chinwag –me, eager to get started, he, calm as anything. I could sense he had a story brewing. He was glazed over in the way writers get –I could almost hear his brain ticking.
And then came the cloth. I’d had enough of listening to his bullshit.
As he sat, gagged, he thought. And as he thought, he wept. And as he wept, I moved around him and swept away the cuttings of his skin; beautiful outcomes from the first hundred slices. I had never intended to simply de-hair him; I wanted to shave his legs. I’d fashioned a device somewhere in between razor and vegetable-peeler and it worked pretty much first time. Okay, maybe there were a few tentative grazings where I was working up the confidence. I think it was that which knocked him out, to be fair – poor love.
And, to my delight, I discovered there’s skin-under-skin-under-skin. I’m no expert, but if you’re an anythingologist or near a computer that serves Google on tap, you can look up all the different dermises. Dermi? Anyway. That wasn’t gonna kill him, though, was it? That was just gonna make a hell of a mess. Which it did.
Blood gushed out and dripped down and settled on the ropes that once were white – the bindings that kept him still. Ish. I mean – there was a bit of twitching and stuff. Whimpering and whining and shit. What a waste of good blood, though. I did feel a little guilty – like I should be collecting it for the needy or something. If only this was some kind of quaint old abbatoir – I could have collected it for black pudding. Mind you, there was the distinct absence of pig piss, so I guess not. I still managed to take some notes about his bleeding habits, though. These would be the word-spatter patterns I would use in future; first-hand experience for second-hand stories.
But this was not how he would die. He would die in the simplest of ways. Death, swiftly quick or quickly swift, in the punniest of ways. Once the skin had gone, there would be no more hardly any gore, no punky splitter-splatter, just a good old-fashioned gun and a pun.
The weapon came from another writer. It had to – I don’t know weapons. I don’t DO guns. I was even talking to a bunch of people about what you even call the buggers. Guns, pistols, whatever, they’re all the same to me. I’m a peaceful fatherfucker, what can I say?
So yeah – I’ll just call it a gun. It works. It goes BANG, and that’s all I care about. Ain’t gonna go pretending I know shit about ballistics only to have some expert come and dissect my research in a blow-by-blow critique of how shit this fucking story is, and how holey the plot holes are. What has two thumbs and doesn’t give a crap what you think?
So yeah – back to the imminent corpse. He’s currently sitting there, out of his tree and off his face. Which is … erm … hanging off. I think it’s the bloodlessness that’s keeping him zonked, to be honest. Exsanguination for the nation.
SO we’re kinda coming to the end now. Which is about fucking time- I’ve been killing him for way over a year now. Just been waiting for the perfect method, that’s all. The perfect ending. Which kinda sucks, because in order to kill him like he truly deserves, I had to keep him alive first. Twelve months’ worth of promises. Every day, I would tell him, “I’ll kill you tomorrow,” so he’s had a year’s worth of last days. Kinda gracious of me, don’t ya think?
And coz he was a bit of a writer, I owed him a bit of respect – I had to give him the perfect ending. And this was his. This is his.
The bullet shoots through his head, an apparent nanosecond after I pull the trigger. He is an ex-Ken.
As I go to inspect his squishy, bloody corpse, I make sure my notebook devours every last detail. I’m gonna be a writer one day, you see. Not like him, with his fucking dreadful puns and shit. I’m gonna be a proper writer. I’m even gonna have one of those Facebook pages with AUTHOR in front of my name, and make thousands of friends. And then I’ll add them all to the Linda Angel Fan Group.
It’s interesting, this. I can see all sorts of voids where little things had stood in the way of the spray. Even the light bulb has a new means of illumination – a fine frosting of red diffuses its output. This is exciting stuff!
I didn’t know a single head could cover so much space. It’s fascinating, really. I’ll put it all together later, once I’ve washed him down. I’ll make sure I treat him right, so don’t worry. He can stay here for a while – a living (ok, deceased, but you know what I mean) experiment to serve the good of mankind. Well, writerkind. It can be like one of those body farms they have in Tennessee or some shit. This is where I learn the science. And it’ll be me on that bookshelf soon enough.
The bullet is the most interesting thing. What’s left of it, that is. It’s a bit knackered and gnarled now, of course, having been through that weird fucking head and out the other side. It’s brought with it some gooey red-and-white shit, some scalp, and a bunch of hairs. It’s the most appropriate ending for the man who loved to pun and lived to die.
The bullet that killed Ken had his mane on it.