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The Mind Of John List
I never wanted to hurt anyone. It was just for fun. I never thought that I would become an insane and disgusting criminal, but I lost my mind trying to get it back.
Everyone goes crazy for a little bit, but I never thought that I would have been stuck in that mental state of mind for that long. I stopped caring, stopped believing in happiness, and stopped believing in other people. My wife would kiss me on my neck, and I would slap her away because I didn’t care that she tried to care. I was sick of her complaining about how we were going bankrupt and it was my fault because I was unemployed. I was sick of all the little annoying things she would do; especially when she would try to convince me her eyes were blue when they were so clearly gray. I was sick of knowing that I was causing my family pain. But knowing is different than caring. I didn’t care, I just cared that I knew. My kids stopped paying attention to me, probably because I stopped paying attention to them. I made sure that our family appeared to be normal and happy, and I made sure that my family felt normal and happy. It would be easier that way. It seemed as if everything I had was falling apart, and I didn’t want to fix it anymore. So I did what any man would. I did what was best.
The kids were gone at school, and in the kitchen my wife was making coffee for us. Ironic how the woman dies in her kitchen. The place that she feels most safe and comfortable. I’m so clever sometimes.
She called my name and I didn’t respond because I was in the middle of loading my gun. I ignored her, and after a while she gave up and became silent. So I crept downstairs and saw her sipping on her coffee, while I kept my gun hidden.
“Hey baby,” she said with a gentle smile on her face. Funny how people never know what is going to come next.
I stared at her and didn’t respond. Her smile eventually faded and she looked concerned, like she had been for the past month. She kept saying that I was acting different, and I knew she was going to say it again.
“What is wrong, John? Please talk to me. I want to help.” She walked over to me and put her hand on my neck, like she always would. She would let her fingers play in my hair, and I would sigh. I loved the feeling of her touching me when I was tense. I took a deep breath and looked into her eyes one last time, and I saw something that I never allowed myself to believe. Her eyes. They were blue like she always claimed. They were blue.
Everyone will think I killed my mother in the kitchen, but I didn’t want her to watch my wife suffer first. So I killed her while she was upstairs. I know people probably wonder how I could have killed the woman who raised me, but obviously she didn’t do a very good job. But I didn’t want her to have to live with the fact that her entire family was murdered and I was her own boy who did it. She would have wanted to be dead with them, so I had to take care of that.
I walked upstairs and I opened her bedroom door. I didn’t let her say anything to me, but she saw the gun in my hand. I saw her struggle to put words together, but she knew that I wasn’t going to even listen. I thought of all the things we did together when I was a kid. I thought of how mom and dad would always fight and I would always have to listen to them. I thought of the terrible meals she would make for dinner, if she made anything at all. I thought of the way she would spend all of her money on alcohol. I thought about the times she made me worry if she would ever wake up. I thought about the fact that she made my father leave me. I thought about the times she made me go to work because she was too lazy to do anything on her own. I thought about how she took away my childhood before I was even ten. I thought and then thought no more. I didn’t want to think anymore, so I aimed and I watched as she slammed onto the floor into the most uncomfortable looking position. I will pick you up later, mother, don’t worry.
I went into the shower and I felt the water beat against my back in a continuous rhythm. I watched as my family’s blood danced down the drain. I let the shower absorb me and I let my mind run. I felt the water droplets talking to me as they ran down my ear. I was going mad, and I liked it. I thought of my mother and my wife and I started to giggle. I touched my chest to remind myself that this was real. I got out of the shower and dressed myself, like I would on any ordinary day. I went to the bank and took out my mother’s savings. This would help me later.
Next was Patricia, my beautiful sixteen year old daughter. How funny it was when the boys would always come over to the house with flowers, asking to see my beautiful daughter. I loved the way she would have a different boyfriend each week, because at least someone in my family was loved. Not only was she loved, but she believed in love. How could anyone believe in something like that? After a while, love just fades. Poor and innocent Patricia, if only you knew that you don’t know anything.
It was about noon, and I was on my way to pick her up at school. I was thinking about her current boyfriend, Mike, and how she claimed she actually cared about this one. And this time I believed it. The way her eyes sparkled every time she talked about him made me actually feel happiness. But Mike reminds me of myself and my first love, Jennifer. I think of all the memories I had with Jen and how I thought we would be together forever. But she did what every woman does best; she hurt me. Patricia, be thankful for me. I won’t let you hurt Mike like Jen hurt me. You don’t want that, right?
“Hi daddy. Why’d you pick me up so early? Do I have a doctor’s appointment or something?” I didn’t answer. I wouldn’t answer.
“Dad? Is everything okay?” She paused, “Why won’t you look at me dad?”
I’d like to think she knew what was going to happen next because my daughter was smart. She started to cry, but she didn’t cry for the reasons I expected.
“Dad. Look at me in the eyes,” she managed to scream as tears streamed down her face. I kept my eyes on the road.
“You don’t love me anymore, daddy. Why don’t you love me? Please daddy, I want you to love me. Why don’t you ever call me your sweetie anymore? Do you not like Mike, is that it? I want to come home and I want you to look at me in the eyes like you used to. I want you to ask me how my day was. Say it dad. Ask me,” she pleaded. I didn’t say anything.
When we finally got home, I shot her in the head. I watched her tears and blood mix together.
My memories of Patricia were all rushing through my head. They wouldn’t shut up. I knew I would feel guilty if I didn’t ask, so I looked down at my baby and said, “How was your day, sweetie?”
I picked up my mother, my wife, and my sweetie and I laid them on the floor of the family room. I placed their hands on their chests. They looked so peaceful and for once, they looked happy. Everything was going as planned and soon Frederick and Johnny would be coming home.
At 3:32 P.M. my two boys opened the door to the house. I let them shut it completely and I watched as their cheerful faces changed to horrified. I aimed at Frederick and I fired. He fell to the ground, and I could tell he was dead. I watched as Johnny looked into the living room and saw his family lying dead. He knew he was next, and didn’t even bother to fight back. But for some reason, I couldn’t shoot him. He looked at me and I saw the sadness in his eyes. Do it you moron. Kill him. You’re almost done. And then something traumatized me; I looked at him and I saw myself. I looked at my Johnny and I saw John List. And when I realized this, I got the strength to do it. He fell to the ground, screaming. But he wouldn’t die, because my boy was strong. I saw his pain, heard his heavy breathing, and witnessed his blood escape. He opened his eyes and gave me a look that I knew I would never forget. I took my gun, shot for the second time, and watched him die.
I placed Johnny and Frederick next to Patricia. I looked down at my family, and I realized they never were my family. I never loved them and they never loved me. I turned down the heat so that it would be cool enough to preserve the bodies for awhile, but warm enough to keep the pipes from bursting.
I grabbed my things, touched the door handle, and looked back at my family one last time. I looked back on John List and knew he was no longer with me. From now on, I would be Robert P. Clark, a fry cook with no past. I drove to Kennedy Airport, parked my car in the long-term parking lot, locked the keys inside of the car and flew to California.
The bodies would be discovered in about a month, but nobody would be able to find a John List, for he no longer existed. Robert Clark would meet some new girl and make her fall in love with him. He would start a new family. He would watch them grow, and he would pretend to care. Years would go by and he would make his wife worry, just like his once did. He would make his baby girl cry, just like Patricia had. He would be horrified when he notices his son turning into him. He would watch himself go crazy and he would laugh. He would think of John List, and he would wait for the perfect moment to bring him back to life. And then finally, he would do it again, because sometimes things are more fun the second time around.