Bottles (revised slightly)Posted: October 10, 2016
This needed four more words. Hope you enjoy. -Kevin
“I LOVE your apartment, Jack!” Sarah’s voice was faux-effervescent in the annoying way a woman tries to be “bubbly” at the beginning of a relationship.
“It’ll do” replied Jack’s monotone. “Let me open a bottle of wine and let it breathe. Red or white?”
“Oh, thank you! White please, red makes me blush.”
While Jack busied himself in the kitchen, Sarah surveyed his living room. Neat, orderly, clean. Cleaner than her’s ever. Nice leather furniture, industrial accessories complete with the bare brick wall. Giant television. Expensive looking stereo.
The brick wall anchored shelves displaying an eclectic assortment of oddities, lit by track lighting. Their prominence made Sarah think they must be important to him. She walked over to the display and eyed an antique locket.
“This is a beautiful locket” she spoke over her shoulder to the kitchen.
“Thank you, just one of the things I’ve collected along the way.” Jack was always polite and gracious. “Pick it up if you want, it won’t break, it’s endured worse.”
Sarah’s eyes took inventory of some of the other items. A pair of concert tickets in a small frame, a swatch of cloth in another, a mag strip Hilton hotel key in a third.
Jack joined her at her side, placing his arm around her waist, fingers caressing the curve of her hip.
“Why all the wine bottles?” she asked, counting 11 empties on the shelf.
“Wine represents the joy of life. When I share wine with a friend, I sometimes like to keep the bottle to remind me of the joy of that moment.”
Sarah turned into him, their faces just a few inches apart. “A ‘friend’, huh?”
“Yeah, a friend.” Jack pulled her tight against him, kissing her deeply. His hands explored her back as she felt him harden against her thigh.
They had been dating four weeks. Six dates. He had been to her’s twice, but he had been slow to invite her to his. He had been slow about everything. They would talk late into the night with sexually charged conversations, and they had made out almost to the point of no return several times, but he had refused to take the plunge.
She was sure tonight they would, and she ached for it. He was smart, sexy, funny and surprisingly compassionate. He wasn’t like the other men.
He broke off the embrace. “Let me go pour our wine. You sit on the couch.”
Sarah obliged. She always did as told. Jack returned with two glasses and handed one to her.
“How did you become a crime writer?” she asked, hoping the conversation would be short and they would move to the bedroom. They had talked enough.
“I just find it fascinating, the psychology of criminals. Especially the most deviant ones. Murderers, especially serial killers, have fascinating psychology.”
“That sounds creepy.” Sarah gave a little shiver.
“I guess the fascinating thing for me was discovering they’re not much different than a so-called ‘normal’ person. We all have the capacity to kill for many reasons – financial gain, sex, ego or even just the thrill. The difference in serial killers is they don’t have an ‘off’ switch. We all have the same desires, but serials don’t have the limits other people have.”
“I guess that is fascinating” Sarah lied. “I don’t think I could kill anyone.”
“The crime shows always get it wrong. They picture these people as monsters. We’re all monsters, just some have the ability to suppress it. Some don’t…” Jack’s words trailed off as he took another sip of wine.
“For example: Trophies. They think serials keep trophies so they can go back and, what, masturbate on them? That’s not why serial killers keep trophies.”
“OK, that’s just gross.”
“But, see,” Jack continued, “that’s exactly what I am talking about. The media portrays these people as sex-crazed monsters, but that’s rarely the truth. When you really study them you begin to understand that isn’t an accurate picture.”
“So tell me, newspaper boy, why does a serial killer keep trophies?”
“For the same reason you have that picture of your grandmother on your end table. It makes you smile to remember her, it brings back memories of the time you spent together. It gives you a moment of joy. A smile.”
“But enough about that stuff,” Jack said, standing. “I have plans for you tonight.”
Sarah smiled a coy smile. Jack took her hand, pulled her to her feet and led her to the bedroom. Finally Jack would get the release he had been anticipating for weeks.
An hour later, Sarah emerged, fully satisfied, freshly showered and dressed. She didn’t enjoy the “after”-cleaning up the blood, wiping down the prints. She grabbed the bottle from the counter, pouring it into the sink. Corking it, she placed the bottle in her ample purse.
“Crime writers always get it wrong,” thought Sarah, as she locked the door behind her.