Lonely Saturday Evening
When you find yourself alone on a Saturday night, you should embrace the evening, make yourself a strong cup of tea, pull a blanket over your knees and read a book. Not fucking kill someone. ‘Why did I have to do that?’ I ask myself over and over as I wash the blood of my hands. The whole basin is covered in the brownish droplets that stick to the inside of the bowl.
‘Pull yourself together.’ The face in the bathroom mirror is death white, like the corpse lying on my kitchen floor. Slowly I turn off the tap, wipe my hands on the towel and unlock the bathroom door.
Shit. Who the hell would be pressing the button at my gate at 3am?! If I don’t answer they’ll leave. TTTRRRRIIINNNGGG!
I trip over the rug in the hallway on my way to the door. ‘Yes?’ I try to sound as if I just woke up from a deep sleep.
‘I’m sch-looking for sch-John!’ It’s a drunkard. Probably one of the street bums who sleep in the bushes across the street. They’ve been living there for months now. A whole family of them. ‘Go away asshole.’ Whoops, a person of such high social standing as myself should not use words like that. ‘Please leave. It’s late and I want to sleep.’ That’s better. That’s how a nice man should speak to beggars and street folk.
‘I don’t think you understand. I saw you kill John.’
The slur I heard was the intercom, not the slur of a person who had looked too deep in the bottle. The man’s voice comes through strong and clearly and reaches into my chest and grips my heart with cold icy fingers.
‘I saw you kill John.’
I can honestly say that I have never been in a position like this before. I have never murdered a man in the early hours of the morning and then have an eye witness ring my doorbell.
‘I think you have the wrong house.’
I’m stalling for time. It will only be a matter of minutes before this night time visitor calls the police. I need to get rid of the body. I turn on the light and do a quick check in the hallway mirror. My shirt is wrinkled and my pants are muddy, but there are no visible bloodstains. My face and hands are clean, so to speak. I’m thirsty and nauseous at the same time.
The kitchen entrance is ten meters from the front door. It feels like hours before I reach the kitchen table. The corpse is lying on the floor next to the cat litter bin and dustbin. How many liters of blood does a person’s body contain? John clearly bled himself dry on the timber floor. His eyes are closed, thank goodness. I do not need a dead man’s judging stare as I wipe up his blood with a mop. The TV advertisement for this mop clearly lied. It does not clean up any mess without leaving a stain behind. The oak floor planks are red.
I don’t have a plan of action. I’m shaking. I gulp down a glass of water. I struggle to swallow.
‘What do you want?’
‘I want to help.’ This time it’s a woman’s voice. I recognize the voice.
‘Open the gate Peter.’
My body responds to the order without using my brain. I hear the footsteps walking up the stairs of the garden and to the front door of the house.
She uses the key I gave her to unlock the door and to enter. I’m standing frozen next to the door. She kisses me on the cheek and walks to the kitchen.
‘I didn’t mean to hit him so hard…’ I try to explain before she reaches the door. She stops in the doorway, then slowly turns her head.
‘This is John, I presume?’ She doesn’t expect an answer.
I follow her into the kitchen. ‘He’s dead.’ I state the obvious. The gaping wound in his head needs no explanation. The smell of blood hangs in the kitchen. It’s hot and sticks to my skin like the Durban air outside. The kitchen window is open and the flowered curtain blows in the wind.
Elsa kneels next to the body and kisses his forehead.
When she looks up at me here eyes are watery. ‘Don’t just stand there. Bring the gloves and black bags.’
‘I haven’t said goodbye yet.’
‘Then do it quickly. We don’t have a lot of time.’
I reach down and take off the man’s shoes. It’s black and shiny. It managed to stay clean during the whole ordeal. I put the shoes on a shelf next to a loaf of bread and two tins of tuna.
I take off his left sock and take the marker pen out of my pocket. I write a number on the sole of his foot. Twenty-six. I pull the sock over his foot again.
Then I leave the kitchen to find the gloves and bags that I keep stored in my bedroom. I return to the kitchen to find Elsa scrubbing the floor with a sponge. The red colour is slowly getting lighter. I call Elsa my guardian angel. She always seems to know when I need her and how to behave in difficult situations. With gloved hands we wrap the body in black bags. The man is surprisingly light for his size. I lift the head and arms and she lifts the legs. We manage to carry him to the backdoor easily. We lay him to rest on the carpet, she unlocks the door and we carry him out into the moonlight.
There is an open grave 50 meters from my backdoor. We carry John to the grave without stopping to rest once. Elsa is strong for a 55 year old woman. We pause for a moment before we release his body to fall the more than six feet to hit the ground at the bottom of the grave. I feel sadness engulf me when I stare down at John’s body. He was such a beautiful man. It’s so sad that he had to die.
‘Peter, you must confess and repent.’ Elsa’s voice is sharp.
‘Tomorrow is Sunday.’
‘You must do it before the sun rises Peter.’ The urgency in her voice moves me, pushes me back to the house. She locks the door behind us as she always does; then heads to the kitchen to finish the clean up process.
I put our gloves back tin the cupboard in a bucket labeled ‘gardening tools’. I sit down on the bed and begin to weep. Salty tears run down my cheeks onto the sheets and pillows. I feel the heaviness lifting from my heart and leaving my body. I truly am reborn and my spirit lifts up high to the chandelier above my bed. I know I am forgiven. I hear the backdoor open again and know that Elsa will ensure that the body is covered in ground before the sunrise and before the people arrive. I can always rely on my angel. I fall asleep with a light heart and a soul at peace.
Elsa wakes me just before seven o clock. The sun shines through the window and onto my face. ‘Sunday is here.’ I say with a smile.
‘Time to greet congregation, Peter.’ She hands me a cup of coffee and a towel. ‘Shower first.’
Like the night before, I obey without thinking.
When I’m done showering I walk to the kitchen, take the black shiny shoes of the shelf and put them on my feet. I pick up the Bible on the Dining Room table. Before walking out the front door I check my appearance in the mirror. No bloodstains anywhere. The shoes are comfortable. I open the door, walk around the garden gate and enter the graveyard through the main entrance this time. I don’t sneak in through my backdoor like last night. I have nothing to hide today.
I greet the brothers and sisters wearing black as I walk past them. My clean hands touch a shoulder here, give a handshake there. One of the perks of being the pastor is that your house is right next to the graveyard.