Gerry showed up only an hour before his shift started. He had some luggage and a case of Budweiser cans. Ichabod was excited to see me and I petted him and scratched his face. Murphy was talking to the detectives who had left for some time and returned. They had more questions about Kranepool which Murphy obliged. I couldn’t hear what they were discussing and then the elevator buzzed. I presumed there were questions about his wife Sydney and if he had been acting strange lately, the usual.
The eighth floor was indicated on the panel. Gary Carter wore the number eight. My personal favorite Met growing up. The Kid was an 11 time all star. I had a Starting Line-up figure of him catching a pop fly behind the plate on my desk for years.
I hoped it wasn’t Pruitt Abruzzi.
Unfortunately for me it was. Pruitt was a terrible human being, beyond any reasonable flaws, beyond redemption or rehabilitation. He embodied the worst characteristics of humanity. If his aorta exploded on my watch, I’d surely enjoy witnessing him die, slow and painfully. Truth be told I fantasized about unzipping his face. There is a Dante level of hell for the likes of Pruitt. The scaffold waited impatiently.
His parents, Miriam and Maxwell, were decent people but still partly responsible for enabling him. They paid for the fancy apartment he lived in. They paid the maintenance fees. They employed their son. Overpaying him for his underwhelming productivity. Negative reinforcement. Unconditional love existed for some, of course, but deep down they knew they had failed as parents and had never felt a sense of pride in their sadistic child.
The problem with Pruitt, and people like him is that they can thrive in this empty world because most people value wealth over character. They misinterpret arrogance for confidence. The truth was Pruitt found more joy in telling people about his possessions than actually possessing them. He appreciated nothing. He respected nothing. None of the objects brought real happiness. The notches on the head board didn’t fill the void. He was just another spoiled rich kid, who was given everything and didn’t appreciate it. Another entitled cunt who can do and say whatever he pleases because his parents can buy his way out of everything. The rich get richer and cunts like Pruitt skate through life. I would never, could never root for someone like that. I preferred humility and the dedication of the blue collar underdog over the spoiled, entitled and false prestige of the wealthy.
I can’t be held accountable for the thoughts that run marathons with no finish line in sight, let alone my potential actions. My mania and OCD were not in my control. I don’t always steer the ship. We would all be at the mercy of my disorders, if I were to unleash them, and I just might. I’d revel in the pain that I in this instant could cause him.
“What’s up,” Pruitt said.
What’s up, I said coldly.
There was silence.
“Yeah, work is going well. I’m looking to pull eight figures this year. If all goes accordingly.”
I didn’t care how his work was going. “That’s good.”
“You’re a Ranger fan, no?”
I said I was.
“I got ringside seats for tomorrow’s game.”
“Cool.” I thought to myself, rinkside. Rinkside, you dumb motherfucker.
“Got to see which ho I’m going to take.”
A small amount of the woman who accompanied Pruitt fucked him because of his wealth. I didn’t feel any sympathy for them. They made their own beds, literally. They were attracted to the flash like shallow insects but the others fell for the subterfuge. How chaste would Casanova’s nightlife be without his allowance, cat valium and quaaludes?
It was the innocent ones I wished I could’ve stopped from entering his apartment, I wanted to protect those girls who didn’t know better, to alert them of his treacherous intentions but who was I? I was no one.
Pruitt’s reputation was no secret inside the circle but not common knowledge outside of it. He was a predator indeed, one who burgled intimacy. A lustful intruder who ransacked dignity. He provided enough horse tranquilizer or administered enough roofies to manufacture a compliant participant, or worse, one who cannot consent nor protest. There was nothing romantic about it. It wasn’t sexy or kinky. The act was devoid of passion. Pruitt disrespected Eros and each young woman whenever he pilfered a private moment that wasn’t meant to be shared with him. The dissociating effects of the drugs paralyzed the women, allowing him to mistake their induced behavior as being indiscriminate or worse, being into it. This was a ruse, a perverse game to him. He knew exactly what he was doing, only the women couldn’t say the same thing. Illicit and immoral, in a catatonic state, he bedded them.
Unaware or unconcerned that his sexual conquests would not remember what exactly transpired instead just a jarring haze of uncertainty and shame, delegating the encounter as an embarrassing mistake instead of what it truly was, criminal. An abhorrent crime.
For him it was pornography. The feelings or well being of his victims never mattered to him, only his own sexual gratification. They were nothing more to him than real life sex dolls, a mere heartbeat away from necrophilia. Never a friend to anyone, a man like that should not be followed into any room, let alone a dark one.
I’d take comfort in disfiguring him. For all the girls who came to, sobered up, confused about what had happened to them, half dressed in a stranger’s bed stained in seminal fluid. I’d carve him up for gaslighting them about the abuse, for mocking the fact that he had taken advantage of them and made carrion out of a portion of their abashed hearts. I wished death on him. A slow, grueling death was preferred but any death would suffice. His life was an affront to decency. The gallows or the morgue should be the only places fit to greet him.
I pictured him mistreating Agnes. I could see thousands of ugly scenarios of his modus operandi, his standard procedure, his grotesque ritual. My brain could be so cruel. Clear and concise depictions of heinous deeds flashing in my mind. It was a burden that would find a home in another’s conscience because Pruitt did not possess one. A wave of lava erupted inside my body.
I was tense, as he talked nonsense but I didn’t hear a word, only clicking the box cutter open and closed inside my pants pocket.
I’d throw my elbow into his throat to pin him against the elevator wall, and in one fell swoop, I’d dig the blade into his forehead and slowly drag the razor down diagonally cutting the procerus muscle. Blood spat out hitting the only camera the building had, while Gerry watched from the lobby with a grin, proud of his boy. The blade would redirect as it crossed the bridge of Pruitt’s nose, then I’d hook a half circle down and around his cheek, cutting the levator labii superioris and risorius muscles in his face. A proper buck fifty. Only it would never be enough stitches to satisfy my blood thirst. I have daydreamed about cutting him to ribbons. I would take tremendous satisfaction in spilling his blood. I’d welcome the crimson. I wanted waves of blood at 534 E. 57th street to rival the lobby of the Overlook Hotel.
The elevator landed on the first floor and dinged when the doors opened and he walked out.
It must’ve been a disappointment especially for his father Maxwell to know he spawned a monster. A piece of shit leech. Maxwell feared his wretched offspring would destroy his legacy and the business. Rightfully so. Pruitt badmouthed his dad at every opportunity, and yet he still named his bastard son after Maxwell, not in tribute but as an act of extortion. Pruitt cared not for his child but for the monetary worth he could price the child, knowing Miriam would pay for her grandson, and Pruitt would take a cut. Pruitt and men like him should not be allowed to procreate.
My parents should not have a child. Murphy loved his children and raised them to be smart, kind humans. Gerry would have been a good father. Pruitt was proof you could give your kids everything, and with all the privilege, and it only comes in one color and that is green, and sometimes it makes no difference, because rich or poor, some people are just garbage.
What would Mr. Brunswick think after achieving all of his accomplishments and the life he provided for Agnes to see me sitting across from him at the dinner table holding his daughter’s hand? He would think she had made a mistake. But if Pruitt was there in my place he would likely think it was a good match, cause his family was prominent and they had money, unaware of the piece of shit he really was. He would have to find out the hard way after Agnes got mistreated. On the surface he would seem like the better candidate. But beneath the surface lies ugly truths. I clicked the razor open and shut, open and shut.
He’s undeserving of all the opportunities given to him and not worthy of the air that entered his lungs, an utter waste of life and I’m sure that one day he’ll sign a non disclosure agreement and settle up in your town.
As Pruitt walked out, Gerry shook his head at him in disgust, singing a line from the song Down In The Willow Garden, “My father often told me that money would set me free.” A beautifully dark ballad about murder and retribution recorded by the Everly Brothers in 1958. Their rendition of the traditional Appalachian song with its roots in Ireland was by far my favorite. A cautionary tale about love and fate. If only everyone got what they deserved. “I fucking hate that kid.”
“Me too,” I said.
“I hate his fucking stupid haircut and his stupid walk. And his dumb face. He’s definitely on the list.”
“What list?” I asked.
“My list of people I want to kill. What do you mean? You don’t have a list?”
“I don’t have one, like, written down,” I said.
“A list is a list, mate,” said Gerry, tapping his temple with his index finger. “Whether it’s on paper or in here. It is still a fucking list and there is no statute of limitations on revenge. It is precisely the reason why I stay sharp.”
“I guess my list is long, then.”
“Aye. I bet it is. It’s a damn shame a stand up man like Kranepool can’t live with himself but a guy like that walks around with a clear conscience. Probably sleeps like a baby. I hope he gets hit by a fucking truck.”
“I pray to Odin he ODs.”
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