It’s a winter’s night in our 13th floor bedroom. Both windows are wide open. The room smells like urine. We shiver from the cold. One cot mattress is wet and leans against the wall, so it will dry quicker. Both sides have been eaten through by too many accidents. We sit on the other cot under the army blanket. My pajamas hiss on the radiator. He keeps his on. They aren’t so wet. If He find our beds wet, we’re going to get it.

The sky gets lighter. The wind rattles the door. We sit and whisper.

him         It’s getting light out.

me         Tell me. How should we do it?

him         Let’s shoot him.

me         No. She’d wake up. What about stabbing him?

him         Yeah! With the butcher’s knife.

me         No! No! I’ve got it. We’ll cut his throat.

him         Silent and quick, with just one lick. You hold him and I’ll do it.

me         NO! IT WAS MY IDEA. I’LL DO IT.

him         Shhh . . . They’ll wake up. O.K. You do it, but first we chloroform her.

me         Right. Then we sneak around the bed and…

him         He always sleeps on his back.

me         You throw the pillow over his face.  I’ll open his neck.

him         The blades’ got to be super sharp.

me         I know.

him         I’ll hold the pillow there to keep his blood from squirting all over.

me         What if his head comes off?

him         What if ma wakes up?

me         We do her too.


Fred Nicholson