(in this gilded cage Gary Clark attempts to elevate his status as a writer…but does Granny know?)
The same author whose only crime to date on this site has been the unsolicited ticking of funny-bones reveals his warm and fuzzy self. New to the site? Check out Gary’s other stuff by putting “granny” in the search box.
This is #9 of the 24 stories I have had to post since Thanksgiving. I am running out of beer and oreos but will show you what I’m made of!
Journal Entry – March 4, 2013
by Gary Clark
You have no idea how close you came to dying last night.
I waited beside the elevator in the Grande Hotel staring at the front door. Unconsciously, I sucked in a deep breath and put my hand over my heart when you walked in. As agreed, you wore a navy blue dress and a white silk scarf tied around your neck. I’d died my hair and wore a fake mustache so you wouldn’t recognize me.
“Holy shit! Why would such beautiful lady resort to Craigslist to find a date?” I whispered aloud.
You paused and scanned the lobby for a man wearing a daisy on the lapel of his tuxedo. Then you found me standing at the elevator. Your eyes penetrated so deeply into my eyes that I was sure you saw the knife cradled between my belt and the small of my back. There was no daisy on my lapel.
“Are you going up,” you said, approaching the elevator.
“Yes,” I said. “Are you alone?”
“I’m meeting someone for dinner,” you said cheerfully.
You looked at my eyes again and smiled at me when I stepped aside and held the door. I followed you and stood behind you as the doors closed. We were alone. I glanced up and made sure the duct tape still covered the camera lens.
You were there because I sent for you. So lonely in your world that you found me in the Missed Connections section of Craigslist where I described our meeting and you, in a blind leap of faith, as the others before you did, eagerly agreed to meet me. You believed that you would be safe because we would meet in a crowded hotel restaurant with fifty or maybe sixty other people there. No one could harm you in that crowd. But you didn’t think about the dark parking lot, or the dimly lit, empty foyer leading to the elevator, or the long ride up in the elevator.
Like all the others before you, you happily, blindly, walked into my trap, thinking you were on your way to the restaurant on the hotel’s observation deck to meet the man who had made eye contact with you as you stood in the rain waving for a taxi.
“Are you going to a party?” you asked, looking at me standing there in my tuxedo and the white gloves I wore as a barrier to leaving fingerprints on the highly polished brass doors and buttons on the elevator.
“I am,” I told you, trying to control my breathing.
We were alone. You smiled and hummed along with the music. Muskrat Love as I remember. You watched the lights above the doors as they slowly counted off the floors on our trip up to the restaurant.
I leaned toward you and inhaled deeply then held that breath, and, like a wine connoisseur at a tasting, I closed my eyes and analyzed the air I’d drawn in from your long blond hair. “Vidal Sassoon,” I whispered.
“I beg your pardon,” you said, turning slowly and smiling up at me.
I shivered and attempted a sincere smile. “Shopping list,” I said. “Just going over it and didn’t know I was talking out loud.”
You patted my chest, “I have to write it all down or I forget,” you said.
I wiped the sweat off my brow and leaned as closely as I dared into the nape of your neck. Your perfume was White Diamonds, not too much, not too little. If your hair weren’t so long you would have felt my hot breath on the nape of your neck.
I looked at the camera again as I slid my hand under my jacket and wrapped it around the leather handle of the knife. It was perfect. We were alone. All I had to do was press the emergency ‘Stop’ button and follow through with my plan. Then I would escape out the emergency hatch on top of the elevator car and climb down the ladder to the door that opened into the mechanical room. From there, it was a short walk out the back door of the hotel.
We were halfway to the restaurant. The voice in my head screamed, “DO IT!” I put the palms of my hands on the sides of my head and pressed as hard as I could, trying to squeeze out the voice like the core of some enormous cyst in my brain. I felt as if my eyes would pop out of their sockets and my teeth would shatter as I gritted them tightly. My ear drums almost burst from the pressure and pain.
Your beautiful voice became a shrill squeal as if a thousand fingernails scraped across a blackboard. Your wavy blond hair turned black and straight, then gray and then white, then fell off your head in clumps, leaving you bald, exposing open, festering wounds that oozed a green, fetid liquid. Your dress slipped from your shoulders and landed on the floor exposing the body of an old woman, ribs protruding through thin, emaciated flesh.
“DO IT,” the voice screamed again. “I swear it’s not too late!”
You turned and looked up at me, opened your toothless mouth and exhaled a malignant stench that made me wretch.
“DO IT,” the voice screamed. “Do it, you chickenshit sonofabitch!”
“Nooooo,” I yelled, covering my face with my eyes. “I can’t.”
Back at the hospital, they strapped me to a stretcher and rolled me through the security doors, back to my room with the quilted walls.
“How the hell did he get out again?” the nurse asked.
“Told me he flew out,” the doctor said. “Maybe he did.”
I’m glad I didn’t hurt you. You were as beautiful as you were trusting. The headlines are full of girls like you. Girls so alone, desperately searching for companionship and love. Girls in search of someone to validate their existence, their beauty, and their sexuality.
See you next time. I love you.