I have to kill Daddy again.
It's 5:30 in the morning and he just phoned me. He says
he can walk through walls. "It's amazing, Jeannie,"
he says with a slight stutter to his voice, as if he's
surprising himself as much as me. "Right through
"Daddy, you know you can't walk through walls."
"Yes, I know." He pauses and adds, "They
were coming to meet me. They called me last night."
I pinched my lips, not knowing how to reply. "Who
"It wasn't you, was it, dear? Did you phone me?"
"No, no it wasn't me," I said.
"I knew that. They called me and wanted me to take
some papers to them."
"What papers are you talking about?" As soon
the words left my mouth, I knew it was a mistake. No point
in encouraging him. "Daddy, where are you? Are you
in your room?
"I'm at . . . at this place. They should be here"
No answer. My fingers hurt where I was clenching the phone.
"They called me last night, that's right. They called
me and said to bring the papers to them. I've got them
packed in my suitcase."
"Are you in your --" I cut myself off. I knew
he was in his room, because his name was displayed on
my phone before I answered it. That was good.
"But I couldn't find them. I went out to the
road --" The fucking four-lane highway outside
his rest home, I knew.
"-- and I walked back through the walls. I know how
that sounds, but I didn't want to walk around to the front
door so I just walked through the walls."
5:30 in the fucking morning. I closed my eyes and wished
for a rest from him. From watching over him every godammed
day and every godammed night. He was ninety years old
and I wished he were dead.
There's nobody else to do it, I reminded myself.
No brothers, no sisters, just me. To add even
more guilt to the mix, I remembered all the times he
had looked after me when I was so young and so sick,
no mother, no other relatives, just him. It's payback
Now it's time to kill him again. I wiped a small tear
from my eye.
Daddy lives in a high-end residential complex for seniors.
He has a small room about fifteen feet by ten, meals supplied
in a large dining room, where a hundred other half-dead
old farts meet for tasteless food and mindless conversation.
I think they spike the coffee with something to make them
all docile, since I've never so much heard a single one
of them raise their voice at anything.
The knives are plastic.
He doesn't have a stove or anything like that in his room.
Nobody wants the place burned down. He is allowed a small
fridge, but the only thing he keeps in there is a small
canary he found near the road one day. It used to be yellow.
I pay $2,500 per month to keep Daddy and his mouldy canary
at Cedar Gardens. It's not tax deductible.
The attendants hate him. "You look tired," they
say all the time. "Shouldn't you go back to your
Shouldn't you go back to your room now? I wonder
how many times I've heard that over the years. I'm sure
it's the mantra of the place. "Shouldn't you go
back to your room now? Please put that knife down. Really,
please, put it down and go back to your room now."
Sometimes they surround him, four or five of them, hands
held out in front so he stays calm. As if he could do
them any harm with a stupid little knife like that.
My life has been devoted to my Daddy. Jeannie, the perfect
child, always there for dear old Daddy. I was only nineteen
when he moved into Cedar Gardens. I'm . . . so much older
now. Thirty? God, who knows anymore. I feel like I'm seventy.
How old would that make him? I laughed at the thought.
It would make him dead.
After I hung up the phone, I decided this time he needed
to stay dead forever. I opened my small closet, its door
complaining with several small squeals. "Haven't
had to go in here for years," I said to myself. "Decades."
The thin cardboard box was hidden at the back of the closet,
on top of a rickety old hat rack. It was the size of a
box I might have received from Amazon.com, but this box
didn't hold the latest bestseller. I lifted it carefully
over to my dining room table and unfolded the flaps. Dust
clouded around me.
The revolver felt as new as the day I originally bought
it. I always knew that one day it would come in handy.
With the gun was a small velvet pouch. More carefully,
I opened the pouch and reached in, gently lifting out
the six silver bullets.
Six silver bullets melted down two decades earlier, waiting
for the right time to kill him one last time.
My mouth was dry as I slipped the bullets into their chambers.
The clicked and snapped into place, and with each new
snap, I could feel my power growing.
I walked out into the hall and down to the dining area.
"Shouldn't you go back to your room now?"
"Jeannie?" I turned and saw an orderly looking
at me. "Are you okay? Shouldn't you - "
He stopped when he saw the gun in my hand. "I have
to kill my Daddy again."
"Jeannie, just take it easy." He looked around
and a few of the other orderlies carefully walked towards
me. "Just give me the gun now."
"He called me and said he was walking through walls.
I have to kill him again."
"Your father couldn't have called you, Jeannie. You
"They wanted papers from him."
The orderly nodded but his words didn't make any sense.
"Now, Jeannie, you know your father was killed more
than fifty years ago. Just before you came to live with
us." In a softer tone, "You already killed him."
"Please give me the gun," he said. Trying to
"He called me," I said. "He's here again."
Then, I saw him. He was wearing a white jacket, but that
wasn't going to fool me. I turned and fired, the first
silver bullet hitting him right between the eyes. I killed
three more of him before they took my special little gun
Maybe now he'll leave me alone.
Copyright 2004 by John