I Remember It Was The Middle Of August

I Remember It Was The Middle Of August

A Story by Alexzandria R.

Robert Perez feels only contempt for every member of the human race. Until something triggers a spark of a memory in him that shows him that he's no better than anyone else. Not even close.

I remember it was the middle of August, humid with scorching temperatures of 105 in the shade. It was Phoenix, Arizona. This wasn’t where I was living permanently. I didn’t have a permanent address. I had spent the past six years of my life living in hotels or staying with friends for a few nights until I got bored and moved on to another state. I wasn’t homeless. Not really. I just liked to travel. So, I traveled from state to state as I pleased. This particular story takes place, however, when I was staying in Phoenix. I was staying in a hotel, the name and location of which I can’t seem to remember today.
I remember leaving my hotel to go to a laundromat, the name and location of which I cannot remember. I was never good with names or locations. Perhaps it was because I had traveled so much. I was in it more for the sights and the people than the names and locations. I remember making my way to the laundromat with the air conditioning all the way up in my car, becoming angry with myself for choosing to travel to Phoenix in the middle of August. But I never did plan my destinations. I just went where I felt the universe was telling me to go. I never headed for specific locations. I just chose north, south, east, or west and from there, I went in that direction. It saved me some stress.
I remember stepping from my car, which was parallel-parked next to the curb directly in front of the laundromat. I remember opening the door and hearing the little bell above head which announced my presence to the natives in the building. The all turned their heads to look at me with a lack of amusement before turning back to their laundry. I made my way to the first unoccupied washing machine that I saw, pushing a few quarters into the slot before taking the trash bag full of laundry at my side and carelessly dumping its contents into the machine. As I waited for my laundry to be cleaned, I allowed my eyes to wander about the room. I had always hated waiting in laundromats. The only thing that I hated more than laundromats was people.
Yes, I traveled for the sights as well as the people. But in all reality I couldn’t stand people. I was disgusted by the very sight of them. Not just certain people, but the human race in general, was the scum of the earth. This included myself. However, I did despise myself slightly less than I abhorred the rest of my species. Sometimes I had thoughts, which I always tried to ignore. Thoughts that serial killers and psychopaths had on a daily basis, triggering brutal murdering sprees.
I waited there impatiently in the small room filled with other humans. Repulsive revolting humans. I allowed my eyes to wander as I waited. Most people were speaking to other people, engaging themselves in pointless conversation. Others sat back in steel chairs at the corners of the room playing on their cell phones or listening to iPods. The man next to me seemed to be wasting his time in a different way by just sitting there on the floor with his back against the rumbling shaking washing machine. He didn’t look up. He kept his head down and his eyes studying the filthy laundromat floor as if it there were something completely engrossing there that only he could see.
I did not attempt to make conversation or socialize with any of these vile humans in any way. I just watched them. Watched them like a child watches an ant farm or a gold fish or animals in a zoo. That was all they were to me anyway. Filthy mindless animals in a zoo or in this case, a laundromat. They were amusing to me the way a freak show is amusing to others. They were grotesque in my opinion and this made them amusing to me. Filthy, mindless, grotesque animals. I was revolted by the fact that I was standing in their midst and ashamed to be one of them. Ashamed to be part of the same species.
There was something odd about the man sitting with his head down and back against the washing machine. Not the same oddness that the other humans possessed. It was a sort of unsettling vibration emanating off of him. The same unsettling vibrations that you‘d feel while walking past an old abandoned house that was said to be haunted. It was nothing about his appearance. He wore a green flannel shirt and faded jeans with gaping ragged holes on the knees. He wore filthy worn-out work boots and a red baseball cap resting atop dark hair. Nothing unusual as far as I could see.
Eventually, after a long wait, the laundry was finished. I had taken it out of the washing machine, put it into the dryer, it had dried, and everything was finished. It was time for me to leave this place filled with abhorrent humans. I put my laundry back into the bag and started out. I noticed that unsettling man was leaving as well with his laundry in the same type of large trash bag that I’d brought mine in. As he walked, he kept his head down. How he could see where he was going was a mystery. He was fascinated by the filthy gray tile floor (which had once been white but as I said, it was filthy).
I guess he really couldn’t tell where he was going because somewhere between the machines and the door, he bumped into my back hard, causing both of us to drop our bags. I let out a long sharp sigh of frustration. One of these repulsive beings had touched me. I would need to shower when I returned to the hotel.
I did not make eye contact as we both lifted our bags from the floor. I guess eye contact would have been impossible anyway since his eyes were welded to the floor. He was just as amused by the filthy laundromat floor as I was amused by the filthy humans. We said nothing to each other and I never received an apology for his carelessness. We both proceeded through the door, one after the other, the bell above our heads announcing our departure.
Once I returned to the hotel, I did take a shower. Afterward, I left the bathroom and proceeded to the bed where I had sat down the bag of laundry. I didn’t bother untying the knot at the top. I simply ripped apart the plastic, making a large hole in the side from which I would retrieve my clothing. As I removed the garments from the bag, I saw that they weren’t mine. I had grabbed the wrong bag after he had bumped into me. Still, I tried on the clothes to see how they fit. I saw no harm in a little game of dress-up, especially since the clothes were clean.
I tried on the clothes, another flannel shirt, this time a blue one, and some faded jeans, and stepped in front of the full-length mirror. My eyes widened at what I saw. I bore a striking resemblance to the owner of the clothing. What had alarmed me, however, was my realization of who the owner was. No one knew his name yet. The investigators hadn’t gotten that far. He was simply called John the Drain, the name John coming from John Doe, the name that is given to nameless males. The Drain part came from what he did. What he was known for.
He was a serial killer. He would come into houses, quiet as a church mouse, slit the throats of his victims, then string them up so that they’re hanging upside down, allowing the blood to drain out of them through their open jugulars. He would then lay the murder weapon down on the floor and allow the blood to pool around it and after three or four minutes, the blood would congeal a bit and he would retrieve his weapon, leaving the perfect shape of it in the blood so that there was always one clean spot in the puddles of blood shaped like a kitchen knife. A paring knife to be exact. This was sort of his signature.
He was not a resident of Arizona. He had killed and drained people, sometimes even entire families, all over the United States. He was all over, his picture in the upper left corner of every news channel and the name John the Drain was on the lips of people in every state. I removed the clothing quickly, knowing that it was contaminated with murder. For a moment, I thought that I even noticed a few stains on the garments that seemed to be blood. The blood of who? A husband? A mother? A child? Dear God! Someone’s grandparent? I no longer wanted this fabric touching my skin. It was infected with death.
As I removed the flannel shirt, I noticed something that alarmed me even more than the fact that I was dressed in the clothes of a serial killer who I bore a striking resemblance to. On the inside of the shirt, just below the collar, a name was sewn in small letters. Robert Perez. This was my name. My heart jumped up into my throat at the sight of it. Quickly, I removed the garment from my body and tossed it across the room.
My first instinct was to call someone. The police maybe? Honestly, I wasn’t sure who it was I needed to call but I knew that I needed to call someone. Maybe my friend in the next state over? I could get out of Phoenix and stay with her. Perhaps my friend in California? I’d never been there before. My head swam and my thoughts raced and phone number after phone number went through my brain. Without knowing who I was going to call, I lifted the phone off the hook and put it to my ear. As I looked down at the dial pad, trying to make a quick decision about what numbers I was going to press, I noticed something to the left of the phone.
There on the night stand, lying there next to the phone in my hotel room was something that knocked the breath out of me the moment I laid eyes on it. Immediately I thought that I was going to be sick. Lying there, coated in crusty dried crimson, making a mess all over the oak wood of the night stand and contaminating it with death, was a small paring knife, the blade short and covered with the blood of its most recent victim. The entirety of the knife, handle and all, was completely coated crimson, as if the blood had been spilled right over it. As if to make a print. A signature. The signature of John the Drain aka Robert Perez aka…myself.

© 2016 Alexzandria R.

Author's Note

Alexzandria R.
I know that I tend to overuse commas, so ignore that please. Please review based on the overall plot. I encourage constructive criticism but please don't be rude. :)

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Added on July 16, 2016
Last Updated on July 16, 2016