Momma said she wouldn’t marry again, but then along came Joffre. He was so perfectly dapper and funny, always holding his wine glass with the finger extending, and quick with the most amusing stories and anecdotes, “This one time in Par-ee.” Always with the accent, never just Paris like us normal folks, “Ah, Par-ee...” He would sigh and twirl his mustache like the creepy villain from some old silent era film. Momma just ate it up.
Why did she adore this man the way she did, and so fast? It was nauseating, “Oh, Joffre!!!” She would squeal when he tickled her, making the most grotesque grunts as she pretended to try and get away. It made me sick, it made mad. Of course, I wanted to kill him, especially after I caught him eating my cat. Pulling the whiskers out of his mouth like it was perfectly normal. Momma just said he had an expansive palette.
I cried a lot, but Momma insisted that time heals all wounds. Oh, really? She would sigh, “It was just a cat...” It didn’t feel right to me, eating a pet like that. I still imagine little Fluff all covered with parsley and carrots. Did Momma chop the veggies? How could she do that? My father had given me the cat on my birthday. I remember how Fluff would purr and chase after months, always darting about without a care in the world. Then the divorce happened, and everything changed so fast.
It only had been 3 months since Dad and she had separated. It was like the break-up had no effect on her. One moment she was married for life, to the man of her dreams, a high school sweetheart that she considered “dreamy”. Then, he just vanished, and suddenly Joffre was in the picture. I first met him in the basement, crawling up out of the storm drain, where he claimed to have found “the clog”. What clog? What was he talking about? What was he doing there? I recall running upstairs screaming, “MOMMA!”
How could she trust that strange man in such a short amount of time? It just didn’t make sense to me, at first she had been like, “What honey, what is it?!?!” I still remember the panic in her voice, the look of fear she had as I pointed toward the basement door. Then it slowly swung open, and Joffre emerged all covered in the slime and grit which must have filled the drain over long decades. As I turned, horrified, fearing for our safety and hoping Momma would grab her phone and call the police, she just giggled, “Oh, you...”
As time went on they got closer and closer, and what could I do to stop it? Every time I even tried to ask Momma whether she was sure that he could be trusted, it was like this great tidal wave of dark energy washed over me, crippling me and stealing my voice away. We would be sitting in the kitchen, and I’d work up the nerve, “Momma?” She’d turn to me, asking me what I wanted, and it was like I was just watching myself respond, “Oh, nuthin… everything is fine.” Sometimes it was like she knew what I had been about to say, and her voice would turn icy and sharp, “That’s right. NUTHIN.”
Before I knew it, they had gotten married and moved in together. They’d both crawl down into the storm drain, and I’d listen as their voices echoed from the sewer walls, “oh! Oh! Joff-re-e-e-e-e-e-e...” Then his booming laugh would come pouring out, “Mwahahaha hahaha hahaha.” Sometimes the lights would flicker, and the ground would shake, and little centipedes would come skittering out and fleeing for their pathetic little lives as they sought to escape whatever vile exploits they had witnessed.
That’s when problems started to arise. At first, it was just the vortex that would swirl over our house at three in the morning, or the mirrors that would stop showing my reflection, or the fact that I would wake up and find Joffre floating above my bed, spinning in lazy circles as he spoke some kind of language which sounded a little like Latin, but was probably Armenian or Akkadian or maybe just traditional Sumerian. For months, he’d never acknowledge me at all, just muttering to himself and drawing hexagons on the wall. Momma said it was cuz he only had eyes for her, but sometimes I swore he didn’t have eyes at all.
When Momma would go to work he’d act differently. It was just little things at first like I’d find him staring at me from a mirror, only to realize he wasn’t behind me at all. Then I’d be in the bathroom brushing my teeth, and I’d turn around to find he had been behind me the whole time. I’d be trying to just not think about any of this, reading my emails and listening to music, and suddenly he would be perched on the sofa just STARING at me with those dark blank hexagonal holes. Then things got even worse. More intense.
I’d be in my bedroom, just trying to take a nap, and suddenly there would be this great flapping wooshing sound, and all the bedsheets would fly up to the ceiling, and books would fly off the shelves, and there was this awful stench of blood and vomit and feces. I would race out of my room, trying to figure out what was happening, and Joffre would just be levitating in the piano room. “What are you doing you freak!”, I remember screaming at him, and that must have gotten his attention.
Suddenly, for the first time, I realized that Joffre wasn’t going to be a kind or sensitive stepfather. I could feel it, deep in my soul. He was mean. Worse than I could possibly imagine. His menacing figure seemed to grow, filling the room, with shadows growing all around me. “What is wrong with you?”, I shouted at him, stomping my foot in frustration. This only seemed to make him angrier, and those hexagons began to glow a brilliant red, burning brighter and brighter with the intensity of laser diodes.
This went on for about a week, and Joffre steadily became more unhuman. His feet became cloven, and then there were three feet, and suddenly five. His scaly tail would leave deep gouges in the hardwood floor, and his tentacles could be heard slithering around late at night. Momma sure seemed to like it, “Oh! Joffreeeee, get that thang away from me!” Once I woke up late and went downstairs to get a sandwich. They were intimate, but it didn’t even look like a man with a woman anymore. She was all disarticulated, with her limbs swirling about in a cloud of venomous black smoke. This was the first time he spoke to me directly, his voice a low rumble with ominous intent, “GO BACK TO YOUR ROOM!”
So yes, Dr. Guiterrez, I would say that I was seeing things. It just really really bothered me. I simply couldn’t take it anymore. And Joffre’s voice! It just became persistent, everywhere I went, it was like he was right there, demanding that I apologize for spying on him and Momma! She didn’t even see me! I swear, I was just trying to get a sandwich, and those freaks were in the kitchen. It’s not my fault! It’s not my fault! To this day Momma doesn’t know about it, but its alright cause I have my own way of coping with things. I…
I go online. That’s what I do. I go online, and I figure out what needs to happen. Like, I get it, Joffre’s not normal, but you know? He’s my father, well, my stepfather, but basically, he’s my Dadda now. And Momma loves him, forever and ever, and that’s fine, that’s her choice, but I need to cope. I have to deal with this my own way. So I go online. What? No… no… I don’t play video games anymore. Not since, well, you know… and… yes… yes, of course, that’s what I’m doing. Like, people don’t understand, they don’t know what it’s like for me. I have to deal with this, I have to make it right, someone has to pay for all this sin.
I mean, honestly, there are so many souls up for sale. You have no idea, like all I have to do is get on Facebook, or Craigslist, or OkCupid… I’ll find someone, just waiting there, eager to atone for sin. I mean, no… no, I don’t really, I mean, I don’t have like any particular type of person in mind… preferably younger is better, more efficient, but it doesn’t really matter… I just find someone, anyone… I just wait until Joffre lets me know that they are ready, and that’s basically how they are selected… I mean, I don’t know why he picks them, but what am I gonna do, just argue about it? I just don’t have the energy for that anymore, if they need to die, then they need to die, and if they need to die then they have to die, like right? Right? Why are you looking at me like that? What’s wrong?
Oh my God! That’s Joffre! Right there! He’s here! Right behind you! You… you… that’s what you get… you like that? How’s that feel? Like, seriously, did you think Joffre was going to just let me tell you about everything that’s happened? Like really? No… no… I don’t think you understand… NO I’M NOT… You are crazy! You are the one that’s always asking me all these stupid questions about my mother and her boyfriend… like why couldn’t you mind your own business? HUH? HUH? You know what, I’m just gonna leave you like that, and you can think about the consequences of your decisions. Ya know, I gotta save some people, like you’ve sinned, and you can’t pay the price, so somebody else is going to have to make this better. You just stay there, they’ll find what’s left of you in the morning after Joffre is done playing with you. Yah, I’m done, I’m going… just… just think about how you made me feel? Ok? Just for once, ok… good night. I’ll try to drop by your funeral. Such a nosy nelly...
I mean, jeez, what was she thinking? “You can trust me… just tell me the truth… I know something is wrong… what’s been going on with you? Why aren’t you going to school? Why’d you hit that little boy?” Why? Why? Um, hello, like I wanted to save that little boy from going through what I went through. Like what’s he gonna do, grow up and wind up like me, chopping up his own mother and flushing her down the toilet so that she get married to some loser who can’t even afford to move out of the sewer? Like, seriously, get a grip lady.
Aw man, shit, there’s blood on my jacket again. It’s just always so sticky, it’s gonna take forever to clean… but ok, focus, who shall I choose tonight? No, that girl is gonna make a scene, I can’t have that drama right now. Hmmmm. That old man, maybe, but no… too old, there’s no saving him. He’ll spend the rest of his life working at the gas station, nothing I can do will change that. Maybe I should just follow one of these cars, and see where they go? What do you think? Joffre? Are you there? Joffre? Oh, ok… sure… yes, yes, I’m going home now… yes… I understand… of course!
Ok, let’s see… Facebook… Face… Book… so many faces… I could just scroll up and down this site forever, just like Momma used to do…. Hmmm…. All these happy faces… it's just disgusting… every minute of every day these people just sit here, sinning, posting their stupid links and enticing… oh… ohhhhh ho ho… helllllllllllllo…. So, you want to invite me to a party? Is that it? You think maybe tonight we could all just hang out and get drunk and listen to music? Ok, fine, let’s try that… let’s see what happens. I mean, whatever, you can play the victim card, but vengeance will be mine tonight. A soul will be saved tonight! I will feel free once again!!! No… noooo! Joffre, what did you do, did you call the cops? What are they doing here? Joffre!!! No, take me with you… Help! Help! He’s going down the storm drain! What are you doing! He’s getting away! Stop! Stop! I’m not resisting, he’s right there… you have to stop him!