There's a buzzing in my head. Like a blank, white noise that I hear constantly. Hearing it sets my gears grinding, and it's all I can think about. Soon enough, it begins to build. And then I explode.
Does anything matter anymore? I don’t think so. Nothing to catch my interest at least. I haven’t been interested in life for a long time. All I think about is noise.
I was driving through town around midnight, because that’s when I think most clearly. I had just pulled up to a shop to get a magazine when this guy walked across the street. In my town, nobody sleeps. Sure, people do it all the time, but there’s never complete silence. I like silence, it allows me time to think, keep my marbles all in one place.
So, this guy walks out and he’s got one of those old tape players with the big speakers. Like the ones before the IPod came out. He’s blasting heavy metal and walking away. The screaming verses and scratching sound rips my eardrums. I can’t think.
I go in the store, buy a random magazine, and walk out.
The guy is at the corner, blasting his music to high heaven. I get in my car, roll up the windows, I can still hear it. My head is pounding, I hate him. In an instant, I make up my mind.
I start the car, roll down the window, and drive slowly by. I pause right next to him. He doesn’t look at me. I pull a pistol from the bag next to me. He looks at me, eyes wide. A scream boils in his throat, swallowed by his own music. I put a bullet in his stomach, he doubles over and I put one in his head. Then I shoot the machine until dies.
I can think. I drive away.
An hour later, I’m in a subdivision. I don’t know why, but it always seemed as if I was never a part of society. There are people here, sleeping in these homes. People with families, lives...kids.
I never had a family, or a child. Neither appealed to me. There was a time when I wanted a wife, or someone to keep me company. But the situation did not present itself, and so I moved on.
As I drive by, a light is flickering in one of the houses. Probably a TV. These people, they live in a bubble. It’s like a pane of glass, fragile. Waiting for one angry soul to shatter it into a million pieces.
Someone screams and a door opens. A man and a woman run out. It looks like they are fighting. I can’t tell. One of them has a bat, and starts beating the other right on the driveway. The screams penetrate my car, driving away the silence I cherish so much.
No one reacts for a minute, then a few lights flick on around the street. The noise coming from her throat is even greater than the music that played on that street corner.
I pull up, get out. The pistol is in my hand. I shoot the man in the back, then once in the head. The woman is now screaming a different tune. The noise drives away all rational thought. I can’t think. Someone needs to shut her up. I know trying to calm her down is not likely to work.
I take a step toward her, and she screams louder. Someone is yelling, from behind me. It doesn’t register. Can’t she stop? Just stop.
The gun’s in my hand.
I pull the trigger. Once, twice, three times.
I get in my car and drive away. Sirens start up in the distance.
Around one-thirty in the morning, I’m sitting in the one place in the world where true silence can be found: out in the country. The leaves have begun to turn red, and all the bugs are gone. So there's no cicadas or buzzing in the trees.
Here I can think. I reflect on my life, my clarity has never been greater. I can see how hard my parents tried to raise me. I do not blame them. I do not know who to blame. In a second, my actions of the night hit me.
I killed three innocent people, maybe more. There was an event at an electronics store, the images are fuzzy: just a few employees getting off work, and the roar of a shotgun.
The memories hit me like a punch to the stomach. I realize my error. I understand what will happen. I will either get caught or turn myself in. Either way, it is prison for life, and quite possibly worse.
Noise is what sets me off, any kind of noise. Though I have found classical music to be bearable, even calming. But the police are noisy. Put your hands up, get down on the ground! Shut up dirt bag!
Then the interview with a cop and a lawyer. Did you do this? You have to write it down. Honestly, how many times do I have to confess?
And then there’s the trial, the judge, the jury, the journalists; the media scrutinizing every inch of me and my actions.
And my parents.
My family, how will they feel? I can’t let them go through that.
The noise of the media: “Mr. and Mrs. So-and-so, how do feel about your son being the killer? Are you upset? Are you angry?”
I have this thing about germs, and evidence. I don’t want to leave any kind of impression on the world. So I wear latex gloves at all times. I’ve worn them all night. In retrospect, it seems rather pointless to talk about impact, as I’ve just made a bigger impact in one night than most people make in their lives.
I know what to do.
I go home and pack. I put everything in my car, and then empty my bank account. Maybe I can just disappear. People do it all the time you know, it’s how runaways vanish. They walk roads and take buses when they get tired, and the whole time they use only cash. Unlike adults who can be tracked by ATM withdrawals.
I figured if I could get far enough away, like another country, then I could settle down on some beach with no name and no history, no one to judge me with their eyes. No one to make noise.
As I pen this out, I want you know something. No matter who you are, know that I wish I could say that I’m sorry, but in truth I’m not. I’m going now, so it is with planning and a little luck, I’ll never come back, and instead simply disappear into the blank nothingness of quiet.
But we both know “quiet” doesn’t exist.