Chapter 13 (April 1992 – BENJAMIN JAVID)
Benjamin Javid hated his job. He hated the pretend-interest and attention he was supposed to give when some old wrinkled hag wanted to know about fridge- sizes and prizes. They bloody-well always started out with the one they could ill afford and ended up - ten down the line - with the smallest, most inexpensive model. Why the hell don’t they buy what they can afford from the start and spare him the agony and trouble? He hated these bald heads and and their fuckin obese wives who wanted a sofa, a chair or an outdoor set. For thirty minutes or more they sat with their fat, stinking asses in each and every chair or sofa on the showroom floor and again usually decides on the first or cheapest. They have lengthy discussion, in which he was either ignored like a garden gnome or, even worse, dragged in the middle of it all by having to choose a side and then go to another store for more sitting downs, prizes and opinions. When they leave his boss wanted to know why they left and why he didn’t make the sale? Ninety-nine percent of the time, ten minutes before closing-time, they rush back in to buy the first one they’ve ass-tested. Which meant he had to fill in paperwork after work-hours, which he didn’t get so much as a fat-fuckin cent overtime for. He hated the old, rich men with, usually, a painted blonde hanging on their arm like a Van Gogh (his orange period most likely, if he had an orange period). The painted ladies was mostly half the age of the old fart she was hanging on too, pretending he’s the best thing since buttered toast. He bets most of the bastards had an unhappy, grumpy wife at home – like him. The painted lady? Most probably just his extra-curriculum.
Doesn’t matter what philosophical crap anyone shoves down your throat - money matters! A lot!
None of these above know the words “please” or “thank you”
He hated all of them.
Most of all, he hated the fact that he wasn’t in any position to point it out to each and every asshole he had dealt with. The fact that he had to smile and chirped and chimed just to make a bloody sale. And, what angers him most was, for this “Big-shoes-clown-act” he’s been paid peanuts every month.
His oily boss - who laughed like a fuckin flock of Hadidas in mid-air - gets all the lolly. He also hated that tart of a secretary with her Zebra-crossing coloured hair, who treated “yours truly” with contempt, but the fat fuck like Tom Cruise. She giggles like a hyina in heat every time he pushed his big belly into her side or back as he supposedly leaned over to learn more about the computer.
At the age of only twenty, he already hated the hand life had dealt him. He had it all, or thought so but, at one point, things just started to go pear-shaped and it’s just keep on diving down. He can’t believe that only that two years ago he was the main man at school. That he had the hots for Patsy, the most popular girl in school. Well, to tell the truth all the guys had the hots for Patsy, and boy, did she like it! She was the prize-catch, the cool bitch with thick, straightened hair and hazel eyes. She’d given all the boys wet dreams and an untimely “stiffy”. He, the star-athlete. Not overly bright, but a good prospect for any soccer-club. The future was his to take and he messed it up! Wholly!
Sadly, too much testosterone and an untimely sperm had put an end to most of his dreams and his feelings for Patsy. Patsy got pregnant. He did what he thought was right –what she wanted, what everyone else wanted.
Four months into the marriage the baby was born. He ended up in this dead-end job. Supposedly, temporary, but now, he was still on the road to nowhere. His soccer dreams scattered all over the place, just like his self-confidence!
What was he?
A fuckin salesman who couldn’t sell shit, and he hated Patsy for it!
Patsy cut her dark locks short and dyed it bloody red! He hated it. She still chewed gum, like in high school, but now it wasn’t sexy anymore, it irritated the blue monkey-shits out of him. The whole bloody day she chews and chews, wring it round her finger, pops it back, blow bubbles and then the chewing continues. She only slowed - not stopped - just slowed her chewing, when she took the time to look at him with disgust. Her open mouth and the remains of the gum white on her tongue, added to the disgust in her dragon-slit eyes. Her “held-him- in-contempt” look. She would take in his presence with that face from head to toe and back again, before making an illiterate sound with her tongue and then went back to that everlasting chewing. It was her way of telling him what an utter disappointment he was. Her way of telling him what a useless bastard he’d become. Her way of telling him had amounted to nothing and never will amount to anything. She sits day in and day out in that ugly robe - which was once upon a time white, but now a sort of baby-shit colour - paging through some or other magazine. Blowing bubbles, ignoring the washing, the dishes, the untidy house and most frustratingly, the baby’s screams. He hated that short, matted, red hair and he hated that tattered robe, the cramped dirty house and the stacked dirty dishes. Most of all, he hated the wailing of the baby who never seemed to be satisfied with anything at all.
Well, who would be when lying in piss and shit the whole day?
He didn’t want to go home and he didn’t want to be in this shop to nowhere!
He looked at his watch and hoped to God that no-one would walk through those doors in the next five minutes before closing time. He sigh a sigh of relieve as he saw Elias walking towards the door with the key.
Javid shuffled all the papers together and threw them in the top drawer. He’ll sort it tomorrow. No haste there. The boss would yell at him tomorrow. At the moment he was far too engrossed in Zebra-stripes’ tits. He wouldn’t even notice if Benjamin carries a dead body past him out the shop.
What he wanted now was a hamburger and an evening in front of the telly watching soccer.
No nagging from Patsy.
No whining baby.
Benjamin Javid’s brain recognised voices and words long before he willed his eyes to open. “Murderer” and “Baby” and “Monster” floated by as if on a ship in a stormy, misty sea.
‘Open your eyes.’ His own spooky voice whispered in his head. His eyelids felt like lead. ‘Open. Your. Eyes.’ Slowly his eyes obeyed his nagging brain. Sharp white lights and a misty face flashed across his irises. He closed his eyes for another minute. A strange, spooky voice came to his buzzing ears, ‘Mr Javid, can you hear me? Mr Javid? Open your eyes, can you hear me?’
He forced his eyes open again and tried focussing on the cloudy mist above him. Slowly a strange face took shape.
‘Where am I?’
‘The hospital.’ The ghostly voice came through.
A flash of remembrance engulfed his throbbing head along with nausea.
Patsy, the baby’s howling, and then…
This time he opened his eyes with more purpose. Slowly a grim picture took hold of his mind.
Him screaming up the stairs for Patsy to shut the baby up, he could scarcely hear the telly. Patsy sitting there with her fuckin mattress-hair! Chewing her gum, reading a magazine as the baby screamed and screamed.
It was Patsy’s fault.
It’s all her fault.
He remembered steaming up the stairs after numerous shouting-bouts and the relentless crying of the baby. He could also remember screaming into her face, ‘I said shut her. The. Fuck. Up!’
He remembered the eerie silence as the frightened baby stopped screaming for a few seconds, and then exploded with renewed vigour in an earth-shattering noise which was louder and wilder than anything before. Patsy was curled up in the chair, chewing as usual, slower and slower. She stared at him and then at the baby with despise in her eyes.
She stood up slowly.
’She’s your fuckin sperm, you bastard, you shut her up!’
He turned to the baby whose little arms and legs were flailing and kicking like an upside-down turtle. And then…and then…he can’t remember, that’s when everything went black.
The next thing he remembered momentarily were the blood on the lamp in his hand and Patsy’s screams.
The fat neighbour’s panting as she laboured up the stairs, her staring in harrowed silence before screaming in a high, shrill voice, ‘You murderer, you fuckin baby murderer!’
The baby was quiet.
Everything went black.
‘Benjamin Javid, you’re under arrest for the murder of Lulu Javid-’
‘Oh, God,’ He said as he looked with horror into the face of the man bending over him. He tried to shake his head, but the pain made it impossible. He was handcuffed to the side of the bed.
‘What happened, I don’t remember? Is the baby…is Lulu dead? Did I kill her?’ He tried to ask a thousand questions simultaneously without getting any answers. He couldn’t remember doing anything to her. But that’s what the man said.
Inspector Mahdi, as he introduced himself, explained Benjamin had concussion and temporary memory loss, according to the doctor, but it will come back to him sooner or later.
Did he want it to come back to him? Killing Lulu?
‘I can’t remember.’ He moaned as tears streamed down his face. None had sympathy.
Mahdi’s expression had only contempt as he turned away from the bed. He could hear him talking to the Constable at the door and then he too turned around and looked at Benjamin with the same disgust and utter horror he saw in the nurse’s and Mahdi’s eyes.
He turned his face to the wall.
He killed the baby? He didn’t want her dead. He can’t remember anything!
Later, in his delirium, he swore he heard whisperings about how Patsy, apparently, hit him over the head with the same lamp he used to smash the baby’s scull in. He heard them gossiping about what a shit he was, what a heroic woman she was, and how she should’ve killed him with that same lamp as he did the baby.
Benjamin must have fallen asleep. Only a faint light was visible in the two-bed ward with him the only patient there. He came too. At first he didn’t know where he was. Then his eyes caught the handcuffed hand.
He suddenly remembered why he was there and what they said he had done.
He was filled with remorse.
True, he wanted the baby to shut-up, and he was beside himself with anger, but he couldn’t remember taking the lamp or hitting the baby with it. Was he so angry that he blacked out? Was it the concussion as the policeman said? According to the gossip-voices Patsy tried to stop him but couldn’t. In a desperate attempt to save the child she’d hit him with the same lamp over the head that he used on the baby – or so the voices in his semi-coma said.
The more he tried the more his head hurt!
He remembered looking at the baby, he remembered the neighbour’s asthmatic screams and Patsy’s blood-drenched T-shirt. The moment of killing he had no memory off, only the darkness.
The door opened.
He saw the silhouette of a policeman outside. He saw the silhouette of a nurse or doctor in the doorway before the door closed again. He couldn’t see her face. Only the night-light was on. She fiddled with the IV.
‘You’re awake, Mr Javid?’ she said, ‘terrible thing – a conscience – isn’t it.’
‘I can’t remember anything,’ he mumbled, ashamed.
‘Tell me, Mr Javid do you like ice-cream?’
She put something into the IV with a needle.
‘Ice-cream?’ he said baffled.
‘Not ice-cream, Mr Javid, “I SCREAM”!’ her voice came out so low he recoiled.
He knew there and then, before the first convulsion, he would not live to see twenty-one.