It was a generic Wednesday evening when it happened. That’s what he told himself at least. The sun was hanging low in the sky already and the hum of the TV was the only sound that helped to fill the comfortable silence that he reclined in.
No matter that it was Christmas Day as well as his birthday.
Turning a page in his book, he let out a soft sigh. He had a stack of papers to grade for two weeks’ time, far too many really, but he didn’t have the energy to even glance at them just yet. Outside the window of his living-room the sky darkened with the promise of rain. He let out another sigh, scowling a little at his book. It was going to be a pain tomorrow morning. He would need to leave early to make-up for the delay the rain would cause.
“Perfect,” he grunted as he marked his place in the book and set it on the coffee table. Glancing at the clock on the mantelpiece he decided that it was too early for dinner. Maybe he would have to grade those papers, just to have something to do.
The small kitchen was ‘claustrophobic’ to most people, but he often found himself feeling cosy enough in the small, clean environment. It was easier to maintain, and he lived alone so he didn’t need a huge, extravagant kitchen as it was. The few times he did entertain his medley of moronic friends, they ordered take-aways.
Turing the hob on he poured oil into the frying pan and let it heat up.
Beyond the wall in the hallway, people shuffled back and forth as they returned home from work. He felt a twinge inside him, but he brushed the feeling aside. He wasn’t much of a people-person. The fact that he had managed to find a job with a decent salary as well as a small, tight circle of friends was nothing short of a miracle.
The pan sizzled, flecks of oil staining the hob. He wrinkled his nose in distaste. He’d have to clean that up later. Frying up diced peppers, pork, and bacon, he made a basic fry-up and served it within ten minutes. In his small flat, he barely had room for his dining table, but he had insisted upon moving-in that he needed one. The TV was playing a documentary that he’d wanted to see for a long time. As he ate, he paid careful attention, his lips quirking every now and again as the new knowledge sank into his brain. Once he’d eaten, he decided to do some grading.
He drew the stack of essays toward him.
The TV dulled to a faint buzz to his ears. He hunched over a little as his eyes scanned through the inexperienced words of teenagers, his red pen resting idly in his right hand, ready to strike words out at a moment’s notice, when his phone buzzed shattering his little bubble.
‘Who the fuck is ringing me?’ he thought, frowning over at the lit-up screen.
He tried to ignore his phone. However, the second time it buzzed he growled, throwing his pen down and storming over to swipe his phone off the table. It was two text messages. Gritting his teeth, he opened the messages and read them.
(19:12) These gits are such masochists!
(19:57) Dude seriously?! Answer your phone!
Cocking an eyebrow derisively, he scrolled up who had sent him the message. Number unknown. His fingers hovered over the pad for a moment before another message came through.
(20:03) So how many teachers will I have to kill before I can get out of this assignment?
(20:07) I’m not about to lecture you on how writing an essay is much easier than murder but … I feel like I should.
(20:08) Huh? You literally bitched and whined about the assignment the entire evening!
(20:09) Regardless, murder requires a lot of brain power and you’ve already shot yourself in the foot.
(20:10) In … what way?
(20:11) Paper trail? Texts can be read by police.
(20:12) The fact that you know this makes me worried about your dedication to this.
(20:13) There’s no reason we both have to go down for it.
(20:15) Now what you need to do is make sure that you don’t have a paper trail. Code-names were invented for a reason. Just like morse code. Create a system that only the criminals can understand.
(20:16) I’m not about to learn morse code!
(20:17) It’s probably easier than speaking Chinese.
(20:17) That’s –What?! That’s not even the point!
(20:18) I feel like you’re over-complicating your evening.
(20:20) There’s nothing complicated! It’s either figuring out how Pythagoras’ Theorem actually works or the possible massacre of my teachers. It seems like a simple decision.
(20:21) Then maybe triangles aren’t for you?
(20:22) Dude, seriously, what’s up? You’re being a douche.
(20:23) OMG! This isn’t Arthur is it?
(20:23) Your perceptions skill are astounding.
(20:23) No, this is not Arthur.
(20:24) Why the hell would you let me prattle on like that?
(20:25) You were talking about murdering some innocent teachers. I felt as though I should try and talk you out of jail.
(20:26) I am mortified!
(20:27) Good. Maybe this will teach you some censorship in regard to that brain of yours.
(20:29) Are you … Are you calling me stupid?!
(20:30) I thought we already established that you were. Or was I not clear?
(20:31) You didn’t outright say it!
(20:32) Was the paper trail comment not enough?
(20:33) Hey, fuck you! I’m not stupid!
(20:34) You just begged a strange for advice on how to kill your teachers. That doesn’t sound like a genius from my end of things.
(20:35) It’s a new phone!
(20:36) Hardly a reason.
(20:37) It is!
(20:38) Is not.
(20:39) IT IS!
(20:40) Oh dear, you caps-locked me. You’ve put me right in my place.
(20:42) … You know, I can feel the sarcasm from here.
(20:43) Considering you could be in Scotland for all I know, I’m fairly impressed with myself.
(20:44) God, I’m so embarrassed.
(20:45) Don’t be. You’ve been thoroughly entertaining.
(20:46) Um … I’m glad?
(20:46) Do you get off on misery and embarrassment or something?
(20:47) So what if I do?
(20:48) … Suddenly I want to throw my phone at the wall.
(20:49) I don’t recommend it. New phone’s are expensive.
(20:53) To set your mind at ease, I do not get-off on your embarrassment, though you have managed to make my night more bearable.
(20:56) I feel like everything you say is getting me stuck between a rock and a hard place.
(20:58) That’s most people’s impression of me.
(21:00) As amusing as you’ve been, I have work to finish.
(21:03) Okay. I’m sorry I bothered you.
(21:06) It’s okay. It could have been a lot worse for you.
(21:06) In what way?
(21:07) No wait! I don’t want to know.
(21:10) Good choice.
(21:13) Word of advice? Don’t bother with the murdering. Stick with the essay-writing. You’ll find you have to burn less clothing that way.
(21:19) Wait … have you had to do that?
(21:21) Another time. Goodnight.
(21:25) Yeah … Night.