Setting:

  Café of indeterminate description.  During pan left from register and various steaming devices, we see a barista, who is the prototypical Everybarista, serving a beige fluid to a customer who is, in every detail, the ideal cafenaut.  The pan continues until we encounter a well-dressed man sitting alone.  He sips a drink which may or may not be a coffee derivative.  He smiles playfully and speaks to someone sitting out of frame.

 

     Is it wrong to want someone dead?  I mean really, completely gone.  Not “This engine is dead, let’s give her one more try,” but unquestionably “I’m afraid we’ve misplaced the torso” deceased.  Wanting something to have happened is very different from doing the thing yourself, or perhaps seeing that the thing gets done, while you are safely elsewhere, being observed continuously by several impartial witnesses.

 

     Things of this sort don’t always turn out the way we plan.  That’s for sure.  It’s always worse, though, when someone else derails your plans.  Perhaps that person (or sometimes persons) did not “cause” the failure of the plan directly, but the nets of blame must be cast somewhere.  When some sliver of guilt can be traced to an individual, and if the plan is question is sufficiently important, large or encroaches upon the realm of ‘dream’ or ‘life’s passion’ it is completely natural to feel resentment towards that person.  A desire to see harm come to that individual is not uncommon.  The severity of the desired harm is often commensurate with the magnitude of the dream deferred, rather than to the specific level of interference by the offending party.  That the person is wrong is not in question.  The character of that person is beyond (or perhaps below) doubt.  However, at what point does the wronged party begin to slide into regions of questionable intent?  To whit—is it wrong to want someone dead?

 

     I’m not saying anyone got killed, but if they did, or not, I mean…who knows?

 

     That stuff earlier about the misplaced torso…that was just something off the top of my head, not something that happened, or maybe it did, just not with me around.  Or anyone I would have contact with…or not.  How should I know?

 

     It’s pretty disturbing actually, that you would think something like that.  It’s gross.  In fact, it’s like something from a horror movie or something.  Why would you think that I would stuff someone’s stiffening form into a sofa and then leave it in a dump? 

 

     I know that’s not what you said, but it was written all over your face.  I can tell when someone suspects me of some horrible act of which I could have had no part, even in theory, because I was elsewhere when, and even if (I cannot overstate the theoretical nature of this) it happened, or not.  Who can say?  I know peoples’ faces.  I can tell what that person’s like just by looking at them.

 

     It’s a forehead/cheekbone thing.  Ratios.

 

     If you’re so worried about it, maybe it’s your conscience.  Maybe YOU killed someone, or wanted them dead, or whatever.  Or not.  I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

 

     These glasses?  Really? You like them? 

     I didn’t pay for them with money I made selling eyes on the black market if that’s what you mean.

 

     Yeah.  Ray Ban.  Thanks.

    

     Nah, lattes are too, like, light.  Which is not to say I don’t like light things.  It’s not as though the deeds haunting my garbled memory have convinced my soul to cower from even the hint of light or good—the piercing stare of eternal truth.  Not at all.  Steam milk just gives me heartburn.

    

     I know milk is creamy, but that doesn’t prevent it from causing heartburn.

 

     It’s got acid in it!  Lactic acid.  Of course it’s an acid.  Well no, not like sulfuric acid.  Not that kind either.  Whoa…slow down partner.  If you are implying that I know so much about acid because of my chosen method of bone disposal method, which you are sick for even suggesting, by the way, then I am leaving once my latte is gone.  And one refill.

 

     I have to watch that money flow.  Times aren’t tight now, but they could be at any time.

 

     Veiled threat?  What are you talking about?  I did not drag my thumb across my throat when I said ‘at any time.’  And if I did, which I did not, what the heck kind of threat is that—“At any time.”  I would have said something like, “Watch your mouth buddy, or else KKKKKKKKKKHHTTTT!”  And dragged my thumb across real slow like.

 

     Well of course I did it just then!  I was demonstrating, not threatening.  I was just showing you what I would do in that case, which I would never actually do, or not…who can say, in this crazy world?

 

The bracelet?  Teeth.  No, not human teeth, and if they were, they would all have a good reason for being on a bracelet of mine.  I mean I guess.  Or not.  Sometimes I don’t even know what day it is.

    

     No, that’s not a sign of senility.  Well, for one thing I am only 34.  Also, I ‘m not crazy in any way…

    Well I can’t help that denial is the first sign of mental trouble, can I?  How can you tell the difference between

1.      claims of sanity

2.      denial of insanity, and

3.       lack of awareness of insanity?

     You look at a person’s actions that’s how.  For example, if a claim of sanity is followed by the stamping of a certificate of madness and subsequent donning of the season’s finest semi-formal restraint wear and cries of “This will never hold a champion rhino like me.  I am in full rut.  The savannah and all its splendors belong to me.” And attempts to drive one’s horn into passing orderlies, then ones sanity is at least called into doubt.  But, if a quiet denial of insanity is followed by a calm smile and demeanor which belies only further calm, the sort one only finds in the reflecting pools in Zen monastic gardens (the kind of garden a body would never be hidden in without drastic modification of both shape and size) then sanity is all but guaranteed.

 

Zoom out to reveal man is alone, but apparently addressing a toddler in a high chair at the next table.