The Best Solution (short story)

Lucifer Christ is sitting quietly on the center of his couch, staring dreamily contemplating the nature of his neighbors sins. Yes, he thinks, she must be all those terrible things. Yes, undoubtedly I must do something about that wretched woman. And, firmly coming to this conclusion, Lucifer returned to pulsating with fear waiting for some dread nightmare to awaken into his life.

A little background to this scene is sure to illuminate the reason for Lucifer’s fear. The story is like this. Lucifer, who is by trade a cashier at a major box store, returned to his large apartment block one night after a particularly onerous shift. He hazily punched in his floor number, walked off at the generic landing, went to his door, twisted the knob, and walked into what was supposed to be his apartment but was in fact the one directly below his: he had clicked the wrong floor accidentally. Now, Lucifer only opened the door for a split second, immediately realized he was staring into the wrong apartment, quickly shut the door, then went up a flight of stairs to his own apartment where we find him in the paragraph above pulsating with fear. You see, unfortunately, the apartment that Lucifer walked into  by shear accident was some form of murder den. For the split second the door was open Lucifer could see a plastic lined apartment, a few stray body parts littered around the plastic, an enormous quantity of blood, and his cute neighbor Tilda standing in the center of all this with a welders apron around her waist and a hacksaw in her hand. She looked up in surprise when Lucifer entered, probably had time to question why on earth she didn’t lock the door, made direct eye contact with Lucifer, then Lucifer shut the door and scampered off.

Now, of course the rational thing for Lucifer to do in a scene like this would be to run away, run quickly, never come back. Of course alerting the authorities goes without saying a point number one on Lucifer’s action plan. Yet, the human mind is not a perfect organ and one must remember that this is all happening rather quickly and for whatever reason neither alerting the authorities of escaping the premises even enters Lucifer’s mind. No, all he thinks is that what serendipity: the entire city is looking for the infamous murderer and here he finds her by sheer! It’s too bad, Lucifer thinks, since she was rather cute. He giggles to himself that make it is a good thing he never pushed harder for a date; his cowardice pays off. Lucifer is giggling. And, of course, pulsating with fear.

There is no plan in Lucifer’s mind what he should do, resulting in that he just continues to sit in the middle of his couch. There are not room mates coming and going to break his reverie, there is no beep of the telephone to remind Lucifer that he is part of a world external to the last few minutes. Nope, all Lucifer does is sit and shake.

Eventually a certain amount of time passes, say a quarter of an hour. Perhaps if an hour had passed Lucifer would have woken up, but that amount of time does not pass. After this certain amount of time Lucifer hears someone twist his apartments door know. He, unlike the murderer remembered to lock his door, and Lucifer giggles to himself before retching with horror as he hears a mechanical cutting noise and watches his door swing open.

In walks Tilda, carrying a small mechanical power saw in her left hand which must have been used to break through his lock. She is looking very calm and collected, and even has a bit of a jovial look in her eye, as if she is quietly tittering at what an absurd situation this has evolved to.

She walks confidently into Lucifer’s apartment, shutting the door behind her. Really, she is a rather cute girl, round face designed for smiling and a lithe figure that’s perfect for dancing. She is smiling now, as she asks Lucifer “Well, have you ever put me in a tight spot! Do you know what a tight spot you have put me in?” She gives Lucifer no time to answer, which is good since Lucifer’s mouth was agape and the chances that he might have piped in an answer were remote to nil. Tilda carried on, “Here I go and play my little games, and take all the precautions, and a forgettable detail like locking the door completely slips my mind! What are the chances! You really didn’t mean to come into my apartment did you? I saw your face, it was priceless, you certainly didn’t expect to see me playing my games did you? Well?” She suddenly loses her smile, pierces Lucifer with a dontfuckwithme look and waits a solid fifteen seconds for Lucifer to stammer “I…….I……..I was on the wrong floor…….it was an accident……..I was so tired……”.  Giggling Tilda claps her hands, “Oh, an accident! Well, isn’t that just my luck, oh ho ho ho, an accident! What are the chances, what are the chances…” Clapping her hands with enthusiasm Tilda seems to be actually enjoying this rather odd situation when she suddenly stops and begins quickly moving toward Lucifer with the saw revving at a high RPM. With the squeal of a stepped on puppy Lucifer leaps behind his couch yelping “You can’t kill me, please don’t kill me, please of please of fuck, please please don’t kill me. I won’t tell anybody. I didn’t see anything. There was nothing to see. What is it you are talking about? Oh please. I won’t tell anyone anything, oh god oh god oh god please please.” In the face of this barrage of excuses Tilda seems incognizant until Lucifer weepingly mumbles “If you kill me I will go missing and and and then people will find you because you can’t hide from all the attention that me disappearing would happen on the building.” Suddenly, the saw goes off, the killer leaves Tilda’s eyes, and again she seems jovial; a laugh is living just inside her lips. “You know! I think you’ve got a point,” she ponders with enthusiasm, if I do kill you, you will be a head ache! I would have to move from here for sure and I’m so happy here, the land lords are so nice and I’m so fond of my view. Yet, if I don’t kill you then you will go to the police and I’ll be an even bigger mess! No, I think I’m going to have to kill you, unless, hmmm, do you have any ideas? I’m open to suggestions!” Gasping for air Lucifer is crying, “Suggestions, suggestions…of course I have some suggestions…..” Tilda is tapping her foot, looks at her watch and begins to fidget while she waits for Lucifer to respond. “How about,” suggest Lucifer, “If you find something that you could make me do so that if I was to tell anyone that thing which I may or may not have seen I would be in just as much trouble as you?” Tilda lights up like a sun beam, and yelps joyfully “Of course Lucifer, that’s a fantastic idea! Here, you wait here, I’ll be right back! Two seconds. Don’t do anything foolish though, I wouldn’t want to have to eat your mother or anything!” And with that hopefully sarcastic statement Tilda is bounding out the door.

Now, with Tilda gone, Lucifer collapses back into his comfortable spot on the couch and manners of conducting an escape suddenly flood his mind. “Yes,” he thinks, “I could simply run out of this building, go to the police department, and turn Tilda in. Yes, that’s what I will do. Yet…..what if she does do something terrible to my family? She certainly seems crazy, and for her to have not gotten caught yet must mean she is somewhat successful at staying ahead of the law….no, I think the proper thing for me to do is stay here. Maybe I will get a weapon and if the chance arises I’ll kill her! Yes, that’s a good solution! That’s exactly what I’ll do.” Rising from the sofa going towards the kitchen, Lucifer is looking through his drawers when Tilda stumbles back into Lucifer’s apartment with a large bag the size of a human body being dragged behind her. She looks at Lucifer, sees him with the knife in his hand and sweetly asks him “to please put that fucking knife down or I’ll use it to cut you so terribly that your only mode of communication will be breathing patterns!” Lucifer puts the knife down, and stares at Tilda quixotically.

“Well,” Tilda says, “Here’s what’s going to happen. In the bag I have my next toy, and while I was going to have fun playing with him I thought if you were to maybe murder him that would be the sort of action that would keep you from going to the authorities. So if you could do me a favor, and take that knife you just put down, and come over here and just stab the bag a few times? Don’t worry about blood, the bad has a self repairing meniscus so everything should stay in the bag. Just stab it a couple times and I’ll be off and everything will be exactly like it was before! Just let me get out of the way so you don’t stab ME by mistake, ohohohohohohoh!” And with that Tilda shies away, and is staring at the agape Lucifer.

Lucifer is just standing there, very still. His brain is working faster than his heart. He cannot be a murderer! That is a thing so vile, so vile. Yet, then, he will die if he does not kill this man. And this man will die one way or the other. Oh, how tricky. he can’t kill a man, he can’t. Then, then the man is going to die anyway. Oh, fuck it. And without anymore thought then that just listed above Lucifer takes the kitchen knife he’d hoped to pluck between two of Tilda’s ribs and instead plants it solidly into the writhing black bag. The bag shudders viciously, and Lucifer surprises himself by instinctually stabbing the knife a dozen more times until the movement stops.

Springing from the other end of the room with a great big grin on her face Tilda comes and grabs the bag that used to contain a man. “Fantastic work Lucifer,” she gushes, “Everything should be good now! You can’t tell anybody about my games because then it would come out you were a murderer. Here just let me take that knife from you for fingerprints, thanks, and I’ll store the body in such a manner that I’ll be sure to be able to pin it back onto you, so you don’t got telling anybody you hear? Okay. Good, anyway, have a pleasant evening and I’ll see you around the building. Maybe I can borrow your laundry soap, mines almost out. But I’ll talk to you about that later.” Then pulling the corners of the heavy bag with all her strength Tilda takes the great bag out of Lucifer’s apartment.

Looking at the ruined lock in his door Lucifer sighs. “That’s going to be a pretty penny to fix,” he thinks morosely. Then without allowing himself a second thought for all of the events, he stretches out on his couch, turn the TV on, and lets his brain turn off.

Leave a Reply