by Debbie Kinsey
John stood back from The Woman, wondering what angle Her leg should be to best convey a sense of aristocratic nonchalance. Eventually he decided to swing Her left leg over the arm of the chair and left the other dangling on the floor. He had dressed Her in The Man’s tweed trouser suit. It was a little green for his tastes but he was pleased with the overall effect. Pipe cocked, eyes vacant, green tweed slouched around Her.
He turned towards the fireplace where he’d left The Man. A sideways ironing board was wedged between Him and the wall. It had been tricky, but he’d managed to make it look like He was supporting His own weight. At least it did from the front door, which is what counts. It was becoming more difficult to move Him, so John knew he had to hurry. He tore another hole in His baggy t-shirt and pulled the grey jogging bottoms down to expose scraggy boxer shorts and a flavour of hair. Smears of soot placed under the eyes put The Man in a dark daydream. Dead eyes open, looking through you at nothing.
As usual, John took out the crisp white paper he’d printed the previous night. They try to demonstrate their collective ennui, but the minutiae are too distracting He’d come up with the title a week ago, when he first saw The Couple. It was his favourite yet. He took a moment to survey his scene, before carefully pinning the note to the back of the door.
John took a satisfied breath through his nostrils, taking in the sounds of the dawn. He smiled to himself. He always enjoyed the walk back home. This one was particularly relaxing, through fields and across a stream. The walk was always his moment of perfect serenity. But the next phase was his favourite. As the local D.I. he was always called to his own Events. He was sure if the others knew they would think him perverse, as though he were merely parading his dead. That missed the point entirely. He felt himself to be a kind of visual poet, searching for his own meaning. The placing of the bodies was purely physical. He just did what made most sense to him at the time without knowing why. He wanted to know why. Not why he killed, that didn’t matter, but why it felt wrong to position her pipe at any other angle. Why he had a title and an image that felt connected to each other but not to sense.
It was frustrating.
John tensed as he remembered his previous failed Events. No matter. He had a good feeling about this one. His meaning would come soon. It wasn’t his last chance yet. John felt his muscles release as he pictured his next title; as he pictured You in the park, waiting to be created.
Debbie Kinsey writes in Yorkshire and lives in short fiction.