Friday, December 29, 2017

Kiss of Death


yell at them for not calling.  Larry recognized that like other Greeks, he never thought to call people, but he hated how Greeks acted so hypocritically when they would berate their friends for not calling when they themselves don’t call.  He had been on the receiving end of that phone call one too many times to strive to avoid it.  He couldn’t really help that it never occurred to him to call his friends, but he could control how he reacted to getting a phone call.  He could just say yes.  He liked hanging out with his friends and really didn’t want to lose contact with them, the only thing that stopped him from inviting his Greek friends out when he went out, besides that he doesn’t call, is that they rarely accepted the invitation.  Knowing that people will stop calling if you almost always say no, he tried to say yes as much as possible to keep the phone calls coming.  Obviously conflicts do arise sometimes but Larry countered this by always knowing how his hierarchy of people went.  Simply put, which of his friends and family were most important to him down to the least.  This way when two conflicts arose simultaneously, he always knew which one he would accept.  Janilsa rated pretty close to the top of the list.  He understood that Janilsa was higher on his list than he was on Janilsa, but this didn’t concern him at all.   This particular invitation excited him not because it was from one of his closest friend but because, although he had been invited to many of Janilsa’s parties, this was the first time he was invited to one of Joel’s.  He immediately accepted and became kind of excited for he liked Janilsa’s house parties. 

On the day of the party, Larry was slightly annoyed that his car wouldn’t start so would have to take public transportation, this meant that he would be late to the party.  Larry hated inconveniencing his friends when he went to visit.  Janilsa lived in Long Island but not walking distance from the closest LIRR stop.  So Larry would have to take the LIRR and have Janilsa pick him up at the train station.  Other times when he had done this, he came slightly earlier than the rest of the guests, this way when people arrived, Janilsa would be home to greet them and wouldn’t have to leave the party after it was on its way.  Today, this wouldn’t be the case, there was no way he’d get to Long Island early.  Larry didn’t really think Janilsa minded this but was extremely apologetic when he informed Janilsa about this and was on his way.  As the party got on the way, Larry was very surprised to see Layla come in.  Larry didn’t know that Layla had moved to America from the Dominican Republic, and hadn’t spoken or seen her since grad alley almost two years ago.  He spent a lot of time talking to Layla doing everything in his power to not be forced to dance with her. 

Larry hated American dancing with a burning passion.  The Spanish dances of Bacchata and Meringue he didn’t mind too much because there were actually steps involved.  He had no illusions of his being stereotypically white in that he had absolutely no rhythm whatsoever but he found it slightly easier to follow the rhythm of the person he was dancing with when dancing Spanish Meringue or Bacchata.  The key word, however, was slightly easier, he still was pretty hopeless in keeping a rhythm.  Layla, however, kept asking Larry to dance to the American music.  One time he gave in for a grand total of 15 seconds, just long enough for Layla to be distracted by her cousins dancing giving him the opening to leave the dance floor and sit back down. 

Eventually Layla gave up and her and Larry just talked for a while.  Many of mutual acquaintances such as Layla’s cousins and Larry’s friends whom Layla had met sat down at the table to join in the conversation but they would soon get up to dance again but Larry and Layla stayed.  Larry felt that Layla was hitting on him.  One thing he would never resolve was the difference between having a girl tease him or actually flirt with him.  He had already decided he wasn’t going to make a move to hook up with Layla no matter how flirtatious she seemed.  Larry had been drinking and he was confident so had Layla and Janilsa had made these rules pretty clear, he couldn’t hook up with one of her close friends or cousins for the first time when they were drunk regardless of his current level of intoxication.  Since Larry was a very black and white thinker, thus didn’t believe one should hit on someone if they had no intention of hooking up with them, he did his best to control himself but it was hard not to return flirtations.  He also wasn’t even quite sure what separated flirting from being friendly.  The game of courting, love, liking more than friends, or whatever you wanted to call it confused Larry to no end.  To him, everything had to be logical, and emotions, feelings and all the other components of this game just had no logic to it so he tried to avoid it.  One part of his flirtation was when he noticed Layla and a mutual friend of his and Janilsa’s named Ranjit writing notes back and forth to Layla.  Larry knew Ranjit was dating one of Janilsa’s friends and also knew he was not the type of guy who would cheat on his girlfriend.  Larry then grabbed a napkin and began writing in Greek.  The only thing he wrote in English was Layla’s name.  The note was mostly random thoughts that came to him like how it was nice to see one of his friends that he hadn’t seen in a while and conversations he had with other people before.  Had it been translated almost all of it wouldn’t have been too interesting, but Larry believed that anything with someone’s name on it would immediately interest them regardless of what language the rest of it was written in.  He purposely kept it long so it would actually look like he was writing a lot about Layla when really only about a quarter of it was about her. 

The napkin had the desired effect, Layla looked over, saw her name and became extremely interested in the contents.  Larry knew he was the only person at the party that spoke Greek, so knew that Layla’s only hope was for him to translate, in which he refused just to annoy Layla.  What he hadn’t intended was that Layla would take the napkin home with her.  Although most of what was written was uneventful, there were a couple things that Larry wrote under the security of it being in Greek and his being the only Greek person there.  He tried hard to remember if there was anything damaging in that letter but since it was written with little thought and while intoxicated, he couldn’t really recall everything,.  He would have to rely on Layla losing interest and throwing away the napkin without translating it.

                Layla had returned to her house with the napkin that Larry wrote on but she didn’t hold on to it for long.  She lost interest in the contents of it the next day and just took her name on the napkin to mean that Larry liked her.  She liked Larry as well and liked the idea of a white boyfriend.  Although Layla’s parents were both Dominican, and she was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, she didn’t embrace the Dominican culture the way her cousins had.  She didn’t like to dance to Spanish music and much preferred grinding to American music.  She knew this annoyed some of her family but she didn’t let it concern her.  Before leaving the party, she had exchanged phone numbers with Larry.  After waiting for a couple of weeks and realizing that Larry wasn’t going to call her, she decided to take the initiative.  She knew from Grad-Alley that Larry was very slow and deliberate about making moves on women.  It took him a couple hours and a lot of drinks to get up the courage to go for her lips, which was a turn off to her.  This is why she didn’t mind when Janilsa attacked Larry every time he garnered the courage, he should have just gone for it.  She text messaged Larry while she was at work and Larry responded amicably.  A few days went by and still Larry didn’t call her, so she text messaged him again waiting for him to ask her on a date or somewhere.  This routine happened a lot until finally Larry asked her on a date.  It started with dinner and then they talked about getting drinks.  Throughout their time together, she was flirting with Larry but it just seemed to make him uncomfortable as he was very nervous and on edge so finally she asked, “Larry, what’s wrong?” hoping to get an acceptable answer to assuage her fear that even though he was 24-years-old he still was nervous around women.

                Larry was unsure what this dinner meant. This was the first time he had seen Layla without Janilsa and under normal situations, he would have thought nothing of it, had dinner maybe drinks and then said bye and gone his separate way.  Most of Larry’s friends were girls, so having dinner one on one with a girl was not uncommon to him and certainly did not necessarily have romantic intent.  What made the dinner with Layla different was that Larry couldn’t get something that Layla’s sister, Alexis had told him at his birthday a couple weeks before.  Alexis had told Larry that she was perfectly okay with Larry dating Layla.  The weird part was Larry didn’t say anything about dating Layla.  In fact, he didn’t even think he liked her.  This made Layla’s text messages all the weirder, what started out as him just answering text messages he realized may be misconstrued as something else.  He was generally a nice guy and was unsure of the consequences if he blatantly told Layla that he didn’t want to hook up with her or ignored the text messages.  It didn’t really concern him if Layla herself got mad, it was Janilsa’s opinion that bothered him.  The closer he became to Janilsa, the less he flirted with her cousins simply because he didn’t want to jeopardize his friendship with Janilsa.  The one thing that he knew was that despite any protest from others including Janilsa, if he hooked up with and subsequently, regardless how long subsequently was, angered them, it would probably affect his relationship with Janilsa.  No matter how much he liked Hispanic women, which he did, and no matter how hot he believed her cousins to be, there was no girl hot enough or hook up enjoyable enough to compensate for losing a close friend like Janilsa.  He purposely didn’t have many close friends but the few he had he wanted to hold on to and if they would no longer be friends he’d much rather have it be because they got sick of him as a person or other natural reason friends don’t stay friends.  He hated the game and tried very hard not to play it.  He entertained the idea that throughout this dinner, Layla was flirting with him but he kept telling himself he wasn’t interested and reminding himself about how important Janilsa’s friendship was.  He didn’t really want to explain this all to Layla so he just replied, “Nothing”

                “Something is wrong, you seem really nervous about something, is it about my cousin.”

                The fact that Layla wasn’t using Janilsa’s name didn’t go unnoticed to Larry.  He said, “No, why would Janilsa matter?  We’re just having dinner, no harm in that.”

                Layla smiled wide and decided to stop being subtle and make it obvious she liked him, she dropped her hand on Larry’s and said rather condescendingly, “Not everything has to be so innocent.” 

                Larry looked up hiding the shock on his face.  Layla had crossed a line but this wasn’t the first time he felt a girl was obviously flirting with him and still believed Layla had strung him along and teased him at grad-alley and wasn’t going to fall for the same trick twice.  He responded, “Yes it does” hoping that that would be the end of it but also realizing the unlikelihood of that.

                Layla retreated more out of frustration than anything.  She thought it possible that Larry was just playing hard to get, but Layla knew he wouldn’t be very hard to get.  Few single men could resist the advances of a beautiful woman.  The conversation went on normally and then she made the suggestion to go out for drinks to which Larry said yes.

                While walking toward a bar, Larry was still unnerved by the dinner.  He was attracted to Layla.  If he was absolutely sure that Janilsa was against it then he wouldn’t be entertaining any of these ideas in his head.  But he told Alexis at his party that if he went out with Layla, Janilsa would kill him.  Janilsa had jumped in and said that she wouldn’t care.  This made it all the more confusing, he knew that Janilsa didn’t lie and hated liars but this information was inconsistent with what he always believed about her.  He never fully believed that it was about her being drunk but that Janilsa didn’t want Larry to hook up with any of her friends or family and used the ‘they were drunk excuse’ as a gentle way to break it to him.  He had adjusted to this belief by not hitting on her cousins, and would never hook up with them but with this new information he didn’t know what the rules were.  The sexual tension between him and Layla was overwhelming him, he couldn’t go on this way through drinks so he focused on the one situation where he knew the rules perfectly.  He knew that after alcohol entered the system, he could not hook up with Layla so he would give Layla one chance and one chance only to hook up with him.  He would try to kiss her and if she turned him down he would go for drinks and not hook up with her for the rest of the night.  Larry knew himself well enough to know there wasn’t enough alcohol on Earth to make him go against his morals and would easily be able to avoid hooking up with Layla if Layla had turned him down when sober regardless of what Layla did.  He began thinking like Janilsa, Janilsa would say that since she turned you down sober, she didn’t want to do it drunk.  Larry completely disagreed with this, it was always possible she was playing hard to get and that’s why she turned him down sober. Aside from that, Larry knew that he would never do something he was against when drunk so naturally assumed that others wouldn’t either.  A drunk man’s actions or a sober man’s thoughts.  He understood that sometimes using yourself as a reference was flawed but he thought he was right on this point. Regardless, this was Janilsa’s cousin so therefore he would play it by the book of Janilsa to the furthest extent he understood it.  If Janilsa wanted to clarify why it wasn’t okay later, he would listen intently because he himself really wanted to understand her rules.  Larry gently grabbed Layla by the arm and turned her toward him.  Layla was smiling for Larry finally showed some assertiveness.  Larry leaned in, tilted his head and kissed Layla on the lips.   Layla returned the kiss and they made out for a couple seconds and pulled away.  This is when Larry realized his plan wasn’t exactly fool-proof.  He made the move so that he would be certain how to act, but he would only be certain how to act if Layla had denied him the kiss, the fact she reciprocated made the situation no clearer than it had been before.  He had taken the first step and knew that there would be more where it came from after drinks.  He figured that later, he’d get the clarification by Janilsa, another assumption that would prove to be false later that night.

                The next morning, Larry awoke next to Layla.  This was normally the moment Larry hated the most.  He never knew how to react the day after hooking up with a girl.  Normally he remained silent.  It was much easier when he waited until after he was dating someone to hook up with them.  Luckily, Layla started the conversation by offering to get breakfast.  To Larry’s delight, Layla dominated the first part of the conversation so it was easier for Larry to ease in.  Then Layla said something that made Larry uncomfortable all over again.  She simply said, “Remember your promise last night.”

                It wasn’t a question it was a statement and it jarred Larry back to last night.  Even though he was drunk, he distinctly and accurately remembered responding, “Alright, I promise” to Layla after a mild debate over the topic in question.  With trepidation he recalled what he was responding to, “Promise me you won’t tell Janilsa that we hooked up.”

                Another thing Larry was against was reneging on a promise regardless his state of mind when he made it.  To him, everything was black and white, a promise is a promise end of discussion.  And although he wanted nothing more than to call Janilsa the second he was separated from Layla and tell her everything and get the clarification from Janilsa’s rule book on the situation, he couldn’t now.  After breakfast, Layla went home.  Larry was conflicted on whether he wanted it to continue.  End it now, and he was safe if Janilsa was against the relationship, maintain it and make it that much harder.  He really liked Layla and wanted the relationship to continue.  Removing Janilsa from the equation, he knew he wanted to date Layla.  Including Janilsa tipped the equation to something he couldn’t solve without Janilsa’s help but consulting her and going against his morals was out of the question.  He immediately thought of mutual friends of his and Janilsa’s but all the ones that were close with both of them had grown apart from either Larry or Janilsa.  He really had nobody he could tell.  He would just have to hope that Layla knew how to handle it better than he did.  Hopes however are sometimes unfounded.

                It turns out that Layla wasn’t going to make this easy on Larry at all.  To her, Janilsa wasn’t involved in the equation.  It wasn’t her business if she and Larry wanted to date.  She wasn’t even close with Janilsa.  She knew that her family wasn’t too approving at how “white” she acted.  She didn’t really care at all what Janilsa thought, she knew she liked Larry and that was that.  She was so unashamed by it that she told Alexis and her other cousins about it but told them not to tell Janilsa.  Her and Larry saw each other rather frequently after that and, although she thought it extremely childish and na├»ve that Larry actually asked her soon after their first night together, “Will you go out with me?” She responded, “Yes”

                As their relationship continued, Janilsa’s cousins found it harder and harder to keep the information from Janilsa.  To them, she had a right to know.  One day, Alexis decided to confront Larry about this so asked him to dinner after her and Larry got out of work.  Larry readily agreed, he considered Alexis a friend and had hung out with her without Janilsa before and he believed he was treating her sister well so didn’t see any reason not to accept the invitation.  Alexis wasted no time; soon after saying “hi” she asked point blank, “Why don’t you want Janilsa to know about you and my sister?”

                Larry gave her a dirty look and said defensively, “That’s not on me, She made me promise not to tell.  I don’t break promises, I have no problem with Janilsa knowing but I don’t break promises period.”

                “It shouldn’t come from me, it should come from you, you’re her friend”

                “It can’t, I made a promise, I’m going to keep it, what you do is up to you.” he said hoping, this time confidently, that Alexis would help him get this guilty burden off his shoulder and tell Janilsa, have Janilsa call him up and say, “So, you’re dating Layla.”  He would be off the hook that it didn’t come from him so he kept his promise and he could find out Janilsa’s ruling and decide with her what would happen.  Since Larry knew his hierarchy of people and Janilsa still ranked higher that Layla, he would do anything Janilsa told him to do, if she wanted him to end it, he would end it, if she was okay with it, then he wouldn’t.  This was a discussion he couldn’t wait to happen.  Unfortunately, things would again not play out as planned. 

                “You don’t have to keep your promise to my sister, she should have never put you in that situation in the first place, it’s okay to tell Janilsa, you’ve known her longer and she’s one of your best friends.”

Larry thought back to the numerous times he had asked Layla to lift the promise he made.  To Larry, only the person who made you promise could tell you it was okay to tell it. 

                Alexis protested some more with Larry but not as spirited as it started and eventually she gave up in convincing Larry to renege on the promise.  In a way she respected it, but she didn’t get the picture that Larry was against her telling Janilsa and although she didn’t think she should be the one to tell her, she accepted that this was how it was going to be.  The rest of the dinner went by uneventfully, she went home and told Janilsa that Larry had been dating Layla for the last few months.

                Janilsa was shocked with what she was hearing over the phone.  She couldn’t believe that Larry had not told her that he was dating Layla.  It especially enraged her because Larry definitely was not opposed to kissing and telling.  Every other time Larry had hooked up with a girl not only did he tell pretty much anyone who would listen but he got into every single detail of the night.  She knew Larry liked telling stories and that’s what made the current situation all the more infuriating.  What helped fuel her anger was not really in what Alexis said but in what she didn’t say.  She never told Janilsa that Layla made Larry promise not to tell her and that Larry really wanted to.  As it stood, Larry, without pressure from anyone, decided not to tell Janilsa. 

                Janilsa invited Larry over to her house for the weekend.  Larry was slightly surprised by the invitation to Janilsa’s house without any occasion for it, but it wasn’t the first time so he didn’t think it too out of the ordinary when he accepted the invitation.  He went over and they hung out normally.  Janilsa did notice that Larry was more reserved around her and she knew why but she wasn’t going to let Larry know; at least not yet.  She waited to the point when Larry was leaving to go home to finally bring up the real reason she invited him over.  They were at her kitchen table and she followed Larry past the counter and kitchen in which Janilsa picked something up off the counter, through the opening into the hallway to the right to her front door and said, “So Larry, you dating anyone?”

                She noticed Larry tense up at the question.  Larry had no idea how that question followed, “I should get going home” but he addressed it anyway.  He was in a situation in which two morals conflicted with each other.  He was against lying and he was against going back on a promise, he always took comfort that, like his friends, his morals were kept in a hierarchy too, and he was more against going back on a promise than lying.  As is true for anyone that has a moral code, it is often times very difficult to follow it, but Larry was strong willed and knew that even though every part of his being wanted to say, “Yes, I’m dating Layla.”  He knew that that was against his moral code because he would pick a lesser moral over the higher one. He was, however, going to try to not break either one so he said, “Ah, you talked to Alexis.”

                “Alexis has told me nothing” Janilsa lied.  She was extremely against lying too, but her anger let her make the exception.  She wasn’t like Larry, she wasn’t a black and white thinker so she had no problem letting her anger let her break her morals this one time.  She wanted a confession from Larry.

                Larry really didn’t want to break any moral rule here, he was shocked that Alexis hadn’t told Janilsa.  He had no reason to believe she was lying because he knew Janilsa was against lying.  His shock would have to wait though, he had to react, “I think you should talk to Alexis.”

                “Why? are you dating Alexis?”

                “No”

                “Are you dating Layla?”

                Larry was unsure if Janilsa had been told the answer or just thought it out logically.  If Larry mentioned Alexis in a question about who he was dating, logically, Alexis would come first and then the next closest person to Alexis was Layla.  This was a logical progression and Janilsa was a logical person and Janilsa said that Alexis hadn’t told her and Janilsa never lied, and Alexis was the most likely person to have told Janilsa, so Larry thought that it was more probable that Janilsa figured it out based on this logic.  This meant he couldn’t say yes because then she would have found it out from him so he kept dodging the issue by saying, “I think you should talk to Alexis”  hoping that he made it obvious enough without straight out telling Janilsa. 

If Janilsa hadn’t known, she would have been able to deduce that Larry’s dodging the question was admitting it was true.  But she didn’t want hints; she wanted him to say it in plain English unequivocally; she wanted the confession.  So she said, “I don’t see why we have to consult Alexis about a question on who you’re dating.”
                “You will after you talk to Alexis,” 

“Larry, you’re pissing me off, I want a fucking yes or no out of you, don’t you fucking say anything that is not either a yes or no, tell me right now are you dating Layla yes or no.” 

There was no way to dodge this, for some reason Janilsa absolutely refused to talk to Alexis.  Larry thought Janilsa had known about him and Layla before this conversation but how if Alexis hadn’t told her?  Maybe another cousin told her.  He decided that he would dodge it one more time and said, “Did one of your cousins tell you this or one of our friends?”

Janilsa responded with a scowl and she said in a calm voice, which made it much more frightening to Larry, “What part of yes or no did you not understand?”

                Larry had no choice, no more dodging, he couldn’t get out of this without breaking one of his morals so he said, “No”

                “You’re not dating Layla then”

                Larry was a very oblivious person in most respects but in people’s tones of voice he was not.  Janilsa sounded very skeptical and disappointed by his response as he said it, this isn’t what unnerved him.  He thought that she knew but why wouldn’t she just say how she knew.  Just tell him so and so told me that you were dating Layla so Larry could just say “alright good you didn’t hear it from me, God, that girl was driving me crazy with this promise, I don’t even know why she promised me not to tell you” and had a normal conversation with Janilsa.  Perhaps if Larry was not as oblivious to other things, he would have noticed that Janilsa, who is left handed, had her left hand behind her back.  He said again, “No, I’m not”

                Janilsa nodded and said, “alright.”

To which Larry responded, “Why?”

                “No reason, I’ll talk to you later.”

                Janilsa had planned this already.  If Larry lied to her straight in the face, she was going to proceed with the course of events after his lie.  She knew Larry, no matter how angry he was, could not say bye to a girl without European kissing them.  She also knew from Larry’s vivid telling of her drunken attacks, that Larry was fast enough to block a blow, but when European kissing, she was much too close for anyone to block a blow.  Add that to the fact that nobody was on guard during a European kiss, Larry wouldn’t stand a chance in stopping her.  Just as she had played it out, Larry bent down and leaned forward and wrapped his right arm around Janilsa’s back.  Janilsa went on her tip toes tilted her head up keeping her right hand at her side they both simultaneously kissed the air then Janilsa brought her left hand that was holding the kitchen knife she took off the counter around and dug it into Larry’s side, twisted, pulled it out and then jammed it into his back and twisted again.  Larry backed up and didn’t attack.  Hitting a woman was against his morals and unlike the moral he broke before, there was no higher moral to preserve on his code that justified breaking the hitting a woman one.  He smiled while nodding and said, “You actually kissed back.”

                Janilsa was unphased by this unexpected response.  Larry not dying right away was a possibility she had already played.  She said, “You know I hate when people lie.  It’s much worse that you yourself say you never lie and you lied right to my fucking face.  I wouldn’t have cared, but why the fuck didn’t you tell me?”

                Larry’s smile faded as his legs couldn’t support himself anymore.  Two stab wounds, one to the side and one to the kidney with a huge kitchen knife caused the blood to flow out fast.  She had even twisted the knife to keep the cut open and prevent it from clotting.  His legs could no longer support his weight and he knelt down. Larry knew he didn’t have much time left so he kept it short, “Promises are more important than truth.”  Janilsa was a smart woman and was able to deduce the rest of it.  She lightened her tone beginning to be shocked with what she did.  She wished she had this conversation before stabbing him.  At the time, there was nothing he could say when she played it out that would dissuade her from killing him. She said, “Who did you promise?”  Thinking that she knew the answer.

                Larry looked up with accusing eyes as if to say that Janilsa knew, but he was done with dodging questions, he didn’t have time, he said, “Layla.”

                Immediately Janilsa dropped the knife and grabbed a towel from the kitchen and wrapped it around Larry’s wounds.  She said, “I’m sorry, don’t die, just fucking stay alive”

                Larry knew this was pointless, but there were a couple things he wanted to know before dying.  He asked, “How did you know?”

                “Alexis told me.”

                Larry was surprised by this.  He didn’t think she would lie too.  Getting upset would be pointless though, he was dying, he didn’t even have the strength to get mad.  Instead he accepted it and wanted to get the full story as quick as possible, “Did she tell you about the promise?”

                “No, she just told me you were dating, didn’t say shit about why you didn’t tell me.” 

                Larry really didn’t care about Janilsa’s well being.  The girl had just stabbed him.  He understood why she was mad and why it was happening but it didn’t mean he couldn’t make her feel a little guilty; he knew the next sentence would be his last words he’d ever mutter.  He said, “You should have asked her or me why I didn’t tell you.” then his eyes glazed over as his life left his body.

                Janilsa was home alone and Joel would be home any minute to dispose of the body.  They had planned it to a tee on what time Janilsa would insinuate to Larry that he had to go home, and by extension what time Joel would have to come home.  Janilsa wanted the conversation with Larry when they were home alone.  She knew that she had come too far to back out now, she would have to prepare the body to be transported.  She dropped Larry and opened the closet next to her front door revealing a large body bag and rolled it next to Larry’s body.  She closed his eyes just so Larry wouldn’t be looking at her.  Her emotions had been shut off and postponed for later.  Right now, she had to make sure that she wouldn’t go to jail for murder.  The hole upstate was already dug, and Joel would be coming to help her get Larry’s body into the bag.  Sure enough, Joel pulled up into the driveway and left his car running but shut off the lights.  He went in through the garage to make sure that nobody who may be looking at the house would see Larry’s body with the light of the house.  He put on rubber gloves in the garage and came to the front door.  Janilsa had put on her gloves as soon as she saw Joel pull in and the two of them helped Larry’s body into the bag and zipped it shut.  They shut off the lights to their outside and inside house to make it nearly impossible for anyone to see them.  The odds that someone would be walking down the street on their side street in Long Island was pretty much zero.  Joel had to do the brunt of the lifting but they got the body bag to the trunk of the car and shut it.  The trunk had already been lined with multiple layers of newspaper so that no blood would get on the car.  Joel and Janilsa drove in silence toward their upstate location that would be Larry’s final resting place.  After a while, Janilsa broke the silence by telling Joel everything that had happened.  They got to the spot and placed Larry’s body inside the hole along with all the bloody newspapers that they meticulously removed so as not to get any blood on the car.  They then buried the evidence and got back in the car and drove home.  Joel assured Janilsa that she had found out too late and there was nothing she could do about it when she found out why. 

                Janilsa and Joel returned home and cleaned all the blood from the house.  This was no easy task and they made sure to wipe away from the door so that no blood would creak through to the outside.  They placed all the towels, mop heads, and other cleaning utensils they used into various garbage bags as they worked.  When it was all said and done they lit a fire in their fireplace and burned everything that had Larry’s blood on it.  Janilsa never told anyone, not even Layla and Alexis what she did.  She had already decided she was going to do everything in her power to minimize any contact with Layla.  This wouldn’t be too hard since they weren’t close to begin with but although Janilsa took some of the blame, she put the majority on Layla.  If Layla hadn’t tried to keep her relationship a secret from her, then she never would have had to kill Larry.  In the end she justified it by saying that Larry did indeed lie to her about dating one of her cousins and if Larry were to lie about it, he was probably doing something shady to her cousin, her blood, her family and for that he had to die.  This was the logic that led her to the act, so this is the logic she went with.  She repressed all the information that she learned after stabbing Larry that may have provided evidence against this line of logic.  Larry was gone, there was nothing she could do about it.   She was able to keep her composure and convincingly tell anyone who asked that she had no idea why Larry wasn’t returning phone calls.  His body was never discovered. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Principled Dislike


Larry is a senior at New York University (NYU) located in Greenwich Village in Manhattan. He had been very close friends with Gia for the last four years.  Although Gia and Larry were very close, Larry couldn’t stand most of Gia’s friends.  They were all products of spoiled Upper East Side trust fund babies.  Although Gia could be included in that category, there was something about her that Larry couldn’t figure out that allowed him to look past it.  Gia was in a sorority with girls that had similar privileged upbringing as her called AEF.  Larry couldn’t stand sorority girls especially Gia’s little sorority sister Marnie.  Although she was a smart girl, she sounded dumb and had the most annoying voice that Larry could not look past.  Whenever he saw Marnie, he remained civil but when she left, he was quick to tell Gia what he thought of her.  Eventually, Gia realized not to invite Larry out if Marnie were going to be there.  But there were some situations where their meeting would be inevitable.

                Gia’s birthday party was one example of these times.  Larry always showed up at places a little early.  Because of this, he was not very surprised to be the first one at the restaurant.  He waited patiently for people to come that he knew.  Not too long later, Larry spotted one of Gia’s friends that he did get along with named Dara.  He immediately went up to her and began talking to her until Gia got there.  Dara was complaining to Larry about having to see one of Gia’s friends whom she couldn’t stand.  Upon hearing the complaint, Larry commented on his feeling toward Marnie.  Dara then pointed out that Marnie was sitting right behind Larry.  As Larry turned around he saw Marnie and tried to cover up what he just said hoping Marnie didn’t hear.  They exchanged greetings and Marnie introduced Larry to her boyfriend and acted as if she didn’t hear Larry.  The rest of the night Marnie and Larry ignored each other, which was fine for both parties.  In a way Larry was relieved that his opinions now were in the open because if Marnie avoids him and doesn’t want to associate with him, then Larry wouldn’t have to hear her voice or be around her, which is exactly what he wanted.

                Like most sorority girls, Marnie enjoyed going out to clubs and engaging in promiscuous behavior.  Although she was promiscuous, she did enjoy toying with guys always believing that she could control men and would never be in any danger.  On a Saturday evening, Marnie went to a club with a couple of her sorority sisters.  It wasn’t long before her and her sisters had guys approach them and start dancing with them.  They all chose guys to stick with either to force them to buy drinks for them before blowing them off or taking them home to have sex with them.  As the hours were winding on, Marnie and her guy for the night went outside.  Marnie had already decided she was going to blow this guy off at the end of the night and was ready to do so the second they stepped outside.  They walked a couple blocks talking as Marnie waited for the right time to let him know that he would not be getting lucky that night.  She finally found her opening when the guy said, “So you want to go back to my place?”

                “Umm I’m not like that, I just met you, I’m not going home with you tonight.”

                “You’ve been hitting on me all night, dancing, and now you’re going to fucking blow me off.”

                “I’m just not like that, I’ll give you my number, call me, I don’t sleep with men I just met.”

                “Yea but you have no problem making them buy drinks for you all night.”

                “I didn’t ask you to do that, that was very nice of you but I mean what’s the big deal just call me and we can hang out again soon.”

                Marnie had no intention of giving the guy her real number, but he seemed to be getting a little angry so she wanted to give off the illusion of hope.  The guy was hoping that Marnie was just being sassy and playing hard to get.  He smiled and went in to kiss Marnie but she shoved her hand out and pushed the guy away saying, “Stop, no, I’m going home, good night.”

                The guy grabbed Marnie’s arm and squeezed hard.  Marnie was extremely petite and thin and her body cringed with the pain that shot through her arm from being squeezed.  She squirmed and said, “Let go of me you psycho.”

                The guy then punched her across the face and to the ground.  This was the first time in Marnie’s privileged life that she had been hit.  She grabbed her face looking up shocked and scared.  She wanted to get up and run but froze in shock.  Her heart started beating extremely too fast as all cognition and simple motor function were disabled leaving her completely at this man’s mercy.

 

                Larry hated going to clubs but he found himself hanging out with some friends who insisted on going to a club.  He finally gave in and went in knowing that he was going to have a bad time because he hated the scene.  He immediately grabbed a drink and stood to the side watching his friends dance.  As much as he hated clubs, the thing that irked him more is when people forced him to go to a club and insisted that he dance.  He is more content just keeping to himself drinking and people watching.  The night ended and Larry waited for his friends to grab a cab to go home.  His friends were female and Larry believed in traditional gender roles as the man should always stay with the woman until she is safely in transportation home or at home.  For himself though, Larry always insisted on walking home.  His mind always wondered and walking alone in the city gave him time to think and daydream.  While he was walking he saw Marnie talking to a guy.  Larry assumed that this was just a random guy that Marnie was going to have sex with and forget about the next day.  It was girls like Marnie that made Larry doubt that women get emotionally attached to a guy after having sex with them.  He knew of a couple guys that thought his night with Marnie meant more than it was and couldn’t think of any time the situation was reversed.  As he approached, he hoped that he could walk past them without Marnie noticing him.  He debated crossing the street but thought it childish and cowardly.  Worst case scenario; he’d say hi, get introduced then politely excuse himself so he could continue his journey home.  As he approached, he saw the guy grab Marnie and saw a look of shock and pain on Marnie’s face.  Larry doubted what his eyes were telling him and although he believed in getting involved when guys were overly aggressive with girls, there was always an opposite emotion yelling at him to not get involved.  This voice was even louder when the woman in question was Gia or one of her friends.  He justified it that with the way these girls live their lives, they almost deserve to get hit.  He somehow could never fully convince himself of this though but decided that the bicep grab was not enough to take the risk of Gia getting upset if Marnie complained to her about how he got involved in a situation that wasn’t his business.  Although his intention would have been good, he knew he’d never win the argument with Gia about it.  As he decided that he was not going to get involved, he saw the guy punch Marnie across the face.  Larry now stopped thinking and just acted on impulse and before he knew what he was doing he grabbed the guy by the bicep and spun him around yelling, “What the fuck are you doing?”

                The guy stared at Larry and realized he was bigger than Larry was.  He also was extremely mad at Marnie and didn’t see a problem taking it out on Larry.  He said, “Get the fuck out of here man, this is none of your Goddamn business.”

                “You think you’re tough punching a girl a third of your size?”

                The guy went to shove Larry but Larry brought his left arm up and his right hand down slapping the guy’s arms before they connected with Larry’s chest.  Since Larry’s right hand was now cocked at his waist, he shot it up slamming his palm into the guy’s nose.  The guy took a couple steps back and Larry said, “A little harder when you’re trying to hit someone close to your size ain’t it?”

                The guy punched at Larry but Larry ducked under the punch and unleashed a few punches into the guy’s kidneys.  The guy turned toward Larry and drove his shoulder into his solar plexus tackling Larry to the ground.  He straddled Larry and punched at his face.  He connected on a few punches before Larry was able to move his head causing the guy to punch the ground.  Larry shoved him off him and got to his feet.  Both men’s noses were bleeding from the blows they had sustained.  The guy charged forward and drove Larry against the wall repeatedly thrusting his shoulder into Larry’s solar plexus ending it with a punch across the face.  Larry staggered and fell to one knee; he looked over and realized that Marnie was still kneeling in the same position that she was in when the fight started.  He looked back at the guy and realized that he would have to stand and face him again.  Larry stood and found himself being charged at again, only this time he jumped to his side leaving his right leg out and his left to kick at the back of the guy’s shin tripping him over Larry’s right leg.  Both men got up simultaneously and circled each other.  The guy took a step forward and Larry lowered his stance.  They locked arms and immediately Larry realized that this was a mistake as he was in a position to be overpowered. Sure enough, the guy gained a grip at Larry shoulders and drove his knee into Larry’s stomach.  He followed them up by a couple more punches into Larry’s midsection and lifted his head up sizing him up for a final blow.  He threw his right hand as hard as he could at Larry’s face but Larry had the wherewithal to move his head slightly below the punch causing the guy’s momentum to carry him a couple steps giving Larry time to recover.  The guy walked quickly toward Larry but Larry jabbed forward nailing the guy in the chest.  The guy responded with a slap across Larry’s face snapping Larry’s face to the side.  Larry snapped his head back and punched the guy across the face staggering him.  Larry charged at him and drove him back toward a parked car but the guy was able to turn Larry around so that Larry’s legs were collapsed by the car’s hood as he lay on his back.  The guy stood up and jabbed his fists into Larry’s midsection.  Larry was able to get his knees up and kicked both of them forward into the guy’s chest knocking him to the ground.  Larry used that time to get up off the car and grab at his stomach trying to catch his breath.  When he made his way to his full height, he saw the guy facing him.  The guy grabbed Larry by the throat and choked him.  Larry brought his right hand up and cupped the guy’s Adam’s apple.  He knew this to be a much more devastating way to choke someone than the method the guy employed of driving both thumbs into the Adam’s apple.  Since Larry had control of the neck, he controlled the body.  He straightened his arm to keep the man at arms length only to pull him forward into his knee.  Larry repeated the motion to drive the man’s stomach into his knee again.  He then released his hold on the neck and took a couple steps back anticipating the guy to bend over to catch his breath from being choked and the blows to the stomach.  Larry ran forward and jumped in the air lining his knee with the guy’s head.  Larry’s knee smacked against the man’s temple dropping him to both knees.  Larry grabbed the man’s hair with his right hand and jammed it into his left knee repeatedly.  Blood gushed from the guy’s face as the consciousness left his body.  When Larry tired, he pulled the guy’s head back one final time only to throw it forward as the guy lay on his stomach unconscious. 

Larry exhaled deeply and walked toward Marnie, who hadn’t moved the entire time.  Larry was still running on adrenaline so wasn’t feeling the effects of the fight yet.  Despite this, he was able to gently rub Marnie’s shoulder and bicep trying to snap her out of the trance.  Marnie shook her head at the feeling of human contact and stood up and wrapped her arms tightly around Larry.  Larry noticed that she was shaking and didn’t know what to do next.  He managed to say “It’s alright Marnie, you’re safe, just go home and go to sleep.”

Marnie rested her head on Larry’s chest and relaxed her entire body.  She had been so shocked not only that she was hit but that Larry was fighting for her.  With Larry’s words of encouragement, she found herself not caring who the rescuer was but just the fact that it was someone that helped her and someone she could feel safe around, which was exactly what Marnie needed.  Larry hadn’t anticipated this before and didn’t like this because he didn’t like Marnie.  Despite his dislike for her, he couldn’t bring himself to try to physically force her off him.  He decided to try to appeal to Marnie’s obsession with her appearance and said, “Marnie, you’re getting blood all over your clothes, you might as well go home before you get more on you.”

It didn’t have the desired effect on Marnie as she just smiled and stood on her tip toes to reach Larry’s ear and said, “Take me home.”

“You’re going to have to let go of me so I can hail a cab for you.”

Marnie felt her strength coming back faster and faster the more Larry talked and she was forced to respond.  She was not holding on for support anymore, but because she wanted to.  She didn’t want to go home alone, not after what happened, and now the game began to try to get Larry to go with her to her apartment.  Larry continued, “Marnie, we can’t call a cab with you hugging me.”

Marnie tightened her grip and pulled her legs up wrapping them around Larry’s waist.  She said, “You can walk now.”

Larry felt his adrenaline dwindling and couldn’t continue his conversation without collapsing.  He needed to do something that would force his adrenaline to keep pumping and carrying Marnie was the easiest solution to the problem.  He knew that Marnie lived downtown so started walking south.  Marnie rested her head on Larry’s shoulder and held on.  To Larry, he would feel like a wimp if he wasn’t able to keep a tiny girl like Marnie up.  Because he wouldn’t allow himself to use the fight as an excuse to not be able to hold her, his adrenaline pumped while he carried her toward her apartment.  Marnie only lived eight blocks away and as Larry got closer, she directed him to her apartment.  Larry made it to the front of her building where the doorman greeted him at the door.  Larry said, “Alright Marnie, you’re home safe, you can go upstairs now.”

Marnie didn’t ease her grip and said in a forceful yet calm voice, “Larry, listen, I got punched today for the first time in my life, and the last thing I want is to be alone in an apartment.  Please, just stay with me tonight.  If you need an excuse, you’re bleeding, I have a washing machine, I’ll do your laundry.  It’s the least I can do considering what you did for me.”

Larry rolled his eyes but his disgust lowered his adrenaline, and he realized that he needed to get off his feet as quickly as he could and he needed to say whatever he needed to say for Marnie to let go so he said, “Alright fine, just get off me.” 

Marnie smiled at her victory and unwrapped her legs and dropped to her own feet.  Larry stumbled toward the elevator with Marnie trying to force himself not to use Marnie for support.  He got to the elevator and leaned against the wall.  The weaker Larry looked, the wider Marnie smiled because the more hurt he was, the more punishment he took for her.  The elevator came and Larry entered it never releasing his grip on a wall for support.  They made their way into Marnie’s apartment and Larry immediately went to the bathroom and lied in the tub.  He started breathing heavy as all the pain he had been holding in hit him all at once.  Marnie came in and saw the agony on Larry’s face.  She said, “Awww, am I really that heavy?  I knew I was fat”

Larry just shook his head.  He was extremely uncomfortable as Marnie seemed completely recovered and he was lying helpless in the tub.  Marnie took off her clothes that had blood on it from Larry’s clothing and face leaving her in lingerie. Larry couldn’t help but look since despite his feelings for Marnie personally, she was attractive.  Marnie untied Larry’s shoes and took them off.  She said, “Now Larry don’t get too excited, but I’m going to take off your clothes.”

All Larry could do was stare.  He wasn’t even sure he could resist if he wanted to.  Marnie took off his shirt and then unzipped and unbuttoned his jeans and pulled them off him.  Marnie left the room with the blood stained clothes and put them in her washing machine to be cleaned.  She came back in the bathroom noticing Larry’s eyes closed and a look of discomfort on his face.  Marnie was debating having intercourse with Larry for a number of reasons; predominantly because he fought for her but also because Larry seemed so helpless and she could dominate him.  There was something powerful about dominating someone that had beaten up someone earlier in the day.  She came into the bathroom and opened the cabinet underneath the sink and took out a bottle of rubbing alcohol and grabbed a roll of paper towels.  She knelt down along the bathtub and wet a paper towel with rubbing alcohol.  She noticed that Larry had cuts on his midsection and face from his fight.  She said as she put the paper towel on one of Larry’s chest wounds a little harder than necessary, “So, I thought you didn’t like me.”

Larry hissed in pain as the rubbing alcohol stung his wound but he managed to get out, “I don’t”

This caused Marnie to douse the paper towel with more alcohol and apply it to the other wound on Larry’s chest.  She continued, “Then why did you get your ass kicked for me?”

Larry was trying to control his hissing and said as calmly as he could, “Don’t flatter yourself; I didn’t do it for you.”

Marnie was rubbing the alcohol in and alternating wounds.  She threw the paper towel away and wet another one and applied it to Larry’s face.  She was getting progressively gentler but continued on, “That’s funny, because I don’t know who else you could have been fighting for, he punched me, you attacked him and got your ass kicked.”

“Let’s recap that I won the fight.”

Marnie smiled, “Yea but still; look at you, you’re completely helpless”

“Is this why you brought me here? So you could taunt me?”

                Marnie still hadn’t stopped smiling, “No, of course not, I’m just a little surprised that of all the people to get involved, it was you who stepped in, a man that has so often commented how much he doesn’t like me.”

                “I don’t like you, but it takes a pretty cold person to not do anything when a girl he knows gets punched, I mean I don’t hate you.”

                “I see,” Marnie said as she poured the rubbing alcohol directly on Larry’s chest causing him to blurt out in pain.  Marnie chuckled and then left the room to get a large bowl and filled it up with water with a sponge.  She came back and sponged off Larry’s face and chest.  She felt kind of bad after pouring the rubbing alcohol on him and decided this would be a peace offering.  Larry said, “You do just want to torture me, that’s why you invited me up.  Giving me this bullshit about how you’re scared to be alone.”

                Marnie gave Larry a dirty look and stopped washing him, “No Larry, I’m messing around with you.  Trust me, you’re pretty high on my list right now.”

                “Yea, actions speak louder than words Marnie.”

                “Funny you mention that.  What actions are so malicious?  That I’m nursing your wounds? So I wasn’t as gentle as I could be.  I mean since the day I’ve met you all you could talk about was how much you don’t like me.  In fact, you’re still playing that card.  But, your actions lead me to believe that you’re full of shit.  I mean you didn’t have to keep getting up; after the first couple hits you could have been like, ‘fuck it, this bitch isn’t worth it, I don’t like her anyway.’”

                “Yea because you know so much about fighting.” Larry responded very sarcastically.

                “You’re right, I don’t, but I’m pretty sure you don’t go around getting into fights over people you don’t like.  Maybe you confront the person, but the harder the fight, the more likely you’re going to decide it’s not worth it.”

                “Okay Marnie, since you think it’s so logical for me not to stay, why did you?”

                “What?” she said a little taken aback

                “Someone just punched you, now that someone is distracted, I’m not that big, there’s no way you could have been absolutely positive I was going to win the fight, especially because of the way you’re talking now, so why not run?  Why did you stay?”

                Marnie was no longer smiling, she eased her tone and said, “Because I was scared.”

                Larry calmed too.  He knew that this was the case and began to feel bad.  He continued in a softer tone, “Marnie, I’m very principled, I acted on the principle that men shouldn’t hit women.  It doesn’t matter who it is, I just acted the second I saw him punch you.  I mean, if I had time to think, a lot of things would have popped in my head like how you and Gia and people like you are so against violence.  It could have easily blown up in my face and you could have yelled at me for resorting to violence.  Or maybe you’re one of those stupid girls that gets hit by guys and blames themselves and then you get pissed at me for getting involved.”  Larry started getting more animated and continued, “Remember, I don’t really give a shit what you think of me, but I’d have to deal with Gia.  You tell Gia that I attacked your boyfriend or a guy you like, I’ll never hear the end of it.  You tell Gia the facts, I might still get yelled at because I know she’s anti-violence.  I half expect a fucking lecture from you or her about how I could have solved the problem without using violence…”

                Larry was cut short when Marnie leaned over and kissed him on the lips.  She smiled and said, “There, that’ll shut you up.  Listen, I’m glad you didn’t think because those are all worries that you shouldn’t be worried about.  It doesn’t matter what you say right now, how wrong your opinion is of me, the mere fact that you’re lying in my bathtub exhausted and weak because you fought for me kind of gives you immunity tonight.  Please, don’t test that by being outrageous.  Lucky for you though, I promise that I will talk very favorably about this incident to Gia for you.”  Larry smiled.  He wasn’t going to tell Marnie this but that was the best thing that she could have said.  Marnie continued, “You know, you’re the only guy I can think of that could be given a sponge bath by a girl and still find it necessary to complain.”

                Larry smiled at this.  Part of the reason he was complaining was because he didn’t want to enjoy the sponge bath too much.  Marnie had finished scrubbing Larry down and grabbed a towel and dried him off.  Larry had regained his strength but had relaxed his body and let Marnie work.  Marnie removed her bra and grabbed a T-shirt from her drawer and put it on.  She noticed Larry trying to pretend he wasn’t looking by turning his head but keeping his eyes fixed on her.  Larry walked over to her couch and lied down on it.  Marnie said, “Larry, don’t be such a prude, there’s no reason we can’t share the bed.”

                Larry was very uncomfortable about this.  He really didn’t want to hook up with Marnie.  That’s not why he helped her.  Larry replied, “Nah, I’m alright on the couch”

                “Larry, I’m going to sleep with you, at least on the bed you’ll have some space, I mean the couch, I’ll really be pressed against you.”

                Larry’s eyes wandered back and forth, he wasn’t sure how she meant the comment.  Larry never liked the term, “sleeping with” because if you share a bed with someone, that’s sleeping together.  He never used that phrase to describe intercourse, but he knew the rest of the world did.  Even though he knew Marnie was promiscuous, something told him that she wouldn’t have been so blunt saying to him that she was going to have sex with him.  While these thoughts were circulating in Larry’s head, Marnie lied down on top of Larry and kissed his neck.  Larry rolled her off and stood up leaving Marnie lying on the couch.  She said, “On the bed, at least you’ll be to the side of me, and my back will be to you so I can’t kiss you.  Gia tells me you don’t mind cuddling, or is that just with her?”

                Larry didn’t say anything; he just walked to the bedroom and lied down on the bed.  Marnie soon followed and lied down with her back to Larry.  She backed herself close to him and wrapped his arm around her waist and rested it on her stomach.  Larry slid the other hand under Marnie’s neck acting as an extenuation of the pillow.  Marnie relaxed her body, she didn’t want to hook up with Larry any more than he did with her.  To her, one night wasn’t going to make up for the past couple years.  She did, however, look at him differently.  Never would she have imagined how warm and safe she’d feel in his arms.  Everything she had told Larry was true; she didn’t want to be alone that night because she would have been affected by what happened.  Having Larry there made her feel safe and not think about it because her protector was still there.  She slept very soundly that night along with Larry.

                Marnie woke up early the next morning and put the clothes in the dryer.  She ordered breakfast for her and Larry and they ate and passed the time uneventfully until Larry’s clothes were dry so he could go home.  Larry returned home and went on with his life.  He knew he would never be able to look at Marnie the same, but he also knew that their relationship, or lack thereof, wouldn’t change from the event.  Just now when they saw each other, he wouldn’t be able to be as cold.  The bottom line was he had helped her. He then received a phone call.        

                As soon as Larry left, Marnie called Gia and told her the whole story of the previous night and praised Larry.  Gia was shocked that Larry had helped her like that.  She immediately concluded that this meant that Larry didn’t dislike Marnie as much as he said he did.  She talked to Marnie for a while as she got all the details and then they talked about other things.  When she got off the phone she called Larry to thank him for what he did for Marnie.  Larry wanted to tell her that he did it for Gia.  If something happened to Marnie, then Marnie would have been really distraught and it would have affected Gia, and Larry would have had to hear about it, which would have made it worse because Larry would have known he could have helped.  He had a similar discussion with Gia about how he couldn’t dislike Marnie if he would fight for her.  Just like with Marnie, Larry didn’t seem to get anywhere but he expected this.  Nothing really changed between how Gia juggled her two friends.  She still wouldn’t invite them both out at the same time.  Larry remained insistent that he didn’t like Marnie and found her annoying.  He even used her excessive rubbing alcohol as fuel.  When Marnie and Larry were forced to be in the same place together, they were able to be a lot more civil toward each other.  There was no way either would forget what had happened that night.  Other than that, everything was just how it was before.