Friday, June 16, 2006

GRACIAS PARA LOS OJOS

Fuck him, thought Miguel. Fuck that stupid wetback spic nigger faggot bastard. Fuck him. He'd nearly fucked up the whole thing by making eye contact with the mother. He'd smiled at her: 'How're you?' Dogfucker. They weren't supposed to have any contact with the family at all. Otherwise, one of its members might be able to identify them. They were supposed to be invisible, and that fucking idiot John C. had spoken to the boy's mother.
'Don't worry,' John C. had said. 'You worry too much.' He laughed. Miguel opened his switchblade. John C. stopped laughing. 'Hold on,' he started to say, 'wait a second,' but Miguel stepped up close real fast and slashed him across the face. He screamed; Miguel broke his nose and knocked him down. When he was on the ground, Miguel kicked him until his screaming changed into thick wheezing. Miguel kneeled down and cut his throat. Black blood darkened the floor. He spit on the corpse. Dogfucker. The anger drained out of him.
Miguel lit a cigarette and took a breather before opening his backpack, pulling out a small gray toolbox. He took out a pair of pliers and kneeled on the cement next to former partner's corpse. With the pliers, he ripped out John C.'s teeth, carefully putting each one inside of a plastic sandwich bag. When he finished with that, he took his lighter out of his pocket and burnt each of the corpse's fingers until the flesh peeled from the bone. Almost done, he thought. He stood up and cricked his neck before going to the car and getting a crowbar. After putting out his cigarette, Miguel beat the corpse's head until its face was completely unrecognizable.
He dragged the corpse across the cement by its feet until they reached the large gray trashcan in the corner of the warehouse. With some effort, he dumped the corpse inside. He dropped in the bloody crowbar after and replaced the trashcan's plastic lid.
Miguel walked back to his car and got inside. He took off his work gloves and put them on the passenger seat. A lot of the blood had gotten on him, but he wasn't worried about that. His clothes were dark, the day was nearly over. He doubted that the boy's parents had even contacted the police yet. It'd been about an hour since they'd snatched the boy out of the arcade. Families typically looked for their children for about two hours before calling the cops. They usually worried that the child had wandered off.
The boy hadn't regained consciousness yet. If he had, Miguel was sure that he would have heard the boy thrashing about in the car's trunk. He sighed and lit another cigarette. John C. had hit him really hard. Perhaps too hard. Miguel thought that he'd killed the boy initially, but his slight breathing betrayed life. This job worried Miguel a little more than jobs usually. Killing his partner wasn't something he'd anticipated, even though he might have enjoyed it a little. John C. was a sick fucker, and he always complicated things. Miguel never liked him, not since their first grab.
After he'd finished his cigarette, Miguel drove across town to a rundown motel on the outskirts. He got out of his car and walked down the open air hall until his found an empty room and picked the lock. He went back to his car and got his backpack, and, after to looking around to verify that no one was watching or nearby, he opened the trunk. The boy was still unconscious. He was breathing shallowly through his nose.
When Miguel and John C. first grabbed him, they'd crammed an oil rag in his mouth and Miguel had wrapped a couple of long strips of duct tape around his head to keep him quiet if he woke up. His hands were also taped together. Miguel picked up the boy and carried him into the motel room, dumping him on the floor once inside. He closed and locked the door, spying a nearby chair and propping it up against the door handle.
He used his switchblade to cut the tape on the boy's hands, and he dragged the boy into the bathroom, groaning when he picked up the boy and pushed his unconscious form into the bathtub. Miguel sighed deeply and stretched, trying to work out some of the kinks in his back. He left the bathroom for a moment and lit a cigarette. He turned around and went back inside. The boy hadn't moved.
Miguel pulled a hairnet and two yellow plastic dishwashing gloves out of his backpack and put them on. He also took out a flat metal pan with a ribbed edge, putting it on the edge of the tub. In it, he placed a scalpel, several pairs of forceps, a set of soft tongs, a sharpened chisel, a small hammer and a very small pair of surgical scissors.
Leaning over him, Miguel placed one of his hands firmly on the boy's chin and the other hand on the back of his skull. Miguel jerked his hands abruptly, breaking the boy's neck with a weak crack. The boy made a little noise. His body went limp. Getting the duct tape, Miguel taped down the boy's wrists to the sides of the dry plastic tub. It might not hold for very long, but Miguel wanted the boy's body to sit relatively still while he worked.
He moved to the back end of the tub, facing the same direction as the boy, and pulled his head back. The boy's eyes remained closed, but he could have been staring at the ceiling. Miguel tossed his burnt cigarette into the foot of the tub.
Carefully, he felt the firm orb of the boy’s eye with the gloved tip of his finger, gently tracing the curve of the supraorbital process. He took the smallest scalpel and a white plastic prop from the pan. He pushed the boy’s left eyelid open.
Miguel made a deep incision, the scalpel scraping hard against the foramen. Blood welled up, drooling thickly down the boy’s pale cheekbone, striated with milky corneal fluids. Miguel sliced down in a curving stroke, using the zygomatic bone as a guide in this red mess. The scalpel cut through ocular muscles cleanly.
When he is finished cutting around the left eye, he pulled it out with the soft tongs, reaching behind the eyeball with a slender pair of iris scissors to snip the optic nerve. He placed the eyeball into a small clear vial filled with a sterile solution. Miguel repeated the process on the right eye.
Placing his instruments in the sink, Miguel turned on the faucet and let it run. The water blushed and gurgled. He held up the two vials and looked at their contents for a moment. The boy’s eyes were blue. Startlingly blue. He hadn’t noticed before. Then he took both vials and put them in the storage container he had brought.
After lighting another cigarette, Miguel carefully washed and replaced his tools. He put the two steel thermoses into his backpack. Looking back into the bathroom one more time, he felt a brief pang of sympathy for the boy's parents. Black tears were drying on the dead boy's face. Miguel had two children of his own. Finding them like this would be unimaginable. A single fly buzzed around the empty eye sockets. More would come when he left. If a couple of days passed before it was discovered, the corpse would become infested with cockroaches.
His work was nearly done. The eyes had been cleanly removed; the body could be left behind to be discovered in the morning.
This is where John C. would have turned over the boy’s corpse and sodomized it. Miguel was glad that he didn’t have to sit through that again. John C. had been magic with the scalpel. Watching him work was deeply moving. The things he did after the cutting was done turned Miguel’s stomach.
Miguel shrugged and turned off the light. He closed the bathroom door and left the motel room. Inside his car, he peeled off the yellow gloves and removed his hairnet. A line of sour sweat navigated the grizzle on his cheek.
The sun was setting. He had a delivery to make.

~~~


It was about eight thirty when Miguel arrived home. He got out of his car, stubbed out his cigarette, and unlocked the front door. He could smell stale tortillas and lemonade. The dog barked at his arrival. Soy casero, mi dulces, he called.

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