In one of Out of the Gutter's all-time most popular flash fiction stories, a mentally challenged man blocks a power-play by an ambitious female executive.
By Randall Rohn - First Published in Out of the Gutter 2
|Fiction between 300 and 1,000 words|
Guidelines and Submission Form
I can’t think right. I know I feel things that other people can’t feel. I feel real harsh colors when cloth rubs against my skin. I feel swirly, pukey colors when things aren’t where they should be. Sometimes, I want to beat my head against the wall to make the feelings go away. They say I will never be able to talk very good. I try, but most of the words in my brain never make it to my lips. Some come out, sometimes. But they are very slow and don’t sound right.
They say I’m lucky to have a job. I empty the trash all day long. Start at the bottom floor and go up floor by floor and then back down. And then I’m done and walk home.
Most people don’t even notice me anymore. Except Raymond. He stops and talks to me once in awhile. It doesn’t seem to bother him that I talk funny and can’t think of all the words I want.
A woman on the fourth floor notices me, too. She talks about me like I can’t hear. She calls me a "gross little chimp." She says I talk like a retard. She makes fun of my clothes. Once I heard her tell her friends that the people who have my sickness can’t get it up. They laughed.
She puts disgusting women-things in the trash, sometimes. But I don’t care. I'm lucky to have a job.
Her name, I think, is Denise. Some men call her hot. But I notice when she’s with men, they are the ones who get hot. I can feel the heat, bright green and slimy, coming off their bodies. They give off an odor. It stings my nose.
They say she’s on the "fast-track." They say she’s a go-getter. I notice she always talks about what she does. I never see her do too much except talk. She talks to men a lot.
Last week Raymond was working on a project. He showed it to me. There were lots of charts and stuff I couldn’t understand.
"Isn’t it beautiful?" he said.
"Yes," I think I said.
He nodded. He must’ve understood.
She was in the women’s room. I walked in.
"Get out of here, you ape," she said.
I tried to tell her I was sorry and I didn't know she was in there. But she just cursed and turned back to the mirror and messed with her lipstick.
I slapped her on the back of the head. I didn’t think it was that hard, but there was anger in the slap. She fell down.
There are lots of garbage cans down here in the basement. She was easy to get here. No one saw us in the service elevator. I figure I will have to cut her up into small pieces. Then I will put a different piece in a different plastic bag and put each bag into a different garbage can. Under the other trash.
I’m doing it for Raymond, because I know she stole his project and said it was hers. Because she talks more than Raymond, because she makes men hot when she’s around, they are going to believe her. So I’m doing this for Raymond.
But first, some soft colors. She was wrong when she said I couldn’t get it up. What I’m about to do now, I’m doing for me.