Where the Bodies Are

Counting the sins of a sociopath is like guessing how many jelly beans are in the giant jar at the candy store.

It's nice when someone can cut through the chaff and give you the greatest hits.

Where the Bodies Are by Keith Rawson

The first one was when I was seventeen.

Seventeen and passed out at the house of a stranger. 

Not really a stranger, some kid named Billy who I sold pot to and the occasional quarter bag of mushrooms to. He considered me a friend, but all he was to me was fifty bucks every other week.

A tank of gas and a carton of smokes.

I'm sure we would've been friends if we went to same school, but you know how that goes.

He'd been telling me for a week about this party he was going to have when his parents went on vacation to Florida.

Dude, it's going to be so rad. My cousin is going to buy a couple of kegs for me. It's going to be awesome.

I went out of boredom and because my mom had ripped off my stash again and I beat the shit out of her for it and her then boyfriend Brian, or Scott, or Tim, or whoever was looking for me so he could return the favor. I hadn't figured out yet that 99.9% of what mom's boyfriends said was complete and absolute bullshit and they only threatened me so my mom would share the dope she'd skimmed off of me.

Anyway, went to the party, ended up making out with this redhead nobody knew. We were peas and carrots because nobody but Billy knew who I was.  We were making out in a quiet corner of the house and decided to move into one of the bedrooms. She passed out right as I finally got her panties off. Don't worry, though, I was a gentlemen and rolled over and went to sleep. Woke up, redhead had a mouth full of vomit, her body turned cold and blue. I dragged her into the room Billy was sleeping in. He was ass naked with his dick in his hand. It was sad, the host of the party and he couldn't even get laid at it. At least he'd think he'd gotten it wet, and then spend the next couple of years in juvie for involuntary MS.

The second one was the same as the first. Dorm party, pretty blonde, we geezed before making out and then nodded. Woke up, she was blue and bloated. I slipped out at 3 AM, the party still swimming around me.

The third was Sam and her kink was to be punched in the face while I fingered her. She never wanted to fuck, she said the feel of a penis inside her made her gag. The second time we were together I asked her why she didn't just get together with a woman?

I'm not gay. Besides, women have no upper body strength.

Fair enough.

I liked Sam, she was funny, smart, into comic books and cool movies. Plus she could narcotics me under the table, which was saying something. But thanks to all the cuts and bruises, going out and grabbing a burger was more uncomfortable than kestering a ziplock bag of jagged rocks.

Sam went how you'd expect her to: My left hand working her into a lather, my right balled into a fist banging down on her forehead, her nose, her lips, her chin.

Unlike the first three, I cried over Sam. The other three, there was a disconnect, not with Sam.

Niagara Falls, baby.

I spent 24-hours with the body, pacing, smoking, drinking, trying figure out my next move. In the end, I loaded her into the trunk of her Volvo through the garage, drove to the desert, doused the car with a couple of gallons of gas and let it burn. I wandered around the desert for a couple of hours after burning the car, covered in soot, tears carving small valleys into the black of my face. I thought about just laying down, letting dehydration and heat exposure do the job. But after a few hours of boiling, I got up, made my way back out to the road, put my thumb up. The trucker who picked me up didn't even blink when he stopped for me, but I'm pretty sure he was tweaked to the gills and needed a sounding board for the awful thoughts bouncing around his skull.

Number four was mom and that bitch deserved what she got. You can only steal from somebody for so long before said somebody replaces his stash of smack for a baggy of rat poison. I mean, fuck, the two powders didn't even look alike. But I guess when you're jonesing, clorox looks like coke; rat poison looks like high end China white.

Mom wasn't going to go like Sam. Sure, I could've gone to the trouble of driving the corpse out to the desert staging an accident, blah, blah, blah, but there still would've been questions. I lived with her, it was known in all the wrong circles that I was a dealer and she was a junkie. Plus her newest pimp/connect/cock in her ass was a narc for the Chandler PD. Dude was bugshit for mom; dude was Obsessed with a capital O, and I'm positive he would've set the dogs on me, and after a two year possession stretch in Florence, there was no way I was going back there on a lifetime murder beef.

So I went proactive, headed to Sky Harbor International with my passport, bought a ticket to the land of milk, honey, and hot and cold running underage gash: Thailand.

It ain't been so bad. It reminds me a lot of home: Dope, heat, horny girls willing to do anything for a couple of grams. But I get lonely. I get real lonely.  All the English-speaking ex-pats here are freaks, all the girls care about is my dope, but worst of all, I keep thinking about Sam. I keep thinking about the girl at Billy's party. About the girl from the ASU dorm. I even in think about mom here and there. I think about all of them. I carry them around with me, their bodies rotting around my neck.

I've decided to become #5

I've bought two girls for the night. They're slim and brown and courteous enough to use make up to cover up the track marks. One will be in charge of the front, the other from behind, pulling tight on the belt around my throat. 

My safe word is banana, or something like that? 

Keith Rawson is the author of over 200 short stories, articles, interviews, and essays. He lives in southern Arizona with his wife and daughter.