I've Been Writing Them Down
Since returning from the interminable stay at St. Mary’s that followed my unfortunate spill down the stairs, I have heard each morn upon waking a whisper, just shy of my ear, that caresses with a serpentine seductiveness. In each instance this phenomena has remanded to me an apparitional leaving; a phantom upon which to dwell until the morrow, at which time its moldering corpse is replaced anew. Each day is lit by the hiss of a single name on which to gnaw, and to aid in my consideration of these memorial bones, I’ve been writing them all down.
Unclear to me is the cause of this strange affliction (I suspect the wound at the back of my head to be the culprit), and the doctor who visits inconstantly has been no help at all. He merely counsels me back to bed, and prescribes with his pen more of those interminable pills. Even in the face of my list of names, he offered no more than a patronizing pat on the head and shepherded me back under the covers. The man is a dolt and I abhor him as I abhor the bitter, repugnant tablets now secreted inside my pillowcase. I will not allow him to control me.
Fortunately, I have happened upon a better remedy for this queer disorder. Each day I amble out my door and range these rotten streets calling out the name that was left to me that daybreak. Sometimes my call is answered. Sometimes not, and on these occasions I must delve deeper to find my pearl.
Routinely, I visit the clerk’s office on Mayfair Avenue to check the register, and this usually ends the matter entirely, pointing me directly toward my provisional cure. Only a smattering of days end now in blubbering headaches that have me tearing at the bedspread, screaming to vent the agony. Most days I find the owner, most days I find relief.
On the finding, I destroy them, as wholly and deliberately as possible. I take no pleasure in the task save the resultant ease of ailment, and I have wept nearly nightly once the darkened deed is done. Gratefully, most names are male in nature, but occasion has seen the mention to me of women and even children. Thankfully, the children have been mercifully few, for those eyes are the hardest to meet, but the pounding is excruciating and must be satiated before making its egress. Youth means nothing to this pain.
I will atone once the affliction leaves me. This, to myself, I have sworn. Once well, I will turn over to the proper authorities the sum of my solutions, and pay for my crimes, though I doubt any jury will hang me when faced with the facts in the case. They will see that it simply could not be helped, and will be grateful of my dedicated documentation. After all, I’ve been writing them all down.