6.11 / September 2011

What Gabby Likes

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Gabby likes celebrity gossip magazines and the faint gurgling noise that a person makes when they’re getting choked with a garrote wire. She isn’t sure if it is saliva or blood pooling in the back of the throat or the tongue wriggling frantically for one last breathe, and she is okay with not knowing. Gabby likes mysteries.

Gabby likes shopping. She likes to buy clothes that killers wouldn’t. Today she is wearing a chartreuse romper with white heals. Her hair, as always, is perfect. So is everything else. Murder never looked this good. Walking through the empty halls, Gabby thinks about her plum clutch. She thinks about the flawless purple leather and the gold Coach logo. She also thinks about the contents: the wire, razorblades, the miniature antique pistol, and the pills. More accessories mean more options, and Gabby likes those.

Gabby’s boss let her leave early. The only thing he asked was “What kind of music do you like?” Gabby does not like rap or country, but she did not tell him that. She did not tell him anything as she walked out the door. The boss likes Gabby. Everyone likes Gabby. But Gabby dislikes everyone. Especially girls with brown hair. Gabby hates them the most.

Although she got off work hours ago, Gabby has not stopped at her condo. She has not relaxed in her open spaced living room and eaten an arugula salad. She has spent the evening following Clare, waiting to be led to her apartment.

Clare has brown hair. Gabby does not like Clare. Gabby does not like Clare one bit. The list of things that Gabby does not like about her is long. She does not like her hair or her big nose, her chubby fingers, the high pitched squeal she makes laughing, or her love of caffeine free diet vanilla Pepsi, but mostly the hair. Gabby does, however, like her earrings with their cheap tin and the big hoops that scream daddy issues and low self-confidence. They make her laugh. But other than that, Clare is the worst, Gabby decides. Absolutely. Worse than Linda or Taylor or those nameless prostitutes. Sifting through her perfect clutch for the tools outside Clare’s door, Gabby doesn’t know which she hates more about Clare: the two locks or the fact that she thought that was enough protection. Gabby hates them both equally.

Gabby hates the welcome mat in Clare’s apartment almost as much as she hates the beige carpet it is supposed to keep clean. Stained and streaked like a bad dye job, the floor’s only chance is through hardwood floors. Bamboo, maybe. Clare has no chance, no chance at all. Searching through a stranger’s apartment is one of Gabby’s favorite things. The garbage that fills people’s homes never gets old. Gabby hates the cross-stitched picture of a goose. She just found out about it, but she already hates it. The picture of an obese gathering (family reunion?) is too much. Being heinous is a genetic trait for Clare. Moving around in the dark, Gabby decides that she hates the bathroom, the laundry room, and the closet sized guest bedroom, and she hates the layout of the apartment as she looks for Clare’s bed.

Gabby finally finds Clare asleep. She is alone, of course, because she is ugly. Gabby likes that. People get what they deserve. Some deserve to live life by themselves and some deserve to die. Clare gets both. A calico cat watches her silently from the corner of the bed as Gabby sifts through her clutch for the perfect tool. Gabby likes that, too.

Gabby never hesitates or second guesses herself. It’s part of being confident. And a sociopath. It lets her act in her own self-interest, manipulate her boss, and, tonight, sit on Clare’s shoulders and slide a wire around her throat in one swift motion. Clare’s body momentarily stiffens before clawing at her neck and frantically kicking her legs under the blankets, but Gabby holds her grip and keeps the girl pinned against the bed. Gabby could win a rodeo if rodeo winners were not so filthy. But since she can be both victorious and glamorous sitting neatly on Clare, she is fine here. For some reason, Clare must think that thrashing her head about will free her. It will not. All it does is wrap loose strands of her disgusting hair around Gabby’s fingers like the tendrils of an octopus. Disgusting.

Gabby lowers her cheek to Clare’s as her movements slow. Gabby likes feeling life evaporate under her. Before she stops moving, a few words, pathetic yelps really, escape out of Clare’s mouth; they are muffled, strained, and like her annoying laugh, high pitched. Gabby tightens the wire. There are more noises but they are not vocal. They are grotesque and perfect.

Gabby is satisfied as she looks at the deep grooves carved into Clare’s throat. Sometimes the girls take awhile before their bodies lull against the furniture, but not Clare. Fast, dead, boring. Violent enough to scare the cat into the darkness, but Gabby knows better. Blood pools on the pillowcase as it trickles out of Clare’s mouth. Just like her to die in a puddle of her own blood.

Gabby checks herself in the mirror. She likes what she sees. Tomorrow another girl with brown hair and a garish nose will be found strangled, but tonight it is cocktails and seared tuna and showing off new earrings. Gabby likes happy endings.

Ian Golding’s work has appeared in the Mid-American Review and Juked and is forthcoming in Gargoyle. He is the editor of The Interrobang literary journal. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his girlfriend and green scooter.
6.11 / September 2011