“NOW I AM BECOME DEATH” • by Izzy David

That’s what I used to tell myself: I am Shiva, Destroyer of Worlds.

The smell of blood… a bitter, warm smell… not unlike cooking smells. Kitchen smells, you know? My grandmother cooked a delicious pot roast… It’s not that remarkable I make the connection between baking and blood. Us and the animals, I read once, genetically-speaking we’re not all that different.

Is this boring you, Father?

No? Good.

Anyway I’d tell myself I was the destroyer, the end. I felt that way, too. Because I was. I had a neighbor once, this Indian art-dealer. A funny guy. He used to make his sales that way — you can take on the characteristics of a god. He’d sell pictures like hotcakes. Got a lot of ’em over in India. Gods, not role models. Anyway, that’s where I got the idea.

Can I smoke in here? I know that’s not the usual practice, so before you say “no”… it would really make me happy.

Oh. I can?

Smells get me. I smoke Parliament Lights, what, twenty years. Memories…

Oh, that’s good. That’s better. I got chronic anxiety, my doctor says. I think that’s what he said. I wasn’t paying attention too good. I don’t listen. I could call him up, he said. If I ever needed anything. He was a good doctor.

Not ‘was’. Probably still is. I moved, that’s all. That’s the problem with my line of work. People find out and they assume. I have to be careful with my words.

I’m more of an action guy. You know the movie star I truly admire? Jason Statham. Not DeNiro. No. He was just getting kicks in Taxi. Statham has method. When it comes down to it, we choose our line of work.

I enjoyed playing Death.

It gave my life a certain atmosphere. I used to feel kind of… yeah, regal when I was doing it. I liked to watch.

No, Father. I don’t mean that. Not while they were dying. I’m a career guy. Not like that serial killer, what’s his name, Bundy. I read about him. He liked to watch the light in their eyes going out, sucking in their last breath for himself…

I meant before then. In the wings, so to speak. I’d watch them living. Only I knew how alive they were. Only I knew the supporting actor who was about to come out… They thought they had the spotlight. They thought they were writing the script. Free will, ha.

I’m glad you have a sense of humor, Father. I never figured you guys for being a barrel of laughs. I like when people laugh at my jokes.

I always figured I’d come for me, too. You know, not me per se but someone like me. I imagined him watching me the way I watched them. Picking up their kids from school… not that that happened a lot with the types I deleted.

I was expensive. I worked for expensive people. I deleted expensive people.

There was one time… a woman. A high-powered type. They all were, though. I don’t know what made her so special. She wasn’t beautiful. I watched her for three days. They were bawling me out about it. She used to go pick her kid up at school every day. She’d wait in the car. One of those town cars with tinted windows but I could kinda see her in there, making calls. Then like clockwork she’d get out, stand there, nervous. Like she was waiting for a date. For a lover.

Ha. You’re right, Father. She had a son. I didn’t go to college, but even I’ve heard of that complex.

Her son would come out with all his pals. Good-looking kid. Always wearing this little red sweater, red bookbag, red sneakers. That kid really had it for the color red.

When I shot her, Father, and I saw the blood… It got me, Father. It was different somehow. I imagined the kid finding her. Seeing his mother covered in his favorite color. Smelling that cooking smell on his own mother. I never thought that way before, see. It was always… I was a function almost.

We all die, after all. In the end.

I hurried the end up a little. I chose the end.

Maybe she was a bad person. Maybe they were all bad people.

But you don’t really believe that, Father.

I think you’re telling me what you think I want to hear.

Not that I know a lot about… doctrine, is it called? Theory or something?

I’m not even Catholic. Well, my Pops was. He was very Catholic. But my mother’s a Jew. Was a Jew. Yeah, she’s dead. I told you. Words, I’m not so good with. I get confused. Past, present. Living, dead.

You know what’s funny? Not haha funny. But strange. I feel dead now. Death is dead. Did someone say that once? Oh, God is dead. Ha, that’s kinda funny. Ever since that woman… I know Death will come. I know I’m not Him anymore.

So I took that body with me. The woman. It felt different, that part. Like I was holding someone I loved. It gave me the creeps. She wasn’t beautiful. She was kind of dumpy, middle-aged. But I didn’t want the kid to… I cared. It was weird. I mean, I didn’t usually dispose of the bodies. That’s part of the deal. Death doesn’t have to do that. He gets to come in, do the deed, move on… doesn’t have to clean up.

I don’t have a lot of friends.

Oh, Jesus, Father. Ha. That’s funny. I took the Lord’s name in vain right in church. As I’m confessing. This is a real confession? I feel sorry about that woman. The others, not so much…

Oh, him? By the front. All in black. That’s Harry, I think he’s called.

I told you he’d come.

I hope he doesn’t take you, too.

I’d be sorry about that, too, Father.

Izzy David is an actor and writer living in New York. Izzy studied comparative literature and drama at the University of Virginia, before moving to the city to teach and perform off-Broadway and in film. She recently wrote, starred in and directed a play for Centerstage’s Friend Me Festival. Her poetry, essays and short stories have been published in Apollo’s Lyre, The First Line Magazine, and Bitch: A Feminist Response to Pop Culture among others. Izzy has completed her first novel and is seeking a publisher.

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Every Day Fiction