The Body in the Living Room

Extreme closeup of cheese grater

Photo by Raphael Renter on Unsplash

How to dispose of it? 

I’m not squeamish. 


I killed him. 

I've thought about chopping him up but the logistics are something awful. Blood splatters everywhere. There’s not enough bleach in the world to get that kind of stain out.

Dissolving him in acid would be most convenient.  But even if I did get a tub full of hydrochloric acid (hydrofluoric? Should have paid more attention in chemistry), how to get rid of the body sludge?  No way he could be flushed out without causing the mother of all drain clogs!

Look at him.  The way his belly builds upon itself, a quivering mound of unused energy and everlasting dissatisfaction.  His body moulded to the shape of his overstuffed lounger.  His left hand tucked into his waistband like he’s holstering some casual weapon.  The tv remote still tight in the grip of his other hand. 

The only witnesses to his death are his emptied beer cans, punched in the gut and doubled over on the table, neatly ordered in a single file. 

Yes, I killed him.  But when the police come, they will find no murder weapon.  Just me and my big mouth. My voice weaponized.  An auditory bone saw to his skull.

I didn’t want him to die, at first.  I loved him, after all.  I tried to make myself small, tiptoeing around the house in soundless, fluffy slippers, speaking in that respectfully hushed voice.  I refrained from asking sensitive questions that might set off the tripwires in that minefield that is time and money.  Never enough of both.  

The problem, apparently, was my ‘tone’.  I could never get the teeth out of my nasty tone, he said.  

After a while, I gave up trying.  I got loud.  If I kept complaining, I’d be the death of him, he said.  So, I got louder still. 

And by God, he was right!  

This morning, he shouldered past me to get to the coffee machine.  He can’t think —much less listen to his wife — without caffeine.  

“It’s like you’re shredding my brain with the cheese grater.”  Those were his words.  

All I’d said was:  Good morning! How’d you sleep and all that.  Let him know I have to run some errands today after work, so I won’t be cooking dinner.

“You’re killing me,” He said and wiped at a stain that stretched down his chest. “I’m literally leaking brain fluid now.”

“That’s the beer that dribbled out of your mouth last night.”

It was a smart remark, I admit.  But grounded in fact and said a little louder than my usual under-the-breath muttering.  It sailed out of my mouth before I had time to stop it.  

He wheeled around and glared at me.  So angry, his eyes were vibrating in their sockets.  When I saw that — those quivering orbs, red-veined and bulging, — I knew I could kill him. 

“You wanna go there?”  He clenched his jaw and curled his hand into a fist. 

It’s funny how time slows down at certain critical junctions in your life.  He’d asked me a question.  So, I gave serious thought on how to answer, scrupulously weighing my words.

“Yeah,” I said, finger to chin like I’d just decided between a vanilla malt milkshake or a hot-fudge sundae. “Yeah, I think I do.” 

It was not a fair fight. 

He’d told me exactly how to kill him, after all. 

I had no shame in using every weapon at my disposal:  Volume. Annunciation. Alliteration. Hyperbole. Metaphor and Simile. Onomatopoeia and Rhyme!  

And, of course, my infamous ‘Tone’.

The sentences snapped around him like whips, closing around his wrists.  His pummelling fists were useless against this assault of verbiage, battering up against him, relentless.   When his head began to droop and his shoulders sagged, I knew I had him up against the ropes.  To finish him off, I let my sharpest words fly, cleaving into him with all the weight and power of a seasoned butcher. 

It was a churning, bloody mess.  The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had nothing on me and my 'tone’.

Oh, it cost me.

But it was worth it. 

When it was done, he staggered into the living room, apparently unaware that his brain had been put through the meat grinder of my mouth.   

Now, his corpse is slumped in the recliner, eternally tuned to the sports channel. 

But this puts me in a quandary.  

How to get rid of the body?


Atika Shubert

Writer and Journalist. Novelist-in-training. By way of Jakarta, Bangkok, New York, Tokyo, Jerusalem, London, Berlin and now, Valencia.