"Infanticide" a story 1,316 words in length, is an idea that came to me last night. True, this story may disturb some due to certain details which may coincide with the author's own life, but rest assured it is a totally fictional, comic piece. I feel it is of similar success to "Visitation" but that neither is quite up to snuff for the Writer's Digest competition. Comments would be appreciated.
By Christopher J. Knorps
He couldn’t get a job. I had given him a job before, and he had made good money. But then he went and blew it all on his Hollywood dreams. Writing. Acting. Modeling. Playing in a band. I don’t even want to say how much he left with. A few months ago he started calling me. Dad, dad, I’m going broke, I’m dying out here, can I come home? Of course he could come home. We had extra room. I wasn’t about to go abandon a son.
The first month wasn’t so bad. I kept telling him there was no pressure on him to get a job. Never mind that my own business wasn’t doing so hot. We had enough to survive.
The second month he started to get depressed. The only time I really saw him was at the dinner table. The rest of the time he would be up in his room, on his computer, ostensibly sending out resumes.
One night at dinner, I asked him why he didn’t go out with some nice girl who lived nearby.
“Leo, why don’t you go see her? She would love to hear from you again.”
“I can’t go talk to her when I’m in this state, Dad. It’s pathetic. I live with my parents. I don’t have a job.”
“Well, you can go work as a substitute teacher,” my wife Susan suggested. This did not sit will with Leo and he uttered more disparaging remarks.
“Nobody’s ever going to hire me! I make horrible first impressions. I have no appreciable skills to offer a business. I won’t work for minimum wage,” he said, losing his temper.
“And I don’t think you should work for minimum wage, either,” I said by way of agreement.
“I just wish I could kill myself.”
I never liked it when he went there.
“Oh, shut up already!” I said.
“I wish you guys would kill me because I’m such a disappointment to you,” he said. “I just wish I were dead.”
He stayed quiet and sullen the rest of the meal as if to validate his own statements by refusing to cheer up. He went upstairs to his room and my wife and I sat at the table.
“Maybe we should kill him.” I said.
“Roger, don’t be funny about that,” she said.
“He hates being here. He hates living at home. He’s not going to find a job. I know he’s never going to amount to anything.” I started facetiously listing, the wine we had drunk making me silly.
“Roger, really! We should be thinking of ways to help him. He’s an intelligent and capable person.”
“Who is stuck in a shit-bag economy along with us and who will undoubtedly ask us to pay for law school for him which will then prevent us from enjoying the sort of retirement we deserve.”
“Look,” Susan said, “It’s our fault he’s not doing well for himself. It’s some mistake we made in raising him. We have to help him along the best we can.”
“He doesn’t want to be helped! He’s been on his own and all he’s been able to do is make himself broke! Even if we paid for him to go to law school, he probably would end up right back here with us! I vote to kill him.”
“Roger why don’t you just go over there, turn on the TV, and relax. You’re not making sense.”
“He said himself he wished we could kill him! Don’t you see—he’s cursed—he’s an appendage we will have to drag along with us for the rest of our days—and then he would probably just off himself once we died because he can’t take care of himself!”
Susan cleaned up the table and I watched TV. My idea wasn’t so crazy after all. I knew I had something here.
The next day I knocked on Leo’s door. He was sitting on his bed with his laptop in front of him. He minimized a few different windows when I opened the door.
“What is it?” he asked.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said, last night,” I said, sitting on his bed, “And if you really want us to kill you, I would be willing to do it. Your mother is a bit against the idea, but if we go up to her together, I think we can convince her.”
Leo closed his laptop, moved over to me and hugged me. These were the sort of feelings of love I was hoping to get out of having a son.
“I’m so glad you believed me,” he said, “I’ve just been going this last month knowing I’m no good, knowing nothing was ever going to be good for me in my life again. Thank you for considering alternatives.”
We walked downstairs and found my wife in the laundry room.
“Susan, our son has agreed to my plan.”
“Oh sweetie,” she said to Leo, “Are you sure this is what you want?”
“I’m positive, Mom. Everybody talks about how bad it is being dead. But it’s nothing compared to the way I feel going out, interviewing, trying to meet new people and convince them I’m not a loser.”
“I feel like we’re making a big mistake!” Susan said to me.
“Trust me, Mom,” Leo said, “I’m just a big waste of money and I’ll just be an even bigger waste of money.”
“A quarter million already down the hole,” I said, “And it just doesn’t pay to be one more superfluous human being at this stage of the game. Better to be dead and see if there is a more pleasant afterlife.”
On Halloween, we decided to hang our son. We would then surreptitiously hang him from a tree outside, so that it would appear that he had committed a public suicide as a way to scare trick-or-treaters. I looked up on the internet how to tie a noose. Susan and Leo and I walked down to the basement and found a pipe to hang it from.
“Go on my computer and look at all of the documents when this is over. You’ll be able to find a lot of suicide notes. I wrote them all the time. That’s good enough evidence for you.” Leo said.
“I’ll miss you so much Leo!” Susan said, giving him a huge hug.
“I’m going to miss you too!” I said, joining them.
“It’s okay,” Leo said, “It’s better for everyone this way.”
And with that we placed the noose around his neck, tightened it, had him step up onto a chair, told him to say hi to his grandparents for us, and pulled the chair out from under him. Susan screamed and looked away and put her face in her hands.
“What have we done!” she said.
We carried his body out to a tree. There were some trick-or-treaters going around so we waited until they were out of view and tied the rope around a tree. There Leo hung, dead.
That night the police discovered his body and asked us why we hadn’t noticed it yet. We said our driveway came up on the other side of our house, and we never drove past that tree, and we just thought Leo had gone out late to a Halloween party and stayed at a friend’s house overnight. We cried. We were very good actors. We told the policemen he was a very sad young man. We looked at the documents on the computer and pointed out the various suicide notes that Leo had written over the previous weeks, and indeed, years. They had all been dated meticulously. No one ever suspected a thing.
With this pleasant thought in our minds, Susan and I thought about the several hundred thousand dollars more we had saved, and began to research exotic vacation destinations.