(A short story.)
I killed an ant. Ants. A few thousand, maybe. I was six. I poured water in their formicary. Most of them drowned instantly. Painlessly. Some of them were holding grains and straws of different kinds and sizes. Food for the winter they were never going to see. The cold water made most of them run. They had to drop their loot so they could run faster. Some escaped.
I was like Hitler for that formicary. Jesus, rather. I was having fun. I was six. When I went home, my mother beat me up with a rolling pin. It hurt a lot. I cried. I wish someone beat up Hitler with a rolling pin. Or Jesus. The millions the former killed would have lived. The millions the latter lied to would have been saved. I guarantee.
I killed a locust. It lived under the floor of my apartment. I could hear it. He would come out at night and crawl up on my wall. Watching me. I could tell he knew he was going to die, for he always froze. He was aware he wasn’t an iguana. He couldn’t blend with the white wall. He must have been constantly mad at himself for that.
Depending on what I was doing when I saw him, there were two scenarios: 1) I abandoned the task at hand and chased him around the apartment with a rubber flip-flop, 2) I went to the bathroom for some toilet paper and tried to catch the bastard — gingerly — then set him free to roam the streets of L.A. His tribe wasn’t happy in both cases. They sent a warrior to kill me once a week. It’s been three years.
I killed a lizard. I grabbed a stone and threw it at him. It hit him in the tail. Now he was tailless. An easy target. Boom! Splotch! Nice. I took the lizard’s torso and set it on a railroad track instead of a penny. The train passed. The lizard was twice as wide and a hundred times slimmer. Now I use it as a bookmark.
My grandfather told me that a new lizard would grow out of the severed tail. I decided to wait. On the third day of waiting for the tail to grow a head, I realized he lied to me. I snuck into his bedroom at night and exchanged his glass of water with a glass of gin. He woke up at 3 a.m. from thirst. He drank some gin, choked, almost died. I wondered how he would look if the train ran him over. He would have been the biggest bookmark.
I killed a kitty. I jammed a spoke in its eye. Fast death. She was black, with white tummy and ears. Two months old. It followed me home from the farmers market. I gave it cauliflower to munch on. She vomited from it. Garlic chips? Not today. I put my iPod headphones on her ears. She scratched me on the face. Then I saw the rusty spoke on the pavement. One-two and she was blind. I went home to wash my bloody hands with a jasmine soap.
That happened after my second divorce. My second husband, Pepe, had two cats. Brothers. I spoiled them senseless. When they died of natural causes at ninety-seven cat years, I celebrated with champagne and truffles. Happiness is a dead cat for a woman with a scared face, who can’t afford plastic surgery, so she can marry a third time.
I killed a dog. German shepherd. Hated the bitch. I gave it Nestle chocolate and a beefsteak coated with Ajax. It was dying for a whole week. Lots of diarrhea came out of it. Some of it was pure blood. She jumped on me while I was playing in front of our built-during-Communism apartment. I lost my breath. I stuttered for months. A voodoo lady had to drop liquid lead in a bowl full of water over my head to extricate my fright. My mom paid money for the lead magic. I stopped stuttering.
Barking is my least favorite sound. When people bark at me, I just want to kill them. For real. But I never do it. I smile and go about my life. I’m a good person poisoned by lead.
I killed a man. Boy, what a thrill! I was on a bus, coming back from the office. I imagined being in the army, having a rifle’s barrel pressed under my chin. I believed myself so much, it felt real. The bus dropped me off and I went to the post office. As I was sticking PRIORITY labels on the thirty letters I was mailing, a man in black came into the post office and stole a few books of stamps from the display of postal items. A woman yelled. I ran after the thief. He held his backpack over his head while running. He didn’t know I was training for the Olympics and ran faster than anybody I knew. I caught up with him and kicked him on the back. He fell, head first. I heard a clunking sound. It sounded like a gun hitting the pavement. I rammed my hand into the pocket of his jacket and there it was. I had never held a real gun in my hand. It was shiny and warm. I pointed it at the thief. Fire! I felt like a hero. Pedestrians applauded me. Society owed me one.
I killed a town. It was easy, for I’m a chemist with big tits. All I needed was a man who worked for the Department of Water and Power to fall in love with me. That was easy, for I’m foxy. Not as foxy as the foxy lady Hendrix sings about, but pretty close. My new lover and I bartered physical indulgence for the location of the water supply reservoir. Once that was secured, the rest was following the steps. The town’s population was over three hundred thousand. It took me three days to wipe it clean. I buried them all with a bulldozer. It made headlines all over the world. I got the United Nations Medal of Honor. Now I teach Political Science at Princeton. Life is good!
I killed a country. I looked for one for a long time. There were over two hundred to choose from. I narrowed them down to three: Rwanda, Iraq, and Bulgaria. I picked these for their strong economies, top-notch population growth, and undisclosed natural resources. By the time I made up my mind, Rwanda went through a cosmetic cleansing, which obliterated most of its population. I didn’t need any help. I wanted to do it all myself. Now the choice was easy: heads for Bulgaria, tails for Iraq. It was tails. Naturally.
When I got to Iraq, I found many Americans there. Way too many. Some of them dead — just over a thousand — but most of them alive. As for the locals, they were slaughtered like sheep. God was helping me again. So it had to be Bulgaria. I took a train from Baghdad to Istanbul, then a bus to Bulgaria. There I found peace and efforts to join the European Union. Most importantly, nobody had started helping me. My hommies were all mine.
How did I do it? It’s still on TV. Switch to the Heart Channel.
I killed a race. I read the history books, studied some failed examples and got to work. The crucial point was not to get the Russians involved. I was sure they’d knock on my door at one point. So I decided to follow an old Bulgarian tradition and give them my beautiful sister as a collateral. Her name was Chechnya. Surely, on a crisp winter morning, they showed up with balalaikas and giant pots of borsch. We made a deal. I miss my sister.
Then, quite unexpectedly, the Americans e-mailed me. Yes, the same Americans that lost over a thousand young boys and girls in Iraq. They needed a present, too, otherwise they were going to deem me a terrorist and sue me without a reason, jail me without a crime, kill me before telling me. They didn’t want any present, for they were thirsty. I gave them water. I gave them ouzo. I gave them chicken broth. Three no’s! Then it dawned on me. I went to the basement, dropped a hose into my personal oil well, and handed it to them. They sucked on it like babies and fell asleep.
In two years I surpassed Stalin’s extermination record. I wrote him a letter to let him know. He never replied. I was a woman, who liked Stoli. Tough tamales.
I killed planet Earth. I felt uninspired doing it. Most of the work was done already. Melting the ice caps took awhile. I killed time hacking at forests with the axe my father gave me for my high school graduation. The letters T. W. F. were carved on the wooden helve. The name in his passport read Totko Watchev Filkov. In my mind, those three letters always read The Worst Father, though he was the best from the little I remember of him. He sailed on a trawler in September 1967 and never came back. He mailed his semen to my mother so she could have me. The package came with cash in it. He was buying his Father title. Smart son of a bitch. That’s why I hate the sea. Hence, melting the icecaps, so he can drown. He did, plus over six billion others. Naturally.
I am alone now. I don’t cry. No rolling pin, no tears.