He sat at his desk, contemplating what to say to the cleaning girl. He had obsessed about her for two weeks, which was a long time for him. Usually his obsessions lasted only a few days, a week at most. Every time she walked by, vacuuming, washing the plate glass doors, just passing by, he imagined himself together with her. He rarely fantasized sexually, rather, he would imagine the two seated on a couch, arms around each other, something on TV, or nothing, it didn’t matter. Her personality in his fantasies was a total fabrication. He didn’t know the girl, and in fact had exchanged fewer than a dozen words with her other than ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye.’ He sighed in his fantasy with satisfaction, and sighed in his chair with frustration and loneliness.
He was always nervous around a girl he liked. Around anyone else he was simply quiet. He could be talkative, he could be intelligent, witty. He could be a lot of things, but rarely was. He didn’t see the need.
She came to the desk and signed the logbook as she was supposed to. He checked the logbook entry like he was supposed to, smiled at her, said ‘goodnight’ when he meant to say ‘I love you.’ She returned the smile, returned the ‘goodnight,’ and turned to go out the door. He sighed. He watched her go out the door, watched as a car pulled up to the curb outside. His face was impassive as a young man got out of the car and walked towards the cleaning girl. His hands twitched minutely on the Formica desktop and his stomach twisted painfully in his gut as the girl threw her arms around the young man, pressed her face against his. His face cracked for an instant into an unsure expression, half sadness, half smile. He didn’t know what else to do. A split second later, he was impassive again.
The rest of the cleaners and the few office workers who were still there filed out slowly, one coming by and signing out every few minutes. He checked each log entry as it was filled, as he was supposed to do. He said nothing. There wasn’t anything to say.
When the last of them was gone, he got up and locked the door. He stood inside, staring outside, for a long time. He watched the rain fall from the black sky, land in the black puddles, heard each black drop make a black sound as it died on the ground.. He returned to the desk, signed his name on the line labeled “Security Officer.” Some time later, he walked around, turning off all the lights. The building darkened slowly, blackness snaking through the halls and the rooms, following him as he traversed slowly through the empty brick offices. When the last light was out, he went outside and walked slowly through the rain and the puddles and the dark to his car.
He put the key in the ignition, turned it until the engine started. The radio blared to life, startled him a little, made him twitch. He shut it off. He sat in the car, staring at the windshield and through it. He sighed.
About ten minutes later, he leaned over and opened the glove compartment. Inside was a .38 revolver. He had bought it to use for self-defense. He knew he would never need it. His cell phone rang. He looked at the glowing green screen on it. It was his mother, probably calling to find out why he wasn’t home yet. He didn’t answer it. He didn’t have an answer, didn’t have anything to say. He shut the phone off, and turned the radio back on.
He bobbed his head to some music for a while. It bored him. It was so trivial. Young men yelling about war and about love and about money and about everything else. None of it really mattered. He shut the radio back off. The sound of the rain on the roof of his car made more sense anyway. At least the rain had a message.
He tried to move his hand up to his face, and found it hampered by something held within it. He had forgotten about the gun. He gave a little chuckle. A tear streamed down his left cheek. He didn’t notice.
Seemingly of its own volition, the car backed from its space, moved forward out of the small parking lot, went down the street, found a 7-11. The newly possessed car parked itself in the rear of the parking lot, away from the bright sodium-arc lights, and stayed there. He stared out from behind the fogged windshield, watching the stoned teenagers and the winos and the middle-aged men going in and out of the store. More tears fell from his chin. More chuckles came out of his mouth. He didn’t notice. He rolled down his window, let the rain come it. It was an old friend, that rain. It was cold and it was wet and it could always be relied on to be that way. He watched it stitch little shapes on the armrest of the car door. He stopped watching it when it began to puddle in the handhold. He looked back at the gun, then turned the radio back on. He bobbed his head some more. He stuck the gun out his car window, and aimed it at a stoned teenage girl. She looked to be about fourteen, maybe fifteen. He shot her in the chest.
She was pretty. She had dark hair, made black by the night and stippled green by the parking lot lights. The bullet made a hole in her left breast. She fell down and died without making a sound. Her friends, older girls, all ran away except one. She ran to the fallen girl and called her name. He didn’t hear what the name was. He shot the older girl in the head. She joined the first girl on the ground. Their blood mixed with the rain and raced it to a storm drain.
He looked at the gun for a while. It was getting cold in the car, so he closed the window. He smiled and more tears came. He noticed these ones, was shocked to find himself crying. His smile grew a little wider when he raised the gun up to his head. He was happy because now he had something to say.