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These Words

By Jarrid Deaton

Cessman stands in front of the mirror and talks to me, talks to my reflection.

"This isn't some fucking low budget torture porn," he says. "This, my man, this is going to be high art."

"So, what's the deal with the script?" I ask, and move to the other side of the room.

Cessman runs his fingers through his hair once, twice, smirks, and turns from the mirror to face me.

"It's organic," he says. "A growing thing. It's going to adapt to the situation."

"Sound more like remedial biology than a movie," I say.

"You're funny, man," he says. "Maybe you can write a little of the dialogue. You know, to augment the screaming and gurgling."

His laugh sounds like steam, an expression of happiness or amusement that could scald flesh.

"You think the girl is ready to wake up and join the cast?" he asks. "How much did you shoot her up with, anyway? If she's still on the nod then we might as well gut her from cunt to chin in the shower and call it a day."

"She'll be ready," I say. "I told you I've known her for a while, she can handle a little morphine."

"Yeah, yeah," he says. "Listen, when you answered my ad on Craigslist, you said you had done this kind of thing before. Well, my project is different. I'm not looking for some raw-pulped bitch to get hard over. I have a real vision. We're going to cut her up, yeah, but then I'm going to re-shoot the whole thing with a different girl, this chick I met while doing some improv theatre. That girl, we're not going to hurt her. The plan is to write the rest of the script based on what I see and hear when we take care of your little whore acquaintance and then repeat it as a movie-pure fakery."

"Sounds like a waste of my hooker friend, to be honest," I say.

"Nothing will be wasted," he says. "Think of it as the buffalo of snuff films and we are the Native Americans behind the camera. Not one single part goes to waste. It all serves a purpose."

I run my finger along the hotel room wall and imagine it's covered in mold. I sniff and the air is nothing but mildew. The room is clean, but my senses won't play ball. I'm a mess, but it's good. This whole scene is a mess, a wine glass full of rat piss, but there's art to make and I'm more than ready.

"Time for our starlet to arrive on set," he says.

I walk in the bathroom and dump the ice bucket on Mira's naked tits. She shudders and opens her eyes. We don't speak to each other, I just pull her up from the tub and help her to the bed. She lies down, appearing totally docile.

"Shit, she needs to at least look a little scared," Cessman says. "Cut her a couple of times, maybe a nice chunk out of her ass. Get her in the mood."

He pulls a straight razor and a digital camera from his backpack. He reaches the razor to me and turns on the camera.

"Going to get a little audio here," he says.

I open the razor and place it flat against Mira's ass. She doesn't move.

"Okay, give it a good slice," Cessman says.

I spin and pull the razor across Cessman's thigh, his femoral artery. The red splash reminds me of Kool-Aid soaking in the carpet and my mother backhanding me, my small head kissing the edge of the coffee table. I don't give him a chance to protest or ask any questions in the pleading, confused cadence of the dying. I kick him in the mouth with my boot and he goes all infant-boned on the floor. Mira sits up on the edge of the bed and licks my cheek.

"What a poor, trusting motherfucker. I mean, running an ad basically looking for some psycho slasher to cut up a hooker and never checking references. Pathetic," she says. "My morphine slut act was a winner, yeah?"

"Oh, big time," I say, and run my hand between her legs. "Maybe we can turn this into a porno in the second act."

"I like the way you think," she says.

"My movie," Cessman says, and I'm almost proud of him for being able to speak through his busted teeth. "Why? My movie. Mine"

Mira bucks her hips and licks my cheek again. I pull my hand away, kick Cessman in the stomach, and pick up the partial shooting script from the dresser in front of the mirror. I film the pages for a few seconds and toss it in the small white trash can, now spotted with Cessman's blood. I am more than pleased with the shot. Mira crouches over Cessman, but he doesn't move. He may already be dead. We go with the scene anyway.

"These are not your words," I say, and zoom in with the camera to catch Mira taking Cessman's eyelids with the razor. "This story never belonged to you."


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