“Bin Men Day” by David Turton

It’s bin men day and I awake with a start. I’ve got to make sure today goes well. Then I can get on with the rest of my life.

I didn’t mean to kill the woman two nights ago. I’d been drunk, so drunk. I’d brought her home after bumping into her on the street. One thing led to another and I invited her back. At least I think that’s what happened. At some point, she shouted at me. She’d criticized my flat, laughed at my naked body. I must have hit her too hard. She fell, stopped breathing. I put her in bed to recover but the next morning when I had woken with a piercing headache I had checked her again. She was stiff and cold, her face pale and her lips blue. She looked like a porcelain doll lying motionless on my spare bed. What could I do? My memory, either from shock or excess drink, had turned the incident into a hazy mess. I had killed another human being. I had wept and wept for hours over her hardened body, until the smells drifted from her rotting bones and fluid began to leak from her newly-defunct orifices.

I had picked the phone up several times. Ambulance? Police? I couldn’t decide which. I would be locked up on a charge of murder or manslaughter. Suddenly it had occurred to me. Nobody knew she was here. I had bumped into her randomly a few streets from here. I had mulled over my options for the whole day. Eventually, as I sobered from the previous night’s alcohol, I made a decision. I would cut her body up and place it in bin bags. The bin men would come the next day. They would empty my bin into their truck. Then they would mix my rubbish up with everyone from six postcodes. They would never know. It would be untraceable. I dragged the body to the kitchen and spent six horrible, gruelling hours chopping up the rigid body. It was hard work. Some of the bones needed breaking with a hammer, shattering, twisting and pulling to remove them. The kitchen looked like a slaughterhouse when I’d finished, blood, flesh, hair and bone strewn across every surface and splattering across my clothes. But I had what I wanted; four black bags containing the woman’s body. In the early hours of the morning I placed the bags in the bin silently, rolled the bin into the alleyway and crept back into my flat unseen.

And now it’s bin men day. I lie in my bed, my chest heaving in anticipation. The nerves have made me sweat heavily, salty beads of perspiration roll down my temples and settle on my pillow. I’m still wearing my bloodstained clothes and I can see a chunk of flesh on my bedsheets with thing, wisps of hair attached. I look at my hands and see thick gloops of blood with fragments of bone swimming in the viscous fluid. Some of the blood is my own; I sliced my hand open on a shard of the woman’s neck bone as I severed her head roughly from the rest of her body.

I try to sleep but I still can’t. My head is racing with different permutations. If the bin men smell what is in my rotten load, what will they think? What will happen if one of the bags splits open? Will the woman’s head roll out, or will one of her exposed bones poke its way through the plastic into plain sight? Or will I get away with it? I make myself several promises of how I will live my life if I get away with it. I’ll call my mum. I’ll look for jobs. I’ll go to church. But Please God let me please get away with this.

Hours pass as these thoughts race through my mind. I hear cars pass outside my window, heading to work. Then I hear it. A loud truck. Men shouting, moving large objects. My whole body tenses with fear. With nerves. With anticipation. With excitement. The sounds come closer and closer. I hear the truck move outside my house. I hear the bins being moved, emptied. The truck moves on. It passes my house. I exhale with force. How long have I been holding my breath? I’m not sure. I laugh with relief. I laugh with joy. I sit up in my bed and punch the air. I knew it would be fine. I knew all along.

My laughing is cut short as I hear a short burst of knocking on my front door. I freeze, my entire body tense with fear. I slowly walk down the stairs and hear the knocking get louder. Sharper. I place my hand on the door handle and pause. Another rapid set of knocks prompts me to open it. Two police officers stand outside my door. I realize that I am still covered in blood, my clothes still stained with the previous night’s bloody work. I freeze. They freeze. My eyes grow wide as I see one of the officers raise his hand, the morning sun gleaming against the metal handcuffs in his grip. I throw back my head and laugh, the manic sound echoing across my empty flat.

 

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