A Picture a Day, Keeps the Something Something

One Picture, One Story

Darryl of the Elm


John hummed quietly as he turned on the tap. He always hummed when he washed up and he always hummed the same tune. A quiet, yet joyful version of “Folsom Prison Blues” and we he got to a certain part he would sing the line, “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.” He absolutely adored that line and for reasons unbeknownst to him he became quite cheerful after singing out the line. If he was at home he would have the record spinning at the same time, but at the moment he was somewhere else and at the moment had to concentrate on the job at hand. He scrubbed his hands carefully as he looked back at his finished work. He was hopeful that they would enjoy it and was anxious to read about the reaction in tomorrows paper. He was sure this was his best work yet and he knew it would catapult him into the pages of history! He turned his attention back to his hands and the sink. He picked the last bits off of his cracked hands and rinsed it down the drain. He let the water pour for an extra few seconds to make sure it had all been cleaned off. John dried his hands gently with a handkerchif he pulled from his kit full of tools for his art. He scratched his hairless head as he took in the beauty of his masterpiece. With his chin in his hand he tilted his head slightly to the side, admiring his work and checking it for any imperfections. It was perfect. John smiled in satisfaction, he knew he had really nailed it this time after so many of his previous works had gone by with relatively little fanfair or recognition. He was set on making this one count as it may well be his last.

He knew it was genius. He knew it was revelutionary. He knew it was great.

John noticed two or three red drops on the floor that he had overlooked so he returned to the sink with a rag from his kit. He carefully wet it with warm water, alowing the warmth to envelop his hands as he squeezed the excess from the rag. He gently and methodically cleansed the hardwood before returning the rag to the kit. As if by instinct the tune had returned to his lips and he slowly danced along with it. He felt his feet gliding along the floor as he spun and waltzed about the room. He slowed his feet as he aproached his favourite part. He leaned in close to his art as if to serenate it and whispered, “I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.” He breathed in deeply as the scent of fresh blood filled his nose and he repositioned the arm slightly to create a more realistic posture.

John saw himself as a sculptor and a damned good one at that. His last work had barely been mentioned in the media, but he didn’t think it was his best work anyways. He was disappointed with the uninspired pose in which he had possitioned the body. It was so poor that the police hadn’t even made the connection with the other works he had left for them. Like any great artist John channeled the disappointment into planning his next great piece of art. He brainstormed ideas, sketched them carefully and began to plan for his next work. He spent hours in parks and malls, watching people as they walked by trying to find the perfect medium in which to work. He had invested the majority of his time on this endeavor and was beginning to feel discouraged when he walked by. The man was tall and well dressed, his long arms and legs would be easy to manipulate into the position he had in mind. John watched him as he paced back and forth waving his hands as he barked orders over his phone. John knew this was the next one. He followed the man to his car and jumped in with him, holding a large hunting knife to his neck. John told the man to drive to a secluded area where he cut his throat wide open, blood showering on his face and clothes. John smiled as he wiped himself off, licking the reminants off of his fingers with a euphoric glee so psychotic that even the devil would turn away in disgust. John fished out the man’s wallet and checked his ID; Darryl Sinclair of 1455 Elm Street. He saw a garage opener attached to the sun shield, so he knew he could simply park in the garage and move the body without anyone noticing. John noticed that there was no wedding band on his finger and there were no signs of children having been in the car so he was confident that he lived alone.

John smiled as he recalled the perfection of it all; the kill, the house, the garage, everything. He moved in closely to make sure the eyes would seem to be staring at anyone who would come in to find him. He began bouncing around ideas for a name for his greatest work. He sat on the couch facing Mr. Sinclair and sighed deeply. He had decided on “Darryl of the Elm”. He nodded his head slowly as if in agreement and he reached in his kit for a medium sized paint brush. He dabbed it in the pooled blood on the floor and brushed the title on the floor in front of the sculpture. He particularily liked the heart being held up with Darryl’s left hand causing the blood to cascade onto the face in what John thought was a very provacative and interesting manor. He had never cut out an organ before and had found it to be far more difficult that he thought, but enjoyed how raw the unskilled way he had removed the heart looked and it made the finished work seem that much more rewarding. He stepped back one last time before picking up his things and returning to Darryl’s car that he had parked neatly in the garage. He carefully backed it on to the street and calmly drove it to a secluded lake a few miles from town where he pushed it off a small cliff into the deep waters below. He sat on the edge and watched as the car slowly sank into the abyss. John sat in the disappearing light of the evening and congratulated himself on his greatest work yet. Finally he smiled, got up and began the long walk home where he could get a well deserved rest.

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