The Last Laugh
I’m going to kill him tonight.
Dwayne. The stupid old man I’m forced to share this miserable room with. I can’t stand him anymore. He can’t or won’t speak. He doesn’t go outside or to the activities room. Hell, the old fool doesn’t even leave the room to eat. They bring his meals to him! Can you believe it? Those bastards would never do that for me.
I’ve been stuck here for six years. My rotten kids put me in this shit hole after my sweet Mary died. Didn’t want to take care of me. Fuck them! I might be old, but I sure as hell ain’t dead. I don’t need anyone taking care of me. I’d still work if the new hotshot owner at the plant didn’t force me to retire.
Now, I’m stuck in this room every night with that decrepit geriatric. All he does—all day and all night—is sit in a rocking chair in the corner and reads some ratty book. Six years, the same book! I’ve asked him about the book many times but he’s either deaf or dumb—never answers me. I’m going with dumb.
I’ve tried to sneak a peek at the book but he always closes it when I get near him. Crazy S.O.B. even sleeps with it! I think he has dementia. Only thing I can think of for how a man can read the same book over and over and over again like that. Gotta have a few frayed wired in his skull.
But I can’t take it anymore. I need to find out what’s in that book. Every time I look over he has this giant, queer grin on his face. And he’ll randomly break out into fits of hysterical laughter—like he’s reading the funniest fucking thing ever written. Why the hell can’t I get a few laughs? I deserve a chuckle. Greedy bastard! I’m going to get that book. As soon as that dumb bitch of a nurse finishes her final rounds, I’m going to take it from him.
It didn’t take long. She popped her head in and asked us in that shrill, piercing voice of hers, “You guys all good for the night?”
No, my dick hurts and I haven’t shit in a week. It’s a real fucking party in here with me and Dwayne the librarian. I can’t stand that woman. Acts like we’re children at summer camp. I was working 60 hour weeks before her skank ass was even born!
It’s dark. The bitch turned the lights off finally. We’re supposed to leave a corner light on in case someone croaks or something, but I jammed a screwdriver in the switch some weeks back. Admiral fuck face didn’t seem to mind. Pretends he’s reading his book in the dark. Well, this is the last night he’ll get to read his precious book.
He was sitting in the corner like usual. I walked over real slow. I was as quiet as a mouse, but he must’ve knew I was there because I heard him shut the book. I tried grabbing it out of his hands gently, but the asshole fought back. I pulled harder. His hands were like lobster claws! Idiot wouldn’t let go. So, I had to force it.
I picked up the table lamp and cracked him right in his stupid head. I didn’t want to do it. All he had to do was let me borrow the fucking book. Greedy asshole—thinking I don’t deserve any laughter of my own in this awful place.
I grabbed the book and headed for the hallway. Since the lamp in the room had been broken, I couldn’t turn it on to see the book pages. I needed the light of the hall. But when I stepped out that bitch was storming through the door. Almost knocked me on my ass!
She used her key for the main overhead light; that’s the only way those turn on. It took me a minute for my sight to come back. Those fluorescent lights are so damn bright. The nurse let out an ear-splitting shriek. God how I hate her voice!
She started screaming for help while she hovered over Dwayne’s useless corpse. I could see the bright lights glinting off a large puddle of blood next to his slumped over husk of a body. Fuck him. If he died he died. Was gonna happen sooner than later, anyway.
The book! I realized I could finally read it while they were dealing with the body. Of course, they asked me a million fucking questions first. Even had the cops come and get me. And those assholes took the book from me as evidence. Now I’m sitting in the interrogation room. Like I really care. I’m just waiting for them to give the book back.
Hours went by until some Slim-Jim dick detective came in to ask me more questions. We eventually got to the topic of the book and I told him I hit Dwayne so I could read it. Don’t know if he believed me. But that’s when he told me something really weird. He said Dwayne had been blind for the last 20 years. How was he reading all that time, then?
The detective handed me the book with a stupid smirk on his face. I looked at the cover thoroughly. It was brown leather and so worn that I couldn’t make out the title. I opened it to the first page, slowly—anticipating the text I often fantasized about reading. It was blank!
I flipped to the second page, and third, and the fourth, and through the whole Goddamn book. Every page was blank! It was all a joke. Dwayne was never reading anything. And that’s what he thought was so damn funny. He knew I wanted the one thing I couldn’t have—and that I’d never have it because it wasn’t real.
“Guess you’ll be spending the rest of your days in an even worse room.” The detective laughed long and hard.
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