Part II Enjoy! W.O.P.
Today on NBC7 your news for Vernon Parish, tragedy for a military family as a young woman was found dead outside of the “Powell Drive Laundromat” last night. Her name is being withheld pending notification of her family. Few details are available at this time regarding this matter. Only that she was found outside the Laundromat by the evening Maintenance worker and Manager, Mr. Brent Washburn.
Mr. Washburn was released after questioning and is not a suspect at this time. It is believed that she was attacked and killed at this location and as of this hour the suspect is still at large. More news as the story develops. Back to you Pam. “Taxes going up? One Vernon Parish resident says this is enough…
Is that it?
Is this how she is going to “go out” so to speak? A BLURB by some local newscaster…
She opens her eyes and still hears the light thump thump of Louise making sweet dry love to her jeans. She is still sweating.
He is still standing there.
“I wonder how long I had my eyes shut.” She didn’t know. She didn’t care. The feeling is getting stronger but she is scared to just run out. Practically because every bit of clothing she and her husband own are in two dryers.
Death or drawers?
“This is silly. I am not going to die. But wait; IS THIS what people think before they die?”
The mental cursing was loud this time. She was actually getting impatient with herself and had almost come to the conclusion she was just being silly and everything would be fine.
“Whoa. What, there are no washers running. What the fuck was that?”
She had taken her peripheral vision off of him for only a SECOND and then she heard the click.
Time to go.
The voice inside her screamed louder than she realized her mind had ability to…
GET THE FUCK OUT NOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWW!!!!
Trying to be casual, she rises. Grabs her two green baskets and puts one empty basket into the other. She figures if she is casual, grabs the laundry and leaves he will just keep waiting there for his “Red Truck.”
She opens Louise up and realizes that everything is still pretty soaked. Wet denim is oddly heavy when you are scared out of your mind and just want to run away screaming. She loads the basket in basket and it is so God Damned heavy. How is she going to get this to her car?
“Suck it up bitch, it is now or never” she thought. She is quite the motivator when it comes down to what she needs to do when she needs to do it.
A voice inside is nagging “Fucking hurry. There is something wrong here and if you don’t move your fat white ass you are about to find out what it is.”
She is able to pop the basket up and prop it on her hip. The handles dig in and hurt her side. Badly. This was going to bruise she could feel it.
She heads for the door and takes one glance back.
He was walking towards her.
Panic is starting to set in. Things are moving slow.
She turned quickly and tried to free one hand to open the door.
He was walking quicker. She could hear his shoes squeak on the tiled floor.
She almost dropped the basket but managed to pop her hip higher, lift her leg and catch it as she still managed to keep the door open at the same time.
The door was so heavy with one arm awkwardly holding it as she tried to slip through.
His hand was on hers.
He was helping her open the door.
Well of course he was. That was the decent thing to do now wasn’t it.
A bit of relief fell over her and she felt her cheeks begin to flush.
Do you know when the blade of a knife penetrates your skin it burns? And when it is then quickly removed and blood starts to pour out of you it is actually hot, almost like what hot maple syrup would feel like?
As he held open the door for her he slid a knife in between her third and fourth rib.
She actually remained up right for the longest time. Eyes wide. She wasn’t confused. She wasn’t even all that scared.
At that point she just knew.
Then finally she collapsed. Half in the door and half out, basket upside down by her side, wet clothes on top of her and the sidewalk.
She began to feel dizzy and out of her own head.
Where was HE?
She laid there for what felt like an hour and then finally turned her head up to see him still standing over her.
He still had the pocket knife in his hand and he knelt down beside her.
“You shoulda run. I knows you wanted to. I could smell it.”
She closed her eyes.
She began to weep. Silently. She did not beg. She wept for the child she would never have. The house she would never own. The degree she would never finish. The pain that would never leave her mother. And the loss that would never leave her husband.
He leaned down bent at the knees and stroked her temple.
“Youuuuu shoulda runnnn” “Cain’t run now, can ya?”
She is pretty sure he giggled but she was starting to black out and just wasn’t sure.
He started rubbing on her. Not sexually, but as if he was looking for something. He found she had something in her pocket and dug for it. All he found was a lighter, and 7 quarters. He put that into his pocket and started looking for her keys.
Once he found them he seemed much calmer. He put the keys next to him on the sidewalk and then he grabbed her hair and oddly, gently pulled her head back. It hurt, but yet he didn’t yank it back as she had prepared for.
The stretching made it feel like her ribs were being pulled apart.
He put the knife to her throat.
She wept and braced.
The tip of the knife cut her on the right side of the throat and then he stopped.
Then came the light…
The light burned her eyes. They were shut but she could feel the light penetrate her eyelids and into the eyes themselves.
The lights were the headlights from Mr. Washburn’s 1982 Ford F150. He was pulling up for his 7-10 shift.
Her head was upturned toward the light and she thought death was bright white blinding light. All I remember was the light. It was so bright…
From what the police told her Mr. Washburn got out of that truck, baseball bat in hand and bashed Bill Martin’s head in. One hit.
Billy Martin’s three day meth binge ended in his brain matter scattered all over her wet laundry. Later, she would find this pleasingly ironic.
She woke up several hours later in the Ft. Polk Military Hospital and was told what happened.
She just remembered the light. The rest just hurt her head.
She eventually mended her injuries but a part of her was born and died that night. The part of her that died was the part that trusted people. Even a little. In her lifetime she would be a little scared at every moment. It would get better, but just like that scar it would never go away.
The part that was born was her new appreciation for life. The exact knowledge that as cliché as it is, time is perishable. And it could be expire at any moment. She lived her life with that knowledge and it was a good life. Probably better than it would have been had she not encountered Billy Martin.
Only those who have tasted death appreciate the flavor of life. Especially those who have seen the bright light and lived to tell the story.