Monday, March 2, 2009
IM excerpt by Rick R Reed
To celebrate the e-book edition release of IM from MLR Press, I’d like to share with you a particularly chilling excerpt from the book. IM is about a serial killer preying on gay men online through Internet hook-up sites. I like this excerpt because it shows the cat and mouse game played throughout the book by victim and killer and this excerpt does it especially intriguingly.
MLR Press (May 10, 2007; February 14,2009)
IT HAD been so long. So long since he had felt the embraces of a man, so long since he had “punished” one. All the emotions of caring, affection, lust, and rage wrapped into one twisted bundle.
Timothy Bright sat on his bed. Behind him, the bedclothes were a mass of rumpled sheets and blankets, the striped mattress peeking out at the bottom. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a night of untroubled sleep, one not tormented by nightmares, one in which he had not awakened, the darkness closing in, his heart running the last leg of a marathon, panting, his mouth dry and the bedclothes a sweaty mess.
Beside him was his small computer desk, topped with his iMac. All the men he had chatted with, even the ones leaving explicit e-mails about what they wanted to do and what they wanted done to them, were desperate: pathetic figures all reaching out.
Reaching out, in his case, for a hand that would bite, rather than feed. What they deserved.
Timothy rose and glanced at the clock. 4 a.m. Didn’t these guys ever take time to sleep or was their sleep as troubled as his?
The last one he had chatted with, the one with whom he was about to “hook up” had looked extremely handsome online: crisp pictures of big muscles, big dick, everything about him young and hungry. All of them probably several years old, his online description exaggerated. All of it, in fact, lies. None of the guys with 44 inch chests, 30 inch waists and 9 inch dicks were what they said.
No matter. He was not what he had told the guy, either. It was amazing how many of these guys just believed the descriptions he dreamed up, without having any photographic evidence for back up. The funny thing was, once he arrived, once he was there on the threshold of their doors, it no longer mattered. He was there and he was male.
That was what mattered.
Timothy rooted through his drawers, looking for his slut clothes. He dressed quickly, pulling on the black jock strap, fraying where the straps met the pouch, ripped and faded Levis, the Bulls T-shirt with the sleeves cut off, the leather biker jacket and engineer boots.
The last thing he did was tuck the knife, recently purchased in the sporting goods department of K-Mart, into his jacket pocket. Having it there, he felt secure, recalling how sharp the blade was, how its pointed tip promised certain death. Power.
The knife was perfect for gutting animals.
Mark Deitrich hoped the guy didn’t show up. He had been disillusioned so many times in the past with guys whose pics were, well, overly flattering. And the one on the way didn’t even have a pic.
But that was okay. Mark was suddenly very tired of all the online games and even the games played in the bars, superficial and never what he really wanted. Besides, a sense of weariness washed over him, filling him with a lethargy that bordered on comatose. He wanted nothing more than to just hop into bed, curling up with the latest Stephen King and letting those fantastic nightmares lull him off to sleep. He would awaken the next morning hopeful. Today he would meet someone who was in it for more than just the sex. Today would be the start of a relationship, the first he’d had with a man in his twenty six years.
Mark went into the bedroom and shooed his two cats, Chloe and Purdy off the bed and pulled back the comforter. He kicked off the gray Nike shorts he wore and looked at himself in the mirror over the bed.
Why couldn’t the guys on the line be honest? So many of them, when they did bother to show up, were disappointments, nothing like their pics or profiles. Didn’t they realize they would be found out as liars as soon as their prospective “date” opened his door?
He guessed they were like salesman, hoping against hope that once they got in the door, he could be persuaded.
But they never could persuade Marl. More often than not, he tried to muster up an apologetic expression before saying the line that would send them away. “Sorry. I think I’ll take a pass.”
He would have respected them more, he thought, if they had tried to argue. Even if they had called him a jerk. But they were all wimps and if they didn’t tell him that the situation was “cool,” they would at least walk away, wordless, head hung low in disappointment. Mark knew he was good looking, everything he claimed on the line, and coming so close to finding what he was sure they were seeking, had to be hard. Listen to you! Ever hear of modesty?
But he wasn’t about to sleep with a guy just because he’d bothered to make the trip to his front door. It was his own fault, anyway, for not being honest.
Timothy finally found a parking space on Pine Grove. If he had showed up a few hours later, when the residents of the neighborhood had gone off to work, perhaps parking wouldn’t have been such a challenge. During the twenty minute ride from Rogers Park, he had smoked five Marlboros and drunk two Blue Moons. Before he left, he had done three one hitters. What was wrong with him? He wondered as he bumped first into the car behind him, setting off its alarm and then into the one in front of him, the bumpers sounding a hollow ‘boom’ as the cars made impact. It seemed he needed the drugs and alcohol to do what needed to be done. He wondered if clouding his vision this way would one day cause him to get in trouble.
The pre-dawn air was cold, suffused with the damp of Lake Michigan just a few blocks to his east. A wind blew out of the north, chilling him, cutting through the leather of his jacket. He quickened his pace.
Mark pulled the covers up around him. He was on page 676 of Insomnia and wanted to get through it. Why did King have to write these long tomes that took him weeks to read? He had three other books waiting and it seemed the pages just kept coming, no end in sight. But he was too far along in the book to just put it aside.
The buzzer sounded. “Oh shit,” he whispered, throwing back the covers and setting his book on the nightstand. He was tempted to just let it sound a few times, inducing in him a guilty nervous tension, and not answer it. The guy would go away eventually. Where had his horniness disappeared to?
Still, he couldn’t just leave the guy down there. That was exactly the kind of behavior he abhorred. He slid into his shorts and went to the front hallway, where he pressed the intercom buzzer.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Ray, from the line.”
Mark buzzed him in, wondering if this guy would be the blond muscle boy he promised. Fat chance.
He waited by the front door, thinking the guy would have to be an Adonis for him to do anything with him tonight. There was no anticipation as he imagined the elevator bringing the guy up, only dread. But hey, get through this and you can crawl back into bed and let sleep overtake you. Another night alone, chalk it up.
A tentative knock.
Mark peered through the peephole and saw nothing. This does not bode well, he thought, imagining the guy stepping back, out of view. If he was everything he said he was, he would not hide from my view. He would step proudly up for inspection, if he had any confidence in his looks.
Oh well, I didn’t really want anything tonight anyway.
Mark swung the door open.
To purchase IM as a trade paperback, click here.
To purchase IM as an e-book, click here.