Frank thought he heard a knock on the door. He turned sideways and expected to see Marcia standing there with a bamboo tray full of his usual Tuesday tuna sandwiches (Tuesday tuna, Marcia called it), but then he remembered that he’d locked the door. Frank also remembered that Marcia stopped bringing him lunch three months ago when he decided to break things off after Emma caught them in a peculiar position with the tent flap open on a breezy October afternoon not more than ten minutes’ drive from the family cabin where they were supposed to celebrate Zelda’s third birthday.
Frank cringed. God, I must’ve sounded so guilty. What was my excuse for leaving Zelda’s birthday party like yesterday again? Oh, ‘I need fresh air’. Asshole. Nobody says that. Phrases like that are reserved for Woody Allen films. I might as well have said ‘excuse me for half-an-hour or so, I’m just gonna go and fuck my secretary up the ass in her father’s redneck caravan park’.
It was twelve-thirty.
When Frank came down from his Zippo fluid high, he realized where the sound he mistook for a knock on his office door was coming from. He looked down and saw that he had been using his desk drawer as a makeshift vice grip in order to hold in place the can of lighter fluid against the overhanging lip of the desk top. There was split-second when he felt that he had lost control of his body. The knuckles on his left hand looked like they were about to pop, and there was no feeling in the hand as he was driving the letter opener, held like grotesque metal finger between fore- and middle fingers, into the top part of the tin. Bam, bam, bam.
It was twelve-thirty-five.
Frank dropped the letter opener on the floor. The blunt tip of the blade pegged into the Persian rug under his feet, and a sharp pain shot through his hand. There was the warm sensation of blood trickling down his forearm. He studied the open wound where the sharp edges of the broken tin had gnawed away at his skin and into his flesh. He stared at a piece of skin flapping up and down where the blood pumped out, like the broken wing of some diseased-ridden bird on its last legs.
Frank wrapped his lips around the wound and grimaced when the tip of his tongue touched a few nerves around the wrist bone.
The taste of blood made him feel better.
It was time.