Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dear Jack

The man called Jack was just returning home from work when he looked and saw the letter on his desk. He set his tools on his small table (this was a small apartment) and snatched the letter. He strode over to the nearest chair and sat hard with a “thump”. To his surprise, the handwriting was barely legible, with seemingly random uppercasing and lowercasing, as if someone wrote it without using his/her hands and didn’t quite know how to write. Ignoring this, he began to read:

“Dear Mr. Jack,

            We don’t like what you are doing. We see you every day go out with your tools in proper shape, and return with them in improper shape. This is not good.”

Jack took a look at his tools, which, at this point because of his late and hasty return to the apartment, were in improper shape. The chair seemed suddenly stiffer, and he rearranged the way he was sitting before continuing:

            “We notice that the newspapers are still trying to figure you out, sir. And you are not being noticed as you should, sir. This is not good.”

A hard lump had formed in his throat. How did the writer(s) know all of this? Had he told a bunch of people at a pub after he got drunk celebrating a job well done? Or had those street urchins that had been tailing him, asking him for spare change or food, put it all together? The chair was beginning to feel as uncomfortable as before, so he moved to his loveseat, and continued:

            “We notice that you don’t like women, Mr. Jack. You seem to hate them. Why, sir? As far as we can tell, no woman has tried to hurt you, yet you have hurt several, sir. This is not good.”

He crumpled up the letter and threw it at the wastebasket (which, in his blurry-eyed, tearful state, almost looked like it was swallowing the letter). He did not need to read anymore. Someone had figured everything out. Someone had put everything together. He walked over to the table and grabbed his tools. He was going to go outside and rinse them off. As he went to the door to leave, however, he watched it lock itself. He walked in reverse from it, taken aback. Suddenly, he began to hear a quiet voice coming from the corner:

            “We can’t let you leave, Mr. Jack. We can’t let you hurt someone else, sir.”

After a minute, he realized that this voice was coming from his wastebasket. He knew he was mad, with all of the murders and everything, but was he mad enough to see furniture talking? Then, without warning, the rug balled up and he tripped. He fell into a chair and the chair wrapped its thick arms around his chest, and began to squeeze. He heard a chorus of voices, coming from all around the room, saying the same words:

            “We know you are bad, Mr. Jack. You kill people and rip them up. You keep doing it, and they can’t catch you. We can’t let you hurt anyone else, sir. So we did. This is good.”

            The man called Jack the Ripper could not breathe anymore as he heard the voices of his furniture began to cheer in excitement at having finally caught the killer, caught him, put his murderous spree to rest. Then, everything went black.

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