Gus couldn’t even tie a shoe without thinking of murder. A smooth lace around one index finger turned him into a lust-red-hobgoblin with visions of garroting, asphyxia, other types of hostile bifurcations. Drawing the little knot tight, that gave him tremors, pushed little bubbles of delight from the tight corners of hate-box. It didn’t matter: waking up, eating marshmallows, there was violent murder in all of it. Acts of kindness simply led to anger and hatred then betrayal and death by murder. He’d often skip the middle stuff and go straight to the murder part. “Hello!” and a sharp knife across the throat if the sun was right.
The sticky part was the thinking, the poetry. There was never legitimization; nothing like excuses, diseased thought processes, not that kind of lunacy. It wasn’t sex or thoughts of sex; roundabouts, daisy-chains, pink bugaboos or snakes that looked like the old man weeping. Gus was just fucked-up sick in the head and burbling death-throes looked like good art to him; begging bathed in bodily fluids was operatic - screams symphonic. He saw a shrink for a month before killing him. He had a wife long enough to squeeze his illness into the universe in the form of Crawly, and then he killed her. He had folks, (not bad people for murder-makers) but on his twelfth birthday he killed them too. He’d of killed everyone else going back in time before that too - you see the system – but there weren’t means, just a little boy snuffing out the life from whatever he could, wherever he could, and calling it practice – The Early Period.
Gus was pocketing a grand each time He bumped off that guy in 2F. And each time that guy in 2F gave up his lease, Mac (Muck) Wicking in 1B, owner and president of IFFY Realty Corp, Inc., got to tack on whatever the market would bear to his receipts each month and of course those liquid assets that would pour his way though debit cards, bank codes, passwords and other dripping finds one might stumble upon with a set of keys and good, long, head start, before anyone asked any questions – if anyone ever asked any questions at all. And then, down at the Dead End where Muck was known as Spike, he’d buy a round for the shooters and the darters and the thrillers and the stalkers and he’d toast The City of New York, and the Office of the Mayor, and the Rent Guidelines Board, the D.O.H - the list went on - for aiding and abetting, stepping up and taking it every way they could, just for making downright murder an asset to those who didn’t mind cheating the system just a bit around the edges.For Muck, Gus was a temporary mechanism, one that worked well, but he’d hiked the rent in 2E three times in two years, and had the feeling that Gus didn’t do it for the money, which was a problem. And then there was the thing with Crawly and Babe, and Muck didn’t like it. Muck was up to here with Creepy and Crawly.