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Esmé Kaplan-Kinsey

Things are getting strange here.

Rob said the bag was full of clothes he was donating to Goodwill. Like I’d believe that. Mom always said Rob was no good because his jeans sag at the back and he didn’t shake her hand the first time they met. It’s funny, how spot-on her instincts are. If I told her what I’d seen, she’d tell me to call the cops. She’d say, I knew that son of a bitch was no good. Look at his jeans.

Also, I know that Rob smokes weed because his room always smells like it. And last month he gave me a joint for my birthday. So I already have proof of his criminal activity.

Jesus, I feel like someone’s rewritten my life into a shitty crime novel. I’m not calling the cops because that’s how you get your brains blown out. God knows how many people are in on this thing.

The joint Rob gave me made me paranoid, if you can believe that. After I smoked it, I tried to watch this true crime documentary, and I kept thinking there was someone standing in my doorway with a fucking machete ready to whack my head off.

But anyway, Rob’s gone and done it for real now. I’m thirsty, but I don’t want to run into him in the kitchen. Too many knives. I can hear him banging around in there. Rob’s a good roommate, honestly. Keeps the toilet seat down. Does my dishes if I leave them in the sink too long.

But I can’t live with a murderer.

The bag was definitely big enough to be a person. And it was black, like every body bag I’ve ever seen. I can’t think of who he might have killed. He’s got a lot of friends who I’ve met like two times each. They all have at least three tattoos and most of them are taller than me. I’m really hoping he killed one of them, because it’s either that or they’re all in on this.

Mom’s been wanting me to come back home ever since I moved out of the dorm. Who knows what kind of roommate you’ll be able to find with that budget, she kept saying when I was looking at apartments. Some crazy murderer off of Craigslist, I’ll bet.

She has unbelievable instincts, my mom does.

But what about the motive? The method? Rob looked like he always did when I talked to him, standing by the back of his Subaru, agreeable and unbothered. He really is a nice guy. He came and picked me up the night I got hammered and ended up stuck in a roundabout. There I was, like a fucking hamster on a wheel, just staggering in circles. Rob didn’t even laugh at me. Just drove me home and made sure I got to bed okay. Didn’t even give me shit about it the next morning.

Jesus, I feel like I’m in one of those documentaries, where I knew the criminal and am telling the audience about how they didn’t seem so bad or, conversely, how I always knew there was something strange about him, something off and therefore potentially murderous. I don’t think I always knew, but maybe I should have.

I need a plan. That’s what I need. I’m all turned around from the stress of the day. I’m gonna take another bong rip, just to relax. And then I’m gonna figure out what to do.

Esmé Kaplan-Kinsey is a California transplant studying creative writing in Portland, Oregon. Their work appears or is forthcoming in publications such as Beaver Magazine, Anthropocene Poetry, Gone Lawn, and Fifth Wheel Press, and has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. They are a mediocre guitarist, an awe-inspiring procrastinator, and a truly terrible swimmer. 

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