From the author: A mother and daughter discuss the strains of married life as they examine a Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster.
[While examining an original Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster, complete with Leatherface wielding a chainsaw, and a woman hung from a hook screaming in the background]
--Is that you and Daddy?
--She looks like you, but that doesn't look like Daddy.
-Well you see, sometimes people wear masks. They like to pretend they are someone else. Sometimes they do it trick other people and sometimes they do it to trick themselves. It's important to know who you are and try to be that same person all the time, no matter who is looking at you, but, that's not always the way it works out. You think the Daddy you see downstairs is the real Daddy, but this is what Daddy really looks like. A big, dead, murderer of monogamy with a hot tool in his hand, wearing the face of a decent human being.
--Why is he doing that to you?
-That's an excellent question. As you get older, you will find that there are people you want to trust in life. And in some cases, you will find that they are worth your trust and maybe you will even devote your life to them in hopes that they feel the same way. However, lots of these scenarios end with the other party cutting your fucking heart out, stealing your identity, and furnishing a home from the skin off your back. Usually there's no real reason, that's just they way they get their jollies.
--I still don't get it.
-That's all right. Sometimes you won't get it. Not everything in life makes sense. Sometimes a man just can't help but ram his chainsaw into everything that moves, including that fat chick who came to your little brother's baby shower. [Affectionate parental wink and elbow nudge] Not to fear though, if you manage to escape from this dire situation, the feeling of exhalation will be great! You'll be running down the highway of life with new hope! You've gotten away from the monster who tried to cut you down into nothing and steal the very essence of your being! You just have to make sure that you are not foolish enough to trust anyone ever again. This is very important to remember. If you hop in that cop car to make your walk home easier, that bastard is going to take you right back to the old chopping block and this time you will not be walking out of there alive. You have to make that trek alone. For freaking ever.
--What does that writing say?
-I'm glad you asked, because at surface value it doesn't seem that important, but it really is an existentially phenomenal query. It says, 'Who will survive and what will be left of them?' Once a man shoves a hook in your back and hangs you up to defile you with a chainsaw that he just pulled out of your friend, you will never be the same. I mean, sure, you're alive. But do you wanna be? Is the shriveled soul now residing inside the shell that used to be your livelihood worth keeping on? There's only so much a person can go through before they have to just throw in the towel and say, yeah, I had a good run, but there's no way I'm going to come out of this trauma without being a weirdo forever. Or maybe it means that once you get off that hook that it will be HE who has to worry about survival! Just kidding. I don't condone violence. Not that he doesn't deserve it or anything, but you know. Morals are important to those of us who still have some.
--Why is there blood on his pants?
-See how the blood is splattered on the outside of his pants, not soaking through from the inside? See how he has no noticeable dripping cuts? That goes to show that it's probably not his blood. And since it's not my blood, as you can reason from the fact that I suffer from no lacerations at this point, it can mean only one thing. Homewrecker must've been on her period.
--What does that mean?
-I'll tell you when you're older.
--Can I have a juice box?
-If I tell you no I know that you will go behind my back, drink one anyway, and then lie about it, so I'll make it easier on both of us and just say sure.
This story originally appeared in Flash Fiction Magazine.