“Cold enough for you?”
Those were the words he was greeted with as he walked in the door. They were spoken by one of the girls in the office, but he couldn’t have told you what her name was to save his life. She was short and wore glasses, so he always called her Shortsighted. As he removed his heavy winter coat and gloves and hung them on the rack, he pondered her question. Was it cold enough for him?
Well, he had awoken to a blanket of white covering the ground and his car in an inch of snow. And furthermore, underneath the snow was a thin layer of ice that he had to attack fairly vigorously with a scraper and had threatened to creep back over his windshield during the drive into work. Was that cold enough for him?
He thought about his marriage, his worn out, loveless marriage. He and his wife didn’t sleep in separate beds, but they might as well have. She kept to her side and he to his and rarely did their twains meet. Long gone were the nights they went to sleep curled up in each other’s arms. Long gone were the mornings he would wake up to find her fondling him and occasionally doing other things. Now, more often than not, he woke up to a bed long vacated by human companionship. Was that cold enough for him?
Next he thought of his sons, one of whom he had put through college and the other who was in his junior year. The elder one had married his college sweetheart and moved several states away to be near her family. As for the junior, he almost never came home on weekends the way he had his first two years. It wasn’t that they had purposefully distanced themselves from him, but they had never been close, either. Was that cold enough for him?
Then, and only then, did he think of the hooker he had taken back to his motel room while he was on a business trip to Houston. Afterwards he had suffocated her with a pillow and made love to her lifeless body just because he didn’t know when he’d be getting it again. Then he cut her into pieces, put them into garbage bags and deposited them in the trunk of his rental car, which he drove out to the desert do he could bury them in different locations. Was that cold enough for him?
Actually, it had been. You don’t associate cold with Texas, but the temperature did dip after the sun went down. Not enough for it to snow – not while he had been there, at least – but enough that he wished he’d packed a heavier coat for the trip. He would have to remember that for next time.
Snapping back to the present, he found that he was staring at… What was her name? That’s right, Shortsighted. She seemed to be waiting for him to say something. He shrugged his shoulders and gave her a smile.
“It’s not too bad. I’ve seen worse.”