DAY DREAMING

By Kevin Spark

 

General Frotzcoff always seemed a bit strange to the town folk of Dwibe, Iowa. He never seemed to leave his house except to get food and occasionally take out the trash. Most blamed this lack of appearances in the town on his legs, seeing how they were both amputated at the knees. They figured that the town wasn't very accessible to a wheel chair bound old cripple. General Frotzcoff had his accident in W.W.II. He was leading a ground attack when a grenade came out of nowhere and landed in front of his troops. He instantly threw himself over the grenade in order to save his troops. The grenade went off disintegrating his legs and his career in the Army. His neighbors often observed him still in his uniform wheeling around his strategy table the Army let him keep after his honorable discharge. It always seemed like he was still at war; at least in his own mind.

The General moved here to live with his son about 15 years ago. His son always spoke about his father positively and with utmost respect. He said his father had "changed" after the war, but never eluded to how. The town's s folk figured it was because he was too young to remember him that vividly. The truth was the general seemed to go crazy after the war. His wife left him and his son (their only child) saying, "You never spend time with me anymore! You're re always playing with that stupid table! Were not in a war, nor are we ever going to be again!" His son always resented her for that remark. He felt she left because of his fathers lack of legs. "When he came home without them, she just stopped loving him, and that's s all there was to it," he said

The two lived in the same house for another five or so years until his son moved to Dwibe. He invited the general to come along. The General accepted. The son was always tending to the house work and running the errands. The general was put in charge of taking out the trash and the food shopping, for that was the only wheel chair accessible place around and it happened to be right near the house. He would always get Mervin to help him shop. While shopping, he would try to sell Mervin on having his kids join the armed forces. He would tell him all the benefits of being a father to a son or daughter in the armed forces. He would add "There is a war commin' , make sure you're re prepared. I know I am. I got it all planed out...." About his time, Mervin would begin to become overwhelmed with all the complex mumbo-jumbo and just toon out.

They lived like this up until about one year ago when something awful, but mysterious happened. It all started when the General went to the newly opened slaughter house to get some steaks for dinner. He rang the bell on the counter and a man came out of the back. His name tag read Jung Li. At first, the General didn't t notice anything different about this man. Then he saw his face and immediately knew he was of Japanese descent. This sparked a rage in the general. He could only attribute it to the war, and fighting people of the same descent. He immediately rushed out forgetting his groceries. Jung Li just stood there in his blood stained apron, a bit confused, but not worried about it. He went back to his business and thought nothing of it. When the General got home he was very concerned with himself. "Why did I act that way?" he thought. "The war was a long time ago. Why am I still feeling this way?" He pondered this until night fell and he went off to bed.

That week, and for many weeks after, he would have strange hallucinogenic dreams about the war, and about killings, and about actually killing people; people he loved. He dreamt of killing Jung Li, and his wife and his son. He would often times wake up in different rooms of the house, not knowing where he was or how he got there. He would just slither back to his bed and see his wheel chair next to it. He would climb back into bed and think nothing of it until morning.

These dreams were only the beginning of his downward spiral. Soon, his son disappeared leaving no notes or even packing a bag. He literally disappeared. The general sent out fliers and newsletters, anything that might help in his recovery. The police did a thorough investigation and found that there was nothing too suspicious about the case. They officially filed a missing persons report and left it at that. The general was devastated. He relied on his son for everything. He had to hire a housekeeper to take care of him. She reported that all he ever did all day was to play on his strategy table and look at his knives from the war. He noticed one day that his machete was missing, but thought nothing of it figured that his house keeper had just taken it to polish it. When he asked her about it she said that she hadn't t seen it at all since she started working there. Out of fear and respect for the general, she decided to make an appointment with a psychologist for the next day.

They went to the psychologist and he was diagnosed with deep depression and was put on medication. The medication quickly did away with the awful dreams, but made him think about horrible things that he had done throughout his life time. These thoughts came to him in these weird flashbacks almost like daydreams. It started with him in his earliest days torturing kids with name calling and even throwing stones at a kid in third grade. This progressed on up through the years, becoming more intense, and vivid. The only common link between the incidents was that he had forgotten completely about them. He knew at the time that they were wrong, but had suppressed them so deep that he had completely forgotten that he had ever done such awful things. Some incidents he didn't t even know he had done, but upon thinking about them, he realized that he had done these awful things. This was especially evident when he began to have these day dreams about the war.

The dreams moved more into the present and he began to have awful day dreams about his son. They started with the night before his son was found missing. Then he had one where he was twisting a garbage bag closed. His next was one looking at his son with something in his hand, but he couldn't t make it out. These dreams continued until he finally pieced it all together. He realized what had happened to his son. He had killed his son. He had killed his one and only child. He hadn't consciously done it. He did it in his sleep. He realized that he had gotten out of bed and slid along the floor to the display case of knives. He then opened it and took out his machete. Slithering down the hall to his son's room he made a gag out of his shirt. He crept into his son's room and applied the gag, and gave him a whack on the head with the handle of the machete to knock him out. He pulled his son off the bed and out the patio door attached to the room where he began to cut his son into pieces and place them in a trash bag. He didn't remember details about the actual cutting, all he could recall was that there was a considerable amount of blood which he cleaned up with a hose, washing it into his garden. He then placed the machete and his shirt into the bag and twisted it up. He quadruple bagged it and went into get his wheel chair. He wheeled himself back outside and took the bag out to the trash on the side of the house. He wheeled himself back into the house and went to bed.

The general came out of his trance just in time to see his housekeeper come home with the mail she had picked up at the post office from Hank. He remembered the next morning, after the killing, taking the trash out and seeing the bag. He passed it off as lawn clippings or yard trimmings that the house keeper had put in there for him to take to the curb. He knew now what it was.

While the house keeper was sorting his mail into important and junk mail, he wheeled himself out back to look at the lawn and the garden. There were little dried blood stains on the leaves of the flowers and a bit in the grass. "The rest must have been soaked up," he thought.

He wheeled himself back inside and sat thinking about this awful event that had unfolded before his eyes. This tragedy, this murder that he had committed without even knowing; without even remembering. He thought about the previous events. His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on the door. The housekeeper opened it. It was Hank with a piece of mail that she had left behind that he kindly brought by on his way home. The General peered outside from behind the housekeeper. "Did you get a new car?" he asked

"No," Hank replied. "Just a new paint job."

"Well it looks very nice."

"Thank you," he said. "I must be going," and with that he left. The General marveled at the car as it drove away. "What a nice paint job, maybe I ought to have my son's old car painted like that for the house keeper to drive?" He thought. "Yes, that would be great, a nice army green; it would be marvelous." With that he wheeled himself over to her and asked what she thought of the idea.

"That would be nice, but being your son's s car and all I wouldn't want to..."

"Oh, don't worry about that, what's in the past must stay in the past. Make an appointment for next week to have it painted would you?"

"Sure."

"I' m going to the store to get the food for dinner, I'll be back soon."

"Okay" She answered; and in a glance he was gone.