Jason Jordan holds an MFA from Chatham University. His books are Cloud and Other Stories (Six Gallery Press, 2010) and Powering the Devil's Circus: Redux (Six Gallery Press, 2010). His prose has appeared online and in print in over forty literary magazines. Additionally, he's Editor-in-Chief of decomP, accessible at www.decompmagazine.com. You can visit him at his blog at poweringthedevilscircus.blogspot.com.
The Absalom Society
I open the door to go check the mail and there’s a mannequin blocking my path. It’s a beige male wearing a wig of long black hair and a yarn necklace with a sheet of folded paper tied to it. I grab the paper, unfold, and read: Abduct Tyler Johnson, tie him to a tree in the woods, and set the mannequin near him. We’ll take it from there. You know what’ll happen if you refuse. Tyler will be at Toys R Us at 2 p.m. today. See picture. –The Absalom Society.
The picture, taped below the typed text, is of a smiling boy, who looks five or six, dressed in a blue and white striped shirt, blue jeans, and white sneakers. My guess is that a TAS member molested him and wants him gone for good, or he’s got a vendetta against the boy’s family. In either case, it’s my duty to carry out the society’s wishes. I put the mannequin in my living room and start the mixture.
Chloroform is easy to make: bleach, acetone, and ice. The hard part is not giving the victim a lethal overdose. But, the Society didn’t specify whether they wanted the boy dead or alive, so I think either state will suffice. I get some rope and duct tape from my bedroom closet, lock the front door, and head to my car.
At the toy store, Tyler doesn’t know what’s happening. Before he does, I press the chloroform rag over his nose and mouth and he wilts. His mom’s in a nearby aisle with her other kids, oblivious, so I hightail it to the exit, where I wave and whisper “Bye” to the employees at the service desk. I point to the kid to indicate that he’s asleep.
In the parking lot, at my car, I place the boy in the passenger seat, where I cover his mouth with duct tape. Then I wrap tape around his wrists and ankles. They’ll be looking for a boy with long blonde hair. I forgot to bring a change of clothes to disguise him, but I do have a pair of scissors. I check to see if anyone’s watching—no one is—and set to work, careful to not let the locks fall on the floorboard. Rather, I lean him out the door and his hair plummets to the pavement. I pop the trunk and put him, bound and gagged, inside. The cops can find the hair. That’s fine by me.
Back at my apartment parking lot, I drape the kid in a blanket and throw him over my shoulder. I retrieve the mannequin from my apartment and set off into the woods behind my complex. I walk for thirty minutes and stop. I’ll tie the kid to a tree far enough away so he can’t see or hear traffic. When we reach a good, sturdy tree—not too skinny or short—I look in all directions. The greenery is too thick to see through, which will fool the kid into believing he’s deep in a forest.
I tie the kid to the tree. I considered removing the duct tape, but he’ll scream if I do, and try to untie himself. Later, he comes to. His blue eyes dart around, eventually setting his vision on the mannequin and me, and I know he’s panicking on the inside.
“This is George,” I say, introducing him to the mannequin, “and he doesn’t like you. He told me to tie you to this tree here. I’m leaving you to rot.” He attempts to say something, but the tape muffles his voice, rendering his words incomprehensible. “George is gonna watch you, okay? To make sure you don’t escape.” I set George where he can see the boy, if he could see, and remove the wig from his head. I put the wig on the boy, per my instructions from those TAS meetings in college, and prick my finger with the scissors. On George’s back I write in blood: 2 Samuel 18: 1-17. There’s gotta be a tracking device in him, or else they wouldn’t know where to find Tyler.
Upon reaching my apartment, I find another note, which reads: Well done. –The Absalom Society.
They always said the day would come when I’d have to repay the favor. That was part of the allure of joining: if I ever needed something—anything—ask and it would be given. It was my turn to help a fellow member, just like the one who helped me many years ago, and I can rest assured because I did a good job. If I need anything else, all I have to do is ask and I shall receive.
We are shooting our first video for Future Eyes ~ Torie Zalben and Art Center
We are working on a cover for Letters to Angel City ~ Katie Adelsberger.
Visual artist Randall Bass is contributing some of his structural light experiments for The Light Society!