All day I’ve slaved away with nothing more than cringe inducing balls of sentiment, overflowing in the wastebasket, to show for it. Trying to think, let alone transform cohesive thoughts into musical compositions is like trying to deconstruct Ulysses on a rollercoaster in this house. Every sentence delivered as a statement, punctuated with unnecessary exclamation points causing the walls to drip with faux drama; Kelly smashing into everything headfirst like a demolition derby driver, Cassidy demanding something be done to rectify her hair’s diminishing vitality, and Tori’s violent tongue all swirling around the room vying for pole position while I try to concentrate and get in the zone. And yet the only thing worse than being subjected to their narcissism, is being subjected to their interest; Kelly telling me how much she admires anyone who manages to write anything and that she couldn’t even get through a single chapter of To Kill A Mockingbird in High School, and how her English teacher was a “total dish”, a one-sided conversation which continued uninterrupted for thirty minutes, somehow culminating in how the high school linebacker refused to eat her pussy because he thought it “was gay”. Still, at least her heart was in the right place, unlike Cassidy who, after demanding to view what I’d written, ripped the sheet out of my hand and started to sing the lyrics in order to help me “visualise my success”, causing the ceiling above us to tremble as Tori stomped, “Can’t you shut up for five seconds you talentless cunt?” her fury echoing throughout the house in a harmony Cass could only ever dream of achieving.
Now for the first time all day the house is finally quiet, removing my safety blanket of excuses, leaving me with nothing but an empty page.
After a while words become sentences, and slowly take the shape of melodies…it’s only upon further inspection that I realise I’ve crudely plagiarised an Abba song I’d heard earlier on the radio. Right on cue the doorbell rings and I guess deep down I’m relieved by the interruption although I still proceed to the door like an anti-Christ.
“Kris?” I say and before I’ve uttered his name he’s already bound past me with a camera crew, surveying the empty sitting room.
“Where’s everybody?”
“They’re all upstairs or out the back I think.” I say adding, “except for Jordan’s who’s on set I think.”
“Haven’t you seen the news?” He says before demanding I round everyone up.
Once everyone’s together Kris implores us all to take a seat and straight away my first thought is that we’re all up for eviction and the thoughts of having to nominate people in such a confrontational manner has my stomach in knots. Kris then proceeds to tell the group that there was an “incident on set today”, but the words come out of his mouth so fast and are so devoid of context that it isn’t until Cassidy begins to cry that the pieces of the puzzle slowly begin to take shape.
“What do you mean dead?” Mick asks while a stunned Cassidy rebukes God as if he delivered the news personally.
“No one’s exactly sure what happened yet, and legally I’m not at liberty to divulge but apparently Rickie lost it today and shot Jorge in the back six times.”
“What do you mean apparently, either he did or he didn’t. Where was everyone when it took place?”
But Kris simply ignores Mike bending down to place a consolatory hand on Cassidy’s trembling knee.
“Cassidy did Rickie ever mention anything which would have led you to believe he could have been capable of something like this?”
“I…I…” Cassidy says in an endless stutter.
“But where the fuck did he even get a gun?” Mike says and now Kelly is howling as Tori struggles to restrain her, clutching her tight to her chest while muttering something about us being a family. I try my best to concentrate on a particular memory of Jorge but the harder I try the more transparent he becomes and the whole situation is so absurd that I’m still expecting Kris to announce that Jorge isn’t really dead and that this whole elaborate setup is part of a shopping task. It’s only when ten minutes have elapsed and Kris remains stoic that I begin to process the fact that one housemate is past tense while the other’s a murderer.
In the kitchen Mike’s knocking back a bottle of whiskey and pours me a shot, slinging it across the countertop without even registering my presence. I take a sip in solidarity and feel instantly queasy but am too embarrassed to ask for a mixer.
“You think he did it?” Mike asks and the truth is I still don’t even know Rickie’s surname yet alone a motive but given my luck it would make sense that the only one I could relate to in the house was a killer. I shrug indifferently causing Mike to contemptuously stare right through me, as if I was still an imbecilic child bamboozled by an Uncle stealing my nose. Afraid to leave but too humiliated to respond I sit in silence while Mike
attacks the bottle with a verve, lifting the bottle up and down to his mouth the way I imagine, a Jorge I knew nothing about, lifted weights. Just as Mike polishes off the bottle Cassidy delicately sways into the kitchen.
“Is there anything I can do?” And after a couple of seconds she registers, pointing timidly at the facet. I pour her a water handing her a glass, which she consumes in slow, calculated mouthfuls before unintentionally making eye-contact, “I really loved him.” Cassidy says and I lean in for a hug, hoping to comfort myself more than anyone, as Cassidy’s head dangles lifeless over my shoulder.

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From the beginning.

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