Use a line from a film as inspiration for a short piece of writing.
American Psycho (2000)
“I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don’t know why.”
With those words firmly etched in my mind, I opened my eyes to an incredible light. The sound of the rapidly halting tyres was like the bellowing roar of a thousand people. I had played it through a hundred times. But that fucking tepid heat! How irritating, it made my skin crawl. I couldn’t be seen to be flustered; to the contrary I was quite the opposite! Something as pathetic as weather having that kind of control, it’s nauseating. The light grew larger as it neared, and I could see nothing but this. In the spotlight, as planned. My performance was about to begin.
Why was I doing it? Because it was satisfying. To see if I could. To affirm dominance. Because of those vile, cretinous peasants undeservedly expressing their self-admiration so publically. Money. Glory. Respect.
They are NOT better than me!
I had been waiting there, past Tippin Farm Vineyards and just before Broadmayne and Weir, for fifty seven minutes and twenty seven seconds at this point. Thirty two minutes longer than I should have been. I mean what had he been doing? How can people be so fucking disorganised? The heat was a matador. I was a bull. The muscles along my neck and shoulders tightened. Head tilted, and eyes up, my motionless face would have been all he saw at that very moment. So close. The anti-locking brake system was pounding beneath the custom alloys, louder and closer, and those expensive sports callipers Mr Peterson, those wonderful, lavish, expensive callipers Mr Peterson, well… it looks like they might just save your life now doesn’t it. I stepped to the left. The Aston stopped two, maybe three inches before the verge of the abrupt incline.
I pigeon toed the skid marks. Slow enough to avoid debris touching my Zegna. I was a god. My reflection; triumphant, confident… Powerful!
Five, I ran my finger along the side of the Aston. That regal blue, pristine paintwork felt like silk.
Four, I exhaled contempt. He knew now.
Three, the fingers of my left hand wrapped one by one around the handle of the nearside door.
Two, I filled my lungs with spite. The muzzle tilted and poised.
One, Tap… Tap… Tap.
The electronic whir of the window winding down was heard over the ticking of the cooling engine. His face was a vision. The fright it displayed and the whites of his eyes were compelling. Appeased and composed with my lips pursed to say… but Mr Peterson interrupted. That self-indulgent, self-gratifying, abortion spoke before me. His face contorted as he grit his forty grand teeth. “Boy, you better have one hell of a damn good reason why you…” The words hurtled out of his mouth along with the puss he sprayed onto the custom leather. It was pure abuse of perfection. He was spitting like a rabid dog. The valet will remove his scum. He paused when he caught sight of my Smith and Western. Only a glimpse, but a glimpse enough. Then I saw it. “Well aren’t you pathetic” I said. I hadn’t so much as blinked since we had been facing each other. He recoiled and returned trepid. Checkmate. My intrepidity gained the advantage. It was time to present the situation for what it was. The heat was now intense.
This is how I began:
“Mr Peterson, you are going to die, and to some degree, it’s your decision how and when. Right now…” I said, not quite breaking a smile “…is a good opportunity for you to consider it. In this space, this space between you and I…” I exhaled, inhaled, and moved the muzzle through the space. “…there is nothing you can use to defend yourself if you so choose to try. Now, here’s the thing. I will be taking this car. This is not a question, you do not have to answer, or speak. God forgive me if you speak, if you interrupt me again.” I paused, recomposed and exhaled. “Mr Peterson, you will die. And you will most likely die of gout, or obesity, or of liver failure.”
Mr Peterson’s gaze was intense and fixated. He was frozen. It was outstanding. I continued.
“This is what is going to happen. You are going to get out of the vehicle. You’re going to turn around, and walk down that hill. If in any way you resist or attempt to fight me, you will lose and you will die. And if you look back, I will shoot you in the face.”
The heat had began to displace my composure at that point. Pearls of sweat cascaded down my face like mountain geese leaving the nest for the first time. I tried to ignore it, but that mother fucker had the heated fans on. I lost my cool for a moment “And why the fuck have you got the fans on? Are you deranged?” There was no movement from Mr Peterson. Not a fraction. And after an intensely long three seconds he smiled, cocked his head and said “Hell is hot Boy.”
Just a few seconds, that’s all it took for him to make a decision. Mr Peterson was going to die. I saw his thumb twitch, once, twice. The light was reflecting off of his platinum cufflinks. Three… Mr Peterson had made a correct assumption. My vision was still slightly distorted from the lights and he used this to gain the advantage. He positioned his wrist so that the light beamed directly into the back of my eye, and as it entered he thrust his hand through mine, gripping the chamber and positioning his thumb so that the trigger could not be pulled. I remained static. It would be another four or five seconds before I could regain my vision. My move.
“Do you think that will save you Mr Peterson?” I whispered, not attempting to look at him. I had already made an assessment. I could feel the sweat from his hand on mine. It was foul. “what do you think will happen?” I did not want an answer, I already knew what would happen. He would try to disarm me and he would die.
“Mr Peterson” I addressed him. “You have chosen haven’t you.” Despite my tone, I was not doing this to satisfy a murderous tendency. I wanted to take the Aston. I wanted to watch him feel small. I wanted him to feel inadequate next time I walk in on him sipping his old fashioned and gloating. I wanted him to stop the sickeningly narcissistic public displays of one upmanship. My suite was pristine. I didn’t want a blood sodden suit.
I told him it was futile, and he, inutile. His hand was quivering like a child’s. Some kind of man he was. Despicable. I offered him a further twenty seconds. Twenty, nothing; nineteen, nothing; eighteen, nothing; seventeen through 9, he glared, attempting to remain composed; eight, the thumb twitched again. I pre-empted a move; seven, he drew a breath; six, nothing; five, nothing; four, he began to exhale; three, he continued; two… his body convulsed and his arm drew back as much as he could force it to. My body jolted towards the open window but only so much as to alter my position. I was strong, much stronger that he. My physique was glorious and powerful in comparison. My left hand was pressed against the handle still.
Stupid little man. He began to wriggle like a fly caught in a spider’s web. There was no logic to this shambolic attempt at saving himself. This man doesn’t deserve to live. And I will have his car. He reached with his right and tore a button from my cuff. “Scratching like a cat MR PETERSON!” I spat through my teeth with furious resentment. The fear in his eyes sickened me. So, I looked him in the eye “I’ve had enough” I said, “you are a joke Mr Peterson.” He said nothing.
With my left hand firmly poised on the door handle I pulled back my right hand, bending Mr Peterson’s wrist. I pushed my arm forward with full force to release his grip. As my torso shunted forward, his eyes grew bigger, I felt my thighs strengthen, and then…
Even his blood was vile. That creature hunched before me. His blood was running down my wrist and soaking into the fabric of my suit. My palm was still resting on the base of the gun as it hung out of his skull. His limp hand flailed downwards like a dead eel. He was grotesque. I hadn’t even given a thought to how it had happened. I watched the stream of blood run from that obnoxious face and it was exhilarating. I pushed with the base of my palm. The sound was satisfying.
And how did I feel? Remorseful, guilty, upset, sacred? No… Nothing, I felt nothing.
How do you feel now?
How do I feel now?… I feel nothing.
I closed my eyes for a moment. There was a bellowing roar of a thousand people that sounded like rapidly halting tyres… and I opened my eyes to an incredible light.