Mr. Midnight

by Adam Steele


This is a story - let's say about a mailcarrier. The mailcarrier's name is Lenard Day. Lenard has a secret and others don't know about it. This secret could be the beginning of an adapted stage of virus that could infect everyone in town if the path is crossed. Just to be known that this person is not Lenard Day at all - but just a copycat in his own complex mind.

It is a boring life, with boring conceptions as Lenard Day looked out the window of his upstairs apartment in the ancient building overlooking a small town. The town in the Midwest is considerable in size with three intersection lights posted in various parts of it. People infer their smiles amongst each other as Lenard Day smiled with their approach being more considerate to themselves. In the afterhours before this time of looking out the window of his upstairs apartment, he goes to the bar if his intention is to the upmost happiness - other times he is depressed when he takes showers before the hot water runs out from the ancient hot water heater that is in the linen closet.

The bar is nothing special when he comes in along the twilight when the night creatures of human prospect come out to seek a little fun from their boring lives. The jukebox plays a variety of hits in the darken corner where there is no light, anything from Allman Brothers to Randy Travis. The bar mirror behind the assortment of poisons stood like an erection of spaces that held millions of faces in its glances, some dead, some forgotten, and some swallowed by it from the lack of ever leaving this small town.

Lenard Day came into the bar on one Friday night with his eyes fixed on the many spaces in the bar with his hair disheveled and dyed from the earnest invite of hiding his age that is growing finer on the top of his head. He picked the stool that is in the center of the bar when Nina Rose came to the bar, a little old heavyset lady that could kick some teeth in and asked what he liked.

"Velvet Bones, full of blood," He spoke with his voice somehow being older and less acute to the pitch of high. Velvet Bones is a mix of scotch, Jack, Pepsi, and Sangria that he concocted himself. It will get a person to the moon in two drinks.

"How was that again?"

Lenard told her with his appreciation being upmost sincere. She remembered and did it with no protest as the bar became livelier in the hours that are snuffing past like a coyote walking its path towards the dim of the woods on the other side of town.

Many people in the front came through the door, anywhere from assholes to dopers, bikers to schemers, landlords to tenants. Then someone came through the door that looks to be about 21 years of age and a beauty at that too. She veered her hazel eyes over the dense tendrils of her hair as the light brushed it, revealing her hair style in being golden blonde as Lenard looked at her for the longest time before two others came in behind her, noticing her with their eyes darting to her shoulders, her arms, her lower back, and her...

"There is some type of bug that is going on around town. Didn't you hear about it?" Nina Rose came back with her hair all tied in a pony-tail. Lenard noticed the perkiness of her nipples coming through her thin shirt when he tried not to look at them out of respect. She is a nice woman and he didn't want to offend her.

"No, what do you mean?" Lenard felt his heart jump in his chest when he heard about "sickness" and "illness". He doesn't comply easily that much with those words.

"They say that there is the flu going around and some of the elderly folks have died from it. They buried Leslie Talbert this morning after he contracted it." Nina bit her lip with the fear rushing through her veins.

"I don't want to get that stuff, Lenard. My health has been failing for a few years now. I don't want to talk about it but that will kill me."

Lenard found out in the future that she has been going through chemo. It lowers the immunity to the same level as a victim of full blown AIDS. She will die by new spring as the bar will sit in limbo, never to operate in her care again.

This is the time before the acts of a serial killer came into the small town when Lenard nodded his head and drunk the first of his Velvet bones, tasting sweet and biting at the same time.

"How many people have it? Didn't they say anything on the local news about it?" Lenard asked, wiping the sweat off the mug from the cold Pepsi chilling everything down.

"Nothing, it's like they are too convinced that it is just another seasonal bug but this is in the summer."

"The warmth runs the flu faster. That's what I heard about it." Lenard remembered his biology classes in high school. He remembered Mr. Garret teaching the class while Misty Bracknell flung kisses to him while Mr. Garret wasn't looking.

Misty gave him a blowjob one time and he knew she had a lot of practice doing it. The last time he saw Misty, she didn't look like Misty anymore.

"What do you say Lenard," Old man Christopher tapped him on the shoulder when Lenard turned and met the toothless man that strolled in here all quiet-like. His hair is all gone and the smell from his mouth is something that rendered death beyond the stench of even contemplating the senses any longer when Lenard held that wretched repulsiveness behind his watery eyes.

"Did you win that $100 in the raffle?"

"Yeah, spent every bit of it on dirty movies," Lenard shrugged.

"It finally amazes me that they are finally running out of ideas of pornography when they invite a parakeet and a donkey for a group orgasm."

Old Man Christopher laughed, making a haw-haw-haw pulsation from his dying tongue that is black on some spots of it. Lenard realized it is ten o'clock when he looked at his watch that is on his left hand, seeing the radial dial and its motions tick with the minute hand that is still slightly moving.

"Is it really that late?" Lenard spoke to himself, feeling the wave of intoxication come onto him like a blanket washing over the graces of his dexterity. He felt his knees no longer when the smoke in the room got more acute to the sight of his vision.

He saw the young girl no longer when he left that alone.

"You are one of a kind, Lenard." The old man dropped his smile like being shot in the back.

"You truly are one of a kind."

The mirror behind the many nooks that stored the poisons didn't shift as the people moved across its reflections. He looked at it for a moment before the old man went back to talking like he only has one person left in the world to talk about. Lenard wondered what Ernest Hemingway was thinking before he put that shotgun barrel into his mouth. He wondered if we are all fucked. He wondered if everyone is poisoned. He probably wondered where his true love has gone when he fell into that state of depression; the depression that was not like the same as Mark Twain after reading that his son has died in the war.

Lenard felt like being trapped in this town with a sickness of his own that he only thinks about from time to time, like a Jack the Ripper/Batman collusion that has plagued his nightmares to the point that he cannot sleep anymore until his brain told him to go to sleep. Lenard felt the rise of dark internment in the back of his mind, tensing his thoughts to do dark deeds like many other failures that have killed people before killing themselves.

There are many of sickness in the world and that is natural order mixed with intelligence, mixed with pride and mixed with wrath, mixed with injustice mixed with vengeance mixed with sorrow into...rage. That is the common failure with all. It is rage, nothing but rage. Anger is the Yang and it is the darkness over the land. Like the dark that comes every day after a couple hours of night that is upon this world so blue. There is red all over the blue and it is blinding Lenard to the core.

Lenard spotted the woman on the corner of the mirror when he turned his attention to it with the old man still rambling on about baseball games he had seen on old television screens, the games that he won in pool halls, the women he fucked on the pool tables on after hours, the coke that he snuffed, the grass that he smoked, the van marches that went coast to coast after JFK was shot in Dallas, and the wars that he shook his head to most of the time.

Lenard asked him one time if he had ever been in the war.

"No, burned my draft card like a piece of carbon paper. That card went up like a cinder and floated up the flames, making embers in the air that it danced on. What a show that was. That was before I got bitten by a rabid dog and had 18 shot in my stomach. That is why I don't like needles. Not me, not anymore." Christopher spat when this was one night in the past. Lenard remembered that when Christopher still talked into his ear, like an earworm that won't get away from him. The woman - no, the girl was frolicking with another man that is much older than Lenard when he wondered if this girl is one of those. You know, the mulching material girls which is made famous by Anna Nicole and Paris Hilton. It made Lenard disgusted by it when he drunk some more of his Velvet Bones and wondered what is on the bottom of the glass when he finished, poking it out and finding out it is the pit of an olive when he pitched it with his index finger being the punter and the pit being the football.

The girl laughed when he felt a headache come on, like an icepick diving into the center of his brain. He couldn't feel his tongue anymore when he felt the intoxication getting more and more severe. He felt like needing to pee when Old Man Christopher kept on bellowing on through his rancid breath.

"I'm going to go to the bathroom. Reserve my seat." He left without heeding a reply when he skipped to the bathroom, making an urksome shovel to the urinal that is bolted to the wall when he noticed that there is a snore coming from one of the stalls. He didn't want to know if someone is sleeping in the bathroom again.

Lenard did his business, shook three times with his manhood being in his hand and flushed the urinal with the dirty water washing it all away. He left the bathroom and resumed his journey into the bar again that is darker since the moment he left it. Christopher left his appointed seat from the left of him when he wondered where he went. He sauntered to the bar to ask where Christopher has gone off to.

"He went home. This part of the night is too much for his old ticker, I imagine." Nina shrugged her broad shoulders when she knelt down to get a clean mug from under the bar. The little girl was gone from the point of where she was standing when Lenard Day could still smell the after whiff of her perfume that is still dancing in the air. Lenard looked down at the bar when he arrived to his stool again; planting his butt upon it when somewhere in the bar he heard the sound of a bottle breaking over someone's melon.

The jukebox played when the cops came in to investigate what is going on, shining their badges in the bar like they are the gleaming knights coming to break up the debauchery that will never leave. They asked some people of what is going on when they came to Lenard which shrugged his shoulders and acted like they are less than people doing their jobs for the evening.

"I didn't see squat, sir. Just like the three other people that you met." Lenard says, feeling really drunk and in the need of stopping sometime soon. He felt his hands are asleep as his mind is playing the billiard ball theory in his head, racking and unloading his brain with the cue being the meat in the center and the billiard balls being the edges that are culminating the anvil chorus. He got up after the officer's strolled away, trying to keep his vision sharp so that they won't bust him after he hobbles out the door like a homeless man in some dire need of another five bucks to keep his habit. He swung the door outwards when he met the chilly night air that felt like an invisible ice cube that is slithering upon his face, making him shake the thought of feeling that cold that is so dense.

He didn't drive a car here and he only lives a few blocks away when he turned his direction left and staggered up the road, feeling the air around him getting less cold but more brazen to the inch of breath that is coming out of his nose and mouth. He stepped over the cracks and misinterpretations of the sidewalk that is broken in many places, arriving to the intersection light that is towards his destination home when he could swear that he heard a dog barking in the distance to the right of him. He stopped when the red hand came upon the instrument to the opposite side of the intersection, hearing the bleating sound of footsteps drive away from him when he noticed that someone is in a hurry and fast when he wondered who that is in the dark running away from him.

"Hey," Lenard slurred.

"Who is playing tricks in the night?"

The footsteps that are pattering on the pavement stopped in front of him when nothing else came from that direction. The only one thing that came from that part of town is the clinking of an item, sounding off like the hollow banging of a tire iron hitting the asphalt when Lenard Day didn't jump from the sound of it. The light opposite of him turned to the line figure of a man walking in half stride when Lenard Day walked into the night where there is no streetlight to fancy his lines of what or where he is going to. From here on out, he couldn't remember no more.

The next moment he woke is upon his living room floor in his apartment. His head was laying on a bundle of old, smelly laundry when he picked his head up, being blinded by the light that is burning overhead. The microwave indication reads 5:13 in the morning when he wondered where in the hell are his keys when he stiffed his head towards the front door that is still wide open with his house keys still homed into the lock. The little hallway leading to the stairway that leads to outside with the door closed on the bottom is really the only incidence that he can still remember when he felt like there are bricks on his chest. He got up, wiping the metaphorical bricks off of his chest when he shook the leaves from his rather fine hair as the room swayed with his head, feeling the hellacious headache that is affecting his mood for a spell.

He shuffled to the bathroom and pissed with the toilet lid still down, hearing someone outside kick a can across the parking lot tarmac when he paid no mind and flushed the toilet, leaving the bathroom light on when he arrived back to the living room with something pushed underneath the couch that he remembered in not being there before.

I never placed pieces of paper underneath the couch before. Lenard Day thought when he wiped his eyes with the stuffy crusts coming from his tear ducts. He sat upon the couch when he eyed the television that is upon the three decks of cinderblocks that is in the room, looking at the black interface with a reflection upon it that is blacker than a reflection coming from a dirty glass from an old window. He wondered how he got here or worse...

He checked the back of his pockets and sighed gracefully when he noticed his wallet being there, pulling back onto the couch when he looked at the plaster upon the ceiling that is cracked from the years of the elements.

How did I get here? When did I get here is the first question that I want to ask myself. I never got that drunk before. What happened from the intersection to the point where I walked down that part of the street with no lights upon it? What happened to me?

The edge is not clear to him when he traced the cracks upon the ceiling, looking back at the television again when he heard the refrigerator click on in the kitchen that is not too far from him. The glass of Cranberry Juice that he left there on the counter is far from being unspoiled when he remembered when he poured that glass. When? When did I pour that glass? Is it the depression getting the best of me? That is when Lenard Day got up and stared out the window to the night that is circling out upon the world that is so small to him.

The Night has come to Murder. The piece of paper that is scrawled from underneath the dim of the couch implies when he conveyed to the floor in wondrous thought. The floor fluttered his vision when he swore that he could see the vomit that is along the floor when he blinked his eyes and could not see the vomit upon the floor, just the shaggy carpet that has been upon the floor for a time longer than he has been upon the earth. The cigarette burns are apparent though when he wondered who wrote this paper, even though it is not in his hand writing to begin with. What is the expression of Night when he knew it meant something other than daytime and nighttime? And what is this Murder that is filling his brain with querulous objectivity of puzzles that he cannot complete?

He dropped the paper on the floor, too tired of being scared when he placed his hands upon his forehead and waited for the world to stop spinning when time seemed to abruptly stop in his apartment. The clock on the microwave reads 6:13 now when the sun will come up anytime soon, making him groan with the light that will come through the window anytime soon. He didn't even have enough milk for his cereal when he could swear that he had two sets of keys in his house when he couldn't find the second set with the originals sitting in the candy dish that is next to his couch. He pulled them out sometime ago from the knob of the door when he heard on the top of his roof the sound of a blackbird cawing, jumping him from his seat.

This is when he started to sweat for the first time of being mysterious. He thought about calling Nina Rose out of spite but she is probably sleeping in bed, trying to sleep with the dawn coming up over the small town that is colder before the warmth subdues it. Then he thought about calling old man Christopher when he thought and concluded that Christopher doesn't have a phone in his house to begin with, never having a phone installed in his one room shack on the outside of town.

Who is he going to call? It is certainly not going to be Jim Rockford?

He got up from the couch to make a pot of coffee with the gallons of water underneath the sink and the paper filters being next to the coffee maker. The coffee grounds are sitting behind the microwave when he turned on the one bulb over the entire kitchen and got nothing but a click with no reaction going on with the bulb.

The filament is burned out, just my luck. Lenard thought when he power walked from the kitchen to the closet to get the flashlight from the shelving that is above his board games that haven't been open since he bought them. He went from the closet and arrived to the kitchen when he grabbed the lampshade that is sitting idly by, fusing the flashlight and the lamp together and turning it on, making a portable lamp in his kitchen that is upon his counter when he made coffee that took some time with the spoon that is dropping incessantly from his hand. He left the maker to percolate when he went to the bathroom to get a couple of aspirin pills from the medicine cabinet to soothe his hangover, walking back into the kitchen when he took some of the water from the open gallon and poured one glass into a cup that has been next to the basin for so long that he has forgotten when he placed it there in the first place.

He swallowed it when he heard the voice in his head that there is something wrong in town, other than the bug that is traveling from person-to-person in a chain letter that is perfected by the lack of people taking care of their hygiene. He remembered when he felt the goose-egg that is on the top of his forehead, rubbing it and wincing at the pain that is there when he remembered the beer can rapping relentlessly upon his head from the darkness of the street that has no streetlight to accompany his sight.

The laughing began in the past when the coffee maker stormed from the last of the water that is in the container on the back of the maker. He stopped in his tracks when his blood ran cold. Oh no, what happened to me? What is this change?

That is when he felt scared when he started to remember it, piece by piece. His eyes opened like there is a monster that is waiting to strike in his house, overlooking on the top of the ceiling like a beast that has perfected gravity beyond its normal complacency. He slowly walked to his bedroom when he couldn't turn on the light, feeling the switch in his fingers feeling like one hundred pounds when he felt the rise of turning it on, not wanting to turn it on when he sees what is in the corner of his room when the light came on before he even realized it.

When he turned on the light in the room, he noticed that it was too late when the next thing that he did was try to hide it from his sight. He couldn't render through digging his past anymore. He couldn't think of the dried object in the corner of where it came from when it came from his closet beforehand, untouched from his hands for the longest of time. He hid it like a secret, like a dark page in his life when he kept that buried deep in his mind forever.

Later that morning when the leaves are in bloom along the oak and maple trees, Lenard sat in the diner with his three eggs sitting upon a semi-clean plate and two rashers of bacon cold next to them as he tried to understand what is happening to his life. If they find out then he knew that his fate is sealed when he couldn't eat his breakfast that he bought the moment he sat down, trying to figure out the name of the cook that is behind the serving window when he tried to remember the waitress that is asking him if he wants another cup of coffee.

He had drunk so much coffee that his kidneys are hurting him. He turned that down when he looked at the plate and remembered that like his life is turning into the direction of darkness that he cannot walk down to when he dropped his fork upon the plate that tittered and almost blew out his eardrums. He got up and asked for the check from the waitress when he paid it and walked out, forgetting the tip under his plate when he went back to the point of where he forgot, wishing he would go back when he pieced it together. Wishing he would go back to the bar and took a different approach home.

That night after work, he tried to stay up with the television tuned to a repeat of Superwoman, trying to stay up when he swore that he heard the sound of a blackbird on top of the roof. He jumped up from his couch when he felt the sweat on his head swell up now.

"I hate the sound of birds on the roof. It drives me bonkers!" He screamed at the top of his lungs. That is when he heard the yelling of his downstairs neighbor rant up.

"Shut the fuck up before I give you something to yell about!" He screamed back up from the floor that is below him.

"No, don't do it." Lenard pressed both of his fists to his head when he tried to fight back the horror that is bubbling up inside.

"Please, don't do it. I beg of you."

He tried to fight it back to the best of his tendencies when he folded back into the dark spot as the light continued to burn into his apartment. He hit the floor when his eyes closed for the moment when he was no aware of what is going on anymore. His breathing smoothed out, flattened out in a slow respiration motion when his eyes stayed closed for more than two minutes when nothing went on but the sound of clattering on the roof.

At the same time, Trent Roscoe was drinking his fourth beer on the apartment space below him. The tenant that is above him he never met when he continued to watch the fourth season of The Walking Dead. The beer that he is drinking is some local brew that has a name that he cannot pronounce when he stumbled to the bathroom, pissed in the tub on both occasions and stumbled into the kitchen to get another beer with a sleeping moon upon it over the name brand that made him laugh stupidly when he tries to pronounce it.

I'll give you a look at my moon, you darling moon, you. He drunk the beer and laughed with the top of it still in his mouth, spitting the beer all over the place when the crazy man thumped on the floor that is above him.

What in the fuck is wrong with that guy; a lack of nookie for Mr. Rookie or something?

He sat back on his lounge chair with a clutter of garbage all around him and pizza boxes stacked in the corner that is about 3 ½ feet high from the base of the floor. The phone lay off the hook when he felt the rise of feeling nothing now when the show got to the point where the characters are evicted from their prison sanctuary, permanently. The only light that is on in his grungy living room is the one that is next to him on the table when he heard the sound of someone's exhaust run past the apartment complex, making the walls shake a little when the man groaned at the sound of it.

That person needs to be hung from the highest limb for having something stupid like that installed on his car. He thought in bitterness when he drunk some more, feeling towards the point of feeling sleepy when something crashed above him.

"Don't make me call the friggin' cops, you shit-belching bastard!" He roared at the person that is above him when the episode ended on Netflix, making him wonder if he has enough energy for the next episode before he slips off to sleep with the world still eerily moving on around him. He thought he could never drink that much in his life when the light still burned on next to him when a beam of headlights blurred through the double paned windows in his living room setting. Then another crash came from the apartment room above him again, sounding like something that was kicked over when he woke up sheepishly again with his eyes darting every which way.

"Bunions that is all it is, bunions and nothing else but bunion cores," He mumbled to himself, smacking his lips before drifting off into the land of Nod. A door slammed and the stairs beyond his bedroom wall made its jackhammer song of someone coming down the steps when he started to snore with his eyes closed, phasing the screen to stand still when his beer slowly tipped sideways in the crotch of his shorts as he slid deeper and deeper into the state of unconsciousness. The jackhammer song ceased when the beer made a stain on the crotch of shorts when he woke up suddenly, placing the beer onto the table where the lamp is and cursing semi-consciously while wiping it with a towel that he found upon the floor. The room felt more claustrophobic than it ever has before with all the trash that he left around the apartment, feeling less toxic towards the point of being a place for a total slob and sloth that has no order in life but to wash his hair one time a week and brush his teeth two times a month.

Someone came to his front door when it knocked ever so sharply upon the cut wood, making him cut his bloodshot eyes to the front edge of his apartment when he grimaced and got up from his seat, sashaying to the door like a man who had found out that his pet turtle had died of some acute accident that is somewhat his fault when he opened the door and asked who in the hell it is for company to be this late in the evening.

The dark shadow stood at the stoop of the door when Trent Roscoe asked again, feeling the beer slosh in his stomach when the dark shadow moved something from his pocket and met at chest level to his own body when Trent could see the faded white that danced on the bland light of somewhere that Trent could not see. Then three spays happened from the contraption when Trent reeled back and wiped the moisture crap off of his face.

"Hey," He stammered.

"What in the hell gives. What did you just spray me with?" He felt like he is sounding like a child again who has been caught chalking dirty pictures into his notebook by his mother.

The man ran after the three sprays were admitted when Trent ran out the door and down the sidewalk fifty paces, trying to keep up with the perpetrator before disappearing into the night like a cloud that came upon the earth to do some bad deeds. Trent doubled over in the middle of the night when he did not realize that he is infected with the superbug by an alter-ego that is not Lenard Day anymore but a personality that is complex as one man who named himself a very long time ago during his travesties of making his concoction that he worked on the many nights when his mind flourish to the course of upmost importance.

That man is known as Mr. Midnight, the man of extreme perilous toward the human condition when he rode the night toward some event of infecting others that he did all night long as Lenard Day inside of him slept like a baby, noticing that something is very wrong indeed before it is too late. This night, Mr. Midnight will infect two people walking home from work, one little old lady that is walking her dog in the late night hours, three people that are drunk towards the point of ever knowing what is going on around them to begin with, and one newspaper vender with his back to him while he uncut the bundles of newspapers that he got just three o'clock this morning.

Someone called the cops before it is done when Mr. Midnight got home with that crafty smile upon his cracked lips, turning on the light in the apartment when he hid the contraption in a box that is meant only for him with a lock hasp to keep it in secret. Even the other could not get to it when Mr. Midnight slipped at the thought of keeping it out as the other awoke to the sound of that horrid bird that keeps coming and cawing on the roof overhead, wondering if it has a nest up there when Mr. Midnight left Lenard Day alone in the back part of his mind.

Is Lenard schizophrenic? Is he a man of split personality? Is he known for such of these problems before? It never arose, it never arose to his eyes or his senses when Mr. Midnight closed on the contraption that he infected so many people with glee, riding the world of the disease called man when he danced the spool of death that will soon run out by the chaos of a world that is so natural of the infection spreading, spreading to the point of neutrality when there is no more but his own craft that is evil like the tide of waters that rid the world of evil for 40 days and 40 nights.

Lenard Day slept like a baby through it all when Mr. Midnight sat down on Lenard's couch and scanned through the channels of some insightful news that he will be insightful for his demonstration that will soon be hitting the waves like a bad cough that will come to us all for the last time before going towards the dark spot of nothing forever. He waited for it to pass which took him most of the night before he hid in the darkness of Lenard's bed, becoming Mr. Midnight not embodied anymore but Lenard Day that will soon be waking up in less than an hour as the sun dawned over the small town. Lenard Day awoke with something troubling in his mind.

During the day, he did his orderly fashions like any other day, trying not to talk about his findings to anyone when he took out the trash from the kitchen and made himself two eggs in a skillet that is in bad need of being thrown out. The town still talked about the death like a catapult that is needed to be cut when the conversation went like a Chinese rumor that is conveyed, switched, changed, and altered to the point that half of it is false. Lenard Day still went to work, shrugging while the conversations went around him as he thought of the made-walls of horror that is in his room when he could not think of it. He left it all behind when he was a child when he was admitted by his mother for his mental state being in severe question.

The object of another is dead when they told him, not believing it in his youthful state when he worked the rest of the day, leading his way to the bar where Nina Rose called the cops on one dubious bum that didn't pay the drinks that she served him. The charges are pressed and the bum went to jail when Lenard Day made another round of Velvet Bones on his tab as Nina Rose talked about the three people that died of the illness late last night.

Lenard nodded on the events that conspired, knowing for the life of him that this town is still boring when he thought about the scenes that changed and the people that come and go. He thought bitterly when he got drunk again, waiting for nightfall when he wondered if he can get that damn blackbird somehow that has been pestering him all of his life.

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