“And then I saw it. There, upon the white of my perfect, perfect shirt.”

Colin Bergen, Staff Writer

Monday. 2:28 PM. Must hurry.

Train departs at 3:30, approximately 1 hour and two minutes from now. That leaves me twenty minutes before I must absolutely, positively leave.

No reason to worry. I have just enough time to check the bags-

20 pairs of socks of untainted color,

 15 silken ties, burgundy, and not a tone less.

40 handkerchiefs, carefully folded into perfect, unhampered squares.

The world can be a very dirty place. One mustn’t be too careful.


 No need to worry.

20 pieces of silver recently bought and still to be opened, wrapped in seven layers of transparent protection. Perfect. What about the china plates? Have they been washed and wrapped just as I asked?

Yes. She did good work…

Good. But not perfect. I’ll have to re-wash them later.


Time’s ticking. No need to worry…but some haste would be best. Yes-

Two derby caps, perfectly preserved in their proper wrap. Good. It would be awfully silly to wear a dusty hat…

And so positively vile.

Two carefully sealed specs, clean as crystal.

But it could be cleaner, couldn’t it?

2:34. I have enough time for just a quick shine.

One simply cannot be too careful.

2:36. Must hurry.

Four blacken suits, sealed and folded…

No. They’re folded wrong!

Damn that woman. I’ll have to fix it later.

5 pairs of cow-skinned loafers, three silver cufflinks…

Three? Three!? Where’s the fourth? What had she done with the fourth!?

2:37 Oh God. There’s no time. Must hurry.

7 fountain pens in their proper cases. Mahogany Red to Mahogany Red, Royal Blue to-


My sheets. Not packed!? No time. Damn the sheets!

8 nicely, neatly, untouched, untainted folded shirts of perfect…perfect…

A wrinkle. A wrinkle!

So vile.

2:39. No. No!

Already they were closing in on me. I could hear them clawing at the walls…

T-too much to bear. So little time. Must hurry, must hurry!

How disgusting.

The belts. Hah! Couldn’t ruin the belts now, could she? 6 woolen scarves…

2:41. Almost done.

20 pairs of gloves, to each their own properly sealed package. Safe. Secure. Untouched. Untainted. Clean…

Oh how I wished.

19!? 19!?

I should’ve known from the start.

Where is the twentieth!?

They know no decency.

2:45. So little time!

No sense of respect.

Can’t find it! It isn’t anywhere!

Vermin, they are. Every last one.

Is it…? No. No, I can’t!

The very idea was so horrible, so savage. But there was no other choice.

Already I could feel them closing in. Already, I could hear their claws, scratching at the walls around me. Already, I could see those eyes, peering from behind the peeling wall paper. Already…

Oh God.

I could feel her.

I needed to act.

I had to dig.

N-Need to find it…

Such awful chaos!

And deeper.

My hardwork. Ruined…

And deeper.

And then I saw it. There, upon the white of my perfect, perfect shirt.

Red. Not a blot but an awful smear.

. . .

I wasted so many precious moments staring at it. That thing. Perhaps I simply did not want to believe it, or perhaps I simply couldn’t. Whatever the reason, I was compelled to keep going.

I found twenty pairs of socks. Sprinkled with fine layers of fresh stain.

15 silken ties, a tone just too red.

7 cracked fountain pens, mahogany tainting the color of other cases.

6 shredded scarves, 5 pairs of ratty-skinned loafers, 4 stained suits, 3 tarnished cufflinks, 2 smashed, bloodied pairs of useless, disgusting…

Oh. There it is…

My dear glove. White. Perfect.


Her unholy fluids infected these hallowed grounds, like a virus to an open sore.


Then, the truth of it all dawned on me. It was so obvious. How could I have been so blind, so blantantly ignorant?

She had done this. All of it.

She, who couldn’t understand. She, who couldn’t appreciate the hard work I put in building our perfect home. She who was so terribly naïve, so miserably lost in her own idiocy! She who called me obsessive. Mad. Hah! How could she call me mad, when she insisted on living in such putrid squalor, amongst the all the rats of the world!? How could she condemn me now!?

I realized then, what I should’ve done from the start.  I couldn’t let her presence consume the sanctity of my home.

The rot had to be cut away.

The stain needs to be purged.

I went to the closest, where I last left her.

30 fresh plastic bags. 70 sheets of wrap.

One metal tub.

No more filth.


You no doubt condemn me for what I did.

All the rats do.

That’s why I’m in here

And you’re out there

And why I smile from ear to ear.

For this world is a very dirty place.

And it’s so much cleaner in here.