I bathe in the glow of a street light, my shaking hand flinging broken shards of shade down upon the puddled road below, the slow, creeping flood of Potato Town now building up around my shoes. I can’t believe it took me so long to figure it out. I can’t believe I couldn’t see it. I can’t believe any of this. It’s all so unbelievable isn’t it?
I look back through the portraits of potatoes. What do they all have in common? What one link connects the chain? Those painted, still faces. Their frozen expressions aren’t captured moments of time, but wordless expressions of art. I was looking for a killer armed with a sharp object. I should have been looking for a killer armed with a sharpie.
I’ve been searching for a twisted, demented bastard, capable of corrupting children, capable of brutal destruction, capable of creating something just to watch it die. I’ve been searching for a potato, but no potato is capable of that. No potato can cast shadows over an entire town, tormenting, ripping through hearts, spreading death like the plague. No, it takes a vile, sentient disease to do that. It takes time. It takes an actual mind.
My hand shakes more violently now. Its up and down quaking, its terrible rift, building to its final crescendo. Don’t you see it yet? Don’t you see how this ends? That shake isn’t for the drink. That shake isn’t my withdrawal from the titled slant of a self-poisoned divine. That shake and the killer are the same. That serrated silverware stabbing was mine. Every last word of this… It’s all mine.
Can’t you see it now? Can’t you see the heavy handed metaphors, the ambivalent foreshadowing? The thick layers of classical tropes and the over-saturated color of clichés? Can’t you see where I paved over plot holes, skipping loose ends, dropping in clues only where I needed lifelines? Where’s the dialogue? Why have you only heard my side? Monster, man. It’s all me. It’s always been me. I create and I destroy.
I bask in the shake now, its manifestation my ultimate drug, my red herring and my red hand. The shake spreads, rippling holes through the city around me, collapsing everything to one point, one point inside my eye. It’s here, in this rounded pupil, this minute black hole, it’s here where this all started. And it’s here where this all dies. I pull my gun and I whisper a laugh, its echo fleeting, fading out into the written night.
I put the chamber up against my temple and I squeeze. But nothing happens. It couldn’t. I never did write bullets into the gun did I? It just clicks empty. Again. And again. And again. There’s no real death in Potato Town. There’s only me and my beautiful, broken brain. Oh, but we’re here now. We’ve reached the final station. There are no more lines. So I push aside the trigger, and I click submit instead. And I walk away, waving goodbye to the madness of my own creation.
Au revoir Potato Town, we hardly knew thee. Well, you hardly did. It’s forever lived in my mind.