By Chef Kyle “Kman” Mangione-Smith
We’ve never met before, so this may seem a bit odd, but I feel this is necessary. My name’s Jay for starters, I work the checkout line at the grocery store up on 67th Street. You know the one with the parking lot that’s way too big for the store itself? Yeah, that one. I’m 24, fairly tall and have a rather scraggly appearance. You probably wouldn’t recognize me if I came up to talk to you, I don’t have a very memorable face. Heh, I don’t really know why I’m telling you all this to be honest… But, this isn’t the point of me writing you.
I was working late at night yesterday, it was a very average day for the most part. Nothing too exciting happened, but you’d be surprised how interesting this job can get at times. I’d been reading some book the guy that’d worked that counter the shift before me had left, it was some really crappy murder mystery chock full of clichés. Incredibly boring, if you ask me. But… It’s something to do I guess. When you showed up though, my whole night changed. I don’t know exactly what it was about you that caught my attention at first, but as soon as I saw you I got this odd feeling. A weird mix between excitement and terror, that’s the best way I can describe it at least. I saw you walk into my line and I quickly composed myself, I’d been slouching down in my chair for a while since I rarely ever get anyone in my line. It was only when you got closer that I realized what about you had caught my attention… You were absolutely beautiful. You walked up and said “hey” and handed me your cart. I could tell by the way you were talking and the way you looked that you were very sleep deprived, though this wasn’t surprising considering how late it was. After a second or two of awkward silence I realized that you’d greeted me, I suddenly forced out a “h- hi” in response. I cursed myself out mentally for that one.
I sat there for a second, trying to focus. “What’s your name?”, I said. It’s only later I realize how odd this must have seemed, what kind of a grocery bag guy asks what someone’s name is? I’m glad I did though. I remember, you said you were named Abigail, but that you go by Abby for short. Abby, it seemed to fit so perfectly. The name seemed to roll off my tongue as I said it back to myself silently. It was like sweet honey, it just felt good as I said it. You seemed to be perplexed when I looked back at you, and I wondered if I’d done something to upset you. “Shouldn’t you be packing those?” you said and pointed to your groceries. Suddenly shocked and embarrassed, I looked up and apologized, then clumsily started shoving groceries into bags as fast as I could. I couldn’t believe myself, how stupid could I be? But when I looked up, I realized you were laughing.
“You’re kind of cute” you said. I tried to play it off cool, but I was obviously thrilled. A girl like this thought I was cute? “You are too” I said, as I hastily packed the rest of the groceries. As you walked out, you turned around as you reached the door and said “Have a good night”. I’m guessing I look pretty stupid writing all this down, you probably still remember it, I mean it did just happen yesterday. But I went home ecstatic that night and with all the confidence in the world. I feel like it’s almost unreal writing it back here.
Anyways, I wanted to write you this letter Abby to tell you that, I love you. I don’t know what it was I felt that night, it was some weird mix up of emotions. But all I know was that even in that small little transaction we had, I felt as if there was something between us.
Please, write me back soon.
It’s been a week since I sent my last letter and I still haven’t gotten a response, but that doesn’t matter. How’ve you been? My life’s been just as normal as usual, get up, go to work, go to bed. I live in a really shitty apartment, but I guess that’s what you get when you work as a grocery bagger. I’ve thought about you a lot lately, and I sometimes wonder if you still remember me.
I saw you again today at work, this time it was at a more reasonable hour, thankfully. I didn’t want to bother you to see if you’d approach me on your own. You came to my line again, which made me absolutely thrilled. This time I was less nervous, I was going to act normal no matter what you did or said. I wasn’t going to let a girl like you slip through my fingers. As you walked up you muttered something that was too quiet for me to make out, and waited at the end of the counter for me to finish packing your groceries. This obviously wasn’t what I had expected, but it wasn’t all too bad. You didn’t seem to feel anything at all, actually. I was expecting you to either come up and talk to me or avoid me like the plague, but instead you just walked on through as if I was another stranger. This makes me wonder if you got my last letter, you should check your mailbox more often.
There was one moment where I felt something though. I looked over briefly to see what you were doing, and at the same time you seemed to look up at me to see how far along I was. Right then, are eyes locked. Only for a second or two, but in those two seconds I saw so much more in you than I had seen last time. I felt as if I had known you for years, like I knew all your intricate feelings and emotions. Did you feel anything like that with me?
Shortly after I’d finished packing your bags you paid and walked out, obviously this was a pretty normal process for me considering I do it about 50 times every day, but I had been determined since the night I wrote you that letter that the next time I saw you I was going to get more out of it. I kind of screwed that one up… I wasn’t satisfied with it, I had to have more. There’s a little room in the very back left corner of the grocery store designated for staff. In there though I knew they kept all the security footage from the day, all staff are informed of this and the security camera’s locations when they’re hired. Luckily for me, there’s one positioned right next to my counter.
I waited until the store closed up and everybody left, and then I went in. After flipping through a few of the TV screens, I found the one that was connected to the camera by my counter. I re-winded it until about when I remember you coming in. After a few minutes of scanning, I’d found it. There you were, I paused on the best still shot I could find. I knew the camera wouldn’t do you justice, but it was the best I could have for now. Having a longer look at you I realized how truly perfect you were. Every feature of your body, your hair, your face, your legs… Your chest, was just perfection. I re-winded the tape to when you’d first came up to my line a few times, I couldn’t help myself. My eyes were glued to the screen.
After a few minutes of consideration, I popped out the tape and shoved it in my pocket, and then drove home. I knew I wasn’t allowed to, I could very well be fired for taking such actions, but I couldn’t help myself. I had to have you with me at all times, even if it means me losing my job.
Abby, I love you. I love everything about you. I think about you constantly now. Do you feel the same way about me Abby? I just want us to be together, forever.
Write back soon.
Yours truly, Jay
It’s been 3 days and I still haven’t gotten a reply. Why don’t you want to talk to me? I’m still unsure if you got my last two letters, please tell me if you have.
So I got fired from my job, they found the missing tape. I got a call from the store owner, my boss, at 6 am on Monday and was told to come in immediately. They were having a mandatory all staff meeting. When I got there, all of the staff was gathered around a small table with the owner at the head of it. Once everyone had arrived he told us that apparently there had been a minor robbery yesterday, they’d had about 200$ worth of stuff taken from them. And the one tape that would have shown who was the culprit was the one I had taken… Just my luck. He told us that no one was going to leave the room until someone confessed. After a few minutes, I finally gave in. I told him everything, about how I felt as if me and you had some kind of connection. After explaining the whole story, the entire room was staring wide-eyed at me. After I finished, I sat there in silence for several seconds. Suddenly, the store owner broke the tension. “Jay, you’re fired. Get out of here now and don’t come back,” He said.
I did as I was told and got out of there as fast as I could. That stupid prick, he’s always treated me like shit. He’s been on my case since the day I got the job, I swear he’s just been waiting for me to do one little thing that could justify firing me. And the one time I slip up he finds out. Why didn’t he understand though? Doesn’t he get that you and I are meant for each other? Any rational man would have understood, anyone put in my situation would have done that, right?
I’ve been searching you up a lot lately, with no job I have all the time in the world to spend learning about you. Do you know how much you can find out about someone with just a first name and a town of residence? I found out your last name’s Marrot… What a beautiful name, Abby Marrot. I can’t help but say it aloud whenever I think about you. I also found out you’re 24, and you only live a mile away from me. I drove down to your apartment complex today, it looks very nice, much nicer than where I live. I asked to see you multiple times, but I was told that you weren’t there every time. I felt more and more discouraged every time, but I was determined to see you again.
After a few hours of asking, I decided to stay back in the parking lot for a while waiting for you to come back, and after many hours of waiting you did. It was late at night, around 10 I believe. I saw you pull up in your car and get out. I felt a sudden rush of warmth at seeing your face again, I know I have the security camera tape to look at, but it doesn’t compare to seeing you in real life. I made sure to record it for later when I was at home, this time with a much higher quality camera. I wanted to capture as much detail as possible, I didn’t know the next time I would see you and the security tape wasn’t enough for me anymore.
I asked the woman at the front desk multiple times what your room number was, but she refused to tell me. She thought I was some sort of creep, see Abby, these people don’t understand us, they don’t understand what we feel for each other. I ended up waiting in the parking lot a little while longer until someone came out. After talking to him for a bit, he told me what your apartment number was. He didn’t want to talk at first, but I made him… You’d be surprised what you can make people tell you when you’re holding a knife to their chest. Don’t worry, I didn’t hurt him too bad, but we can’t have someone interfering with us. Don’t you agree Abby? I’m sick of all these people trying to keep us apart.
I ended up watching you from the parking lot for a while, once I found out your room number and how the rooms in this complex were organized it wasn’t hard to locate it. You should be more careful about shutting your blinds you know, I was easily able to watch you from the parking lot.
I can’t get you out of my head anymore, ever. All I do is watch that video I took of you over and over. Abby, I want to be with you forever. I want to wake up in the morning to see you next to me in bed.
I cannot wait until the next time I see you again.
I have some really exciting news Abby, I’m moving in with you! Aren’t you excited? We can spend hours and hours and hours together, it’ll be just perfect.
Let me explain, my job paid just enough so I could make rent and pay for food every week. Because of this, I had little to no money in savings, nowhere near enough to last a very long time. When you take that money flow away it doesn’t take very much time until you have nothing left. I was able to get by for a few days, but just today I got evicted. This could actually be better than I had originally thought, I wouldn’t be surprised if that guy that gave me your room number has been able to contact the police by now. This way they won’t be able to find me, and we get to spend all the time in the world together. It’s perfect isn’t it? I made sure to bring all my tapes and photos I’ve taken with me though, and my cameras of course.
You should really tell who ever’s managing your apartment complex to get better staff, I was able to get by security easily. I went up to your room and knocked on the door, but I got no answer, so I decided to get in by other means. After scanning the footage I took from last night over a few times I noticed that you have a ventilation shaft in the corner of your room, not surprising considering how hot it can get in the summer here. I figured there had to be some kind of maintenance hatch that I could get in through. After a few minutes of looking around, I found a door at the end of your hall that seemed to be some kind of staff room, and luckily there was a way into the vents there.
I crawled through them until I got to your room, it was very cramped and hard to move around in, but I managed. When I got there though, I felt a rush of success. I figured since the lights were out and I couldn’t see you that you weren’t home, but I’m patient. I scanned every part of your room, trying to memorize all the intricate details. Your scent over-whelmed me as I sat there, I had caught it briefly during the two times I saw you at the store, but never this strong. It was mesmerizing, I couldn’t quite place my finger on it but it reminded me of something, it was almost like peaches. I sat there hunched over for a few hours, though I’ve taught myself to be extremely patient. I can sit completely motionless for hours at a time, not moving a muscle, no one was going to notice me.
Then, you finally got home. I felt a wide smile form on my face the second I heard the door open. There you were, my love. Of course you took no notice to my presence, the light in your room seemed to be angled perfectly so you couldn’t see anything in the vent after the first few inches. I tried to contain my excitement, but I started breathing very heavily. I tried to cover it up as best I could, but it was hard… You suddenly looked right at the vent. I went completely silent. After a few seconds though you seemed to lose interest, this made me smile. This was the perfect spot.
I could tell I had startled you though, all throughout the night you were turning over in your sleep to look at the vent. People seem to have a of sense for when they’re being watched, it can send them into complete panic. Don’t try to fake it Abby, I can tell when someone’s awake, when someone’s truly scared sleep becomes impossible. Why are you so scared anyways? It’s just me, why would I scare you? You do love me, right? You know I love you.
I’m looking forward to spending every day with you now Abby, write back if you can.
I saw you wake up this morning, I didn’t sleep a wink last night. You were too enthralling, I spent the whole night watching you. I couldn’t help it… Anytime I tried to look away my eyes seemed to be drawn back a few seconds later. You look even more amazing when you’re sleeping, you know. You’d be surprised how much you can learn about a person’s personality by watching them sleep. I was tempted to get out of the vent to get a better view of you multiple times in the night, but I resisted the urge. I couldn’t have you figuring out I’m here, not yet at least.
You seemed to spend a lot of time in your bathroom in the morning, I assumed you were taking a shower or putting on make up. Why would you do that Abby? Anything you could do to change the way you naturally look would only cover up your true beauty. Why would you want to do that, don’t you want the whole world to see what I see in you?
You left shortly after to work, or at least that’s what I assumed. After careful consideration, I decided to leave the vent. I slid my hand through one of the slits and felt around for one of the bolts. The surface of the vent was very smooth, which made them very easy to find. I grabbed onto one and twisted as hard as I could, and finally was able to pop it off. I did this with all the other bolts and finally removed the grating.
The first thing I did was go over to the bathroom. I quickly disposed of everything I could find that you could use to mask your face, that stuff disgusts me. This way everyone’ll get to see you how you truly are. I also found something else in there, your hair brush. I grabbed it and brought it close up to my face to examine it. It was a dull blue, with a very thick rounded handled. But that wasn’t what interested me, the hairs… That’s what made me so interested. I took a good few minutes to pull every one of them I could see out and line them up on your counter. I counted them, I’d gotten 59. This pleased me greatly, I quickly scooped them up and put them in my pocket.
I spent the rest of the day going through your stuff to learn more about you, your interests and such. I take it you’re a big movie fan Abby? I found your collection in the back of your closet, I have to say it was quite impressive. I found something else in there that made me mad, a picture of you with another man. It disgusted me just looking at him, holding you like he owned you. I’M the only one that can have you Abby. No one else.
At about 8:30, I considered starting to get back into the vent, since that’s usually about when you get back from work… Then I had another idea. I looked at your bed, the blankets hung low enough to the floor that you couldn’t see underneath the bed unless they were lifted up. I first screwed the vent grating back on, and slowly slid under with a smile on my face, and waited for you to get home. When you finally came in you looked completely pale, and I noticed someone else came in behind you. They were talking to you about hearing noises coming from your room throughout the day. I mentally yelled at myself, I would need to be more careful from now on. Going under the bed had been a good idea though, since obviously your first thought was to check the vent. You thanked the person and they left. Finally you and I were alone.
I sat there in silence until you went to bed, it seemed to be an eternity before you did. I wanted to get a closer look at you tonight, and this was my chance. You got in bed and turned off the lights. I was cautious though, I waited for hours to make sure you were asleep, and when I was sure you were I slowly slid out from under the bed. And I saw you there, you looked absolutely stunning. Every curve of your body was perfect, every little detail was beautiful. I was in awe just looking at you. I reached out my hand and I started to stroke your face, it was soft like silk. I felt myself starting to get hard, your beauty was over whelming. I slowly reached down and started to pleasure myself, I tried to control myself out of worry of waking you up, but I couldn’t help it. I felt pure ecstasy, everything about you was perfect.
Suddenly, you seemed to turn and started to wake up. Horrified, I quickly slid back under the bed trying to be as quiet as possible. A few seconds I saw you get out of bed and look around. I could sense your fear even without looking at you, you should feel calm with me around you Abby. I’ll protect you Abby, no one will ever touch you but me, I’d kill someone for you Abby.
I made sure to pay attention today, you didn’t bring in my letter from yesterday or any mail at all, you must just not check your mailbox. I’m going to change that though, I’m going to leave this one on your desk tomorrow.
Oh, I forgot to mention, I’m making something special for you. Check in your closet after you read this.
Yours forever, Jay
I spent more time today working on the surprise while you were at work, you’re really gonna love it Abby. I’ve put a lot of work into it you know. I spent a few hours today putting the finishing touches on it, and I think it’s finally ready for you to see.
You got home at about 8:30 again, and saw the letter laying on your desk almost immediately. I started to smile as I saw you open it, waiting to see your reaction. It was really quite interesting watching your face, I could see all your different emotions and thoughts. You seemed to be confused at first, then shocked, then horrified. You started to shake violently and I saw that you were starting to cry, do you not like me Abby? Why were you crying? Don’t you love me? DON’T YOU LOVE ME ABBY?
Everything after that was a blur, you looked over to the closet while still sobbing. You seemed to be contemplating whether to open it or not. Instead, you ran past it and out the door. When you came back you had all my letters in your hand and started going through them. At some point you seemed to break down and curl up on the floor, tears still rolling down your face. I could tell you were desperately trying to say something, anything, but you were to paralyzed in fear. After about 10 minutes, I saw you look under the bed, in the vent, anywhere I could be. You see though Abby, I’m smarter than that. I knew you’d look in those places, I found a better place after I finished your surprise. You’ll never find me here, no one will. Isn’t it great? I can watch you forever and ever and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do about it.
You hadn’t found your surprise yet though Abby, and I could tell you were still thinking about it. I saw you look over to your closet, I knew you wanted to open it but at the same time you were nervous. What was going to be in it? What would you find? This couldn’t last forever though, you and I both knew that. I watched you slowly walk over to your closet, fumbling with the handle trying to get a firm grasp on it. Suddenly, you flung the doors open and saw it.
It was a scrapbook, of me and you. I saw you flipping through the pages, you seemed to be shocked. Do you not like it Abby? I got pictures of you and I when you weren’t looking, pictures of you sleeping, pictures of you at your computer. I’d scattered the hairs I had collected throughout it, along with pictures of couples together, of course with our faces on them though. I got that picture of you with the other guy and put it at the very back, except I didn’t leave it like it normally was. I scratched that little prick’s face off. I hate him so much. If I knew who he was I would hunt him down and make him suffer. Don’t you get it Abby? No one, NO ONE can have you but me. Me and you are meant for each other, no one else.
I watched you sob for another 30 minutes, and then get up and run out of your apartment. Shortly after you came back with multiple police men. This shocked me. Did you not like the surprise Abby? Why would you bring these people into our room? They’ll never find where I am, but if they did it could ruin everything. All my work from the last few weeks would be for nothing. You wouldn’t want that, right Abby?
I’m exhausted from todays work, and as much as I love you, I need sleep Abby.
Have a good night, I love you.
Do you see what you’ve done Abby? DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU’VE DONE? I woke up at 8 am to see you frantically packing your bags, I was confused at first, but then I understood. You were leaving me. You don’t love me. You don’t love me. How could you do this to me Abby, you were the only thing I wanted in life, I had nothing else to live for, but when I first met you I saw a shimmer of hope. I thought that I’d finally have reason to wake up in the morning and go on with my shitty life. And you went and threw that away. How could you do this to me Abby?
A few seconds after you left your room I got out of my hiding spot and followed behind you. I saw you throw your bags in the back and then get in your car and start it. I wasn’t going to let you get away though Abby, I would never let that happen. I ran as fast as I could to your car and smashed out the window and dragged you out. Did you really think you could get away from me Abby? I had to hit you over the head to knock you out, you were making too much noise. Someone else, someone who doesn’t understand, could have seen and ruined everything.
Well, I had a plan for if you reacted like this. I drove out to the storage unit at the edge of town, I’d reserved a slot the day I decided to move in with you. I drove up and unlocked it, I grabbed you and carried you inside it with me. It had only been a few minutes so you were still unconscious, I made sure to check through your pockets to make sure you didn’t have your phone with you. I set you down at the very back of the small room, then i got in and lowered the door. I called the owner of the storage unit and told him that I had visited my lot the other day and forgotten to lock it, and asked him if he would mind locking it for me. Of course, he said yes, and I hung up. I then threw the phone on the ground and stomped on it, to make sure that it’d never work again. Shortly later I heard the owner come up and lock the door.
About an hour later, I saw you start to get up. I first heard a very faint grunt, then I saw your leg start to move. Shortly after you were fully awake. When you saw my face, you started to scream, which then subsided to a whine and then to a whimper. That’s when you saw it, the one other thing in the room. My knife. It was obvious why it was there, and after a second or two of realization you jumped and grabbed it.
I looked you dead in the eyes and said “Abby, I love you.” and then I felt the searing pain of the knife being driven into my side, I felt it being pulled out and jabbed back in with great force. I could feel it go in each time, like a fire burning a hole through my chest. I fell to the floor, laughing while coughing up blood. I saw you back away, trembling, and sit back down in the corner.
And now, as I sit here in a puddle of my own blood writing this, I wonder how you’ll go out. Will you use the knife to take your own life? Or will you let starvation take you? Either way, we’ll be together in death Abby. Together from the day I saw you till the day we both died, just as I wanted it. And as you sit there, crying, I can tell you’ve come to this realization. Abby, this is all I ever wanted, and for that I have to say thank you.