Plane and Simple | Emma Poppy Allen


Plane and Simple

By Emma Poppy Allen

The Murder Internationale Award

His fingertips are pitifully steady as they meet the keyboard.

The churning, restless wash of his deserted conscience is still marooned to his mind for now, body still showing nothing more than a crouched businessman in the window seat, sweating lightly and bound to his laptop by his wrists.

The seat was chosen methodically, placed away from the eyes of the bleach-stained uniforms of the attendants that wheel trolleys down the veins between throbbing limbs and cluttered, shifting squares of meat, all elbows and eyes and ears that swivel in their sockets to face the noise of the tannoy that dings somewhere above in the pores of the ceiling. The onboard wifi struggles and stutters on his lap.

The only constant in this place is the tapping as he surfs they keys, ceaselessly knitting together threads of words that the sand in his mouth would never allow him to express verbally.

He is focusing on the methodical, on the reasoning behind every tiny detail of his life that has lead him to the belly of this metal bird that signifies freedom, yet is filled with no more than fleshy worms. He himself is not bait, he has not been fooled by the lies, he knows the only real path to freedom with different wings.

So his logic has this decision planned right down to the exact strength of his tie threads that circle his Adam’s apple tightly. The sinews of his neck are taught like the spokes of a broken parasol.

He wishes now that he had written this email long before, despite the fear that his already weak mind would drift the other direction and miss the opportunity, the opportunity of true neutral, in the belly of the beast, as far away from Lorrain as possible.

For nights of his unimpactful life he had worried of the impact of his death. He worries now, as reels of apology rope into badly formed sentences.

Lorrain would’ve been asleep right now. She’d slept through many things in the past ten years, important things that had been met with painted eyelids, and this would’ve been the same. He knows she would’ve been asleep because it’s 4am in London now and she could never stay up past eleven thirty from the age of forty onwards. She wouldn’t have been awoken even by the notification of her mail, certainly not after the crushed melatonin and peanut butter sandwiches she would take every evening.

In any case, this wouldn’t have affected her. Here, there is nobody around to blame. Here, with this email of admittance to Lorrain’s account, he is betting on these being the last thoughts towards his life. There will be no inquiry into his death; he’s planned it through perfectly.

Clambering over the legs of the other nameless people in his row he wonders if they will be disgusted by his last touches when they discover the un-answering corpse in the cubicle. He wonders if they will look upon his unclaimed luggage and retch at the thought of their own proximity to his physical decay. It’s no worse than what people already think of him, and here he is about to commit another crime.

He tightens his tie on the way to the well-placed hook in the bathroom.

The email bounces back.