Contemporary short fiction, poetry and more

Run, Johnny. Run, Janet

Janet runs every day. Janet wears trainers to help her run faster. Johnny wears trainers, too. Johnny knows that Janet is going to be wearing trainers, and so he makes sure to wear his trainers before the game starts. Johnny has been watching Janet every day while she runs. He has been watching her every day for some time now. He knows what time it will be when she crosses the school playground. Johnny knows that when Janet runs across the playground, it will be well after the time that school has finished for the day. Johnny knows that by the time Janet is crossing the playground, all the other children will have gone home. Janet will be there, with her trainers and her T-shirt and her jogging shorts on, and Johnny will be there too. Johnny has done enough watching, and he has decided that today is the day for the game. Today is the day when Johnny is going to come out from behind the annexe and run after Janet. Johnny hopes that he can catch up with Janet.

Johnny knows that, even though he is a boy and Janet is a girl, Janet is a fast runner. Johnny knows that Janet is a faster runner than he is. Johnny thinks that he can surprise Janet, because she is not expecting him to be there. That is why, this evening, Johnny is so excited as he waits for the game to start. He is excited because he thinks that, even though he is the slower runner, he will be able to catch Janet. Johnny wants to play the chasing game and Johnny wants to win.

Johnny is looking at his watch: the watch that his dad bought him. It is a very accurate watch. Johnny checks the time against the pips on the radio every day. Johnny always knows that it shows exactly the right time. Johnny waits behind the annexe, peeping round the corner and waiting.

Johnny can hear something: he can hear footsteps approaching: somebody running. He waits a bit longer, but it seems like ages. Here is Janet, at last. She runs out of the alleyway which leads to the big metal gate which is at the entrance to the playground. Johnny has already opened the gate for Janet so that she doesn’t have to open it. Johnny has watched her come this way so many times that he knows exactly how many seconds it will take her to get to just past the corner of the annexe where Johnny is hiding. Johnny counts. He counts in exact seconds, like his dad taught him: one and, two and, three and, four and, five and – and it is time for him to set off. Run, Johnny, run!

Janet doesn’t know there is anybody following her. She thinks she might be able to hear something, but she doesn’t pay any attention to it, because she just thinks it is the sound of her own footsteps echoing off the walls of the school buildings.

When Johnny catches up with Janet, he pushes her. Janet falls over and gets a big surprise. Johnny gives her a kiss. Janet doesn’t want him to kiss her, but he kisses her any-way. Johnny remembers that none of the girls wanted to kiss him when they were at school, but he likes kissing them. He kisses her again. He keeps kissing her while he is stabbing her with the knife he brought with him from the kitchen. Janet won’t be able to run away from Johnny any more. They had a game, and Johnny won. Johnny is glad that he won. Johnny gives Janet’s body one last kiss and a wipe with the bleach he brought with him.  He puts the knife back into the pocket of his anorak. As he walks home, he wonders who he can play with next time.


5 responses to “Run, Johnny. Run, Janet

    • wthirskgaskill November 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

      Thank you. I must admit that I am slightly surprised to receive a compliment for a story about an infantilistic, misogynist, psychopathic murderer. My object in this piece was to show how weak and contemptible such a character would be.

      • Rosie November 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

        I’m not saying I find the character likeable!! Just very believable. I’ve worked with people like Johnny, and find it fascinating how psychopathic personalities are ignored in care. As soon as other labels are attached – mental health, learning disabilities etc., all of a sudden their behaviour is indicative of their illness, and not of their personality. I thought this was a brilliantly written piece. I was fully engaged from start to finish.

  1. Pingback: No study and yet still procrastinating! « rosierushtonstone

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