Skip to main content

The Tattle-tale Heart

If you think this is an entirely original work, and not satire or parody, and a homage to a certain famous and great short story writer and


False! I am not nervous at all. I write with a steady hand. Observe, I will demonstrate for you, you infidel! Well, that's just a little palsy, is all. I have been accursed with that affliction since my youth. It is evidence of nothing. Nothing, I tell you! So why must you persist in this idiotic claim that I am insane? Ha! It is to laugh. Whatever physical deficiencies I may possess, why, they sharpen my other senses. I can hear the TV and the radio when they are not even turned on! They both provide me with sage advice about what actions I should pursue. Now just chill, homies, while I tell you my story.

That's right, just put the net down, and put that strange looking jacket with so many straps and buckles upon it over there.

What made me want to kill the old man? Or was it the Russian landlady to whom I owed rent? Or was it an Arab on the beach who was a total stranger? No, no, it was the old man. Nothing the old man did offended me. Except for that eye. That rheumy eye always looking at me, accusing me. Many times I entered the old man's room at night wanting to kill him, but his eyes were all the way closed, and I cannot kill someone who does not at least seem to be looking at me with accusations of evils I had not yet committed.

Then, on the eighth night, and the stroke of midnight, the witching hour, I saw no witches. On the ninth night, my true love gave to me...but never mind that. Finally, on the tenth night, I saw that his eye was open was just tiniest bit, and that it was INTENTIONALLY accusing and mocking me again! As I approached the bed, I heard another sound. It was a soft ticking. It was the old man's heart working in concert with the eye to blame me for every bad and evil thing in the world, including, but certainly not limited to, reggaeton music.

The ticking got louder and louder and the eye became brighter and brighter. Finally, I rushed into the room and flipped the eight hundred pound bed over on the old man. Yet, I still heard the curious ticking, but it was soft again and it would not stop. Would this madness never end? I wedged my arm under the old man and felt for a heartbeat, of which he clearly did not have one, yet I still heard the strange ticking noise.

Just to ensure this old man would no longer torment me, I stuffed him into the crawl space of my house. I cleaned the house thoroughly just in case there was any blood on the floor or walls.

Shortly after this, three police men came to the front door. They claimed a neighbor had heard a shriek emanating from this residence. Why, what utter nonsense. Even had the old man screamed, the sound would have been muffled by the massive bed on top of him. Still, I had nothing to fear, so I allowed these gentlemen entry.

I told the officers I must have had a bad dream, and that would account for the scream. I said the old man was vacationing 'in country' as he would never dream of traveling abroad. I told them to search the house, search it well; in fact, I sat directly above where I had disposed of the body.

The police seemed content with my responses and my demeanor, but they were cold and tired and bored and inquired if they might stay and chat a bit. What could I do? To refuse this simple request might seem suspicious. I chatted with them and even gave them some donuts, because I have heard they are fond of such bakery items.

All this time the soft ticking continued. Even after death, the old man continued accusing me, although at least now he had a valid reason for doing so. I became pale and faint and wished these accursed officers would depart my premises at once, but, alas, it was not to be, what with their enjoyment of eating donuts and smoking cigarettes and viewing late night naughtiness on the cable TV. The ticking continued. It would not stop. What could I do? I was about to faint. I got out of my chair and stomped around. I still heard the soft ticking. I talked loudly about rude things. The ticking kept right on ticking.

"Damn it, men!," I shouted. "Don't you hear that confounded ticking?" I went to the crawlspace, ripped the heart right out of the old man, and shoved it into one of the cops' faces. "This is what keeps ticking! The heart of the old man who I just now killed!"

The police all laughed at me and led me into the old man's bedroom. They said they knew something was wrong when they saw an eight hundred pound bed upended. Then one of them went to the corner and picked up something making a continuous, soft ticking sound. It was the old man's ancient wind-up alarm clock.

Then the alarm went off.

Will that old man NEVER stop tormenting me?

Related Articles