by carl wilson

Zoilus Guest Post: If Matt Collins Did It


The room was almost entirely fuchsia (the porter referred to it as "marigold" but I know a sickly pinkish orange when I see it), and I was poolside. Not that I was going to swim, but shit, great is great, right? Why settle for good? The next time you're a 15-year-old with killing for Charles Manson and a media conglomerate as his weekend plan, get back to me on whether or not you took the poolside room.

In a first for this website, Zoilus is pleased to present the following work of fiction: "If I Did It," a rollicking topical young-adult noir by Matt Collins of Toronto band Ninja High School. The events portrayed are fictional, not meant to represent any person, living dead or incarcerated, and all opinions expressed belong to the author, or CNN, or Charlie Manson.

You can read the whole twisted, incredible saga, after the jump. And no, further fiction submissions to Zoilus are not invited - unless you catch me seeming pliable in a bar at about 3 a.m.

Zoilus presents


by Matt Collins

I got the phone call during a rerun of Cheers where Cliff lies about a stolen postal van after it is found, by police, near a motel where he is about to lose his virginity to another postal worker, and when they lie about what happened, her devotion to the U.S. Postal Service drives her passion away from Cliff.

So he tells the truth, and she gets fired, and decides to move to Canada and wants him to come too, and he's working in "Dreaded Zone 19," which has some improbably huge Rottweiler population - anyway, there's this fantastic subplot where Sam discovers that Rebecca's one sensory sexual stimulus is the song "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," but Rebecca manages to hold it down while he plays it, and just LUNGES at Norm, kissing him passionately, and then when she says, "I don't know what got into me. Please apologize to Vera," and Norm says, "Are you kidding? After that Vera should apologize to me" - good good stuff - and then the phone rang.

"Chuck Manson? Who in the fuck gave you phone privileges? ...Bleeding heart, yeah..., ..., ..., ..., ..., ..., ..., ...wait, say all that again? ...OK... yeah, I suppose that would start a... yeah, exactly, a race war, yeah... exactly. Who? ... Who's paying for all of this? No shit! ... Uh... um... uh... Chuck. Charlie... uh... Charlie. Um..."

I rolled my eyes and decided to pretend I knew what he meant by different colors on different people's backs doing things to those different people. "OK. Stop. Stop. I'm in, I just need to know when... lemme check my... no, suuuuure ... OK, you know what? Fuck it. I'm in."

It was a pretty good plan. I was supposed to go to California and stab to death the ex-wife of some former Buffalo Bills/San Francisco 49ers running back with a college record of rushing 3,160 yards and 33 touchdowns in 1967 and 1968, total Heisman winner, who had been reduced to print ads for cowboy boots and cameos in movies like Back To The Beach (I know what you're thinking - when Pee Wee Herman sings Surfin' Bird and finishes by getting hit by a bolt of lightning and surfs into the sky, I get chills too) in order to pay alimony cheques.

Better yet, it was all bankrolled by a big-deal cable news network that my friends and I had been hooked on since the LA riots, who figured it was all a write-off once the footage went on the air and the ad revenue started rolling in. I had no problem with skipping school on Monday - the last week of classes before my Grade Ten exams? Like any university worth their salt was going to check those marks?

The in-flight movie was Sommersby - I cried, of course (romance!) - and this old Italian dude sitting next to me, who was on his way to the fifth congress of the IASS-AIS in Berkeley, pointed out that the movie had much the same point as Brecht's The Good Woman of Szechuan, which is that things should belong to those who love and use them best, regardless of legal ownership. I shrugged and said, "The transition of the story from the Middle Ages to post-civil-war America was awkward."

"Oh, you mean The Return Of Martin Guerre? But that didn't have Jodie Foster in it."

I looked back out the window and flipped open the copy of Thunderball I brought for the flight. The balding and Pavarottiesque English teacher sighed and put his headphones back on.

We weren't even in Los Angeles, and already it was as if we were having six lunches an afternoon while endlessly pitching hopeless romantic comedies to anyone with a chequebook and a suit but no tie. I kind of saw how Charlie got driven to biker-ranch orgy-cult murder delirium in the first place. And I had to get pumped for that, too, if I wanted a penny of that 24-hour-news-coverage money.

I got in late Saturday night and immediately started drinking. It was coolish and there was no humidity; I cracked a can of Pabst in the airport men's room and, finding it empty, began rock posing in the mirror, standing about three feet back from the sink. With my free hand I did a windmill, and made a "BRUNGGGGGG" sound, then inhaled for two seconds with my nose, tilting my head back. I held my breath in that position for roughly five seconds and stumbled forward, leaning on the sink, and staring into my own eyes I whispered, "Looking good, killer..."

The details, between an LAX security guard finding me and confiscating my beer and getting out of a taxi in West Hollywood, are hazy at best. My booze rampage continued into the lobby of the Best Western Sunset Plaza. It wasn't my chequebook, I figured, and I had heard the hotel bar was good.

The room was almost entirely fuchsia (the porter referred to it as "marigold" but I know a sickly pinkish orange when I see it), and I was poolside. Not that I was going to swim, but shit, great is great, right? Why settle for good? The next time you're a 15-year-old with killing for Charles Manson and a media conglomerate as his weekend plan, get back to me on whether or not you took the poolside room.

The next morning I woke up to Donahue - apparently I'd had the TV on all night - and the desk wakeup call. I mumbled something cordial and realized I had slept in my clothes. The blonde with the cute mouth from the Aerosmith videos was lying on her back, naked, on the floor next to the bed; PETA literature was scattered everywhere.

I kicked her playfully. "Wanna hit the buffet?"

Continental breakfasts are a joke. Sure, you can eat all the waffles and miniature bowls of Froot Loops you want, but it isn't breakfast. The girl started poking through the Times and I was on my sixth coffee.

"So, is it far to Brentwood from here?" I ran my finger across hers and tucked it into her hand. She looked at me over the rim of her shades and smiled, then looked puzzled.

"What do you want to go to Brentwood for?"

"I gotta drop off this package of... uh... drugs?"

She clasped my hand tightly. "Um... not far."

Then she motioned across the pool toward my room and raised her eyebrows. My rule back then was "never sober," but I had things to do as well. Chuck had given me what amounted to a script: Every move was planned out down to the number of steps someone my height (5'3") and weight (99 lbs) would have to take to effectively do the job and get the results the writers were looking for.

Step 1:

I walked up to the cash register at Ross Cutlery and loudly said, "I'm here to pick up the knife my boss, O.J. Simpson, ordered six weeks ago. Can the receipt say O.J. Simpson on it? Can we get that? Great. I'm his assistant. I am O.J. Simpson's assistant, and I am picking up this knife for him."

Step 2:

Al was taking too much time looking through the suitcase.

"OK, why am I putting $8,000 in cash, pictures of O.J.'s parents and kids, a fake beard and moustache and a loaded gun in O.J.'s front hall? What have you got against him?" He was waving the passport around like he didn't even know it was supposed to go in there too.

I smacked it out of his hand. "Cowlings, shit. Put the passport in the suitcase. OK? Look. Just do the fuckin' job. I could care less about that sad sack, but I do care about you dropping this off for me. In his front hall. Like I said."

Like I needed this shit? I was hungover as fuck and couldn't remember a thing about losing my virginity to the chick from The Crush. I had spent the entire cab ride trying to drag up some memory of digging up Cary Elwes' buried treasure.

Step 3:

Now, this may seem too stylized, but I like to wear Aris Isotoner gloves when I shop, and when I kill. I know it was the middle of June in California, but when you have a thing that makes everything you do you, it just makes more sense to give up on making sense.

The guy in the shoe store seemed to think they were worth staring at, though.

I looked all around the place then back at him. "Hey, up here, buddy."

Like I needed this shit?

He tried to regain composure - "Sorry, I..."

"Look, I said a pair of size 12 Bruno Maglis."

"There's no way your feet will fit a size 12."

"I figure at the price I might as well get a pair I'm going to grow into, shithead."

Step 4:

If you ever want someone's condo keys in LA, just fake being a UPS guy.

"Aren't you a bit young to be a..." Ron Goldman eyed me as if this was the craziest thing he had ever seen.

"I'm saving up to go back to high school. They don't let me drive a van. I have to take a bus," I replied, trying not to laugh. I couldn't believe how this city lived. A small-town Ontario boy was winning this town like playing Fish with an anterograde amnesiac. "Shit, you need to sign for this. Do you have a pen?"

He smiled a knowing smile and walked off into the living room. A set of keys was on the table by the door, and I snatched it and jammed it into the brown shorts I had on. Christ, I wanted to change. Like I needed this shit? I wanted the job to go off hitch-free, but dressing like the UPS man was going kind of far. Ron came back.

"Alright, sign here... and here. Your name is?"


"Goldman what?"


"G... Ron. Okay, thanks, Goldman," I gave him a little hand pistol. I wondered who he was and if it was going to screw up killing this woman. I kind of wanted to know what she looked like. The upshot was, he obviously lived there, too, so I could see whoever he was with and stab them. Then a Ferrari pulled up and I walked away quickly without looking.

Step 5:

"Al, all you have to do is sound black and call her."

Cowlings was killing me! The hell kind of backstabbing best friend doesn't call his buddy's girlfriend the night he's being framed for murder?

"Matty, I don't even know HOW to sound black," he stammered.

Like I needed this shit? "Look, all you have to do is sound black and incriminating."

Al rubbed his face with his palms. "OK. Gimme the phone."

"OK. You're calling her back because she left a message, you've been busy all day."

"What do I do?"

"Roll with it, buddy. I'll direct."

He dialed. I cracked my knuckles and sat up straight in the passenger seat of the Bronco. I had never seen a cellular from this small a distance.


"Try again."

"Try again?"

"Look, your girlfriend just left you a message breaking up with you - are you gonna let that stand?"

"I guess not..."

"Of course not!"

He dialed again.


"Try again. Leave a message, at least!"

"It picked up. The, the machine, picked up."

"Leave a message!" I hissed.

"Yo, Paul-uh."

I winced and mouthed the words "Less black! Dammit!"

Al waved his hand at me and looked away. "I wuz just, um, calling you back? Frum, uh, before."

He sounded fucking Italian. I grabbed the phone.

"Fucking idiot."

"I was just!"

"You're an idiot. And I hate your guts." He went to open his mouth, and I raised a fist. "I am trying to build a perfect, beautiful thing here. And I told you that I needed your help, and all you do is half-ass everything. All I'm asking for is a full-ass job."

Like I needed this shit!

"Look, you get scarce. It's going to get real ugly here in a couple of minutes."

The weather was the same on Sunday night, but it felt a bit worse because Saturday night still hung heavy on my temples - how was it I couldn't remember railing the blonde from the episode of The Wonder Years where Kevin tries to pass his driver's test?

I looked at a light on in an upstairs window - was that kids? I didn't want to have anything to do with children. The light went out, and I scaled the fence and walked up to the front. Pretty out-in-the-open-like. Goldman was there, with an envelope or something. I could hear a dog barking, but couldn't see it. I figured it was going nuts because the garage door was opening.

My target opened the front door. All of a sudden, I was in action.

"Hey, the UPS guy!" yelled Goldman, and I slashed open his throat in one action. He fell to the ground, gurgling. I looked over, and realized this other guy was doing my job for me! He had my gravy train down in a kneeling position, and was cutting open her throat.

"The big idea?" I waved my hands back and forth between the body and the guy.

He dropped the body and walked past me, and started stabbing Goldman's body like crazy.

"Did Charlie send you? You seem like one of his guys."

No answer.

"Uhhh... that guy's already dead. Are you crying?"

Whoever this character was, he hated Goldman. I didn't even mean to kill Goldman. He just recognized me. Timing like Wayne Gretzky on SNL. Kind of an idiot. Rich kids in L.A., what do you want? For every Nathaniel West, you get six Nicholas Meyers, right? It's in the gene pool. They're charming at parties.

I walked back over to my job and put my knife down on the second step. I grabbed the body by the legs and hauled it over to the fence, and went back to the steps again.

This other guy was looking at me now.

I shook my head. "What?"

Then a voice came from behind me. "Son? What's going on? Jason?"

O.J. shoved me and rushed the stab fiend, grabbing for the knife. I went for mine, but before I knew it, the fight was over, and O.J. was huddled over Goldman's body, slamming his head into Goldman's chest.

I wanted to say, "Don't do that!" but I hid instead. I tried to go back to where I hopped the fence, but almost slid in some blood left over from dragging the body to the fence. The guy at the shoe store was right. These Bruno Maglis didn't fit for shit. My feet would never be this big. I sadly mused for a second about my adult cock size, and it hit me - my knife was still on the step! Or was it over by Goldman's body on the lawn? Did I drop it when the other guy was stabbing the living shit out of Goldman's lifeless corpse for no reason I could be in on without interrupting him and asking? Wait, I walked over to the steps, and put it down...

Why would I even do that? Or did he drop his knife after stabbing the corpse? Why didn't I stick it in my belt? Why would he leave his knife on the steps? That made about as much sense as stabbing an already dead body. Why did he hate Goldman so much? Was Alicia Silverstone into small johnsons? Which knife was mine?

The knife on the stairs clearly made no sense at all. Lawn knife. My knife was lawn knife.

I snuck up behind O.J. and reached for the knife. O.J. leaned back, looking panicked. I dropped flat next to him. Great. Covered in bloody grass. The knife was on the other side, and I tried to kick it away from Simpson. He was looking all over the place now. He stood up, and walked over to the steps. He didn't notice me, and I instinctively shook my head and shrugged. L.A., what the fuck? I stayed low, and put the knife between my teeth.

I scaled the wall again, and realized that I had the same problem with Broncos now that I had with knives.

Did Al stick around for all of that?

"Al. Aaaaalllllllll." Like I needed this shit!

Al flashed the interior lights of his Bronco once. What was he going to do next, honk? I waved my arm and pointed down the street. He drove off. I walked over to O.J.'s bronco, and had to stop myself from rubbing my forehead. "Shit - blood," I whispered to myself. I pulled off one of the Aris Isotoners, and massaged the bridge of my nose.

He was still doing something in the yard. With the bodies. "Californians are sick and idiotic," I mused.

Then I fucked with O.J.'s Bronco.


Read More | In Depth | Posted by zoilus on Thursday, November 30 at 4:02 PM | Linking Posts | Comments (3)



this isn't some kind of bad writing manifesto, is it?

seriously, mr. zoilus, your affection for this bunch is bordering on abusive here.

Posted by ted on December 2, 2006 5:27 AM



I was about to comment that I detected the influence of Mark Leyner!

Also: hilarity.

Posted by chris r. on December 1, 2006 1:11 AM



Holy shit I hope that this leads to someone close reading NHS lyrics looking for Mark Leyner allusions. Music Blogosphere, make it happen!

Posted by benstimpson on November 30, 2006 11:24 PM




Zoilus by Carl Wilson