People Puzzles
By Terri Ann Armstrong
Shoving the liver through the pasta maker was much easier now that he used the meat mallet to flatten
it. Dressed like the grim reaper and cutting Frank’s body parts into tiny pieces was Larry’s way of getting
back at a black-hearted, good-for-nothing father like him. His heart had been carved into thin, even
slices. The lungs were carved out in different areas with two different sized melon ballers. The kidneys
would be the most fun; since there were two, he took a pair of gardening shears and cut them in to all
different shapes and sizes. He put the pieces he’d cut or sliced from Frank’s internal organs into a bucket
and when he was ready, he would fish them out piece by piece. Then he’d carefully put each organ back
together, just like always. He’d teach his father, he’d show him he was capable of building a simple
puzzle. He would have done the same to his mother had she lived.
When Larry was twelve, Carol simply disappeared. It was said she died during the birth of his sister
Morgan. He hated her for that; she was his mother too even if she had been less than a loving example.
Morgan had no right to take his mother from him. Over the years, his anger toward his sister segwayed
into a hatred for his mother who he eventually felt simply left him.
Last week his sister was the object of his rant. Because Frank never did anything menial like laundry,
Larry found her in the basement washing clothes like she did every Thursday night. Morgan was so
predictable and for Larry, predictable gave way to boring. To make matters worse, she was daddy’s little
girl and could do no wrong. She was perfect: pretty hair, dark eyes, dimples and a killer body—he’d heard
his friends say.
He found himself in a particularly dark mood in the evening and went down cellar to have some fun
harassing her. It gave him great joy to make her feel like a piece of garbage. Practicing belittling Larry in
his mind over the years made him an expert…

“You’re such an ugly girl. All my friends think you could make a train take a dirt road.”
“You have friends?”
“Yes, and every one of them think you’re a bow wow.”
“A lot they know; Daddy told me I’m beautiful.”
“Yeah, he just wants to get in your pants and you know it. I’ll bet you can’t wait either.”
“You’re sick! Demented and deranged! Get away from me!”
The rush of anger that rose up in him was fueled by a boat load of adrenaline and he picked up the
pitchfork in the corner of the basement . When Morgan turned toward the washer to take out the
clothes, he impaled her all the way through from the back. Her head whipped backward as her hand
reached around to try and remove the foreign object from her body.
When she did, Larry rested his chin on her shoulder and whispered in her ear, “I may be sick, demented
and deranged, but you’re dead.”
It was just then that Morgan slumped over the washer and fell to the floor. He stood over her chuckling
low in his throat.
“You won’t be so beautiful when I’m done little missy.”
He loved the irony of the ‘little missy’ comment. Frank called her that when she irked him. Larry couldn’t
help but wonder how beautiful he’d think she was when he got through with her.
Later that night, he went down in the basement after Frank was asleep. He carefully pulled her out from
behind the old freezer where he’d stashed her earlier and put her on top of their father’s old work bench.
Carefully and with expert precision, he took the large pocket knife he’d sharpened yesterday and made a
long incision from her neck down to her pelvis and opened her like she was a baked potato exposing
everything inside. Blood pooled in the middle of her torso and he used his gloved hands to scoop it out
into the thirty-nine gallon garbage pail in front of the bench, being careful not to spill any on the floor.
Standing over her he thought, not only can I put a people puzzle together, I could be a doctor too. Look
at that incision! Slowly and methodically, he cut out each organ one at a time. With every piece he
removed, he placed it on the small side table. When he was done removing all the organs, he took a
hacksaw and cut Morgan up into small enough pieces to make her fit into two, doubled trash bags. Then
he put the bags containing her mangled body out on the curb for the garbage men to take it in the
morning. He would have put her body back together had he felt it to be difficult. Placing her limbs and
such where they belonged was too easy and posed no real challenge so he tossed those pieces away.
He dumped the blood from the garbage pail into the set-tub where the washer emptied into and watched
it go down the drain when he turned on the water.
After he finished cleaning the bench’s top and donning a new pair of gloves, he took one organ at a time
and began carving. Each piece he cut off was tossed into a large bucket to be put back together when he
was through slicing up everything he’d removed from Morgan’s corpse.
Frank should have seen what I did to Morgan, he thought. Then he wouldn’t be in the position he is
As he finished carving up Frank’s body, he looked around the kitchen with a sense of pride. Mom would
have been so proud of me. This kitchen fairly sparkles with the exception of the cutting board of course.
With his father’s body in four separate, doubled trash bags and out on the curb and the blood disposed
of, he was now able to finish the piece he’d saved for last…the genitals.
After separating the penis from the testicles, Larry felt a searing pain rip through his body starting from
the top of his head to his feet. Instantly, he collapsed where he stood. Standing above him, someone
held a steel shovel which was used to knock him out.
The opening of a switchblade could be heard right before, “Thank you; you made your momma proud.
Happy Halloween!”