Chapter 18 Summary

The floor of the dining area is covered with newspaper, and Maria and Leonard move Otto to the table. As they move Otto, some fluid escapes from his body and falls onto Leonard’s pants. He is so sickened he nearly drops the body. He just makes it to the table and then runs to the bathroom to be sick. When he returns, Maria suggests wearing an apron, but he refuses. The saws and knives have all been laid out, and Maria has gotten a special kind of sealed wrapping paper. After he has removed Otto’s shoes and socks, Leonard begins to saw off one of the corpse’s feet. It is hard work at first, and Leonard has to fight his diminishing will. They had decided that working at the joints would be easiest, but in practice, that is not the case. When the foot is finally amputated, Maria wraps it in the sealed paper and fastens the ends with glue. She then places the parcel in one of the suitcases Leonard stole from the warehouse.

Once the dismemberment has begun, blood and fluids go everywhere, soaking the newspaper and getting all over Maria and Leonard. She suggests cleaning up, but Leonard says that it makes no sense to do so until they have completed the job. They continue their work, limb by limb, joint by joint. The head proves to be particularly easy to remove, leaving only the torso. Maria measures Otto’s torso using a dressmaker’s measuring tape and insists that it will not fit into the suitcase. Leonard wants to try to force it, but must accept that the torso needs to be sawn in half lengthwise. When he begins the cutting, the organs and other innards go everywhere. In addition, the back skin does not separate, so half of it goes cascading off the table. This proves too much for Leonard, who again goes to the bathroom and retches. This time, he insists on cleaning himself up before he returns to the work area. By the time he reenters, the last two parcels have been wrapped and placed in the suitcase. In addition, Maria has cleaned up much of the mess and bloody newspaper. The time has come for Leonard to remove the two suitcases and let Maria finish cleaning. They both sense how this has not only ruined their engagement party, but come between them. He cannot wait to leave, and she cannot wait for him to go. Without much of a good-bye, Leonard drags the two heavy suitcases out of her apartment to dispose of them.