Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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                                                            Mr Luigi

  Anthony Kershaw tore off the white envelope taped to the outside of the entrance door and went back inside the house. He didn’t bother removing his shoes, and walked straight into the kitchen where he put the envelope down on the table along with his briefcase and car keys. Then he pulled out a chair and sat down. 
  This was the tenth letter so far.
  It contained no stamp or address, nor any other clues as to who might have left it there, only Anthony’s name typed in big black font.
  He exhaled slowly and looked up at the clock on the wall, and knew if he didn’t leave soon he’d be late for work. But even so, he remained where he was.
  A few minutes passed and then he heard a door open up and close somewhere further in the house. Then came the soft sound of slippers brushing against the hardwood floor. Shortly thereafter he felt a hand on his shoulder.
  "Is it another one?" a soft woman’s voice asked.
  "Yes. It was taped to the front door." Anthony spoke without turning his head.
  The woman leaned forward to get a better look, and then quickly took a step back.
  "Why are they doing this?” she said, barely above a whisper and put a hand up to her mouth. “What have we done to deserve this?" 
  "Well, your guess is as good as mine Cassandra," Anthony replied tersely, turning his head ever so slightly to the right.
  "It’s gotta be one of the scumbags you sent off to prison who is looking for revenge." She took a deep breath and wrapped her arms across her tummy. 
  "I knew this would happen eventually. I just knew it!"
  "Come on Cassandra, we don't know that!” Anthony rolled his eyes and picked up the envelope. The words had come out a little bit too fast and a little bit too loudly, and although he couldn’t see it, he knew that the words had made his wife jump.
  "You know that just as well as me,” he added in a slightly calmer voice. 
  “It could be a criminal who’s looking for revenge, or it could just be some weirdo’s idea of a practical joke."
  He pushed his index finger through the top corner of the envelope and tore it open in one quick motion. Then he pulled out the single sheet of paper tucked inside and read it aloud.
  "You are a dead man walking Anthony Kershaw. Soon you shall meet your maker."
  The letter was signed with the same initials as all the others, ‘I.W.D.’ 
  Anthony crumpled the paper and threw it across the table, where it slid off the edge and fell to the floor. 
  "Whoever it is, he or she likes to keep it short," he said.
  "Okay, that's it. I'm calling O'Malley." Cassandra turned around and walked over to the kitchen island and picked up her cell phone.
  "No, leave it. It's not going to do any good," Anthony said. "You might as well write a letter to Santa Claus, or the Fairy Godmother for that matter." 
  He stood up, and went over to his wife and put a hand on her shoulder.
  "Come on, put the phone down," he said as he eased the Samsung out of her hand.
  "But Anthony, we have to let them know that we have received another letter,” she said, looking up at him with big blue eyes. “This is the tenth letter so far. They have to give us some protection." Her voice was shaking, and Anthony suspected that she would start crying at any moment.
  "And how are they going to do that?" he asked quietly. 
  He took her in his arms and started stroking her hair.
  “Come on Cassandra. You know just as well as me that the police can’t protect me. Whoever it is knows where I live, where I work and what car I drive. If the person wants to hurt me, he can do so in a hundred different locations, and there is nothing that I or anyone else can do to stop him. Besides if he wants to kill me, he would probably have done so already."
  "So you think it’s just a hoax then?"
  "Who knows? Whoever it is obviously enjoys scaring his victims. He probably even gets off on it."
  He grabbed her shoulders and gave her a weary smile. 
  "I have to head off. I’ve got an important court case downtown at eleven.”
  He gave her a firm look.
  “Listen, I don't want you to call the cops. There is nothing they can do. The only thing we’ll achieve is to piss them off.”
  He looked at her for a couple of seconds, before leaning forward and giving her a kiss on the forehead. Then he turned around and walked back to the table and picked up his car keys and briefcase. 
  "I tell you what. I'll see Henderson from homicide later today. I'll let him know what is going on. He's been on the force for more than thirty years. If he thinks that some extra protection is required, we’ll get it. Perhaps arrange for a car to drive by the house every now and then. What do you say?" 

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Monday, June 18, 2018

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

  Derek took the coffee mug I offered him and leaned back against one of the hardwood timber post supporting the pergola, and gazed out over the spacious backyard.    
  “Well Mr Stewart, I could start next week if you like and have it all completed by the end of the month. Hell, I could even speed it up a bit if you’re willing to pay some extra money. Add another thousand bucks to the quote, and I could bring in a few more hands.” He rubbed his thumb and forefinger together and gave me a quick wink.
  “No, there’s no rush. If you could have the job completed by the end of the month, that’s good enough for me." I gave him a polite smile and watched him lift the mug up to his lips and felt my pulse quicken. 
  He nodded, lowered the mug and looked me in the eye.
  “So I take it we have a deal then?” 
  “Yes, I guess we do,” I said and extended my hand and sensed that it was trembling ever so slightly.
  Derek pushed himself casually away from the post, grabbed it and shook it with great fervour.
  “Great, I’ll start organizing the materials and paperwork as soon as I get back home this afternoon.”
  He took another sip from the mug, and I started asking him about various practical aspects of the job. Not that I was interested in his stupid answers or his excited elaborations of how good it would look when it was done. None of that was of any importance. The only thing that mattered was that he finished his coffee. The coffee that I had spiked with Midazolam, a fast acting sedative that would knock him out cold in less than ten minutes. That was the only thing I cared about, him passing out so I could get on with it.
  If Derek had known why I had invited him over, he would have run away as fast as his legs could carry him, and he would most definitely never have accepted the offer of a quick coffee. But he had no idea who I was, nor did he suspect that his time here on earth was fast coming to an end. So he remained where he was, slowly pouring the content of the mug into his digestive system, and in effect assisting me in punching his ticket.
  How far are you willing to go to get justice for a crime that has gone unpunished? I'm willing to go very far. In fact I'm willing to kill, and that's why I had lured Derek over to my house. It had been easy. I had simply contacted him and asked him if he could give me a quote. And he hadn’t been hard to convince. He obviously thought I was another gullible customer that would pay him handsomely for a week’s worth of shoddy workmanship.
  You see Derek belongs to a large group of people who are allowed to walk around freely, despite having committed heinous crimes. In Derek's case the crimes in question were about half a dozen rapes, and they had been extraordinarily violent ones. He had treated his female victims in the most horrific manner imaginable, and in the process shattered their lives and those of their next of kin. 
  And the fact that he had gotten away scot free had only emboldened him, and he had soon realised how easy it was to break the law and get away with it. And once he got the taste for it, well…. let’s just say there was no stopping him. People like Derek never do, and that's why someone else has to do it for them. Don't get me wrong, I believe in the rule of law, but when the courts fail to do their job, then it's up to the citizenry to see to it that justice is served. And in this particular case, the citizenry just happened to be me.
  He had raped my niece, Helen two months earlier at a party over on the Westside. At first he had come across as a charming gentleman. Then when she had let her guard down, he had spiked her drink. And when the effects of the drugs had started to kick in, and she had walked out to get some fresh air, he had followed her, grabbed her and driven her to a desolate location where he’d had his way with her. 
  And it hadn't been enough just to take her innocence. No, that wasn’t enough for the monster who answered to the name of Derek. He hadn’t been able to contain himself. He had used brute force on a woman who barely reached up to his shoulders, and who was completely incapable of defending herself. He had beaten her so badly that her parents almost didn't recognise her when they rushed over to the hospital early the next morning.
  That night Derek had destroyed three lives, and inflicted deep emotional scars on several others. And the worst thing was that he didn’t seem to care. By looking at him, leaning casually up against the timber post at the back of my house, you'd think it had never happened. But I knew better, and I knew what he was capable of. He didn't fool me. The confident smile, the dominant attitude and the cold calculating eyes told me that I was looking at a psychopath. Of course, he had no idea who I was, and I was thus able to act naturally, despite the hatred simmering inside my soul. 
  And as I listened politely to the drivel that was coming out of his mouth between sips of coffee, I wondered if he would cry when it finally dawned on him that this time he would be the victim. That his time was up, and that today it was his life that would be shattered. I would have liked to known, but I knew that I wouldn’t get a chance to ask him. But I suspected that he would, and that was good enough for me.
  Watching the sedative kick in was extremely satisfying, and the last minute was like watching a boxer receiving a dozen quick jabs to the head.
  “Gee Mr Stewart, I’m starting to feel a bit woozy,” he said and put a hand on the nearest post, and started shaking his head.
  “Really? Well you certainly don’t look too good. Maybe it was something you ate?” 
  Derek shot me a quick look before bending his head forward and looking down at his feet.
  “No, I don’t think so ….. I only had a …..” He stumbled and just barely managed to catch himself.
  “I only had a ……. BLT, and ….. that ……was four hours ago…..” And that was as far as he got before he finally had to concede defeat, and hit the concrete surface with full force.  
  A big grin spread out across my lips, and I casually walked over to where he was lying.
  “You know what I think? I think it was the coffee I gave you,“ I said and let out a harsh laugh.   
  “Yeah, I most definitely think it was the coffee, you disgusting son of a bitch.”
  Then I kicked him hard in the ribs, which produced a subdued grunt and a feeble jerk of the head. Then he returned to his artificially induced coma.
  It had taken exactly twelve minutes to knock him out, and he would stay out for at least three, maybe even four hours. Then he would wake up and receive the biggest shock of his life. 
  I watched him for a few minutes, before I removed the car keys from his pocket. Then I got down to business. 
  I started dragging him over toward the section where the green tarpaulin was spread out across the grass. He was a big guy, but I managed to get him over there without any problems. Then I removed the tarp and the two sheets of plywood that was covering the hole, and pulled him all the way over to the edge. Once that was taken care of, I jumped into the hole and started pulling him toward me. It was easy. Once the upper body was in, the lower half slid effortlessly down all on its own. 
  I placed him inside the hard wooden plywood casket that I’d built a couple of days earlier, and managed to bump his head on the edge of the wooden box in the process. But not a single sound or grunt escaped from his lips. He was truly out cold.
  I positioned him on his back and placed the mask with the regulator over his face and opened up the main valve of the four oxygen tanks that were positioned next to his feet. Then I placed the portable CD player on his chest and turned on the flashlight that was mounted to the side panel of the casket. Then I climbed back out again, fetched the lid and placed it on top of the box. It was a snug fit. 
  It only took me an hour to fill the hole. I used the wheelbarrow and dumped the soil over the box. It made a nice gushing sound as it rained down over it, and it filled me with an unbelievable sense of wellbeing.  Then, two and a half cubic meters later I was done, and Derek was resting six feet below, breathing in compressed air and having the bright beam from a flashlight shining into his unconscious eyes.
  There was enough air in the tanks to last six hours, after that .... well, it would get very uncomfortable. But by that stage Derek would have listened to the CD and realised why his premature death was only moments away. By then he would also have had ample time to panic and feel the debilitating fear that he had instilled in so many of his own victims, I thought as I stomped the topsoil with my feet. Then I spread the tarp back over the fresh dirt and placed the sheets of plywood on top of it. 
  I took a few steps back and looked at the little rectangular plot that was now the final resting place of Derek Matthew Macmillan. Reality had caught up with him, and justice had finally been served. Helen would no longer have to look over her shoulders, or fear running into him whenever she worked up the courage to leave the house.
  Then I grabbed the car keys that I had removed from his pocket, walked over to his van and drove away. There was no point leaving any evidence around. It was much better to dump it at the long term parking facility next to the airport. It would take months before anyone would raise an eyebrow, and by that stage the surveillance tapes would have been wiped clean and the grass grown back over Derek's cosy little grave. 
  I smiled as I turned the corner and headed for the freeway. Revenge is definitely a dish best served cold.