Pancakes In Yuma by James M McCullock
“Well, I thought. This is how the world works. All energy flows according to the whims of the Great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him. He knew. He knew all along.”
– Hunter S. Thompson from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Home at last. I arrived home almost exactly 24 hours from the time I had left. Even though I was filthy, I walked into my apartment and slumped onto the one chair I had in my living room. What a fucking day I had had. In the past 32 hours I had, let’s see; killed a man, beheaded him, skinned his arm, cut off each of his muscles, chopped him into little pieces, placed him into luggage and driven him into the desert where I buried him in the sand for all eternity. I hadn’t thought of it, but I may have created an artifact. Something future archeologists will find next to the broken remains of a dirt bike and a beer keg. I wonder what they’ll think of our society. Needless to say, I was pooped.
I woke up several hours later with a serious kink in my neck, and my muscles feeling like I had been working out for a week straight. It took me some time before I could actually get out of the chair. I looked around at the apartment and saw that I still had a lot of cleaning up to do. I started by pulling the saran wrap off of the floor. The blood had dried enough for me to pick it up without incident. I had finished placing the plastic into a garbage bag when I realized my voicemail was beeping, as was my cell phone. I hadn’t even realized I had left my cell phone behind. I decided to listen to my house phone first.
“Hey, it’s Dave. I was just wondering if I could expect you in today. I hadn’t heard from you yet this morning, and I am starting to worry. Please give me a call when you get this.”
Starting to worry? Bullshit. If that cheap ass motherfucker was so worried, why’d he leave four messages on each phone? Fuck him. I’m too good at my job for that stupid fucker to get rid of me. Too many of my clients love me. He’d have a lot of explaining to do if I had disappeared all of a sudden, just because I was ill. And yes, I would be so petty as to let them all know that that was the reason. I believe the word you’re looking for is; evil.
I finished cleaning up everything, including the bathroom, took a shower and went to bed. It felt so good to be lying in bed. I had slept in my van and on a chair in the living room. A nice comfortable bed was a wonderful change. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.
I was woken by the phone ringing. I was so out of it, that I actually answered the damn thing. Unthinking; like someone who is shocked from sleep by an alarm clock. They turn off the alarm and spend the next few seconds adjusting to reality.
“Hey, it’s Dave.”
“Hi Dave, how are you?”
“I’m just fine, how are you?” The false concern oozed from his tone like puss from an open wound.
“I’m still a little out of it. It’s been a long night.”
“I was concerned when I hadn’t heard from you. Where were you last night that you feel so wiped out?”
“Not that it’s any of your business Dave, but I was at the emergency room all night. I only just returned home about an hour ago. I haven’t slept all night, so when I got home, the first thing I did was lay down and I was out before I even hit the bed.”
“Oh, well of course I didn’t mean to sound like I was prying,”
“It’s just that there’s a lot to do around here, and I was wondering when I could expect you back.”
“You know what, Dave? I’ll let you know when I do. Good bye.”
And with that I hung up. God, I hate that fucking guy. All in all, my job is pretty damn cool. I spend most of my day on the road driving from home to home meeting some pretty cool people. But there is always that one thing about any job that makes it shitty. In my case, it’s my manager Dave.
Inspiration! I’ll do Dave next. Oh my God, it’s genius. I can kill the fucker; steal his vertebra and then his job. Oh happy day! It was an impulse buy, so I’d really have to think about it later when I was feeling a little clearer in the head. But right now it was an incredibly exciting prospect. I could actually kill Dave.
Over a bowl of shrimp flavored Top Ramen and an iced cold Ginger Ale, I pondered the problems I faced in my first venture and how to overcome them in the future. I decided first, that I would no longer try to subdue my victims and bring them with me. The disposal was too much of a pain in the ass. I’d simply kill them in their home, cut off their head, then get my trophy and leave. There was, however, quite a bit more to consider if I was going to take that route; leaving evidence behind being the biggest issue. I think it goes without saying that I certainly didn’t want to get caught.
It just so happened that as I pondered this, a horror movie was on the TV. I hadn’t even realized it was on. I had turned on the TV, started to eat and immediately went into my head. What was actually on the TV hadn’t even dawned on me until just that second. In a flash, the entire thing laid itself before me like a map I had held in my pocket all along. I knew now exactly what I would do, and how I would do it. I knew how to make myself the best serial killer ever. I would kill in numbers even Erzsebet Bathory would envy, and I would never get caught.
I rented a little studio musicians rent to practice with their bands. I made sure to pay the owner enough to ensure no one else shared the space with me. I needed to be sure no one else would enter this room. I stayed late one night and added two more deadbolts and three more hinges to the door. Make it a hell of a lot harder to get into. Last thing I needed was someone snooping around my rehearsal studio.
Little by little I brought in all the things I needed. I bought myself a guitar case, a keyboard case and cases for a full drum kit. I also purchased several anchor boxes to give the impression that I was setting up and actual recording studio. It was the perfect cover.
I would arrive at the studio every night with various items stored in random cases. I lined the walls with sheet metal and covered the floor with white epoxy paint. I installed lights that made the room look like a government laboratory. Before long I had a fully functioning slaughter house. However, I still need to hide my true intentions for the space, so I built a functioning recording booth, and a sound proof area to accommodate any other recording needs. Inside the vocal booth, I installed a hidden door that led to my funhouse. It took me a total of six months to complete, but boy was it worth the wait. Once I finished, I ordered a pizza and a two liter bottle of Dr. Pepper, and I just sat in my workshop looking at how beautiful it all was. I was finally ready to play with another friend.
All during the six months it took to build my workshop, I watched Dave with the same anticipation that a child feels while looking at the presents under the tree. I couldn’t wait to open him up. Once, in the coffee room, I even snuck up behind him and shook his belly the same way you shake a present to see what it might be. He wasn’t too happy about that, but I thought it was fucking hilarious. I laughed about it for several days after. Even now, it makes me chuckle.
Having that much time to think about how I was going to do it made the plan feel foolproof. I had thought of several different methods, but all of them had some sort of flaw in the execution. It was beginning to get frustrating. Then, I remembered seeing a huge Anchor case commonly used to carry cables. It was the perfect size for a body. I’d just have to snap him in half.
Once my workshop was complete, I knocked on Dave’s office door.
“Hey, Dave. I apologize for bothering you, but do you mind if I talk to you in private?”
“Not at all. My door is always open. Come on in and tell me what’s on your mind.”
I closed the door behind me.
“For a while now, I have felt a sort of tension between us. I can’t help but feel it’s grown due to a lack of communication. I have been thinking a lot about it, and I decided I wanted to address it in hopes that we could move past it and possibly eliminate it completely.”
“Well, I appreciate your honesty, and I am glad you brought it up. I am the first to admit, I am afraid of conflict, so I tend to avoid it altogether. I welcome the opportunity to put this behind us and move forward.”
“That’s great. I was thinking; maybe you could come over to my place and we can do dinner and shoot the shit. Get to know one another a bit better.”
I couldn’t help but notice just how misconstrued what I had just said could be taken. It sounded like I was asking him out on a date. Without hesitation, he answered, “Yes.” Now, I couldn’t help but wonder if he thought it was a date. I really didn’t know if he was gay or not. It doesn’t matter to me if someone is gay. I guess it doesn’t really matter if Dave is gay. I am just going to kill him anyway.
“Great,” I said. “How about this Friday? That way we don’t have to worry about too much wine.”
We both laughed.
“That sounds good. What time were you thinking?”
“How about we say, nine-ish? Give me time to cook dinner.”
“Oh, you’re going to cook? Cool.”
“I’ve been cooking my whole life. My mother taught me everything she knew.”
“I am looking forward to it.”
Insert evil laugh here.
Something I forgot to mention about my workshop. I had also brought in a “ton” of special effects make up. I had everything I needed to completely change my appearance. First thing I did was make a mold of my head. Then, I began to experiment with sculpting different pieces to make my face look fat, or chisel my jaw. I had numerous wigs and just as many types of facial hair. I had the equipment to make anything I needed to change my appearance so much that any eye witnesses would never be able to identify me. It made me feel like I was in Mission Impossible.
It was Friday, and all day long I had that same feeling that had nagged at me the day of my first friend. It would feel like an hour had gone by, but when I looked at the clock only a minute had past. I kept looking at Dave. Imagining him flayed and gutted like a science experiment. There were a few times we made eye contact, and we would give each other the head nod and smile. At one point he came over and asked me if he should bring anything. I told him he could bring whatever he wants to drink, just in case I didn’t have anything he liked.
I couldn’t stand it any longer. I was going mad with anticipation. Since we were such good friends now, I went into Dave’s office and asked if I could take off early. I handed him my address so he could look up the directions on yahoo maps, and I left for home.
On my way home I realized the flaw in my plan. A few people in the office knew Dave was coming to my place for dinner. When he turned up missing, they would know I was the last person to see him alive. A solution had come to me as quickly as the flaw had. I needed someone to see him leave my place. An eyewitness or two seeing Dave leaving the complex as I wave goodbye to him was exactly what I needed.
When I went back to my cubicle to get my things, I quickly looked up Dave’s address in the employee database. Now, I would go to the library downtown and Yahoo map directions to his house. Once dinner was over, I could make sure people see him leaving. About an hour later, I could then sneak out, follow him home and get medieval on his ass.
I found the directions to his house, printed them out and headed home to prepare. I stopped by the grocery store on my way home and bought something I could throw together and have in the oven when he arrived. I needed the place to smell as if I had been cooking, and some wonderful dish was on its way. I started with making brownies.
By the time I was done with all of the preparations, had the brownies cooled and cut, and dinner in the oven it was a waiting game. I was able to kill about two and a half hours in the kitchen, but it was now only 7:45 PM. I had a whole hour and fifteen minutes to wait. Believe me when I say it was torture.
Oh my god, this was fun. I laughed at all his lame ass jokes and stories, but I used the fact that he’d soon be dead as my “inner monologue”. Fucking actors and all of their false preparatory blah blah. I hate all that method, overdramatic, “I didn’t get enough attention when I was a child bullshit.” Tangent, Sorry.
My apartment smelled wonderful. It smelled like chicken and tomatoes baking in garlic and Italian seasonings. It was perfect. First thing he did when he arrived was to hold up the two bottles of wine he brought (Only TWO! Cheap fucker) and proclaim, “I wasn’t sure what we’d be having so I brought a bottle of red and one white.”
The whole time he was talking, I didn’t hear a word he said. All I could think about was killing him. I kept thinking about making sure I left not one piece of evidence behind. He would have been seen with me last. If they found any traces of me there, I’d be nailed for sure. So, I shaved all of the hair off of my arms and legs. I went to a dive shop and bought a rash guard for a wetsuit, a pair of diving pants and diving booties. I toyed with buying the head cover, but feared it would restrict my field of vision. So, I went with a swim cap. All black, of course. I looked totally ridiculous, but I knew it would work. Plus, I could go to the beach after and swim in the ocean should any blood get on me. It felt perfect.
“So, Paul say’s to me ‘I didn’t realize they were black.’ Oh my, it was the hardest I have ever laughed in my entire life.”
Dave was still talking. He wouldn’t stop, and I was seriously considering killing him right here and now. My face was starting to hurt from faking a smile, and I had to keep pretending to drink my wine just so the irritation I was feeling wouldn’t show on my face. Fortunately, the man has a baby’s bladder and had to pee every 5 minutes. So, I was able to pour out my wine and act as though I were refilling my glass every time he came back. Of course, I had to actually drink some of it, but by the time we were finished I had actually drank the equivalent of about three quarters of a glass. The moron was so caught up in talking about himself he didn’t even notice.
“So, where were you born?” Dave asked.
“Right here in San Diego. Born and raised a California boy.”
“Where’d you go to school?”
I was freaking out inside. I hate small talk.
“I went to Uni. Catholic School my whole life. It taught me a good sense of morals.”
I laughed inside.
“Well this has been a very pleasant evening,” I said to Dave, “but I have to get up early to run an errand for my mom.” The poor bastard had no idea my mother had died three years ago. “I hate to be rude, but I really have to go to sleep. The wine is going to make tomorrow rough.” I smiled.
“Oh, not a problem, I’ll get going. I’m pretty tired anyway. It has been a long week.”
“You have no idea.” Grin.
Well, thank you very much for dinner and a pleasant evening. You’re a real trooper letting me go on and on like that. I must have bored you to tears.”
You have no idea.
“No, not at all, I enjoyed getting to hear them. Glad you felt comfortable enough to share with me. Are you okay to drive? I mean, with the wine and all.”
“I’m just fine. I paced myself pretty good.”
‘Well, I’m glad. I’d hate to have something happen to you. They might blame me.”
I had prepared the trash to be almost full before Dave arrived. As he left, I followed him out carrying the trash. About halfway down the stairs I dropped the bag and it landed with a loud crash, and then continued to make loud sounds the whole way down to the ground. Several people cam out to see what was up. My neighbor Rick, who I hardly ever see came up to me. I actually liked Rick. He was a good dude, and was genuinely funny.
“Rick, this is Dave. He’s my boss. Thought I’d have him over and brownnose a bit.”
“That sounds like you,” Rick responded. “Hi Dave, it’s nice to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Dave said.
“Sorry about the trash. I was looking back at my apartment and it just slipped from my hand.”
“You better apologize, fucker. I was using my Ouija board to talk to Voltaire. Son of a bitch won’t give up any Freemason secrets even in death.”
Okay, he’s not always spot on, but he is a funny guy.
“I was just walking Dave to his car, care to join?”
The three of us walked to Dave’s car. I managed to get Dave to tell Rick one of his stories. Rick gave me the evil eye more than once. Dave finally left, and I had my alibi. Rick and I walked back towards the apartment talking about random shit. We parted, and I took the trash to the trash bin. Went back to my apartment, and began preparations for operation ‘Wipe Ass’.
After looking up Dave’s address, I drove by his house. Yes, he has a house; the fucker. A nice house too. Luckily for me, there is an alley right behind his house, which should allow easy access, and a place to park. I had already decided on my costume for the evening. I would wear a long hair wig, and a beard. Also, a pair of horn rimmed glasses, which should hide my eyebrows and eyes. So, a visit to my workshop was first item on the evening’s checklist.
I already had my makeup and add-ons prepared. I had done so two days earlier. It took me no time at all to get myself ready. I put on my killing outfit, and covered it with a pair of pajama pants and a flannel shirt. I grabbed my Anvil box which doubled as my killing kit, and headed out. Dave lived about twenty minutes away, so I would have to drive fast without drawing attention to myself. It was about a quarter to twelve by the time I left the workshop. I should be at his house, take him down, and get him back here in a little over an hour if all goes well.
As I loaded the van and started up the engine, it dawned on me that this was my second kill. I already felt like a professional; as if I had been doing it forever. I was still an infant learning to walk, and I had to remember that. I couldn’t be arrogant as that might cost me dearly. I had been good about all of my planning and the execution thus far. However, as I had learned from my first friend, these things don’t always go as planned. I sat there for a minute meditating on the fact that I was a novice and I had to act as a professional without letting it get to my head. After about ten minutes of that, I was on my way. Operation “Wipe Ass” had officially begun.
I had created a play list on my iPod for this evening. I had everything from Johnny Cash to Pantera. I picked each song as if picking music for a movie soundtrack. It was also perfect driving music. There isn’t anything better that good driving music.
Dave’s house; I was here at last. I pulled into the alleyway behind his house, and calmed myself. I mentally went through my checklist of every aspect of my plan. So far, everything had gone well. Just to test my outfit, I went to the liquor store near my apartment that I frequent. I am in there so much, I know the guys who work there by name. I wanted to see If they would recognize me. Much to my enjoyment, they did not. In fact, they treated me like a transient who wandered in to keep from the cold. I bought a doughnut and a pack of smokes, just so I could get in really close to them to see if they recognized me at a closer proximity. Again, they did not. My costume was perfect.
Now, I don’t smoke. Never have in my entire life. But, I thought it might actually go good with the secret identity, so I lit one up and proceeded to smoke it. I remembered a friend of mine teaching another friend how to smoke a cigarette, and so I put those directions into play. I took the smoke into my mouth, and then inhaled it. Almost immediately, I regretted my decision. I felt light headed and dizzy. I also felt like I was going to puke. I realize now, my mistake was buying reds. I should have gone with lights, even ultra lights. I was too caught up in my liquor store deceit that I didn’t really think about it. The funny thing is, I had anticipated coughing up a lung. I didn’t cough at all. My friend’s direction worked. I was smoking a cigarette correctly.
Despite my dizzy nausea, I kept smoking. I really wanted to be in character for this. I figured, if someone did see me not only would they describe my physical appearance to the police but they would have the added little nuance of telling the police I was a smoker. Anyone who knows me knows I don’t smoke. I had yet another improvisational element in my favor. This was going to be a good night. I could feel it.
I looked around as I exited the van and noticed that almost all of the lights in the area were off. That was a good sign. I took the Anvil case out of the van and made my way to the gate leading to Dave’s backyard. Something I had been expecting happened; I realized something I hadn’t thought of. What if the motherfucker had a dog? Shit! I put the Anvil case back into the van, just in case I had to hightail it, and went back to the gate. Putting my hands over the top of the gate I pulled myself up to take a look. There was no dog that I could see. I let myself down and performed one last test. I shook the gate and tried to make noise without making too much noise. Still, nothing happened. I realize my actions didn’t prove anything, but it made me feel a little bit better and that was all I needed. I took the Anvil case out of the van and started over.
I opened the gate and pulled the case in behind me. Fucker had a nice back yard too. There was a really nice garden with all sorts of beautiful flowers on one side, and on the other a vegetable garden. All along the back fence he had a variety of fruit trees. There was a cool little wooden gazebo with a hot tub, and a back porch that looked like it had been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I hated Dave even more for having such a cool place. Envy, they name is me.
Just to be a dick, I thought about walking right through his flowers pushing the huge case in front of me. However, I had read Stranger in a Strange Land about five years earlier, and ever since I have not been able to harm plants; I groked them. If you don’t get the reference I just made, well, tough shit Sherlock. Read more books.
I pushed the Anvil case to Dave’s back door and looked for a way in. Since it had been humid lately, Dave’s windows were open, which made for easy access. I took out my multi-tool and sliced open a screen furthest from his bedroom, or what I believed to be his bedroom. With another glance around, I pulled myself up onto the windowsill and climbed into the house.
I had come in through the dining room window. Once again I thought to myself, “Fucker.” Big room, nice furniture; you know the drill. Imagine a beautiful dining room and that’s what this asshole had.
I stripped down to my killing outfit, and prepared to eliminate one of the most annoying human beings on the face of the planet. I wasn’t just murdering someone; I was doing the world a favor. He might sound like a nice guy on paper, but you never had to deal with the experience that is Dave. You’d go through all of this trouble to kill him too. In fact, I am quite certain you know someone who fits the profile perfectly. Someone who’s very existence is abhorrent to you. That is what Dave is for me.
I hadn’t realized just how loud my killing outfit was. With each step, I fucking creaked. Well, my legs and booties did anyway. Every time I took a step, my feet sounded like they were farting. My legs sounded so loud, I was certain I was going to wake the neighbors. I felt like such an idiot, but at the same time I couldn’t help but laugh. Fart noises are funny. Ever been in a public restroom with someone sitting in the stall taking a shit and they fart? I have to fight with myself to the point of suffocation to not laugh; especially when they give a little “Ugh” at the end of it. Sometimes I just can’t help it and I burst out laughing.
I had found Dave’s room. He was sleeping so peacefully that for one fleeting second I thought about turning around and letting him live to see another day. Just kidding, nothing was going to stop me from killing this asshole. It took me forever to get to his bedside as I was trying desperately to keep my feet from farting. At last, I was standing above him and he was powerless to stop what was about to happen. He was sleeping through his last moments on Earth. It was tragic, really.
I picked up one of the pillows on his bed, sat on his legs and began to smother him. Instantly he began to struggle. His hands groped at mine, trying to fight me off. His legs kicked beneath me, but he was unable to move. I was pushing down so hard on the pillow my shoulders began to hurt. Eventually, his hands stopped fighting me and he began to shake and flop. It was kind of gross. After a few more minutes he gave a couple of jerks and then nothing. Having never smothered anyone before, I wasn’t sure if he was actually dead or just passed out. One thing is for sure, he wasn’t pretending. I pulled the pillow off of his face, and found him mouth gaping both eyes open wide. I took off one of my gloves, and held my hand to his neck. No pulse. Just to be sure, I held to pillow over his face for several minutes more. I looked at his night stand and saw that he had one of those fucking clocks with the numbers that look like they are floating in air. I found this so irritating that I moved up and sat on the pillow as it covered his face. After two minutes had ticked by on the irritating clock, I stood up and removed the pillow from Dave’s face. Sure enough, he was dead.