Six Murders

Twenty years ago, I hatched a murder plot. Six men were to die: one I hated; five I merely despised. Here’s how I planned it:

The Knife: I stole a knife—an antique hunting knife, in case modern ones could be traced. It was long and sharp, with a groove for the blood. I guess you’d skin a deer with it. I used it to open boxes of grapefruit juice for a couple of years—then, when it became clear I wasn’t going to kill anyone, I snuck it back into the shop.

The False Moustache: I stole that, too, so it couldn’t be linked to me. It was theatre-quality, thin and black and straggly. You stuck it on with special gum. I meant to wear it, and men’s clothes, so if anyone saw me come or go, they’d think I was a man. I kept my head shaved, in those days, so it wouldn’t’ve been so much of a stretch, except you don’t get too many ninety-pound adult men.

The Deed: I hoped to catch all six victims at once, so the police wouldn’t suss what was afoot and put guards on their houses. I was going to ask for the manager, my hated nemesis, so I’d be shown to his office. He had more than a foot on me, so I’d have sliced his gut first, then cut his throat when he bent over in pain. After that, I’d have picked the rest off—one by one, if I could; all at once, if I had to. I figured I’d flatten myself against the wall and slash wildly, do as much damage as I could before being killed or arrested. (It never occurred to me they might have guns. Or…phones? Doors, to lock me out? Any of those would’ve thwarted me.)

The Getaway: Assuming I’d managed to murder six men without being overheard or overpowered, I’d have slipped out the back. I’d have run for False Creek and jumped in, slithered out of my disguise and swum down a bit, mostly underwater, to throw off any dogs or Nosey Parkers. I’d have crept out under the bridge, just another wet pedestrian in the rain, and gone straight to work. I’d have showered there, worked my shift, gone home, and hopefully avoided suspicion.

The Tidy-Up: Some time before dawn, I’d have dropped the knife down the drain, nowhere near my flat. I’d have given my nails a good brushing, melted the brush, and dropped that down, too. I’d have shown my face about town, all tidy and brazen, like I had nothing to hide.

The Let-Down: I never did it, of course. I had two jobs and school. My stakeout time was limited. I never caught more than two of them in the office at once. Some days, I’d think to myself, one’s better than none. I’d tell myself that, tell myself “all right, put on your moustache. Let’s get ‘em killed”—but then, I wouldn’t do it. Not in a dramatic way, like with tears, or with breaking things. It just wouldn’t get done, and it never got done—rather like my hoovering, which is why I employ a maid.

I kept the plan in the back of my head, for a while, like maybe I’d do it, one day. But I wouldn’t have. I had a vendetta, but I also had a conscience. I mean, it’s one thing to picture it, that satisfying gout of blood; that look of fading horror, as the lights go out—it’s another, entirely, to do it. The visuals have their appeal, all that red; the grey-faced dead…but not so much blood on my hands, that nasty, sticky…eugh; when it starts to clot…. Or guts squidging, catching on the—that serrated bit, near the hilt. And what if they bulged out, like…intestines on my feet? Worst of all, though, would be the knowing. Knowing I’d done it. Having to look back and remember, even if no-one found out….

I’d have had to move, and all. Paranoia would’ve crept in. People do get caught, even years after the fact. I’d have had to go somewhere that doesn’t extradite to Canada, and never come back. I’d have had to explain that to my mother.

I’m glad I didn’t gut anyone.

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