When Lives Collide
Jake’s experiment with the ice pick did not make the news. He listened to the TV news. Jake even bought papers which he had never done before but there was not a word.
He noticed a difference in his parole officer. He questioned Jake longer about where he had been and what he had been doing. Then he saw him at work talking to his boss. He was about to run when one of his fellow ex-cons said,
“Somebody must have got killed. Every time that happens around here they check us all out. It isn’t fair.”
Jake paused. Maybe they hadn’t figured out he was the “ice pick killer”, a name he had given himself. He continued at work and over the next few days thought they weren’t looking for him but just checking out the ex-cons. It was one of the few times that Jake was right. He decided he would retire the “ice pick killer” and become “the strangler.”
He got a piece of dowel from a lumberyard and a piece of piano wire from a hardware store and soon had fashioned a garrote. Jake had never seen one or heard the name before his training but it was one of the improvised weapons he had learned about.
He had gotten enough money from his work to buy a beat up old car. He thought his next victim should come from somewhere other than where he lived. By this time a month had gone by since his ice pick killing. He couldn’t decide where his next victim should be killed. With his usual careful planning he got into his car one evening and drove until he was over a hundred miles from home and then cruised the first town he came to looking for the red-light district. He soon found the ladies of the night but drove right past their corner. Jake parked his vehicle several blocks away in a drugstore parking lot and walked back to the ladies’ corner.
He walked up to the nearest woman and said,
“Money first honey.”
“What do you want?”
“Just a quickie.”
The money changed hands.
“I’m in a hurry so no motel just a close by alley.”
“What’s a matter sugar? Is the missus expecting you?”
“Yeah, so we gotta make this quick.”
“OK, OK, right this way.”
They entered the nearest alley.
“I want it from behind.”
She turned her back and dropped her tight pants and said her last words,
“Go to it, sweetie.”
Jake already had his garrote out and in a flash it was over her head, around her neck and Jake was pulling with all his strength. She struggled briefly but suddenly Jake was being covered with blood as she collapsed to the asphalt. Her head was hanging at an odd angle. Jake had pulled so hard that he had almost severed her neck.
In his panic, he left his garrote and ran out the opposite end of the alley. He slowed down to a walk. Jake was lucky, and no one saw him on his walk back to his car. He got in and started the long drive home. Jake was careful about the speed limit and didn’t even see a cop. He laughed. Where was a cop when you needed one? His drive gave him time to think. He had slipped on gloves as they walked to the alley and realized he still had them on. Now he discovered that his gloves were soaked with blood, and then he saw that he was also covered. He knew what to do. He stopped just outside of his home town. His junker car had not been cleaned up since the last owner, and he knew there was a can of some liquid in the trunk and a pair of coveralls. He stopped under a bridge. He remembered from one of his many foster homes that naphtha was also called white gas and was used in camping stoves before propane became more popular. The important thing was that it burned. He slipped on the coveralls and poured the gas over the inside and outside of the car. Then he took off the gas cap and poured some over the opening and down into the tank.
He stepped back, liked what he saw, then reached in and popped the cigarette lighter in. When it popped out, he grabbed it through the open window stood back and threw it back inside. There was a whoosh, and he ran up the bank to the street on the overpass. When he reached the top, there was a loud boom as the gas tank exploded. Jake walked calmly away from the mess he had created on the street below.
He took an hour to get home to his room. He showered and got rid of his clothes in the dumpster behind his building. Then he used the payphone to call the cops and report his car stolen. He would have to buy another junker tomorrow. He returned to his room, lay on his bed, and thought to himself, another successful mission completed by the secret agent man. Then he planned his next assignment. He wanted to do something with an IED.
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