I call in sick today and Benson is suspicious. Whatever. I sit at my computer and flip the switch, bringing the blank monitor to life. The chat room calls. My name is BANE.
SPAZZ is on again. All he can talk about is his divorce and how he hates his wife.
SPAZZ: Is it against the law to hire a hit man? Just kidding.
BANE: I’ve heard of too many cases where a hit man was more trouble than he was worth. Much better to do it yourself. Just kidding.
SPAZZ: Don’t temp me.
BANE: I’m just voicing what you really want to do. Hear me out. If you’re not afraid.
A dog barks. I look out the window. A woman is walking a dog, but it keeps tugging at the leash. She’s using one of those choker collars. The more the mutt yanks at the chain, the tighter it becomes. The dog stops barking and begins gasping for air. The woman continues to jerk the leash, and as they turn the corner out of sight, I can hear the dog’s toenails scraping on the concrete. The scene repulses me and I think about Benson. My jaw begins to clench.
SPAZZ: I don’t think I hate her enough to kill.
BANE: That’s the problem with people. They think too much.
SPAZZ: Okay. How would you do it?
Yeah, I told SPAZZ that people think too much, but some serious thinking was in order to answer this question. I ran a picture through my mind of the perfect murder. Gunshot. Strangling. Stabbing. Explosion. Carbon monoxide. Poison. Not to mention the various methods of torture. The list is endless.
I smile for the first time in weeks.
BANE: Logic and reason are your friends. You can’t afford to be ruled by impulse. Murder is a fine art.
SPAZZ: You sound pretty serious. This is a joke, right?
BANE: Of course. We’re just hypothesizing.
The phone rings. I feel the tension in my neck and back. Sweat begins to bead along my forehead. Caller ID says BENSON. He’s checking up on me. I take a deep breath as I pick up the phone.
“Hello…Mr. Benson?...yes, sir…not too good…I think I might go to the doctor if my fever doesn’t break soon…I should be back to work in a couple of days…I just need some rest…I appreciate your concern, but it’s not necessary…no…I couldn’t trouble you…it’s out of your way…of course you can drop by…if you insist…goodbye, sir.”
Looks like I’ll be having company later. Benson’s making a special trip to see me and he’s bringing the Hamilton file. He thinks I can work on it at home when I start feeling better so I won’t be so far behind. My lucky day. I look at my computer screen. SPAZZ hasn’t missed a beat.
SPAZZ: How exactly would you kill my wife?
BANE: You need to observe her behaviors. What is her daily routine? Where does she go? What does she do? Then you need to establish an alibi. That is very important. A documented phone call or an airplane ticket.
SPAZZ: Seems like an awful lot of trouble.
BANE: Yeah, but the stakes are high in the game of murder. You have to really want this person dead. Nothing else matters. You embrace a perpetual hatred toward the object of your wrath. Your life is meaningless as long as she is alive.
SPAZZ: I guess you’re right.
BANE: It requires commitment and patience. Observations of her behaviors may take weeks. Even months. But in the end it’s worth it.
SPAZZ: What about motive? If you hate someone that much, you’re bound to be the first suspect.
BANE: You’re right. You have to speak well of her in front of others, especially her close friends and associates. In fact, go out of your way to be kind and thoughtful to her. This is all part of the preparation period.
SPAZZ: Hey, you’re good.
BANE: Compliments will get you nowhere.
SPAZZ: The weapon of choice?
BANE: Poison. It’s silent. No fuss. No pain. Easy clean up.
SPAZZ: You give her a martini, or what?
BANE: A dark-colored carbonated beverage works best. Hides the fizz.
SPAZZ: Since we’ve gone this far, how would you dispose of the body?
I thoughtfully stroke my chin. Slicing and dicing is no good. Much more fun but way too messy. Blood everywhere. Incineration is good if you have a fireplace or furnace, however, it would have to be in winter, otherwise it will arouse the curiosity of neighbors.
BANE: Bury it. Preferably in a basement underneath the concrete or in a wall. Like a tomb. You can use chemicals to dry out the body to prevent odor.
SPAZZ: Seems like you have an answer for everything. I’m impressed.
BANE I haven’t mentioned the most important thing.
SPAZZ: What’s that?
BANE: The test comes when they begin to question you about what happened. At this point, you must be very careful. Everything depends on it. Act too upset, they’ve got you. Act too casual, they’ve got you. Be ready for any question. They’re experts. If you can beat them on the psychological level, you’ve won. Keep your story straight. That’s the key. They will have you retell the story over and over, asking different questions each time, trying to trip you up. And they’ll analyze every movement. Every facial expression. Every nuance of speech.
SPAZZ: Congratulations. You’ve committed the perfect murder.
The doorbell rings. It’s Benson with my “homework.”
BANE: Have to sign off now. Talk later.
I log off. As I walk to the door, I smile for the second time in weeks. On the kitchen table are two glasses and a six pack of Coke.