There’s one question that everyone that has heard even one-third of this story has always asked.
Why didn’t you guys call the cops?
I think Shorty and I actually looked at each other the first time anyone asked us that, and…we…had…no…answer…to that question.
In our defense, we were the guys that had been too stupid to ask Martha out, you know, on a date, so there’s that.
In my defense, I’m pretty sure it would’ve occurred to me to call the cops before we flew back to Minnesota. Probably.
I’m almost positive I would’ve called the police right after I had wrestled the gun away from Hillary, but then Shorty fell through the door and he decided we should kill George.
Once I bought into his plan… Well, let’s just say I’m capable of a single-mindedness of purpose that is sort of spooky sometimes.
Shorty, it would turn out, had his own reasons for not wanting Hillary thrown in the slammer. He would eventually tell me he had been fucking Hillary’s brains out every chance he got, and he didn’t miss any opportunities.
I know, right!
Well, all I can say now is Hillary must’ve fucked like two minks. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been willing to commit murder for at least half of the women I slept with in my younger days.
Ah, Youth! You are so very brief, so fleeting!
And sooo incredibly stupid.
* * * *
Hillary drove Michael’s van to George’s apartment. Shorty rode shotgun. I sat on a roll of carpeting in the back of the van. George and Hillary didn’t live very far from each other, a mile or two at the most. The streets were virtually deserted. It seemed the weather was willing to be our ally. A light rain fell, necessitating the need to turn the wipers on to keep the windshield clear.
We parked across the street from George’s apartment. Actually, George’s apartment complex looked more like a bunch of brownstone flats than the complex Hillary lived in. A flight of stairs led to each front door. That actually played perfectly into our plan, too. The street was dark and deserted. Some of the entrances to the flats had the light over the front door on, but George’s stoop was dark.
Shorty and I were actually pretty calm. We had split a Quaalude that Hillary had given us before we left her apartment. She wanted us nice and relaxed when we killed George.
“What’s going on inside? Can you see anything?” I asked. I couldn’t see a thing. There were no windows in the back of the van. I tried squeezing into the front seat, but Shorty shoved me back.
“The lights are on in the living room.” Hillary said. “I don’t see anyone inside… Wait! That’s George! He’s home! He’s home!!”
“Can you see anyone else? Is he alone?”
“I don’t see anyone else inside, do you?” Shorty asked Hillary.
“There’s no one else there. George doesn’t have any friends. No one likes that sonuvabitch!”
Shorty and I looked at each other. I’m pretty sure we were both having second thoughts about what we were doing. I know I was. My heart rate sped up a little, but not as much as it should have, considering what we were planning to do. Shorty would later say he also felt remarkably calm.
Maybe we should have been hitmen…
Hillary drove slowly to the end of the block, did a U turn, then parked the van in the parking lot. Shorty and I would walk to George’s apartment. When George answered the door, I would blind him with my flash, and we would force our way inside of his apartment, subdue him and kill him to death. Then we’d trash the place and make it look like a robbery gone wrong.
You can learn a lots about criminal behavior by watching cop shows on TV… But the cops always get their man, unless he’s one of those spookysmart serial killer guys.
Have you ever spent, like, thirty nanoseconds planning the perfect scenario to seduce the woman of your dreams, and have it blow up in your face like an overinflated balloon? Then spend a couple of hours haphazardly throwing together the most ridiculous scheme you could concoct to murder someone and have it go off like clockwork?
Well, that’s what got happened. Hillary kept the van running. I left the panel door open when I got out. Shorty and I walked to George’s apartment. I hid to the left of the door. Shorty had his knife in his right hand, and knocked on the door with his left.
“What the fuck do you want?” George said when he saw Shorty standing outside his door. I stepped out from the shadows and *flash*
Bam! We were inside. Now all we had to do was get George to not call the police and go along with the rest of our incredibly ridiculous plan. It may not have occurred to us to call the police, but we had no reason to believe that George wouldn’t.
Yeah, go figure…
* * * *
To say that George was surprised by our flash attack would be an understatement. We just about scared the shit out of him. And when he saw the knife in Shorty’s hand, well, that’s all it took to subdue him.
“Don’t hurt me! Take whatever you want! Just don’t…hurt…me… please!”
George and Michael were similar in appearance. George had a slighter build, and straighter hair. It was probably George’s appearance, more than anything else, that made Shorty and I think we could pull our ridiculous plan off. But watching him beg for his life made me realize just how stupid our plan was. We almost came to our senses and walked out the door. But, we had come this far…
“We’re not here to hurt you. We’re trying to save your life.” I said.
“What? You could’ve fooled me! I thought you were here to kill me!”
“Listen, we don’t have a lot of time.” And I started to explain to George the series of events that had unfolded after Michael had been arrested. If George had been surprised before, there is no word to describe his state of mind by the time I finished. “We really don’t have much time. Hillary’s in the parking lot waiting for us. Sorry about being such a dick the other day…”
“You–you saved my life.” George said. He was starting to look a little better.
“Not yet.” Shorty said. “We still need Hillary to think you’re dead.”
“Well, fuck that!” George said. “I’m calling the cops!”
“No, you’re not. Then I probably will have to kill you.” Shorty said, knife in hand.
“Why are you guys doing this? Why are you trying to help her? That woman is a fucking bitch!”
“She’s my friend.” Shorty replied. Just. Like. That. There was something about the way he said those three words that made even George believe friendship was something Shorty took very seriously.
“George, Hillary doesn’t need to be in prison. She needs help. She needs to see, like, a really good doctor, or something. And she’s not going to get that in prison. Look, I know you hate Hillary now, but you must have loved her a lot at one time.”
“Yeah. Yeah, I did.” he finally agreed.
And let me say this. Crazy people have a way of contaminating the minds of the people that love them, and even though I was years away from becoming a psych nurse, I didn’t need a lots of training to know Hillary had totally fallen off of her rocker. And George’s mind probably wasn’t as pristine as it once had been pre-Hillary, much like the coffee table Hillary had marred after George had won his lawsuit.
“That’s what we need, George. We need your help to help the woman you once loved.”
George looked at us for the longest time, as if he had never seen anything like us in his life before. I knew Shorty’s threat to kill George was a bluff, but he probably didn’t. George took a deep breath.
“Okay. What do you need me to do?”
“This is probably gonna sound a little weird, but we need some of your blood.”
* * * *
George and Shorty went into the kitchen. George didn’t want to get blood all over his apartment. Well, it was a really nice place.
I turned off the lights in the living room, and joined Shorty and our murder victim in the kitchen.
“May I?” George asked, indicating he wanted Shorty’s knife. I shrugged, Your choice. Shorty handed the knife over. George stood over the sink as he tested the blade with his thumb, and accidentally cut himself.
“Ouch! Goddamn, that’s really sharp!”
George reflexively started to stick his thumb in his mouth, but Shorty stopped him. Taking the knife back from George, the two of them milked George’s bleeding thumb, dripping blood on the blade of the knife and Shorty’s right hand. They really got caught up in the whole thing. George kept suggesting where the drops of his blood should go, and he thought there should be more. I was starting to like this guy.
I tried to pull Shorty’s wallet out of his back pocket. My plan was to pool our cash so I could show Hillary the money we had stolen from George, just in cases.
Yeah, I’m beginning to wonder which of us was crazier, too. Hillary, or me. Maybe that’s why I became such a good psych nurse…
“Hey! What’re you doing?” he asked. I quickly explained. Shorty’s wallet was crammed full of all kinds of stuff, and fat as a toad. It was essentially stuck in his pocket. “Don’t bother, I’m broke.”
I looked in my wallet. I had about one hundred twenty dollars.
“I was killed for a hundred and twenty bucks? That, is so sad.” George said. We all had a laugh about that. I was starting to love this guy.
Shorty’s hand was starting to look like an extra in a slasher movie. We hoped it would be enough to convince Hillary that not only was George really dead, he was really quite sincerely dead.
We thanked George for his blood and his cooperation. And we asked him once more not to call the police, or Jerry, and essentially play dead until Monday. He shrugged, and agreed, sucking his thumb. I grabbed a handful of paper towels and used them to close the door behind me on the way out.
Our plan, it seemed, had worked perfectly.
* * * *
“I want to see the body.”
Well, there was that. Yeah, it’s always something, you know?
Shorty and I had run as fast as we could to the van. I had slid the panel door shut, but instead of driving off, Hillary wanted to see the evidence of our success. I suppose we’re lucky she didn’t ask us to bring back a body part… She was impressed by the bloody knife and Shorty’s bloodied hand, but… She got out of the van and headed for George’s apartment.
“Drive!” I said to Shorty. He jumped behind the wheel. I slid open the panel door. We caught up with Hillary about halfway to George’s apartment. I reached out and grabbed her by her ponytail.
There’s a little known Law of Physics I like to call Mark’s Law of Hair. In essence, whichever direction your hair is pulled in, the rest of your body will follow. Don’t believe me? Try it sometime.
All of Hillary came flying into the van. And she was pissed!
I started explaining our plan all over again, and how it was imperative that she not be at the scene of the crime, but she wasn’t having any of it.
“Hillary, I just killed a man for you.” Shorty said. “I just killed George for you. You can either believe me, or not. And if you don’t believe me…”
There was so much pain and heartbreak in Shorty’s voice, I almost started crying. If this had been a movie, Shorty would’ve won an Oscar for that line. It was so perfect!
Hillary actually stopped acting like a psychobitch from hell and climbed into the front seat so she could smother Shorty with kisses.
Ain’t love grand?
* * * *
We returned to the apartment. Shorty washed George’s blood off of his hand and Michael’s knife.
“We have to get rid of this. And this.” I said, referring to Michael’s knife and the jacket Shorty had worn. “I’ll toss them somewhere.”
I hid the knife in the glove compartment of the van. I stashed the jacket behind the roll of carpeting. I figured Michael would find them again, someday. The steering wheel was sticky. Shorty had gotten George’s blood on it when he had to drive after Hillary, that fucking bitch! The wad of paper towels from George’s apartment was still in the van. I found a puddle of water and cleaned off the steering wheel.
It wasn’t until that precise moment that I seriously started questioning what we had done. And it was also at that moment I decided to blame the Quaaludes for messing up my mind.
Dallas, would cure me of my pill addiction.
One down, two to go…
* * * *
Shorty’s cousin and his buddies started showing up about 7:00 PM, and we launched an all-out offensive on the remaining beer in the keg. If nothing else died that day, that goddamn keg was going down. I. Was. Determined.
If I had to guess, and believe me, that’s all I can do at this point in time, I’d say there were anywhere from ten to fifteen people that showed up. The Epic Party at the End of the World, Part II, was kicked off.
Hillary was bubbly and bouncey, and half the time she was draped all over Shorty like a cape. The look on his face showed he was enjoying the hell out of that. If I hadn’t started hating Hillary’s guts, I probably would’ve been jealous. As it was, I figured it’d make her that much easier to keep track of. I didn’t trust her any farther than I could throw her apartment complex.
Our guests for Epic Party, Round Two were a bunch of guys. I almost wished I had paid more attention to where the bikini babes by the pool lived. I would’ve knocked on their doors and invited them. I really wished I had asked Randi for her phone number. I totally would’ve called her and invited her over. I could’ve asked Hillary for Randi’s number, but I didn’t feel like asking her for any favors.
I think the only person at that party who didn’t have a great time, was me. I was tired. I was tired of Dallas. I just wanted to go home. And that’s when I knew I would not be staying in Dallas, not even if Martha got down on her knees and begged me to stay.
Well, that might have changed my mind…
“Don’t let Hillary out of your sight for any reason.” I told Shorty. We were both watching her dance with one of Leroy’s buddies. She was the only woman at the party, and was clearly enjoying the attention. She was no longer dressed like a ninja. She was wearing a loose fitting multicolored top and tight jeans. And that’s when Shorty told me how he had been spending his time with Hillary when neither Michael or I were around.
I’m pretty sure that just made me feel more depressed.
“So, any thoughts on the day’s events?” I asked, changing the subject.
“Yeah.” Shorty sighed. “I think George is probably the only decent person out of the whole bunch of us.” That made me feel worse, as if that were possible.
“We can’t let Hillary go anywhere alone.” I said. I was earnestly whispering into Shorty’s ear. “The first thing she’ll do is run over to George’s apartment and make sure we really killed him.”
“Mark, my friend, y’all have gotta lighten up!” Leroy had me wrapped up in a bear hug and was shaking me like a ragdoll. It’s a good thing Hillary hadn’t wanted us to kill Leroy. Neither Shorty nor I would’ve gotten out of Dallas alive. He was a big, muscular guy. If George had had Leroy’s physique, there’s no way we would have decided to take him on. “Y’all look so serious! What’re y’all doin’? Planning a murder?”
“That was earlier today!” Shorty laughed. I found a smile, somewhere inside me, and the laugh I produced sounded almost genuine.
But I felt no joy. I was starting to feel incredibly shitty about what we had done, even if we hadn’t actually killed anyone. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I wouldn’t have wrestled the gun away from Hillary.
I would’ve made her pull the trigger.