I once had this little bird, you know. I kept it in a cage near the kitchen. Never found out what sort of bird it was; but it was a beautiful yellow and rust coloured creature , and I always brought it all the good things that I felt a bird could ever desire- seeds, nuts,and every worm and bug I could dig up from the garden. And for me this bird, it would sing and twitter beautifully and gratefully. Then one day I decided to give it a little bit more roaming space and I flung open the gate of its cage. Now this little runt first of all appears at a loss . Didn't immediately trust my motive ,see? It didn't trust me at all. It tottered towards the open gate. And there it stood for a long while contemplating the wide expanse of freedom that had suddenly become obtainable. It hopped a little distance away from its dungeon. Again it paused as if not believing its good fortune. Then with a mighty leap and a powerful burst of flapping wings it fled into the sky never to return. I was sad for days, see ? I was very sad. I'd actually believed that the feathered fucker genuinely liked me and its songs were of love. Freedom - so sad ,so sweet.
Fred is already going fucking crazy. Never mind , he's soon going to be dead anyway. Fred O'Reilly teaches at the University of East London. Sociology lecturer, right ? I found Fred at the Yahoo "Murder and motive" discussion group. And quite lucky for him that I found him, see ? Quite lucky for him that he also lived in Barking, just about half a mile away from me , okay .
Now there is this game that I had created. It's actually for television, see ? I thought it would make a great serial. Fred had been just perfect for testing it out. You know, you can't go to market with a half-assed television proposal, okay . So I get Fred to test it out for me, right ?
'Just Desserts' - that's the name of the game. Now this is how it is played : we sort of make up a character and then look at the best means of killing the fucker - just like murder investigation in reverse. Easy ,right ? But try polishing this bloke up a bit, okay , Like maybe he doesn't smoke, doesn't drink, doesn't mess around, doesn't even do fucking drugs. And hey, he's got a great family, a sweet blue-eyed daughter ,a pregnant wife ,a mum dying from cancer and depending on this bloke to pay the hospital bills. Does it still look very easy to you ? Well I am no psycho ,right ; I'm no fucking psycho.
It is a great game really; once you get the hang of it . Every Saturday we would get together, me and Fred. and over a dozen or so cans of Guinness we would try to total another sucker. Fred's testing my game as far as he knows, and I'm assisting him to put together his lectures, which is just great, okay? This is just a game , okay ? Game, right ?
For perspective, there is this bloke that we'd been trying to nail, without luck, for weeks .Eighty five year old bloke; lame and never gets out of his wheelchair . My client - well, make believe - want me to do this old geezer in. They want him fucking erased, right ? Problem was that the old bloke had a wife almost as old, and who hung around him all day long like his bad breath.
" This nutty woman is putting us in a fix. I mean why does she just hang around the bloke, doing her senseless knitting. Big problem, don't you think ?" , Me and Fred had been having a tete-a-tete over it all . Sometimes , this game gets so real and you have to sort of move yourself into the scene,see ?. And after four cans each, the transition to scene gets a bit easier to do , right ?
"Why don't you just get the old lady to do the dirty job. She could slip some poison into his tea". Fred had suggested. I didn't go with that.
"No. The wife loves him madly . Apart from that, she's an amateur with poisons. I want a clean job"
"Send in a psycho to ransack the house , beat the old girl up a little bit and then do the bloke in", Fred had again suggested.
" She's likely to scream and bring all the neighbours running.", was my advice.
"Well I give up. Why don't we just wait for the bloke to drop dead. He's nearly ninety for God's sake. Only a few more years to go".
"My client cannot wait. The situation is that there is a secret to protect. It is only this bloke that knows this secret, and if it ever gets out it's going to cost my client a lot", I tell Fred.
"How about a good clean head shot with a long range rifle" ;Fred had again offered for perhaps the hundredth time.
" No chance"; I had wised him up . "Remember the bloke never goes outside. Never comes near the windows. He's probably got mildew growing on his butt already. It will make more sense to have a stealth killer climb through the window and fix him with a silenced handgun"
"Hire a retired SAS", Fred had suggested.
"You fucking out of your nut ? How the hell does one hire fucking SAS to do a fucking murder ? And remember anyway that the wife is always with him"
"Well she certainly must have to leave him by himself for some minutes. At least she would need to make his tea. Perfect opportunity to nail him. In and out in a minute or two" Fred had said.
"Let's close this case. It is an impossible job", I had told Fred.
And that was how we had left it. You see I'd already made up my mind what to do with the bloke. Fred had told me . Only I hadn't told Fred. And that is what also makes it an interesting game.
A much bigger problem for me was Fred's habit for following Susan all over the house with his eyes . Susan is my wife, see ? Susan had not liked Fred initially. In fact she resented his visits and had often told me so.
"If he wants a hot dinner and beer let him go get it at a pub Steve; don't start bringing stray dogs into my house", she used to protest.
Well I didn't very much care for Fred either. Heck I'm not gay or nothing like that. But this situation was that territorial rights had to be asserted, understand ?
"He's assisting me to make a living , Susan. Problem is that you think too much of your personal comfort, and everyone in the world take third position ", I had told her.
"I just don't like that man Steve. He drinks too much", Susan had tried to persuade me.
" No problem; I'm buying the booze not you", I tell her. You've got to put women in their place you know ,or else they get too uppity.
"That's another problem. You're not supposed to be drinking; and you are not supposed to smoke anymore. Dr. Maxwell warned you about that you know......", she goes on and on and on.
"That was a long time Sue; I'm okay now. All I had was a bit of stress situation. The thing about doctors is that they exaggerate your situation. I mean do I fucking look like I'm a nut ?', I try to straighten the situation up a little bit more, which leaves her sighing delightfully.
"I am just concerned Steve, My intuition tells me that this man is going to get you into trouble ; and I think you should get rid of him"
But Fred O' Reilly was my friend so there was little that she could do about that. Okay, that pissed her off, but still we own the house together and I am entitled to my visitors, see ? Intuition my foot.
Somehow however things had changed quite impossibly. I can't be really sure why but a sort of attraction had started to develop between Fred and Susan. You know women do crazy things. This a pity because I was beginning to really like this bloke, see. I noticed that Fred had become more careful with his dressing. The usual sweatshirt has been replaced by a nice dinner jacket and a neck scarf. And oh, how he stank of Brut. Susan also generally became quite sunnier whenever Fred came around. Gone was the characteristic gelidness by which I sensed her presence about the house. And oh, she also dressed specially for those evenings. Women do crazy things, you know. Now when a woman wears high heels around the house , you get the impression that she's partying, okay ? Party, right ?
One thing though that I enjoyed about this bizarre scene was that, whenever Fred came visiting dinner was good. The dessert was always very good. Hey, I've never had Sue put so much care and love into preparing dessert. And I am sure Fred had never had good meals like he did on Saturday nights at my house . And so I could see Fred's eyes following Sue all about the house like a very hungry dog at a sausage parade . And hey, I can imagine the intention behind those sort of looks. And I think it is the kind of look that assured you that it may be just a matter of time for that lady to become the dessert - like as soon as your back is turned, see ?. And I am pissed off, okay ? I am pissed.
" The problem's solved.". I had told Fred next Saturday. " It so happened that this old bloke killed his wife first, just before the assassin struck". Fred is flabbergasted.
"This bloke is eighty five for Christ sake. What kind of motive would he have to do a hell of a thing like that ?"
" Oh, she could have brought him weak tea or something. And while she's turning away, he bludgeons her to death with the tea kettle"
"You are out of your nut", Fred wondrously says .
"Hey you never know with blokes. He's been married for over sixty five years, And this wife has been hanging around him and nagging his ass off for sixty five years. Perfect reason. Now the bloke's contemplating the bliss of his last few months spent alone. It figures'
"You seem quite pleased to have that old lady dead, aren't you ?"
"Yes, death happens. She unfortunately died", I was truly sad, okay ? Very sad.
Susan had a nasty fall. Got herself a concussion and fractured arm and leg. You've got to be careful when descending stairs you know. Especially if you are wearing high-heeled shoes. Especially when you don't know who has been at your high heeled shoes. Okay, those shoes are built to take rough treatment believe me; but with a bit of perseverance and the right tools, you can just make them a little more dangerous, see ? They can be very dangerous.
The doctors think Susan will be on admission for a long while. Poor girl; she does look a real mess .And I can understand that. Lying on a bed all day with a bandaged head, and with your arm and leg suspended from a scaffold like a fucking marionette, you are not likely to look great either, see? You ain't going to look great at all.
"It hurts. Fred; I am hurting all over",she's moaning and sobbing "I wish I was dead"
And what else could you do in my position than to pat her lovingly on the shoulder.
"You will be out of here in no time". I promised her. But she doesn't quite believe, I think. I don't think she believes me at all.
"It hurts Fred. I wish I was dead", she moans some more.
Tut, tut ! Stop asking for things because you just might get them is my belief.
"Have you been taking your medicine Steve ? Dr. Maxwell says it is very important that you take them ", she's trying again to explain to me, in spite of her agony .
" Sure", I told her. No point in confusing the situation, see ?. The truth is that I had thrown them all down the toilet. Fucking pills made me groggy and disjointed.
"Dr. Maxwell also said that it is important for you to stay away from alcohol and smoking. Please do that for me Steve", she's pleading . And the way she's going on , anyone would think she's at death's door, making last requests.
"Believe me, I'm okay now, Sue. What I had was a bit of stress situation. Doctors tend to exaggerate things. I mean do I look crazy ?", I demanded.
"Just be careful ", she'd sadly sniffed. And that was the mood in which I had left her.
That's what happens to people who fool around : they usually break something.
"Poor Susan. On the brighter side though, lucky she didn't break her neck", Fred was to my satisfaction ,distraught.
Now that would have been a pretty heavy mess. 'It isn't hard to imagine the fucking police machinery getting hold of the offending shoe. It is not hard at all to imagine the police machinery sniffing around the heads of neighbours and friends. And, it is not hard at all for them to soon learn that Susan and hubby are not quite great friends. It is not very hard for two plus two to begin to look immediately like four, right ?
" I mean worse could have happened. Poor girl could have died". Fred is saying with genuine sorrow.
Now this bloke is putting ideas in my head,
Release. With Susan away I really did begin to feel this extremely marvelous release. Therefore, freshly accoutered in freedom ladies and gentlemen; like the forementioned bird I resolved to pursue new vistas; exploring new constituencies that I'd previously only dared read about.
Now I can't quite explain how I got so attached to Mark Currie - Mark The Knife to you, okay ? I met this bloke at The Barking Dog. I wonder whoever it is that gives names to these pubs. Some drunk, I suppose. Now The Barking Dog is not your kind of place for a family outing . Here, meet Roger The Rod everybody. Minnie the Moocher just left and there's Poison Ivy just coming in. The Barking Dog is a new world; a new organism. Kinetic evil. That is the place where I met Mark.
Mark is about fifty five, okay ? Spent half of his years in the clink for doing a bloke in .
"What's an uptown bloke like you doing in a rat trap like this ?" I remember him asking me.
"I came to enjoy myself, just like everybody else", I had told him.
"Hey, blokes like you come to this kind of joint to die, understand ?. Look, you stand out like a rose in a box of mushroom"
"I don't have any problems with that". I had assured Mark.
"Look, I like this place and I don't want any decent person to die here, and for the cops to close the place down, do you understand me ?". He had sounded really worried, and I told him that I understood.
" I can take care of myself", I had affirmed.
"Like hell you can", he had morosely concurred.
I bought him six beers that night. The consequences was that Mark decided that he had a job to protect my ass from being killed. And so I became his responsibility and he became mine. Nice partnership.
Mark seemed generally pleased to tell all who cared to listen the reason why he got locked away.
"Bloke was messing up with my fiance on my wedding eve and I stuck him with a knife", he had proudly told me. "I didn't mean to kill the idiot, but you know how these things go", he had regretfully added. Mark is a sincere criminal. There aren't many of his kind around. And I think that is why I began to like him.
"Bloke got his just dessert, right ?"
"Yes, something like that", he'd brightened up."Blokes with glass bellies shouldn't play rough games"
Victoria Collins loved the plot.
" It's got an amusing twist" she had told me on the phone. "Mama gets her just dessert after sixty five years of tyranny, just because she served weak tea and her bloke's fed up with having weak tea for sixty five damned years and not being able to say he's had enough"
"Yes; and the bloke dies of a heart attack, just as the Ninja steps in. He thought it was the angel of death. Scared him to death without a single shot fired ", I had added.
Victoria is the editor of Complete Crime Magazine. Okay. I also send her these stuff for good money; so you can see where all this is really going, right ? Five hundred quid she pays me for each story , see ? All for a couple of six-packs.
"We'll use it that way", she had told me. And I was relieved to be shot of that piece. Now for this business about Fred.
" Listen Vickie, I've got a toughie here. It's quite a complicated plot. It's a love based thing. And I think women are better at love things "
'Okay, shoot", Vickie had said to me.
"It's got a lot of poetry " I had warned her. "You know, you can't have a love thing without poetry"
"Yuck !!. Okay get it over with", Vickie had said.
" The scenario is like this : This cool bloke and this lovely chick fall in love and get married, see? But love soon suffers post nuptial demise . Are you still with me ?"
"Yep, creepy story", Vickie had encouraged.
"Now ageing lovely chick falls in love again . But ageing cool bloke is not pleased. In fact he's real pissed about the whole situation you see ? Really pissed off, right ? And he's thinking like hey someone ought to get their just dessert, see ? Now , if Romeo's going to get it, should he know why he's getting done ? I mean should he know that it is because he's been messing with OPP ? You know all that romantic shit. I mean is that going to make the story more interesting ?"
" I'll think about it . I'll kick it around me head a bit and call you in a few days" Vickie had promised.
" Thanks dear. Love is cold. It distresses a straightforward crime.", I had very sincerely told her.
" Now Listen Steve, don't do anything stupid yet, okay ?'. I thought she sounded a bit worried there . Women can be quite funny creatures.
"You know me". I had assured her.
I telephoned Fred yesterday. He didn't know that it was me of course. Put four marbles in your mouth and you begin to sound like that bloke in The Godfather, okay ?.
"You killed my dog, you fucking sonofabitch and I am coming to get you'. I had yelled at him. And I can imagine the bloke's head working like crazy trying to figure out where he had killed any fucking dog. And okay, he can't remember because there is no dog.
"Who is this....hello.... who is this ...?". I could hear him stammering.
"Never mind who the hell this is. You killed my gaddem dog. You killed my best friend you stupid shit and your turn is coming soon" ; and I had slammed the phone.
This bloke is going to go crazy, right ? Go clean crazy just thinking who it was, And that is the idea, drive him fucking nuts before finishing him off. That is the general idea.
I phoned him again this morning.
"One good night, dog killer", I had told him. Now, if I told you I could sound like fucking Rambo would you believe ?
"One good dark night for me and you, kingshit"
Fred did look a sight when he came in this evening. Cracking up already and I sort of felt a little sorry for him. So I fetched him a can of Guiness. Not that it would help him much really. Heck, he would definitely feel a lot worse when he returns home tonight -reason being that I have arranged for Mark the Knife to put a freshly killed dog newly liberated from Battersea at his front door . Bloke will soon go clean crazy.
Now for this other unfinished business.
" Look Fred, I am not very good at this love thing. I am sure you're a lot better than me with all that jazz. Now, there's this scenario that's just cropped up. Do you think it is okay to administer euthanasia to a half willing person .You know, out of love ?". I quite sincerely wanted to know. But Fred didn't appear too impressed with that one. Stupid prick.
"That is pure murder. You can never get away with it", he had drunkenly howled. With Susan away, he's definitely starving to death. Death by starvation : the thought excited me,
"Listen Steve, I don't want to play these stupid games anymore. It's not doing you any good; me neither ", he is stammering. "I went to see Susan at the hospital yesterday. She 's very worried about you . She hasn't seen you for more than a week", Fred begins to tell me.
"I've been busy". I tried to explain to the dummy.
"You can't be too busy to visit your own wife in hospital, Steve. Susan also says that I should try and persuade you to see Dr. Maxwell. Apparently, the doctor says he hasn't seen you for months"
"I don't want to see any fucking psychiatrist. There's nothing the matter with me", I told Fred. It's really not too hard to get angry and impatient with this man see ?
"Dr Maxwell doesn't seem to agree. You see, he's also worried about you".
Hey, I have an amateur detective here ladies and gents.
"You think I should be locked away in a bughouse ?"
The plot thickens. And yes, I could now see the whole secret plan beginning to unfold . Susan did have a lot of foresight about this bloke - certainly was going to cause me trouble. Fred has really outlived his charter. I had to get rid of him.
Now how would you wish this bloke to go How would you like this sucker to get his just dessert. What is the motive ? Okay it's like this . You make friends with this loser bloke; you bring him into your house; you give him your dinner, your ciggies and your expensive beer. And he's not satisfied with that. Hey, he wants your wife too; plus he also wants you locked away in a nut house. He wants your wife pretty badly you know. How would you like this sucker to get his just dessert. ? Now tell me how would you like this sucker to get his just dessert ? Tell me.
Vickie never called back . No matter though; now that I've got Mark The Knife. Mark has his own unchanging idea about these sort of things , see ?. Mark has no imagination. It is impossible to really make a success of anything in life if you have imagination.
"Give him the knife", Mark had always insisted. "He'll die slowly and painfully"
"No, no. When you stick people with a knife they yell like crazy. It's only on television that people die silently when you knife them . It's only on television and stupid love films.", I had told Mark.
"Big deal. Not if you slit his throat", Mark The Knife had snorted.
"Too messy", I had told him. And the mere thought of all that blood gushing out unto my hand made me dizzy with nausea.
And though ,It's quite sad and painful; I thought it really did appear that there is only one satisfactory way to conclude a story such as this. It would be a messy end I know; not my favourite way . Just shoot the fucker . Period. The end.
You can get almost anything at The Barking Dog. Mark got me a pistol - with a silencer. That quite seemed to settle the matter of the motive and the means,right ? Now what was I going to do about method ? I could hardly go ask Fred could I ? I love good murders. You see; a good murder is an art. The motive , the means and the method must fit together quite nicely.
I bet you are already so sure that I'm going to shoot Fred, eh ? I can hear your head working it out like crazy right ? Tick tock tick tock.....working it out like crazy. Fucking wrong you are. What do you take me for ; some fucking psycho ? The way the police machinery works, I'll be in the clink in ten fucking hours. No way I'm going to shoot the fucker, okay ? No fucking way.
Now me and Miss Ivy Stafford; we have a rather hot thing going on see ? Remember Ivy from The Barking Dog ? Poison Ivy to you. Ivy is a real nurse,see ? and she works at the hospital where we took Susan. Knows about every poison in the world,that's my Ivy. And she gave me something for Fred's beer, see ? Slow poison, right ? It's not going to start working for about six hours, Ivy had told me . And after that, stupid fucker's gonna have a massive lightning-quick heart failure. Best thing is that the stuff doesn't leaves any trace, which is rather neat. For all the cops will find, poor Fred died from the shock of seeing a dead dog on his doorstep. Really, really neat.
Now as I was saying, Ivy is a nurse at the hospital where we took Sue ....