Monday, June 1, 2009

Best Of: "They Call Her The Breeze"

Statistically, for every three people murdered in the United States, two of the victims will personally know or be acquainted with their murderer. If you’re in a musical trio, or in a car pool, don’t look at one of your fellow musicians or commuters funny, or say the wrong thing. You don’t want to become another statistic.

Worse yet, more often than not, the system is set up so either the evidence must be more overwhelming than merely solid, to get a conviction. Or if there is a conviction, the punishment often, doesn’t fit the crime. So justice sometimes fails as a deterrent to both crime and murder.

It’s hard to feel safe as a woman in America, and I feel even less than safe because with my job, I have to frequently move. I did extensive research on this neighborhood before I even moved to this town, then I narrowed down the blocks that I found to be ideal. One house met my criteria and even looked picture perfect in the daytime.

At night? That was something entirely different. I found that there certain shadows that wouldn’t be cast out, no matter where I put my halogen lamps. When the sun went down and all the heat escaped to the attic, the house would moan and creak with the contractions of the wooden walls. The floors often sounded like someone was trying to sneak up on me, where there was no one to be found.

Amazingly, I was used to all this. This was my fifth move in as many years. It took me a few days to unpack and get situated, then two more to find the perfect jogging path. My chin-up bar, I kept in my bedroom closet, along with my free weights. After a week, I had to find a steady job to pay my bills. The job that should’ve been started, was at a standstill. It looked like it was going to take longer than I had anticipated.

I was always careful to jog in the same place, at the same time and stroll the same area at night. I decided to keep to myself and not socialize too much with the locals, because in the last town, that complicated my job. I practiced the few self-defense moves that I knew, who knows when they’ll come in handy?

It was an unseasonably hot evening that October, I had to open a few windows because the air was stagnating. I came out of the shower, all nice and relaxed. I slipped into a tee and some shorts, then I decided to sit in front of the living room window as a nice breeze was blowing against that side of the house.

As I flopped onto the couch, I realized that the center window was up higher than I had left it. I tensed, but before I could get up, I felt a sharp blade prick the left-side of my neck.

“Don’t scream…don’t move. Keep quiet and I won’t have to hurt you. If you understand me, say so, quietly.”

“Yes,” I whispered with a voice that sounded far more scared than I felt. I was actually quite calm.

“We’re going to go into the bedroom and you’re going to keep quiet. This will be over sooner than you think, if you don’t scream and you do exactly what I say.”

I took a deep breath, then I slowly got up. He had to shift the knife to keep it on me and I knew he would be leaning forward. I spun just as the knife went back a couple of inches and he stepped over the back of the couch with his right foot. He hesitated, they always do. His eyes went wide under his ski mask and he lunged forward with the knife.

I began with a simple aikido move using his own momentum and I turned his own knife back into him. His eyes went wider still, as the blade sunk into his chest. I used another aikido maneuver to grab him by his shirt and he fell on his own blade with a loud gasp. I smiled at the ease of this night.

I went over to the alcove to pick up my phone and call 911, when he grabbed me by my ankle. He was begging me to call him an ambulance, while he tried to find the handle of the knife. I kept an eye on him as I took the phone as I walked into the kitchen, where I grabbed a dish towel.

I looked as concerned as possible when I stood over him and said, “try to hang on, the ambulance is on its way.”

He said, “thanks," just as he had successfully found the hilt of the knife.

The concern on my face melted into another smile, and then, by God, I killed the son of a bitch. With the dish towel, I pushed down on the pommel of the knife and drove it in as far as it would go. I cursed myself for getting sloppy, mentally. If you saw as many horror movies as I had seen in my lifetime, you would know that the very first thing you do when the villain is down, is finish him.

I left the towel on top of him and went into the kitchen. I opened a drawer with my right foot, then grabbed one baggie, then another with my toes. One baggie was for the dish towel and the other was to open the back door, where I had a stash spot for any unplanned evidence in the yard. Then I worked myself up into hysterical fit and called the police.

With these small towns, it’s always open and shut with them, but I always like to make sure by leaving as little evidence as possible. The police interviewed me, taped off my house as a crime scene, while they put me up in a local motel. It never takes more than two days and at the end of the two days, I tell them that I simply have to move as soon as possible because I don’t feel safe in their town.

The easiest part is finding the paroled rapist and getting him to rise to the bait (though this one took longer than most). The hardest parts are the identity thefts that I have to perpetrate to protect my own identity. As well as wiping away all fingerprints and traces of me in the home before I move on.



This was originally a Friday Flash Fiction piece and JJ's starter sentence was, "and then, by God, I killed the son of a bitch." It's odd if you consider that the title was taken from what I originally thought was a Lynyrd Skynyrd song, but it turns out that JJ Cale originally wrote it. Wow, the name "JJ" came full circle.

I've said this before and I'll say it again, I miss Friday Flash Fiction. The closest thing to it is when Aldo, Gerald and Patti have a flash fiction challenge (there's one coming up a few days from now), but they have to limit it to every three or four months. If the writing deadlines didn't crop here and there, I would revive the Friday Flash.

9 comments:

Corey Wilde said...

I like this one, oh, yes, I do.

lakeviewer said...

Sow, that got me up and paying attention.

SkylersDad said...

Oh yes, this was a wonderful story!

Creepy said...

I love a happy ending.

Cormac Brown said...

Corey,

Excellent.

Rosaria,

Good ; )

Sky Dad,

Thank you, sir.

Creepy,

Doesn't it make you feel warm and fuzzy all over?

Freida Bee, MD said...

Cormac-

This one scripted would be an excellent name-your-favorite-murder-mystery-show episode.

I've watched too many episodes of "Bones" on Hulu, haven't I. But, Columbo is my favorite. There's street cred in that, right?

When I was a kid, in addition to thinking up books in my head, I used to think about ways people could rob places and get away with it. I never considered the two related until now.

My verification word "interven." Figures.

Cormac Brown said...

Frieda,

"I've watched too many episodes of "Bones" on Hulu, haven't I."

I'll go back to "Bones," as soon as they get rid of Borenaz. I've never liked the guy and it's not because he isn't a good actor.

"But, Columbo is my favorite. There's street cred in that, right?"

No street cred, but plenty of intellectual cred. Everyone loves how discombobulated the Detective seems, but nobody gets under the skin of the villains, quite the way he does.

"When I was a kid, in addition to thinking up books in my head, I used to think about ways people could rob places and get away with it. I never considered the two related until now."

That's how it starts. Unfortunately, my childhood stories were too much like Andy Sidaris movies. I'm glad I didn't continue down that path.

"My verification word "interven." Figures."

I wonder if Blogger uses the same engine that governs the side-ads that appear next to Gmail, because it's uncanny how some of the word verification words are so dead on.

Paul Brazill said...

This is great! I shall link.

Cormac Brown said...

Paulie Decibels,

Thanks much!