Wednesday, August 09, 2006

First draft, readable.

The first draft of the longer short story I wrote. I made some drastic changes on the second draft. I'm going to start tomorrow on another of similar length. Posted with no edits, I'd post the final draft, but I sent it into a literary magazine (Third Coast) and I'm not sure if it's okay to have it here. Click below for mediocrity in longer form.

New post made it work. Here it is readable this time. Old post kept up as monuement to failure.

"Hobbyist."

Jeff Rink

The hooker was lying at my feet unconscious; it was not nearly as fun as I thought it would be. I had planned it all so carefully, step by step, each leading me flawlessly into the next. Once I actually did it though, an unconscious hooker lying there, waiting for me to slit her throat, carve her abdomen to remove my memento and leave her bleeding in the alley, all my carefully ingrained romantic imagery of a man in a top hat and long black coat, terrible grin, and gleaming razor blade fell to pieces. It just was not very fun, there was satisfaction in success up to this point, the sense that I was going to do some sort of moral duty and clean up society, and the idea of it being in the paper the next morning was neat, but it just lacked a sense of fulfillment. I suppose that finding out that your new hobby really is not all that fun while a hooker lies unconscious on the pavement at your feet is a little late in the game.

I really was proud of myself that I had finally started a hobby, not like when I was going to brew my own beer, learn to play million-dollar Black Jack, or breed parakeets for fun and profit. Each of those made my cheap plywood bookshelf sag a little more, but did not ever lead anywhere. In this case I was not able to find a guide so I wrote down my steps, making up my own little booklet. Without further ado, here are “Saint J. Bakier's Steps and Rules for Successful Ripping: With notes from the author on his own experience.”


Step One is called “Getting the Tools of the Trade.” It is self-explanatory, you will need all the requisite tools for the act and the image, these are:

  • The blade: Must be very sharp. A straight razor is one possibility, but this is not ideal especially given the difficulty of finding a genuine straight razor. A stage prop razor is obviously inadequate, these are not actually sharp. The key with the blade is that it is sharp enough to go through the skin easily; a butcher's knife is very effective as it is designed for a similar purpose. For the same reason surgical tools, such as scalpel, are most likely ideal, but are not necessarily as good as butcher tools, a surgical tool is designed to be used on a living person, it's designed for slower, careful use. Butcher tools in contrast are designed for use on a carcass, but are not as precise. The main thing to remember is the blade's purpose, it is to be used for the killing slash across the throat, then for post mortem mutilation and the removal of an organ as a memento. All of this has to be done with speed and ideally precision. Remember when picking your blade the purpose of its use, it has to be very sharp. In my case, I decided on a professional quality butcher knife I found at a local supplier, assuming that with no real training I would never reach a level of precision that would be noticeable with any tools. The speed, however, would hopefully allow me further opportunity for practice.

  • Hand and arm protection: This again has a number of options for the reader to decide upon. It is not as critical to the successful practice of the hobby, but is a consideration. Since you will be approaching the target from the front with the intention of strangling them into unconsciousness, they will likely struggle, possibly scratching the practitioner in the process. Avoiding leaving evidence such as skin under your target's fingernails is important; in addition being scratched is not enjoyable. Leaving fingerprints or getting blood on your clothing are also considerations, pick a material that is easily washable. Gloves should avoid leaving distinctive fibers or marks on the body, a generic pair of winter gloves should suffice. Make sure that you will be able to grip properly while using them and also use the blade efficiently. For the sake of image black is best, but avoiding an appearance that will draw suspicion is also important. In my own case, I decided on thin brown leather gloves and a red fleece jacket to hide blood spatter. With elastic at the cuffs it prevented exposure of my arms during the strangulation, the pockets had ample room for the gloves to be stuffed in when disposing of it.

  • A method of removing your memento from the scene: This has fewer options. Ideally, it has to be airtight to prevent smells, inconspicuous when leaving the scene, and easily cleaned off at the scene. The transportation is important, but if you can make a quick run to a safe area, then it will obviously not be as important. A ziploc bag can be effective if you are doing this within a short distance of your home, though this is not recommended. If you drive to the area, then the need for transportation will obviously lessen with the distance from where you are at the time to where you plan to go. In my case, I decided on a soft lunch box. With a slick exterior I could wipe it down and avoid getting blood in my car. Needless to say, even the best transportation for your memento won't hold up under scrutiny and you are likely to be bloody and equally as suspicious.

Step Two is “target acquisition,” and had been incredibly easy. A few nights of surveillance and you should be able notice that at least one of them has a schedule. That is the ideal target, knowing her route you can find the perfect place to hide and know where to go afterwards. This is key as the longer the distance from strike to safety, the greater your chance of being caught in the act. I parked my car in an alley about halfway down the block from the alley where I would grab her. This was a perfect area as I was able to move through the alley behind the buildings and exit to the street on the other side. I also picked a time when she was switching where she was looking for customers, rather than when she left at the end of the night. If you grab them at the end of the night they will be missed sooner than if you grab them in the middle of their rounds. A john is not going to report that his hooker didn't show up for their weekly meeting, but a roommate, family member, or friend will report that they didn't come home.

As far as picking a specific target out of those that have a schedule, this is almost purely a matter of personal preference. Depending on your own confidence in your strength, you may want to pick a target who is considerably shorter or lighter than you. I'm six foot, two inches tall and weigh in the mid two hundred range, so this was not at all a consideration. I ended up picking a roughly five foot seven inch, slim, hooker in her early twenties by my estimation. I picked her because of an old mid sized scar on her cheek that reminded me of an old song. Your own criteria can be as arbitrary as mine as long as you pick a target who matches the other, more practical, criteria.

I touched on this briefly before, but the time and location of your strike are most important. The location should provide cover from the street and give you a clear avenue of escape. The time will vary based on your target's schedule, but you should try and strike near the end of her night, but not at the end as I said before. This is a good time as she will be tired, also the number of people on the street, each of whom is a potential witness, will be less.

Now that you have your tools and know the who, when, and where of your strike, Step Three is the how. Ideally you will bring them off of the sidewalk and strangle them from either the front (traditional) or the back (the safe method). Strangle until they are unconscious, then carefully lower them to the ground. They will be completely limp after becoming unconscious so be prepared for the weight, even the lightest target will likely be over a hundred pounds and the limp human body is a very awkward thing to move. Standing at the side of the head of the body, kneel down, take your blade and bring it down on the side of the neck opposite you (if you are on her left, start on her right and vice versa) and bring it slowly across the neck. Then you go to work on the abdomen, remove your memento and leave the scene. Since you will be doing this in darkness you will need to plan ahead as to which part you plan on removing and how. Medical websites can provide some information on the removal of organs, but with basic anatomical knowledge and since you are working on a dead body, it's relatively simple.


Relatively simple.” I hadn't thought about the level of darkness in the alley. I could barely see her lying there, only the glow of the slick yellow fabric of her mini-skirt and stripped green and orange halter top, both of a cheap fabric that was some sort of combination of spandex and vinyl. My heart was already out of the work and now it seemed as though the next step would be a near-impossibility. I did not relish the thought of trying to find and cut out her kidney in the dark with a razor-sharp butcher knife. One slip and I would be digging one of my fingers out of her, a less than ideal scenario.

I thought back on what had brought me into this hobby, perhaps regaining my nerve and risking my fingers inside the body of hooker with the hope of a ending my first adventure with kidney in hand. A far better prize than home-made beer or dozens of squeaking, shitting bundles of feathers. I decided to take up a hobby to alleviate the boredom. Eight hours a day I sat in an office, mornings spent drinking weak coffee and wondering if this is the hangover that finally kills me and then wishing that it had in the afternoons. All while staring at forms, writing a few words on them or stapling them to other forms, sending these out to wait for them to return with someone else's writing or someone else's form stapled to them. Taking the form again I wrote on it or stapled it to yet another form, and send it out to be written on or stapled by another person, or possibly the same person as the first time I sent it away, knowing that I would see it again soon enough.

After work ends at 5:00, I head immediately to my apartment, or to the liquor store if I need to, then I eat dinner, usually a cheap can of chili or soup, and drink whiskey until I pass out on my couch. I wake up hungover and go into the office to spend some more time with my beloved forms.

I wanted something new, I went to the bookstore on Saturdays and stared at the various hobby books, until an employee came up to me and I bought whatever book I had in hand at the time, soon I had a sizable collection of books I would never read on things that weren't interesting. My Sundays were spent sitting on my couch watching the History channel. Between aliens, the bible, aliens in the bible and brick-making, there was a show on Jack the Ripper. I spent the whole next day at work reading everything I could find about him on my office computer, forms went out without being stapled or written on and no one seemed to notice.

My evenings were no longer spent drinking myself to sleep and instead were spent watching the hookers from the parking lot of a derelict chapel on White street. The Chapel shared my name, though it fit a church far better than a person. My mother was simple religious woman, she demanded I receive a good Catholic name. She always said that all the best people in history seemed to have the same first name. She died when I was five, within six months I was in an orphanage and starting school. I quickly realized that winding up in an orphanage was a blessing, she was either on very heavy drugs or an idiot.

Sitting in my car in the parking lot of Saint Jude's Chapel, I watched the hookers. I took detailed notes on the comings and goings of each, looking for and in three nights finding my target. This was the same one that now lay at my feet, although all of them had a schedule of some sort this one caught my eye. I had watched her every night for three weeks, finding her patterns.

Slim and younger than the others, in her twenties at the oldest, she seemed to haggle with the clients more than the rest. Considering the size difference, I would have no trouble knocking her out and finishing things. She also seemed to have a very lax schedule of clients, they would meet her and then haggle for a long time.

The usual customers she met on White Street. She only had a few regular clients, a burly man who looked like a boxer who pulled up in a green dodge that looked like it had been in a few losing fights with other cars and various street signs, lamps, and barriers. Another was a thin old man in a suit in a dark red Porsche 911, he would get out and argue with her for about 20 minutes every time, before he hung his head and she got into the car. The last was a man in his mid-twenties in a wrinkly white dress shirt, long sleeves pulled up to the elbows. He drove an old ford pickup, rusted wheel-wells from salted winter roads. He would stand there pleading with her until she hung her head and got into the car.

I watched her route, she would cut through the alley where I caught her around three in the morning, switching to a new corner on Nichols street. There she met other customers, who she met varied. I don't think I saw the same one twice.

She was pretty, the gaudy uniform of a hooker, skirt little more than a thick belt, shirt a brightly colored censor bar, and shoes high and pointed, flattered her attractive figure. She had her hair died a pale green, straight, hanging down to just below her neck.

I came close enough to get a good look only once. She was standing on the corner of White and Nichols, right under the streetlight, her skin pale and unblemished, taking a purple hue from the harsh light. I noticed a small scar on her cheek, old and faded, at least a dozen stitches went into it's making. That sealed the deal, she was my target. Turning the corner, I speed up and went home. I picked my night, that next Wednesday was the day. Grabbing her in the alley while she switched corners, from the regular to the irregular customers.

I was going to have to figure out what to do quick, every second made it more likely that someone would find me in a rather awkward position. I looked down and grinned. Hoisting the hooker's slender form over my shoulder, walked to my car and threw her across the back seat, tossed the knife in a dumpster and started off. Driving down the street, I tossed the gloves out the window and turned on the radio. It was on a talk radio station, taking a news break, the middle east was blowing itself up, a local woman was involved in a car accident, she died in the ambulance of inter-cranial bleeding on the way to the hospital, and a still unidentified man had broken into a young woman's apartment to commit suicide, business as usual. As the car pulled into the loop at the entrance of the hospital, I rumpled my hair, widen my eyes and screeched the car to a halt.

Keeping my eyes wide I grabbed her and ran inside. Holding her in front of me I yelled “I need a doctor, this young woman's been attacked!” Now this will be a fun game I thought, a nurse running over and then away to get a gurney. They wheeled her into another room, a doctor entered momentarily, then exited.

She's conscious, we'll have to keep her over night for observation. What happened?” The doctor looked me straight in the eye the whole time he spoke, but only the last part seemed to be directed at me.

I was turning onto White street, my headlights hit an alley, I saw the woman in there and someone in a black hooded coat struggling. I stopped and ran over, but by the time I got there the guy was gone and she was knocked out. So I grabbed her and drove here as fast as I could.”

Well, I'll need you to stay here and wait for the police, do you know her?”

No, I've never seen her before. Is there somewhere I can grab a bite to eat?”

There's a cafeteria in the basement, but it's closed. Head over to the desk and give them your contact information, there's a vending machine in the employee lounge, they'll point it out to you. Let me know if you need anything else.”

Thanks, I'll do that.” I started to the desk and the doctor went back into her room.

A woman with short graying hair and a wrinkled pale face took my information, and aside from the usual cracks about my name, seemed like sure could not be less interested. She gave me a key to the break room. I bought a cheap turkey sandwich in plastic wrap and a can of pop. I took those out into the waiting room and was half way done with my dinner when I thought that this would be a great reason to take a day off work. I grabbed a courtesy phone and left a message saying that it was complicated and that I would explain when I came in Tuesday.

I was laying across the chairs in the waiting room trying not to look at a blue-haired skeleton who could have been a civil war widow vomit thick and white into a bag. A stout doctor came over. He coughed, not a real cough, a polite one.

Mr. Bakier?” He said.

Yes? Is she alright?” I sat bolt upright, imagining that I must have looked pretty concerned, I was enjoying the hell out of it.

Ms. Simpson? She's fine now, she wants to talk to you now.”

Sure, where's she at?” I was standing then, wringing my hands.

I'll take you to see her, the police have already taken her statement and they would like to speak with you before you talk to her.”

That'll be fine, I'm ready to help any way I can.” The Good Samaritan, for the first time I inwardly thanked my mother for her religiousness, a man named “Saint” has to throw them off. We walked into a room on the second floor. Two detectives sat on a bed at the far end of the room.


Have a seat, Mr. Bakier, I'm detective Walker, this is my partner, Milton.” He shook my hand and his partner grunted as Walker said his name.

Hello, sir, how can I help you?” I successfully fought a grin, Walker was the good cop and Milton the bad. It was like a movie.

We understand that you brought Ms. Simpson here this evening. What were you doing out that late?”

Looking to get some action?” Milton jumped in before I could answer.

No sir, I have insomnia, I drive to try and clear my head some nights.” Hold your applause, I planned that one.

And on your drive this evening you saw Ms. Simpson being attacked?”

Yes sir, I was turning off of Nichols on to White, heading to get some instant coffee since I wasn't going to be able to sleep tonight, my headlights went over the alley and I saw two people struggling.” It was going too well. I thought they were going to grill me, try and trip me up with inconsistencies.

Did you see her attacker?”

Only for a second, he was wearing some kind of dark blue or maybe black coat.”

How were your headlights able to light up the alley from across the street?” Here we go, Milton was giving me a hard one, it had to be 50 feet to the other side of the street.

I must've left my brights on. I'm a little forgetful.” I smiled a bit and gave a little shrug.

Hmm... So you saw Ms. Simpson and her assailant across the street and he was wearing a dark red coat-” I interrupted Walker.

It might have been red, sir, but I only got a quick look. I think it was blue or black though.” Couldn't waver, they'd jump on that.

-So you stopped and took her here. Why didn't you call 911?” Walker continued without acknowledging my comment.

I don't have a cell phone, sir, I thought it would be quicker to bring her myself.”

What time was this?”

Around three or so, sorry sir, I don't remember exactly, I do know it was only about ten minutes before we got here. The lady at the desk asked me some questions when I got here, maybe she remembers what time it was.”

We have that information already, if you would just make sure that it's accurate. After that I think you can be on your way.”

Don't skip town.” Milton added, it took me a moment to realize he was joking and I grinned, it was a really idiotic joke.

It looks fine, sir, the doctor said that Ms... Simpson, wasn't it?” Walker nodded, “wanted to see me. Is that alright sir?”

It's fine, we already got her statement, she's down the hall in room 2112.” Walker pointed to down the right side of the hall.

Thanks , sir.” I started out the door.

Just one more thing, Mr. Bakier.” The bottom dropped out, I was hanging, trying to kick my boots off. “We'll probably need you to come to the station tomorrow to give a complete formal statement, here take my card, it has the address on it.” I was in the clear. Saint: 1 Law Enforcement: 0.

Ms. Simpson was lying on the bed absently staring at a magazine.

Thank you Doctor.” she set the magazine on the table by the bed and looked at me for a moment. “Can I speak to Mr. Bakier alone please?”

The doctor nodded and left the room. Aside from her and me, the room was empty. The soft neutral lights glinting off the cheap white laminate floor into my eyes, as I stared down, in a way that I hoped appeared humble or even bashful.

Call me Saint or Jude.” I extended my hand to her. She slapped it away.

Cut the bullshit. I know what you did, Bakier.” She looked angry. “I know you're the one who choked me.”

The jig was up, she had me, a new twist, unexpected. “Okay, then why haven't you called the police in? Seems like I should have my face pressed against a wall being read my rights.”

Because I want to give you an opportunity instead. I don't know what your plan is, but I know that I sure as hell am getting something out of it.”

I was going to cut your throat and take one of your kidneys as a trophy” Saying it out loud made it seem kind of strange. “I figured it would be too difficult to do in the dark, so I decided to take you to the hospital instead and play Good Samaritan.”

Figured it was something like that, I don't care why you didn't go through with it. I just want to know what you plan on doing now. I've got an idea and I want your help for this, you'll do it or you're in jail for assault.”

You are looking at my plan, lying to the police, the doctors, and you. Trying not to get caught. Seemed like fun.” I shrugged. “If you have a plan and it sounds more fun than prison, I will go along.”

Glad to hear it, omitting some details, the two of us have a pretty tragic story. Poor girl attacked by a big scary man in a dark alley is saved by a stranger, named Saint, it doesn't get much cheesier than that. I know a guy at the local paper, I can get us some publicity to tell about how traumatic the whole thing was.” She coughed and I took the opportunity.

Sounds fun, but how does that benefit us?”

We're all over the fucking news, then the poor woman and her rescuer decide to start a charity to rescue other poor souls in terrible situations. It probably won't make us rich, but with some creative bookkeeping, we can both live comfortably as 'administrative heads.' Almost no work, a good steady paycheck, and the respect of the community.”

mean no more forms, no more shitty coffee, and no more hobbies. “Sounds like fun, but where do I Her offer sounded damn good, not only did it take my little deception to dizzying heights, it wouldcome in? Seems like you could run the whole thing by yourself.”

I need someone to go to fancy dinner parties with, looked pretty next to and deal with certain sorts, just about anyone would do. The advantage with you is that I have control. You decide to get uppity and steal or anything and I can give up your secret and you're up to your neck in shit”

We have a deal Ms. Simpson.” I stuck my hand out and we shook on it.


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