By Fungai Chigumbura, Zimbabwe:
People have a lot of names for what I am. Labels like psycho and madman are thrown around in description of people who indulge themselves and their needs. Society quite simply does not understand the difference between the average individual and someone like me. They misconceive every single aspect of it; they believe I am driven by some deep inadequacy or a lack of love in my childhood or being bullied or something asinine like that. Not a single one of these motivations comes close to describing me. You see, I do what I do and I take what I take simply because I have a need. All needs must be fulfilled, and I remove any morality from my actions. I did not choose this…but I do enjoy it.
My life is structured around my night thrills. My job has me on the road constantly; I have only a close circle of friends and the only women whose company I ever truly enjoy charge by the hour. I have taught myself to be as meticulous as possible when it comes to my kills; I leave no evidence behind and the only mementos I keep are in my head. I make no mistakes…or at least I at least that's what I thought until this afternoon. Today, I was confronted by the fact that I have undoubtedly been sloppy.
It began this morning when I walked into the office. My usually obsequious assistant was not his regular self. Normally, by the time I make my way into my office he's bombarded me with at least four offers to grab me coffee. Not this time. When I came in, he was staring at his computer screen intently and was thumbing through his small notebook. As soon as he saw me, he hastily clicked close whatever webpage he was on and closed his pad. I guessed that whatever he was looking at was probably against company regulations and chuckled as I proceeded to my office.
My profession is not particularly exciting; I am an insurance sales manager. It's a steady occupation that pays the bills, and of course, has the benefit that I get to travel all over the country and region to attend seminars and workshops. I don't know how much you can learn about sales in one lifetime, but my company seems resolute in ensuring that as much of it is crammed into my mind. I switched on my computer and worked for about an hour before I browsed over to todaynews.com to see if they had picked up on my latest exploit. I was not disappointed; half their home page was dedicated to a prostitute who had been found dead in a lodge in a poor section of the country's second largest city. I immediately became engrossed in the story and how much detail the story had. It spoke of a gruesome, heinous crime, likely committed in cold blood and of how the police were clueless about the perpetrator. It even made reference to a similar killing a year ago and another one six months before that, all in different cities. I couldn't help but smirk a little; here they were, at a loss to solve three murders. What would they do if they knew I had had at least seven times that many escapades?
So captivated was I by the ineptitude of the country's crime fighting machine that I didn't notice my assistant come in and seat himself in the chair opposite me. It must have been a full two minutes before his presence registered and it was only then that I realised that he had been staring at me intently the entire time he had been in the room;. When he spoke, his voice was shaky
“H-how was your trip?”, he asked.
“Okay, I suppose ”. My answer was deliberately dismissive. I wanted him out of here so I could finish reading the story.
“The usual?”, he enquired.
“Yeah,”. I was starting to get irritated. What on earth did he want?
Without warning, he dumped his notebook on my desk. It was opened on a page that contained what appeared to be travel dates, with three entries highlighted in red those were my travel dates. I looked at him, and before I could ask my question, he placed three separate papers on the desk. They were printed articles from the same website I was on, and the dates of the articles were highlighted as well. Two more glances between the notebook and the articles, and I realized that all the highlighted dates corresponded. Each of the articles was published on the Monday after I returned from the weekend seminars; exactly three days after the travel dates in the notebook.
I stared at the dates for a while, my head spinning,, before I finally looked back up at him. His face had morphed into an interesting expression, one I couldn't immediately read. My mouth was dry, and I asked a question whose answer I knew.
“What is this?”, I croaked?
“We both know what it is, sir. No need to play dumb here.” His voice was as cold as steel, with a resolve as just as hardened.
“I don't know what you think you have here,” I began “But it doesn't prove anything. There are at least a dozen ways this is faulty.”
“You're right,” he replied, grinning smugly.
I realised then that I had walked into a trap. By attempting to defend myself before I'd even been truly accused, I had nailed myself to the cross of conviction. He continued, still grinning.
“I realized that this wasn't conclusive before I came in here. That's why I went to company records and cross-checked all your travel records for the past five years, and all the dates link up with murders just like these three. I counted fourteen murders, minus these three. And those were only the ones I could find.”
He stared at me, his eyes cold and unyielding. I had to find a way out of this.
“So, what now?” I asked, leaning back in my chair and feigning confidence.
What he said added a second level of shock to the already heaped mountain that he had just unloaded onto me. He leaned in, his eyes aflame and said:
“I want in…”
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