By Andy Betz
“If you will take your seats please, we might be able to start today’s lecture. I am Professor Bigelow and this elective is entitled, Advanced Techniques in Serial Killing. The purpose of this course is to familiarize the student with a myriad of techniques in the art of serial killing. I say art because the vast array of murderous possibilities is nearly endless and thus inexhaustible. Since murder, by definition is an illegal and morally reprehensible activity, to acquire the numbers necessary for serial killer status, one must be both careful and ingenious in preparation and response. Any misstep makes the eligible candidate that much closer to apprehension and incarceration. One must be extremely careful to remain affront of the latest technologies designed to diminish all criminal activities. In this lecture series, you will be exposed to strategies and tactics, as well as the tasks, designed to kill and kill without fear of arrest despite the inevitable small mistakes that cumulatively increase the possibility of failure. The successful graduate with be able to move throughout society with impunity for decades without even a suspicion of criminal wrongdoing.”
“In lieu of the present attendees reading their textbooks prior to the first lecture, I would enjoy offering a verbal quiz to gauge the experience level of the students present and the actual level of prerequisite knowledge available.”
“So, Mr. Adams, Michael Adams, please stand for the class. Mr. Adams, this class requires a minimum of three homicides to enroll. Think about your first homicide. Please inform the class of the procedure by which you killed your first victim.”
“Um, I walked behind him for a good two miles before I made up my mind to kill him. He was five inches taller than me and a good forty pounds heavier. Despite the physical advantage he enjoyed, once I decided to kill him, he had to die. I followed him for the remainder of the day before I recognized his pattern of walking. He was traveling in circles for exercise. To save my strength, I merely had to drop back, hide, and await his return before I stabbed him once in the carotid artery. I used a common kitchen fork which proved far too cumbersome to wield and extremely difficult to dispose of properly. But, I managed a clean strike, with minimal blood loss. My victim fell and remained in silent agony until he died. Um, Professor Bigelow, that is um pretty much it.”
“Please remain standing until I ask you to sit. Did it ever occur to you, Mr. Adams, that while your victim may have been attired for exercise, you were most likely not so attired? For this reason, you stood out from the crowd. Thus, you became a detail to remember and not a face to forget. You may be seated, Mr. Adams.”
“Miss Canerish, am I saying this correctly? Please stand, Miss Canerish. You have the same question. Please elaborate.”
“My first homicide involved a simple shooting with a 38 caliber revolver. He had it coming and the jury believed my story.”
“Miss Canerish, do you believe a homicide of such simplicity qualifies you to sit in this class?”
“Yes. For it is in the simplicity that I see the elegance. Like a single red rose, presented for all to see, my first homicide signifies the ease at which I kill and the ease in which I am acquitted. It is only a matter of time before my body-count increases. To that I am assured.”
“Miss Canerish, you do indeed have a flare for brevity only matched by the possession of ego. By going to trial, you have made yourself known to membership of all legal communities and reporters with databases and long memories. However, I will support your enrollment in this class if only for the enjoyment you will bring when confronted with scenarios beyond your control.”
“It is now I ask Mr. Brown to rise. I ask the same of you.”
A medium built man of no interesting facial features, other than his three day old whiskers, rises without fanfare. He pauses, past an awkward moment, just before he loses his audience, before he begins.
“I’ve been in the shadows, between the light and darkness for far too long. I have seen mere amateurs attempt that which I perfected. Their folly is of a singular amusement to me. At first, this was the case. With continued proximity to the failures of such novices, I became incensed at the time wasted, the lives needlessly wasted, the craft itself virtually lost. To combat the former, I required a plan. To address the latter, it had to be epic.”
“Today, I will initiate my plan. You may call it epic, should you live.”
“Professor Bigelow, the room in which all reside is wired with enough explosive charges to kill everyone twice over. You ask for a minimum of three homicides to enroll, to lay prostrate at your feet. I offer over 200 to gain an audience and a grade.”
“Mr. Brown . . .” The professor never finished his sentence.
“Professor, spare me your diatribe. It bores me. This is the simplicity of my candidacy. No one will be hurt until someone does leave. If that was to occur, the devices will auto-detonate, killing all who remain. If no one wishes to depart, all may survive. Thus, the choice is yours to live or to die on your own terms.”
“Mr. Brown, something tells me you are not telling the truth.”
“You have me at a disadvantage, good sir. You are correct. I have not told the whole truth. The explosives will detonate, but they will not instantly detonate. All in attendance today may exit at their will, through the front door of the lecture hall. The explosive charges will detonate once a predetermined amount of people exit. It may be one, it may be one hundred. Tempt fate if you must, for I shall remain in my seat for the show. I have cancer and my time is extremely limited. Who among you is willing to tempt fate today?”
The fire and police department reports will indicate the explosives did detonate, but detonate external to the lecture hall. Mr. Brown did not resist his capture or final medical treatments. Professor Bigelow’s funeral will be scheduled for next week.
Since he departed first, this was the only funeral. It was no surprise no student attended.
Bio: The works of Andy Betz are found everywhere a search engine operates. Andy has written many great things that have been posted to The Yard: Crime Blog, including, “Water” with Jaysa Brown, “The Less You Have, the More It Hurts To Lose It”, “I Knew Her as Tigist“, “How My New Life Began“, “Et Tu“, “Senny” with Dounia Saunders, “Oleander“, “The Best Advice I Ever Got“, “If I Ask Your Opinion“, “As the Sun Sets“, “Walter,” “The Saddest Lies“, “By Morning”, “Nicole and Julia: Death at Poolside”, “Julia and Katherine” “The Caretaker”, “The Carlton Theater” with Samantha Fowler, “minus“, “Starting Over Again“ and “What I’ve Learned Watching Murder“. He has also been interviewed.
Read more flash fiction at The Yard: Crime Blog