The body laid in the bathtub, not draining much fluid for it had been dead for a while. It dripped slowly, not really enough to make any kind of difference, except it fascinated him to sit and watch while he engaged in one-sided discourse.
“You were a very bad girl!” he said. “Don’t you know what kind of diseases you might be spreading around?”
The night before buckets of rain fell, and now the glowing sun and warm temperatures were drying up everything. He turned on the cooler, and the apartment soon grew comfortable.
Now it was time for The Butcher to do his job. On the floor next to the tub was a clean hacksaw and a keystone saw. He lay plastic on the bathroom floor, and tossed his tools into the tub against the bloating body. He donned his clean, plastic overalls and stood over the corpse for a while, absorbing the satisfaction, the joy he felt that one more lay there, the indentations pressed deeply into her neck from the cord he had used to strangle life the life from her.
With his black plastic garbage bags nearby, and his mind aching incessantly to carry on with this blissful part of his job, he smiled widely and picked up one of the saws.
He casually strolled down the short flight of stairs and onto the front stoop, swinging a garbage bag from one hand. On the stoop next door, an older woman took a long drag from her cigarette and remarked, “You sure have a lot of garbage for a bachelor, Joe. Cleaning house?”
He glanced irritably at the eyesore of a woman as he kept walking.
One day, Mary. One day. You shall lie in my tub…
“As a matter of fact, Mary, I am cleaning house. A lot of old papers and such to get rid of,” he said.
She merely nodded her head and dragged once on her cigarette.
He swung the garbage bag into the dumpster and made his way back to his apartment. The bag had not contained the entire woman – only the parts that would not go into the disposal. He did have one more to take to the dumpster, but he decided to wait until nightfall. People like that old busy body Mary did not make his job easier. He would eat some dinner and get some much-needed rest.
Later in the day, he strolled down to the corner market for a newspaper. He saw exactly what he expected to see right on the front page:
Excerpt from the Gazette
By journalist Gloria Sims:
Butcher strikes again!
Once again, workers at the city dump have discovered the partial remains of a woman’s body. The corpse has yet to be identified. It was secured in a large, black plastic garbage bag. Police are still searching through the dump using cadaver dogs, and detectives hope to find more clues…
He finished the article and proceeded down Center Street, past the sleazy bar where most of his victims frequented. He dropped the paper in a trash receptacle and moseyed along the sidewalk, already planning the night’s activities. He smiled widely, and an older woman walking a small white terrier gazed at him as if he were crazy. He did not care. Why should a man not enjoy a beautiful summer day such as this one?
A half hour later, he reached his apartment complex, and noticed the old woman, Mary, out smoking on her front stoop. “Great day for a walk, eh’ Joe?”
“Yes, it is, Mary. Just trying to get some exercise in,” he retorted.
“Well, that can’t hurt you. I could use some myself,” she declared.
He looked at her lined face, the wrinkles, and thought, you had better not exercise, you old hag, it will kill you.
He entered his apartment and looked around; it was for any sign of foul play he sought, but found nothing. The bathroom and kitchen were sparkling clean. He plopped down on the couch and smiled. No one would ever discover him, for he was just too sly.
He picked up the remote and turned on the television. Instantly the two anchors (one man and a pretty woman) appeared, relaying the story of the butcher.
“Police are now saying that because of the evidence recently discovered, there may be a copycat killer. They are urging people to stay home, lock your doors and windows until this blows over. Again, folks, to recap the story – police feel that there may be a copycat pretending to be the Butcher. Until they can figure this out…”
He turned off the television. He could not believe that he had just heard. A copycat, running around and doing the same things as The Butcher – the blame could only fit one person, and this is what he feared the most. It could all lead up to him.
Regardless, he waited until dark before taking the last garbage bag to the dumpster. All seemed quiet; except that aged voice broke the silence and he nearly jumped out of his skin. “Still cleaning out the place, huh?” Mary asked from her perch on her front stoop.
Now he was angry – this old woman was getting on his nerves. “Jesus Christ, Mary, I don’t think it’s any of your business. You might do well to stay out of other people’s business!”
“You’re right. It is none of my business. I apologize, Joe.” She snubbed out her cigarette and went through the door to her side of the building.
He climbed the stairs and was back in his apartment – he reveled at how clean it was, how enjoyable it was to be living there. He went into the bedroom to prepare for that night’s activities. He chose the darkest clothes he could find. He pulled open a small drawer in his dresser and dug around through socks and underwear until he found what he was looking for; a small black pouch that zipped up, concealing the contents.
Satisfied he was ready; he then laid down on the bed and drifted off to sleep.
People were coming and going – it was late, and the men seemed boisterous, loud as they escorted women into the bar. He stayed in the alley and waited, for it was only a matter of time. And then he heard a female voice: “You’ve got to get rid of this copycat, Joe! He’s ruining everything for you!”
He looked behind him and there stood a figure in black wearing a hood over the face. He saw the glint of a knife in the moonlight, and the figure suddenly ran, disappearing into the darkness. He thought about chasing, but it seemed too late, yes, too late. Too late!
A knife slicing through warm, soft flesh – blood pouring out from the deep wound – not long, now…
He awoke in a cold sweat – fear is what he felt and he jumped up and made for the bathroom. It was clean, as spotless as he had left it. “Fuck, what a dream,” he said. He abruptly recalled what time it was; it was time to make another round. He grew excited, his heart pounding. He grabbed his small black bag from the bedroom and went down the stairs to the outside door.
It was dark and cool outside. He peeked around the corner of the stoop, and saw no one. He rushed to his car and was soon pulling out of the parking lot. He thought he saw someone coming out the door on the other side of the building, but paid no mind to it. He sped off into the midnight darkness.
He hid in the alley next to the club. Crouched behind a dumpster he pulled a syringe from his black bag. If they’re drunk now, just wait…he thought.
Music thrummed in the alley from the club, and people walked by, laughing and joking from the good time they had – maybe, perhaps someone would be laid. He needed someone alone, a woman staggering to her car. He waited patiently, for he knew it would happen as it always did.
Then, the pin pricks in his neck. Suddenly, he could barely move, save for the person helping him. Consciousness escaped him, and he was lost…
The man’s body lay in the tub, a steak knife still protruding from between the ribs in his chest. The woman sat on the toilet, smiling widely.
“So, you thought you’d be a copycat, huh? You asshole, I knew all along.” She stared at the body in her tub, his mouth agape, eyes bulging from their sockets. “Well, you won’t play games with me anymore.”
Mary turned on the electric carving knife and went to work.
The man wearing the bloody smock had a large pig hanging from a hook. He wielded a large butcher knife and was about to take a swing at the pig corpse when a little girl walked into the back room.
“Daddy, what are you doing?”
“What are you doing here? You shouldn’t see this!” the butcher said.
“I’m not scared, daddy. Is this how you do the meat?”
“Well, yes, sweetie. We cut off all the parts that people use for bacon and pork chops – you really should go.”
“But I want to try it. Will you let me, daddy?”
“You’re just a little girl, Mary.”
“I can do it. What do you do with the head? And the feet?”
The man was taken aback by his daughter’s interest. “We grind them up. In Mexico, they would like that, but in this neighborhood, they don’t. We throw them in the big grinder over there.” He pointed to a large mouth-like machine with a metal tube below it. Parked nearby was a truck connected to the whole thing by a tube. “We send the rest to a ferret farm for feed. You see, we make money from the whole thing.”
The little girl picked up a butcher’s knife. “I want to try, daddy.”
“Ok, but I’ll tell you where to hit.”
She grinned and began to chop….