Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Week 14 - A Killer Cupcake

Michael Salsbury
Sherrod Watson entered Captain Frankel's office, looking like he had a Buick resting on his shoulders.  Frankel pointed toward the seat across his desk.  "Sit down, Watson."

Watson slumped into the chair, slowly raising his head to make eye contact with Frankel.

"I heard about that stunt you pulled at your last post," Frankel said, leaning back in his chair and putting his hands behind his head, elbows out.  "I don't know what you were thinking, but let me warn you that if try something like that here, you're out.  I've got an in with Mr. Stapleton.  One word from me, and you'll be lucky to get a night watchman job at a junkyard.  Got it?"

Watson nodded.  "But I really thought that guy--"  Frankel held up his hand.

"Stop.  Listen closer.  I don't care what you thought.  You don't accuse someone of being a terrorist without some proof.  You don't accuse anyone of anything here without proof... proof you run by me first.  Do you understand?  Tell me you understand."

"I understand."

"Globo Pharmaceuticals is a dream post for Stapleton Security.  They pay us well, the people are really nice, and there's never any trouble.  If it wasn't because management wanted you off your last post in a hurry, you'd never be assigned here.  Not with your record.  So consider yourself lucky to be here."

"Got it."

Watson listened as Frankel explained his duties.  After work hours, stay at the front desk to check the IDs of the people coming in.  Randomly, the computer screen would tell him to walk through the building.  He was to lock the door, make the patrol, and return.  Simple enough.

When he sat down behind the front desk with its row of video displays and computer, Watson breathed a sign of relief.  He still had a job.  He could still make the alimony payments, and the rent.

He felt a little jolt of adrenaline when there was a tapping at the door.  It was a woman in coveralls.  She reminded him a little of his mother, and had the same build she had.  "Voluptuous" she called it.  "Body by Oreo," his dad told him.  He pressed the intercom button.

"Can I help you, miss?"

"I'm Becky Wheeler of Citywide Custodial.  I locked my ID badge in my car, along with the keys.  Is there any way you could help me?"

"Just a minute.  I'll be right out."

Watson went into the security office and pulled out a slim jim, a notched metal bar used to unlock car doors.  He called the Stapleton back office.  "Central," the voice said.

"This is officer Watson over at Globo.  I've got a custodian locked out of her car.  I'm gonna go out and help her.  If I route the cameras over to you, can you keep an eye on things?"


Watson walked back to the front desk, set down the slim jim, and told the computer to route camera views to the Stapleton headquarters office.  He locked the computer, grabbed the slim jim, and unlocked the front door.  After he stepped out, he locked it behind him.

"Thank you so much," Becky smiled at him. "I don't know how I managed such a colossal screw-up."

"It's OK.  I'm no stranger to screw-ups, either.  Pulled a doozy at my last post.  Almost got me fired."

"Really?  Do tell."

"Well, I.. uh... I saw this guy poking around the place.  He was looking at the security cameras, the keypads, the card readers, all that stuff.  Odd, you know?  Then he goes outside and comes back in with a greasy box.  I figure it might be a bomb.  I read about that, ya know?  So I call the cops."

"What happened?'

"Turns out the guy's the CEO's kid, back early from college.  He was bringing his dad some fancy dessert, cheesecake or something.  Guess he was trying to figure out how to sneak it up to his dad's office without anyone knowing.  I don't know.  Anyway, the CEO takes it in stride, says he's glad I was so alert.  But my boss... not so much.  If they weren't so desperate for people right now, I'd have been fired.  Instead, they transfer me here."

"Sorry.  Hey, if that kid was a terrorist, they'd have put you on the evening news."

"Maybe.  Which one's your car?"

She walked over to a brown Lexus with a few dents and rusty spots.  "This one."

"Nice car."

"Used to be," Becky told him.  "When I worked in sales, I bought it new.  Now it's all I can do to hold on to it.  Can't even afford to fix those dents."

"Sorry to hear that.  Let me see what I can do."  Watson slipped the bar between the glass and weatherstripping, feeling around for the unlock mechanism in the door.  He felt something solid and tugged.  The door opened.

"Great!" Becky said, reaching inside to grab her keys and badge.  She held the badge up for Watson to see.

"Yep, that's you alright," Watson said, smiling.  "Glad I wasn't helping you steal this thing.  I'd be out on my ass for sure."

"It ain't much, but it's mine."

They walked back to the Globo entrance.  Watson unlocked the door and held it open for Becky.

"Such a gentleman.  Wish more people treated me like that."

"Why don't they?"

"I don't know.  My old boss used to be on my back all the time.  'You can't represent the company looking like that,' she'd say.  'You need to join a gym."

"Nice lady."

"Not really.  Fired me on my birthday. My birthday!"

"Karma's a bitch.  She'll get what's coming to her."

"She did.  Died of a heart attack, I hear."


"Yeah.  Look, you've been really sweet, but I need to get to work."

Watson nodded.  "I understand.  Sorry to hold you up."

"I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to be rude.  I need this job.  I'm afraid I'm gonna lose it.  My boss keeps moving me from place to place, like she's trying to find someplace I belong."

"I know the feeling.  Got a long talk from mine earlier.  Good luck to you."

Becky headed down the hall in the direction of the custodial closet.  Watson went back to the front desk and picked up the phone.  "I'm back, Central.  I'll take over the cameras again."

The monitors in front of him came to life.  He settled back and waited until it was time to go on his rounds.


Two nights later, Becky knocked on the door.  Watson let her in.

"Hey, Mrs. Wheeler, how are you tonight?"

"I'm not married."


"I'm not Mrs. Wheeler, I'm Miss Wheeler."

"Sorry.  Just figured a nice lady like you'd be married."

Becky felt her face flush a little at the compliment.  She smiled at Watson.  "Thanks."

"Can I help you with that case?"

"No, thank you.  It's just my dinner.  It's not heavy.  Thanks for your help the other night."

Watson dipped his head in a subtle bow.  "Nothing at all.  Just doing my job."

"Is there a--" she looked at his badge "Mrs. Watson?"

"Nope. You applying for the job?"

She blushed.  "Maybe," she whispered, then walked away.


Before he returned to his desk, he heard another knock at the door behind him.  He turned to see three people there, holding boxes and smiling at him.  They were holding up Globo employee badges.  He pressed the intercom button.

"Can I help you folks?"

"Our friend turns sixty tomorrow," one of them said.  "We want to decorate his office and leave him a couple of presents."

"OK," Watson said, and unlocked the door for them.  "Come over to the desk first.  I need to log all of you in.  Regulations."

Each of the three scanned their badges for him, then got on the elevator to the third floor.  An hour or so later, they scanned their badges on the way out.  He wished them a good evening.

The computer screen told him it was time to go on his rounds.  He locked the computer, called Central to watch the cameras, and went on patrol.  Here and there, he was required to swipe his badge at a reader to show he'd walked by that area.

On the third floor, he passed an office covered in birthday decorations.  He smiled. They had taped several birthday, birthday cake, and other we;-wishing messages around the cubicle.  Next to the computer keyboard were two wrapped packages.  He wished he worked with such thoughtful people, instead of Mr. Self-Righteous Frankel.  Whoever the birthday boy was (Dirk Jenkins according to the nameplate on his cubicle wall) would certainly have a nice surprise in the morning, and a package or two to open.

Watson finished his patrol and took over the camera duty.

He and Becky exchanged pleasantries as she left for the night.  After she stepped through the door, she handed him a slip of paper with her name and number on it.  He felt on top of the world.  He didn't even mind when the computer sent him on another patrol.

When he passed by the Jenkins cubicle on the third floor, something made him stop.  He wasn't sure what at first, then he saw it... a cupcake with a weird leopard print candle in it.  Was it there before? He couldn't remember, but he would have bet his paycheck it wasn't.  There was something else, too.  Something familiar.  He couldn't figure out what.  Rembering Frankel's warning, he decided to let it go.  He didn't want to lose his job or mess up his chances with Becky over something as stupid as a cupcake.


He met Becky for lunch the next afternoon.  They talked for hours, learning that they had much in common.  They'd grown up in the same suburb but went to different schools owing to some unusual dividing lines.  They liked most of the same music.  They were both Beatles and Stones fans, but only Becky liked musicals.  Sherrod thought they were silly.

It took them twenty minutes to say goodbye, and they made plans to get together the next day.


As Watson arrived that night, he was greeted by a lady from Globo's Human Resources department.  He smiled at her as he shook her hand, but her face remained stoic.

"Company policy requires me to have a security officer present when I pack up a former employee's office," she told him.  "Would you follow me please, and stay with me until I'm finished?"

"Of course.  Let me lock the door and turn the cameras over to Central."

She nodded.  He thought he saw her wiping her eye when he turned back in her direction.

"Lead the way," he told her.

She sniffed and walked to the elevator, pressing the up button.  The elevator arrived almost instantly. She pressed the third floor button, then stared at the elevator door, unmoving.

Watson shrugged, and followed her off the elevator when the doors opened.  She walked straight to Jenkins' cubicle.  The birthday decorations were still up.  The gift boxes were empty now, and there was no sign of a cupcake.  Had he imagined it?

While packing up the man's photographs, the lady burst into tears looking at one of them.

"You sure do care about your employees," Watson told her, handing her a tissue from a box on the desk.

"It's more than that.  Promise you won't tell anyone?"

"Who would I tell?  I'm about the only one here most of the time."

"Dirk and I were having an affair.  He was about to leave his wife for me."

"Ah.  I see.  Sorry for your loss."

She wiped her eyes, then her nose.  "Thank you.  I knew I couldn't do this during the day.  People wouldn't understand my crying.  I had to wait until everyone was gone."

Watson nodded.  "I understand.  No point in letting everyone in on the secret now."

She shook her head.  "No.  Not anymore.  He was such a loving man."

"I'm sure he was."

She picked some old papers on the dead man's desk and flipped through them before handing them to Watson.  "Would you drop these in the recycle bin?  It's next to trash can."

"Sure."  Watson tossed the papers in the bin and froze as he looked in the trash.  In it was an empty coffee cup, along with a cupcake wrapper and a leopard-print candle.  Although he was somewhat surprised to see them, he was more surprised by the memory they had jarred loose in his mind.

She was staring at him.  "Is something wrong, officer?"

He kept looking in the trash can.  "I... don't know.  Today was your guy's birthday, right?"


"And he died today?"

A tear streamed from her eye.  "Yes," she whispered hoarsely."


"They said it was a heart attack."

Watson nodded.  "A heart attack on his birthday."

"Why do you ask?"

He took a beep breath and let it out slowly.  "Look, I'm not saying there's anything wrong here.  At my last posting, there was a lady died on her birthday, too.  Nice lady, they tell me.  Real succesful, real athletic.  Last person you'd think of having a heart attack."


"Thing is, she died on her birthday, too.  When I helped them clean out her cubicle, I remember seeing something strange."  He reached into the trash can and pulled something out.  "A cupcake wrapper - just one - and a leopard print candle... like this one."

"We have to tell the police!"

"No, we really don't.  Look it's just a weird coincidence.  That's all.  It kind of freaked me out for a minute.  I might even be wrong.  Might have been a polka-dotted candle last time."

"We should tell someone."

"Please lady, forget I said anything.  My last job, I accidentally accused the CEO's kid of being a terrorist.  Almost got fired.  If you call the cops in here for a cupcake wrapper and a candle, and my boss finds out it's because of me, I'll be fired."

"I won't let them do that to you."

"I'm begging you.  Please don't call the cops."


They packaged up the rest of Jenkins' belongings in silence.  When they were finished, she thanked Watson for his help and left.  He walked this rounds and returned back to the guard desk... trying to get the image of the strange candle out of his head.


Someone was pounding on the door of his apartment.  He rubbed his eyes and made his way to the door, looking out the fisheye lens.

"Who is it?"  He looked in the lens again.

"I'm Detective Carl Dewey.  Precinct 5.  Homicide.  I'm here to talk to you."

"OK," Watson said, opening the door for Detective Dewey.

"You're the Sherrod Watson who works for Stapleton Security?"

"Yes.  Not that it matters, detective, but why are you here?"

"A Miss Laura Franklin called me.  She said you had some information for me about the death of one of her coworkers,"  he flipped through a notebook "A Mr. Dirk Jenkins.  And someone else?"

Watson rolled his eyes, then shook his head.  "Detective... Dewey?"


"I'm really sorry.  I told her not to say anything about it.  Please tell me you didn't talk to my boss, Mr. Frankel."

"I did.  That's how I got your home address."

Watson's head dropped, and he shook it.  "I'm gonna lose my job over this."

"Over what?"

"Here's the story.  On my last posting, they stationed me at Belmont Software.  There was a woman there, high up in sales, I think.  Pretty lady.  Real successful.  She dies on her birthday.  They ask me to box up her belongings.  Place is decorated for her birthday.  On her desk, there's an empty cupcake wrapper and this weird looking candle next to it.  I'd never seen one like it before.  Leopard print."

"Go on."

"Anyway, they tell me she died on her birthday.  Kind of sad, I figure, but it doesn't faze me.  Then the other night, I'm helping that lady... Miss Franklin, you say?"


"Anyway, she asks me to help clean out that Jenkins guy's desk.  Says he died on his birthday, too.  I go to toss some old papers in the recycle bin, and see--"

"A cupcake wrapper and a leopard print candle."

"Right.  Jars that old memory loose, and makes me wonder for a minute.  What are the odds of knowing two people who died on their birthday and got a cupcake with a leopard print candle?  Not good, right?"

"No.  Probably not."

"Anyway, that Franklin woman asks me why I was looking funny at the trash.  I tell her. She tells me we gotta call the cops.  I try to talk her out of it.  Now you're here."

"So you think it's just a coincidence?"

"I don't know.  I just know if I make any waves at Globo, Stapleton's gonna fire me.  I need this job, detective.  I'm sorry she called you.  I really don't buy my own theory here.  It's crazy."

Dewey nodded.  "Your boss asked me to tell him what happened here.  I'm just gonna say it was a misunderstanding, and you didn't want me involved, but you were very cooperative and apologetic."


"You're welcome.  I wasn't always a detective.  I know how hard it can be to find a good job. Enjoy your evening."

Watson showed the detective out and went back to bed.


Sherrod's second date with Becky was more amazing than the first.

"I feel like we're two halves of the same whole," Becky told him as they parted for the day.

He held her tight.  "Me too.  I feel like nothing bad could ever happen when I'm in your arms."

"I know," she said.  "No one could ever hurt me when I'm with you."

"I wouldn't let them.  You're my--"

"Soulmate," they said in unison.


Frankel delivered a stern warning when Watson got to work that night, but seemed to accept the detective's version of events.

Later, when a tap came at the door, Watson expected to see Becky at the door.  Instead, she saw an older woman in a sanitation coverall.  He pressed the intercom button.

"Can I help you?"

"I'm Kathy Norwood of Citywide Custodial.  Could you let me in, please?"

"Sure," he pressed the buzzer and held out his hand for her ID.  She gave it to him and he scanned it, comparing the photo to the woman's face.  They matched.  He handed the ID back to her.

"What happened to Ms. Wheeler, the one who usually cleans here?"

"I transferred her to Mendel's Warehouse."


She glared at him.  "Because I can.  It's my company."

"Sorry.  Just curious.  She's a nice girl."

"Yes, yes she is.  If you'll excuse me, I have some work to do."

Watson gestured for her to continue.  She disappeared into the elevator.

Things were quiet for the next hour or so, until the computer sent him on patrol again.

When he reached the third floor, he was surprised to see Ms. Norwood cleaning Dirk Jenkins' old cubicle.  He smelled chlorine in the air.  Norwood was wiping down every surface in the cubicle with a damp rag.

"I didn't realize you folks cleaned that thoroughly," Watson said.

"Um, just in cases where someone dies.  You know, just to be sanitary."

"I see," Watson said, and continued on his rounds.


Becky moved in with Sherrod a few days later.  They found that their personal lives meshed well together, and both began having trouble imagining a life apart.  The word "engagement" came up up often, and they each fantasized what that might be like.  How would it happen?  When?  Where?

They celebrated holidays together, met each other's families, and began to share the same friends.

Although they still hadn't exchanged rings, in every way that mattered, they considered themselves married.

They never worked at the same offices again.  Kathy, Becky's boss, seemed to transfer her willy-nilly to customer sites around the city.  Sherrod managed to keep his nose clean at Globo, and had been there nearly a year.

When Becky's birthday rolled around, Sherrod had fun shopping for just the right ring to surprise her with.  He wanted a cake, too, but spent all he had on the ring.  He decided to bake one for himself.  He'd baked the occasional cake for himself, so it wasn't too much of a stretch to imagine that he could make a passable birthday cake.

As it turned out, despite some crude decorating, he had managed to bake what seemed a very soft and springy cake.  All it needed were candles.  He began rummaging through the cabinets to locate some.  Finally, in the back of a bottom drawer, he found a box of birthday candles.  There were still a few left.  He opened it and pulled one out, then froze.  It was a leopard print candle, the same kind he'd seen before.

His chest felt tight.  He was having a bit of trouble breathing.

Could Becky be a killer?  No, of course not.  Why would she kill people?  It was absurd.

He didn't notice she had entered the room until she put a hand on his shoulder.  He jumped.

"Whoa!  Hey there, tiger!" Becky laughed.  She looked at the candles in his hand.  "What are you doing with those?"

He pointed at the cake, unable to speak.

"You're so sweet!" she squealed, and threw her arms around him.  "What's wrong?"

"I need to ask you something."

Her eyes widened.  "What?"

"I know it sounds crazy, but... are you leaving cupcakes on people's desks where you clean?"


"Just answer me."

She turned away and faced the wall.  "You know, don't you?"

"I think so.  I think you're leaving poisoned cupcakes at people's desks.  They eat them, and they die."

She sighed.  "Yes."


"I told you about that bitch who fired me, just because I wasn't Pretty Little Miss Fitness like she was."


"She fired me on my birthday.  I tried to get sales jobs all over town.  No one would hire me.  The ones who knew her figured she had a good reason to fire me.  The ones who didn't were just as shallow and superficial as she was.  I couldn't get a job anywhere, until I met Kathy.  She took me in, showed me what to do, and paid me as well as she could.  I owe her my life.  If she hadn't hired me, I think I might have killed myself."

"I'm glad you didn't."

"Kathy ended up assigning me to my old company.  One night, I ran into my old boss.  She laughed at me.  Insulted me.  Told me I needed to go clean her windows.  The next day, I saw on the calendar her birthday was coming.  I doctored a cupcake.  Wanted to make her feel as bad as she'd made me feel.  I left it on her desk.  She ate it, but I must have used too much.  She died."

"You killed her."


"That explains her, but what about the others?"

"After I'd gotten away with the first one, I kind of felt invincible.  It was almost like a drug.  Anyone who was mean to me eventually had a birthday, and got their cupcake.  Nobody suspected a thing.  Who would think twice about a cupcake on their desk on their birthday?"

Sherrod nodded.

"Say something."

"I don't know what to say."

Suddenly, the apartment's door burst open.  In walked five uniformed officers, guns drawn, and Detective Dewey.  "I know what to say," he told her.  "You're under arrest."

Sherrod looked at him.  "How?"

"How did I know?  I didn't know for sure, until I heard this conversation.  We bugged the apartment a as soon as she moved in.  When I heard you talking, I knew we had to move in."

"How did you know what she did?"

The uniformed officers read Becky her rights, cuffed her, and escorted her out of the room.  Dewey motioned for Sherrod to follow him to the living room to sit down.  Sherrod didn't have the energy or presence of mind to consider protesting.

"After I talked to you, I started wondering what the odds of two people dying on their birthdays.  It's not that uncommon, but then I wondered if there was some kind of connection between the two.  Different companies.  I compare the employee lists.  No match.  I figure there's no connection.  Then I hear about a third case.  As I'm pulling up, I see a Citywide Custodial truck drive away.  I realize maybe that's the connect - not someone who works for all the companies, but someone who works in all the buildings.  Turns out, Citywide Custodial serviced them all... and the one Citywide employee who worked in each location?  Your girlfriend.  I got a court order for electronic surveillance, which brings us to today.  I gotta hand it to you, you were right.  Someone was killing people off on their birthdays.  Your hunch was right."


"Sorry.  I know you love her."

Sherrod nodded, then put his face in his hands and began to sob.

"I'll show myself out, Dewey said, and left."


Becky's trial turned into a media circus.  She had apparently killed 8 people since killing her old boss.  Dewey had been able to prove that Becky had worked at every one of the buildings on the nights of the murders.  Although the police hadn't been able to find any physical evidence at any of the crime scenes, the evidence they did have was more than enough.  Becky received nine consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole.

Sherrod watched the trial coverage on television in a state of disbelief and numbness.  He couldn't believe that the woman he loved, the woman he almost married, was a serial killer.  The press called her "The Cupcake Killer".  They'd tried to interview him a few times, but he ignored them.


Back at Globo Pharmaceuticals, Sherrod resumed his position behind the reception desk.

When he went on his rounds, he was more machine than man... going through the motions but not really present, until he passed Dirk Jenkins' former cubicle.  The scent of bleach lingered in the air.

He walked his rounds again, playing close attention to the aromas near any empty cubicles.  The only one that smelled of bleach was Jenkins' cubicle.

Sherrod went back to the reception desk and did a few web searches about The Cupcake Killer, her victims, and their dates of death.

He called the Central office.

"What can I do for you, officer Watson?"

"Can you get me any surveillance footage you have for the dates, times, and locations I just sent you in email?"

"We don't do security for half of these, but I can send you the others.  When do you need it?"

"No rush. I'm just following a hunch.  Transfer it to the server here and let me know when it's here."

"Will do."


Perhaps out of respect, or perhaps some other reason, Frankel didn't ask Watson why he had asked for the surveillance footage.  Watson wondered if perhaps the fact that he was right about The Cupcake Killer had earned him a little leeway with Frankel.  He hoped so.

The surveillance footage showed exactly what Watson expected.  He edited and compiled it into a single digital video file, which he transferred to his cell phone.

That night, he went home and baked his own batch of cupcakes.


Kathy Norwood watched the case of The Cupcake Killer, just like everyone else, it seemed.  She had been asked if she knew Becky Wheeler, and she admitted that she had.  She told them she had no idea she'd had a serial killer working for her.  She told them Becky had always done exemplary custodial work, and there had been no reason to suspect her of anything other than being a model employee.

Her doorbell rang.  She answered it to find a security guard standing there, holding a box.

"Ms. Norwood," the man said, "I'm Sherrod Watson.  We need to talk."

"About what?"

"May I come in?  It's important."

"I recognize you.  You work at Globo?"


"Right, right.  Do come in."  She stood back and let him enter the house.  She led him to the dining room table and motioned for him to sit down.  "Coffee? Water?"

"Nothing, thanks.  Please sit."

Her eyebrow raised.  She seemed to hesitate for a moment, then sat down.  "What's this about?"

"This," Watson said, and played for her the footage he'd edited, showing her either cleaning up or going into every crime scene before the police arrived.

"So I'm doing my job.  So what?"

"Ms. Norwood... we both know what's really happening in these videos."


"Yes.  After Becky killed one of these people, you reassigned her to a new office.  Then you came along behind her and scrubbed those offices clean of any evidence that a crime might have been committed."

"So you say."

"I do.  You clearly knew what Becky was doing all along.  Yet you never turned her in.  You even cleaned up her crime scenes.  Why?"

"She was my friend."


"I was afraid it would hurt my company's reputation."


"OK, Mr. Security Guard... why, then?"

"I'm still working that out.  I talked to Becky.  She says you had nothing to do with the killings.  But she also doesn't know you cleaned up after her.  She thinks she was just lucky that she never got caught.  She was, because of you."

"That's an interesting theory, but you have no facts."

"I don't, but I do have two things you don't."


Sherrod opened the box an reached inside, pulling out a cupcake with a leopard print candle.  He slid it in front of Kathy.  "I have a cupcake for you.  And..." he said, pulling out a business card, "I have the number of the homicide detective who caught Becky.  If I call him and give him the footage you just saw, along with the dates locations, what do you think will happen?"

She said nothing, looking at the card, and then the cupcake.

"I'll give you a choice.  Eat that cupcake, or I call my detective friend.  You can tell him why you did it.  My guess is he'll turn up something unpleasant about you... a gambling addiction, a drug habit, a string of affairs, something... something that explains what you were doing with Becky.  What do you think?"

She ran toward the door.  Sherrod tackled her and carried her, struggling, back to the table.  "Sit!"

She began to cry.

"What will it be?  The cupcake, or the phone call?"

She began to unwrap the cupcake.  He took back the card.

She took a bite and began to chew.

"Want to tell me what really happened?"

She took another bite.  "She didn't know what was happening.  I found what she did to her old boss.  I knew why she did it.  That woman was a monster.  I didn't want to see her go to jail, so I cleaned things up.  My brother-in-law is a forensic technician for the Metro PD.  He told me how companies clean up crime scenes after a murder.  So I helped her.  When she killed the second person, I cleaned it up again.  Then I realized that if I could harness her rage without her knowing it, I'd be able to make some real money without taking any risk."

"What do you mean?"

She took another bite.  "Imagine you wanted a rival out of your way, or you wanted to get back at someone who didn't give you a promotion, or an ex-wife or ex-husband you hated.  You'd come to me.  I'd work on Becky a little.  I'd tell her that person called her a pig, or said she looked like an elephant.  They'd get that person to say something mean in front of Becky, by the person's birthday.  Becky would bide her time until then and strike - every time.  Like clockwork.  I made a fortune."

She swallowed the last bite of cupcake.  Her eyes widened.

"The cupcake?"  Sherrod smiled.  "Perfectly ordinary.  This badge, however," he told her, pointing at his chest, "Not so much.  Detective Dewey?"

Kathy started to run again, but it was too late for that.  The house was surrounded.

Dewey walked in and shook Watson's hand.  "My boy, I think you might just be the wrong kind of 'officer'..."

About the Author

Michael Salsbury / Author & Editor

In his day job, Michael Salsbury helps administer over 1,800 Windows desktop computers for a Central Ohio non-profit. When he's not working, he's writing, blogging, podcasting, home brewing, or playing "warm furniture" to his two Bengal cats.


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