Perfect

16 Dec

by: Conrad Collins

[Downtown, at a detective’s office. In a desk chair, the middle-aged detective. Across from him, a 20-something guy named TIM]

TIM: “I killed a man two years ago.”

DETECTIVE: “Really now?”

TIM: “Yep.”

DETECTIVE: “Who’d you kill?”

TIM: “I honestly have no clue.”

DETECTIVE: “Whaddya mean; you don’t know?”

TIM: “The person I killed was someone I’d never met—a complete stranger. Attacked him in a dark alleyway. Put a bag over his head.”

DETECTIVE: “Why’d you put a bag over his head?”

TIM: “So I wouldn’t recognize him. If I was asked to look at missing person reports, then I wouldn’t have any clue if who I was looking at was the man I killed, and I’d have no connection to the person, nor apparent motivation to kill him.”

DETECTIVE: “Well, what was your motive?”

TIM: “I had a dream of committing the perfect murder—something that no one would ever find out I did. And I succeeded.”

DETECTIVE: “If you’ve admitted it now, then it’s not the perfect murder. We’ll still put you in prison.”

TIM: “You can’t.”

DETECTIVE: [laughs] “Oh? And why not?”

TIM: “Because there isn’t any evidence.”

DETECTIVE: [Shoots him a sideways glance.] “Come on now.”

TIM: “I’m serious. I killed the man with a wooden knife that I carved myself. Shoved it into his back and severed his spinal column. Then I put his body in a large trashbag and stashed it in the back of my car. When I got home, I burned the body, bag, knife, and everything I was wearing at the time in the fireplace, then swept up the ashes and trashed them. I spent the next couple of weeks cooped up in my room and no one could’ve seen me doing anything suspicious. I don’t have any friends or family that keep track of me well enough to’ve noticed. There’s no evidence, and no way to prove that I did it.”

DETECTIVE: “So then why are you coming to me with all of this now?”

TIM: [Sighs deeply and concentrates on his answer.] “I dreamed of committing a perfect murder… and once it was done, there was nothing left to do. In two years, I was never so much as suspected of killing anyone. Finally, I thought, what fun is it to commit a perfect crime and be the only one who knows about it?”

DETECTIVE: “So, what, you want to be famous?”

TIM: “I guess so. This was my life’s work, after all. I’m proud of it. I want to show it off.”

DETECTIVE: “But you know, no one’s going to believe that you did it. If you tell them this story, they’ll say you made it up. That there is no perfect crime. There’s no evidence because there was no murder. It’s all an insane person’s delusion, or a tall tale from a storyteller.”

TIM: “Mm.” [He considers this for a moment. Then, with a bit of genuine disappointment] “Damn it. I really did it, too. It’s a work of art.”

DETECTIVE: “You’ll have to take it to the grave.”

TIM: “Do you believe me? That I did it? Be honest.”

DETECTIVE: “Honestly? No way. It’s not like I’ve never seen a claim like this. Plenty of murderers go without being caught and cases go unsolved, regardless of evidence or a body. Even so, whether you get away with it or not, there is no perfect crime. Things can’t go off without a hitch. I can’t believe you could so easily bag someone without seeing them, or knife them without a struggle, or so easily burn all the evidence.”

TIM: “I see. You make a good point, even if you’re wrong.”

DETECTIVE: “Well, hey. Think of it this way: if you really did it, and I don’t believe you… then it really was the perfect crime, right?”

TIM: [Smiles.] “That’s a nice way of putting it. I guess I’ll accept that.” [Sighs.] “Well, I don’t know what to do from now on. My life’s been pretty empty ever since then. Maybe I should kill myself too.”

DETECTIVE: “Come on now, don’t think like that. Look, to come up with all of this, you’re obviously a smart guy. Why don’t you get your head out of stuff like murders and all that bullshit and use that mind to learn, and become something?”

TIM: “I don’t know. I could. But I just don’t know. I don’t have any major ambitions.”

DETECTIVE: “Why don’t you see a psychologist? Get some things straightened out.”

TIM: “That could work, I guess…”

DETECTIVE: “I know a great guy. I can recommend you and get you set up with an appointment if you want.”

TIM: [Considers.] “Shit, what the hell, alright. Go for it.”

DETECTIVE: [Smiles.] “Alright. What’s your name?”

TIM: “Timothy Arnold. You can call me Tim.”

DETECTIVE: “Okay, Tim, just hold on a second.” [Picks up phone and dials number.] “Hey, Jack? I’ve got a guy in my office right now, smart guy, who’s feeling suicidal and wants to get his stuff together and all. Can I schedule an appointment for him?” […] “Timothy Arnold. Uh huh.” […] “Is the 23rd at 3 good for you?”

TIM: “Yeah, I’m good then.”

DETECTIVE: “Alright, he’s good with that. Okay. Alright, see ya man. Thanks. Bye.” [Hangs up.]

TIM: “Cool shit.” [Stands up.]

DETECTIVE: “Yep.” [Stands up as well.]

TIM: “Thanks for the help, man.” [Extends hand.]

DETECTIVE: “No problem, man.” [Shakes hand.] “Just don’t go murdering anyone else ya hear?”

TIM: [Laughs.] “Alright. Seeya!” [Heads for the door.]

DETECTIVE: “Later.”

Fin.

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