One Picture, One Story
Mike poured himself a coffee and sat at his kitchen table. He looked blankly out the window that overlooked his small, yet perfectly landscaped yard. He liked working in the yard, it soothed his soul and he had ample time to do so since he had won a settlement with the slaughterhouse he worked at. He had been wrongfully dismissed after he had blown the whistle on a few supervisors who were stealing large amounts of beef from the plant floor. When he refused to drop the complaint, the supervisors began verbally abusing him and chastising him in front of co-workers. One day he spoke up and was pushed down a small flight of stairs. Later one he was called into the General Managers office and fired for harassment. He sued the company for a few million and won and now enjoyed the retired life at the ripe old age of 36.
He finished his coffee and rose to get the paper from the vendor machine down the street. It was a beautiful, Manitoban summer day with the light chirps of birds and the slight breeze blowing gently. He put his money in and took his paper and slowly walked back up the road to his house. He poured himself another cup of coffee and proceeded to his back deck, paper in hand. He noticed the squirrels trying to get into the bird feeder, so he threw a small pebble to scare it away. He sat down in his chair on the sunniest part of the deck. It was morning, so the noontime heat had not yet settled. He turned his attention to the front page. Nothing about the gentleman he had killed the night before. He turned to the Crime and Punishment section; nothing. Mike was annoyed. How could they not report something like that? He shook his head in disgust. Suddenly the thought struck him; the man lived alone and no one would be in the area until the weekend. Perhaps no one had found him yet. He felt sad for the man, having to lay there dead for days and no one even notice otherwise. Maybe he should have closed the eyelids to make the wait a more peaceful one. He thought about journeying back to the secluded house and shutting the man’s eyes, or maybe making an anonymous phone call reporting a disturbance or suspicious behaviour. He rolled the newspaper up in his hand and swatted a fly that made the mortal mistake of landing near him. Mike turned the rolled up newspaper to look at the fly parts that were now stuck to the newsprint. He studied the insides with interest before chucking the paper aside and taking a sip of his coffee. “What a wonderful day,” he said out loud, “yes, a wonderful day.”
Mike washed his hands in the kitchen sink as he peered out the window with an accomplished smile on his face. Gardening made him feel whole, almost as much as killing. He washed the plastic file folder that once contained the paper suit so that it could be ready for the next outing he took to the forests of the Canadian Shield. The suit that once was housed in the file had been carefully shredded and mixed into the soil where his flowers grew innocently and beautifully. He placed the clean file in his closet by the front door and walked to his living room and shut the blinds. The afternoon sun shone hot through his front window so he had put up thick curtains to help keep the living area a little cooler during the summer heat. He turned the tv on to his favourite gardening show and picked up his tablet from the side table. He browsed the local news websites to see if his work had been reported yet and nothing came up. He searched for “Eastman Ghost” and began reading through the many articles that came up. He felt a quiet pride while he read words like, “elusive”, “cold”, “calculated” and “cunning”. He placed the tablet gently on the side table, sat back and watched his gardening show, but the lack of reports about his latest victim lay heavily on him. He lay back and slowly drifted off to sleep, the afternoon sun trying, but failing to penetrate the curtain.