Fiction Thriller Crime

Another Valentine’s Day alone. Thank goodness for these Meet ‘n Greet events that the local community center puts together for us single folk. I really look forward to meeting new women that are single and lonely, just like myself. It’s weird—for me, it’s a comforting feeling knowing others are just as lonely as I am.

The way this event works is what brings me back every year. We spend the first hour meeting people in a casual atmosphere, buying drinks at the bar and getting relaxed in preparation for the next event.

The next hour or so we spend in a type of speed-dating event. The women sit at a table while the men spend five minutes at each table before moving on to the next woman. Someone apparently thought five minutes is all you need to know if there is enough of a connection to pursue the relationship—at least for one night.

The rest of the evening we spend much like the first hour. Only this time, you already have a promising idea of the women you want to spend more time with, and possibly spend a full-night’s date with.

This afternoon, just as in the past events, I am searching my closet for the perfect outfit that will give me an advantage over the other lonely men out there. Since I’m a regular to this event and have been attending for the past ten years, I have an advantage over the others that show up with no experience.

Last year, I had a lot of luck with the dark blue tuxedo jacket with a solid white dress shirt, no tie. It looked classy enough that it got a lot of positive remarks from the ladies. That’s what I’m going with again. However, this time, with a thin, dark blue tie to match the jacket. If you look carefully, you can actually see a black swirl pattern in the material.


It’s 6:00 PM and I’m just arriving at the event. I sign in with an alias name—Mr. Justin Babcock. Every year I use a different name. I know that some of the savvier event coordinators know I am there every year, and that I use a different name each time, but they don’t say anything.

I head to the bar and buy my vodka martini and head to the corner of the room where I can see everyone as they begin to show. I watch each of the woman as they walk in deciding which are the confident, versus the shy and timid. I’ve been doing this long enough that I can tell who has a click of friends to go home to, or a pack of hungry felines that look at her as the human servant they deserve.

My goal is not to so much talk to anyone before the speed dating part of the event, but just to observe. There’s a certain type I’m looking for: Not chatty. Not drop dead gorgeous. And standing alone questioning why they are there is a nice bonus feature. In other words, an introvert with low self-esteem.

“How are you doing?” a voice asks. She approached me from the side, and I didn’t notice her walk up.

“I’m fine. How are you?”

“Nervous. This is my first event like this. My name is Tracy, by the way.”

“Tracy. It’s a pleasure to you meet you. I’m Justin.”

“I love your accent. Where are you from?”

“Various places in Europe. But I moved state side about a year ago.” I take a sip of my martini, acting aloof.

Tracy looks around while she takes a drink from her cocktail, obviously struggling to find something to talk about. “I’m from Washington state myself. I moved here to get away from my ex.”

Her slight confession just made her more interesting to me. A newbie to the area, with an ex that she’s hiding from. Tracy just made it to my list of women I am going to pursue.

“I’m sorry to hear that,” I said.

“I hate to be so forward, but why does a man like you need an event like this to meet someone? You’re handsome, tall, good-looking, and obviously well read.”

I smile. “Thank you, Tracy. But even people like me struggle to find love. Especially during Valentine’s Day.”

“Really? That’s hard to believe.”

“It’s not meeting them,” I say. “It’s more keeping them around that I have trouble with.”

Tracy takes a sip of her drink. “You don’t look like you’re the mean, abusive type. You’re very charming.”

I grin while I take a sip. Before I could get another word out, the bell rings indicating the beginning of the speed dating.

“I hope to see you soon,” Tracy says, walking to her table.

I walk to the line of men waiting to begin the speed dating to get our assigned table that we will be starting at, along with instructions to follow. Several men couldn’t wait to start, and you could easily see why they were still single. However, there was one man that seemed very confident, and was not too bad looking. He reminded me of myself.

The bell rang indicating it was time for the men to take their seats and begin the speed date. I started with a very cute, talkative, older lady that has desperate written all over her. I appeased her by answering her questions, but thankful when the bell rang for us to move to the next table.

This next lady reminded me of a librarian. She had the thick black rimmed glasses; her hair was in a bun and she talked very softly. I had to do most of the talking and found out she had never had a boyfriend longer than one date. She had no family and was looking for someone she could look forward to seeing after work, which coincidentally, was the library. Her name was Margaret and she made it to my final list of women to take on a date.

The rest of the women were average, and I could easily see them pairing up with any of the other loser men that were there. So, I let them have the women that did not make it to my final list.

After the speed dating portion of the evening, I found myself talking with Margaret. She seemed anxious to meet someone and desperate enough to say yes to almost anything. I did not foresee Tracy interrupting us.

“Well,” Tracy says. “I see you have found someone else to hang out with.”

“Hi Tracy,” I said. “This is Margaret. Margaret, this is Tracy.”

Margaret extends her hand to shake Tracy’s. “It’s nice to meet you.”

Tracy ignores Margaret’s pleasantries.

“Is this the type you like?” Tracy’s eyes squint as she looks at me. “I thought we had a connection going. But obviously not.” She takes her drink and splashes it in my face and walks away.

Margaret is shocked at what just happened. “Oh my God. Are you okay? Look, you’re soaking wet.”

It was the most I heard come from her mouth all night. “I’m fine. I just need a towel.” I turn to get the attention of the bar tender when she interrupts.

“I have a towel at my place.”

That’s all I needed. It was a green light to get her home. “That sounds even better.”

We both leave the event. I take one last glance at Tracy and see her talking to some man, still looking at me as if I had just killed her puppy.

Margaret finds a waiting cab and gives the driver her address. I make a mental note.

In the cab ride, I put on my best acting pretending that my clothes were ruined. In reality, I knew a dry-cleaner that could get out any stain from any material—even blood. A sweet drink like this would be no challenge for him.

The cab pulls up to Margaret’s home. It’s a small house at the end of a quiet street. The closest neighbor is at least two-hundred yards away.

“Nice place,” I say, making small talk.

“Thanks. Come on. We have to get you out of those clothes before the stain sits in.”

I follow her into her home and begin to take my jacket and shirt off. I hold on to the tie telling her it was okay.

Margaret places the garments into her washing machine with some stain removal detergent. I follow her to the laundry room and take my tie and wrap it around her neck as she is loading the washing machine. The more she struggles, the tighter I pull.

She passes out and I continue to hold tight the choke hold around her neck knowing it will be at least a minute before she’s fully unconscious.

When her body goes completely limp, I rush to the kitchen and find a large knife. I use it to stab her in the chest several times. I’ve been known to stab my victims as many as thirty times, but as you’re doing it, you just don’t know—Only a Type-A killer would care how many times he stabbed his victim. And that was not me.

After she is dead, I attempt to clean up the mess. Stabbing was always my MO. Shooting left too much blood spatter and stabbing would leave the blood isolated into one area. When I was done, I had to be careful not to step in any of it.

I retrieved my clothes from the washing machine and put them back on. I left the scene. I knew if she was as much of as a lonely introvert as she appeared at the event earlier that night, it would be a while before anyone discovered her.

I left her home and walked five blocks to the nearest convenience store and called for a cab to take me home.


The next day I’m watching the morning news on television. The headline was about a murder that had taken place overnight. Ironically, it was not mine. They had arrested Tracy for killing a man she met at the speed-dating event.

Go figure, I said to myself. Those psychos that attend those events—you never know who you’re going to meet.

I’ve been doing this for ten years. I have ten victims to my name and the police are no closer to finding me than they were the first year. And now that Tracy has been pegged with killing at this event, it will not surprise me if the cops try to pin the past decade of killings to her.

“Oh well,” I mumble. “Next year the police will see they tried to peg her on killings she never did, and I will remain at large as the humble Valentine’s Day Killer.”

February 14, 2022 19:45

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