She appeared perfectly normal at first glance; then, I asked what she did for a living.

“Mostly, I murder people,” the woman said.

Okay, I thought, this lady is batshit crazy. Sure, she’s a looker with her long, blonde hair and sell-your-soul-to-the-devil eyes, but still . . . nuttier than a fruitcake. However, my bus wouldn’t be here for another thirty-five minutes. So, I say, “That sounds really interesting.”

“If you don’t mind, may I enquire as to your name?”

Now, I might not be the brightest lightbulb in the package, but my mother didn’t raise any fools, either. “Name’s Tom,” I lied. “And your name?”

“Call me, Clair,” she said, turning to face me. “You know, Tom, it is an interesting form of employment. And there are certainly a lot of perks with a job like this.”

“You don’t say.”

“I do say, Tom. I get to travel all over the world—expenses paid in full. And I get to make the acquaintance of many fascinating individuals, too.”

She was talking, but I didn’t hear most of the words that came from those beautiful lips because I was focusing more on her cleavage. I wondered if they were real, but they couldn’t be. They were probably those silicone implants, I guessed. They looked good. And her perfume was sweet with just a soft hint of rose petals. “I work over at Lexmark.”

The crazy woman—Clair—slid closer and said, “Tom, when you were a child, did you have a vision for your future? I mean, did you recognize what you wanted to accomplish with your life?”

I’m thirty-seven years old, not-so-happily married, have hypertension (according to the machine at my local Walmart), and still don’t have a fucking clue about my life. “I wanted to drive a truck. You know, one of them eighteen-wheelers.” It was the only thing I could think to say. Hell, when I was a child, the single vision I had was of preventing my dad from beating my ass after one too many Pabst Blue Ribbons. Damn, my mom envisioned that for years, too, before she got fed up and left his sorry ass.

“You know what I wanted to do, Tom?”

I laughed and said, “Kill people?”

Clair smiled at me. “Not exactly, no. I wanted to fix people’s problems, Tom. Make their troubles vanish.” She cocked her head to one side. “There’s an enormous degree of pleasure in removing pain, you know. It can nearly make you feel . . . like a god.”

“I guess,” I said, starting to feel uncomfortable. This lady could probably give a corpse a hardon from hell, but she was still a pair of cards short of a full deck. And there was something else, a kind of wickedness lurked behind that Hollywood smile. Like maybe she used to torture small animals when she was a child. Or she might’ve taped worms to the sidewalk in the summertime, watching them squirm until they shriveled up and flattened out like worn-out shoelaces.

“Yes, it can be quite alluring. In fact, my job creates a feeling of euphoria that greatly surpasses any sensation derived from alcohol or self-prescribed medications.”

“You don’t say,” I said, and then added the lie, “I don’t drink anymore.” The truth was, I didn’t drink any less either—not even after three DUIs and a revoked driver’s license. What, did you think I was taking the bus and attending AA meetings for my health? Yeah, right. Although I had been given a choice, and I decided against going to jail because I don’t like being told what to do. Plus, I really didn’t want to take a pecker in the ass.

She moved even closer and continued, “Some people attend college and become therapists—thinking they can aid society by treating the mind.”

“I went to a shrink once.” The school counselor had forced my mother to take me. It was on account of me missing too many days and not doing my homework. I had also gotten into a lot of fights that year, too.

“Did it help you, Tom?”

“No,” I said, looking at my watch.

“Right. The reason being, most of life’s tribulations, especially adult problems, have to deal with physical evils—not psychological. And just like a malignant tumor, if you can remove the pernicious growth before it spreads, then you’ve ameliorated the situation.”

“Oh, okay.” I looked around and then down at my watch again. “Nice weather we’ve been having lately, right?” Fifteen minutes before my bus would be here, assuming Lextran wasn’t running late, which was a BIG assumption. And here I am stuck chatting with some big titted woman who happens to be batshit crazy.

Clair moved so close to me that her knee brushed against my thigh. “Are you all right, Tom? You look rather flushed.”

I’m not going to tell a lie. Between the warmth of Clair’s touch and the sweet fragrance of that perfume, my manhood was beginning to stiffen. “I’m fine,” I said. But the words came out weak and unbelievable. I had already forgotten the minor detail of her insanity and was, once again, focusing on her partially exposed breasts. Yeah, yeah, I know, but I’m a man. Also, the old lady and I haven’t done the nasty for nearly two months, so I get a hardon when the wind blows.

“For example, Tom, let’s envision a charming lady married to some egregious man.” She removed a piece of paper from a small black purse. “Furthermore, let’s imagine that said lady was pregnant with her first child.” She unfolded the paper. “If you were the parents of such a delicate creature, and you had the financial resources to—how shall I say—remove the malignant tumor, wouldn’t you take the necessary steps to improve her situation?

She handed me the paper. I looked down at a printout of myself and my wife, Heather. It was a photograph that had been taken the day after I received the last DUI. That was also the same day I promised her, for the thousandth time, I would quit drinking. I didn’t stop, it turns out, but she had believed me once again. Hell, maybe she needed to believe me. And for just a brief moment, we were both happy.

“I’m going to be a father?” I asked.

“No, Tom,” Clair said, jamming a gun against my chest. “I’m here to prevent that from happening.”

I glimpsed her batshit crazy smile one last time . . .

. . . and she pulled the trigger.

July 03, 2020 19:30

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Martha Patterson
04:04 Apr 12, 2021

Shocking! Another interesting story --


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Rosa Brock
15:29 Apr 06, 2021

I didn’t expect the plot twist, great job! Also, good detail.


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Hayley P
06:08 Jul 13, 2020

great story!! also funny, my story has a character named tom and, "hello stranger" as well!


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