It was truly amazing what one could find on the Internet, Trevor thought as he fussed nervously with his tie in the mirror. The last thing he thought he’d be doing at this stage of his life was getting ready for a date, yet here he was, primping and preening like a teenager.
First dates are always anxiety-inducing affairs, even when you’re 38-years old, and the sad fact that Trevor had never been on one before made it all the more so
He regarded his reflection in the mirror. He wasn’t ugly, per se. In fact, he wasn’t much of anything. Distinctly average was perhaps the best description of his appearance. The reason for his non-existent romantic life, he knew, was neither his looks nor his personality, but rather his unique hobby.
Trevor was a serial killer.
Frequent homicidal urges didn’t make one a bad person, though, contrary to common conception. Trevor wasn’t evil - he’d never so much as kicked a puppy in his life. He strove diligently to be a decent, upstanding member of society. He
paid his taxes, obeyed all traffic laws, gave to charity, attended mass at St.
Marks twice a year at Christmas and Easter, and regularly baked his specialty -
lemon cakes - for his elderly neighbor, Mrs. Wentworth, even though she had an
annoying tendency to play the radio too loud when she’d forgotten her hearing aide.
He was an all-round nice guy and believed his indulgence in the occasional murder-for-fun should not define him as an individual. Some men golfed in their spare time, some fished, some drank and played cards. Trevor killed. No big deal. He liked to think of it as a public service. The world was dangerously overpopulated as it was, and who hasn’t contemplated cold-blooded murder when sitting in traffic, or stuck in line for hours at the bank?
His morally questionable extra-curricular activities, however, made for a life of
lonesome longing. Trevor was a human being, first and foremost, with all the
attendant needs and desires of one. He just wanted to be understood; to be
loved not in spite of his flaws but because of them. He’d confessed all this to a therapist once and she’d nodded in sympathy. She hadn’t replied, most likely because she was bound and gagged, and somewhat preoccupied with the sight of the large knife in Trevor’s hand, at the time. That brief flash of human connection, though, had only left him wanting more.
Realistically, Trevor knew he wasn’t ideal boyfriend material and he’d largely accepted his perpetual bachelorhood as an unintended consequence of his deadly
deeds. Until he stumbled on the innovative new dating site that changed
Blindmatch.com? Sounds like a dating site for the visually impaired, Alexa thought. She’d done the whole online soul-mate search thing to death with no success, but she created an account on the site anyway. Hope springs eternal and all that. She found the concept refreshingly appealing – there were no superficial profiles or obviously-fake pictures. Blindmatch simply tracked its users' search histories and then connected individuals with similar interests. Blind dating in the 21st Century.
At the ripe old age of 34, Alexa was still mired firmly in spinsterhood. She
wasn’t a ‘looker’ as her mother had been fond of reminding her, and she
knew Victoria’s Secret wouldn’t be calling anytime soon. Or ever. That
wasn’t the sole cause of her single status, though. The main reason, she
thought, was her unique hobby.
Alexa was a writer.
Strictly bush-league, for now, but it was an after-hours activity she devoted herself to heart and soul. It was only through the expression of the written word that Alexa felt truly alive, in control, and able to understand the world that, to her, was otherwise a mystery. She wrote because she had to – it was as necessary as breathing – and she hoped someday to make a career of it.
Writers, by nature, are a queer, reclusive bunch. Alexa was painfully shy, socially
awkward in the extreme, and thus, wholly unsuited to a long-term relationship,
in her own harsh view. Still, she secretly longed to meet a man who shared her
passion; who truly understood her. ‘Mr. Write’ she jokingly called her fictitious knight in shining armor. Or had, until her mother had bluntly told her that making stupid puns like that was the reason she was still single as she barrelled headlong towards middle-age.
The light at the end of the tunnel came in the guise of Blindmatch.com, but a week after joining, Alexa had yet to receive a single match. She wasn’t really surprised. Her online searches varied wildly depending on the story she was currently working on. Only a writer would research such a diverse array of topics as she. Alexa hoped if she waited patiently, the site would eventually pair her with someone just like herself.
It happened midway through the second week, while Alexa was looking up gruesome points of fact for a new horror story she had in the works.
You have (1) new match.
Compatibility rating: 98%
The rendezvous was set for Bean There, Done That, a quaint little coffee
shop downtown whose name had always delighted Alexa. It also seemed an apt
description of her online love exploits to date. This time, however, would be different. She could feel it. She clearly had a lot in common with the mysterious Trevor. What could possibly go wrong?
Alexa arrived early, took an out-of-the-way corner table, and waited in anxious
anticipation for the arrival of her potential paramour. She’d told him in their
single email exchange that he’d recognize her by the red dress she would be
wearing. It seemed fitting – red was not just Alexa’s favorite color, it was
also the shade of love, of passion, of…
…Glorious, gushing arterial spray! Trevor thought with delight when he first clapped eyes on the plain-Jane waiting for him at the corner table, wearing the red dress that beckoned him forth like some blood-bathed beacon. What an auspicious
omen! Sparks were going to fly, Trevor felt sure of it.
At first, none did. Introverts are like parallel lines – ideal companions but
rendered by their very nature tragically never to meet. When fate intervenes –
as it had here in the form of Blindmatch.com – the results can be somewhat less
than spectacular. Their initial exchanges were clumsily negotiated, nary a
spark in sight.
This proved immensely frustrating for both of them. They knew they had much in
common, yet still they persisted in meaningless small talk in an attempt to
break the ice that remained steadfastly frozen in place.
It was Alexa who decided to take the initiative. While she cared not a fig for the
number of Trevor’s prior sexual partners, she’d been led to believe it was
customary to ask the question upfront. She decided to do it by way of a line
she’d heard in a movie once. “So, what’s your body count?” she asked, trying to
sound nonchalant but sounding, instead, chalant as all hell.
Trevor seemed not to mind. He was, in fact, astounded that the timid looking woman before him had asked the question so boldly, so openly! He carefully considered his response. His true victim tally stood at nine, but he didn’t want
Alexa to think him obsessed, so he prudently rounded down. “Five,” he replied. “How about you?”
Encouraged, Alexa broke out another cool-sounding movie line. “Oh, a lady never tells. But don’t worry, I have a few skeletons in my closet.”
Ah, a collector. Trevor’s respect grew.
The first sparks were beginning to appear; the ice was well on the melt.
Alexa wanted nothing more than to quiz Trevor about his work but, as an aspiring
author herself, she knew the only thing a writer liked less than being asked
what they were currently working on was not being asked what they were
currently working on. She decided to approach the issue obliquely. “So, when
did you first discover your passion?”
“It was always there, I believe,” Trevor replied, relieved to at last get a chance
to speak about his life's work. “But, sadly, apart from some dabbling in my
teens, I only truly embraced my calling a few years ago.”
“Oh, I can so relate.” Alexa, too, had attempted writing as a youth – angst-ridden journal entries, mostly – but had only recently gotten serious about it. “It takes a measure of maturity, don’t you think?”
Trevor agreed wholeheartedly.
“I’m still very much an amateur, though – “
“My dear Alexa, we all are! And what a beautiful thing that is. Did you know the
word derives from the Latin amare, for love? An amateur, therefore, is
someone who does something purely for the love of it.” Trevor had picked up
this tidbit from a linguistics professor a while back. The guy had been a font
of useful information during the hours of his slow torture. “I wouldn’t have it
any other way.”
This thrilled Alexa no end. She loved how writers picked up little things like that in the course of their work. “Oh, Trevor, that’s beautiful! I have to confess,
though – “
"I told this to my therapist once and he just didn’t get me, you know?" she laughed self-consciously at the memory. "Don't worry, I got rid of him after that."
Something else they had in common! Trevor nodded eagerly for her to continue.
“Well, I sometimes fantasize about becoming famous, like the greats. Of being discovered. It sounds silly, but – “
“Not at all!” The walls of Trevor’s apartment were adorned with pictures of his
idols – Manson, Gacy, Bundy. He, too, secretly dreamed of one day joining them
in infamy. “I think of that often as well. Dreams are the refuge of the sane
mind, after all.”
Alexa could only stare dreamily at the marvelous man before her. There he sat, in the flesh – Mr. Write! So what if he looked like an accountant? They were cut from
identical cloth, which was all that mattered. Passing mere love, Alexa was well
on the way to infatuation and whatever lay beyond. “Trevor?” she asked when she
felt herself able to speak again. “Would you mind terribly if I asked for some
tips? I’m desperate to improve in any way I can.”
“I would be honored to help you, Alexa. Which part do you struggle with the most?”
She had no shortage of story ideas, but for Alexa, the gap between concept and
implementation was often broad and she frequently felt herself unequal to the
leap. “The hardest thing for me is usually the execution.”
“Ah, yes. So important, the execution. It’s the crux of the whole matter, you could
say.” Trevor could sermonize on the finer points of dispatching a victim for
hours, but he chose to keep it brief. “Your biggest enemy there is doubt, and
her close companion: hesitation. When it comes to successful execution, Alexa,
you need to be bold, to trust your instincts and, most of all – “ he leaned
over the table and tapped his finger gently on her chest. “Follow your heart,
my dear. It will never steer you wrong.”
Had she not been sitting down, Alexa may well have fainted with desire just then.
Her soul-mate search was at an end, at last.
“Always remember, the pen is mightier than the sword,” Trevor added.
Alexa melted in her seat. That was her favorite adage! She had it tacked to the wall above her writing desk and told him so.
“Of course you do.” Trevor had expected nothing less. It was homicide 101 – disposal of the murder weapon, always vital, was so much easier when the offending objects were of benign, household origin. Why use a machete when a Mont Blanc would suffice? That was his motto. Trevor had once murdered a man with nothing more than a handheld eggbeater, a length of twine, and three toothpicks. He smiled at the pleasant recollection.
Feeling completely understood for the first time in her life, Alexa had to restrain herself from leaping over and ravaging him on the spot. Trevor felt much the same – he, too, had sailed happily past infatuation and adoration was but a distant memory.
Gazing lovingly into each other's eyes, they silently thanked their lucky stars for leading them to Blindmatch.com, and - through the wonders of data mining technology, and a blatant disregard for Internet user privacy - to each other.
As the delightful date neared its conclusion, both Trevor and Alexa were thinking
ahead to their next meeting. As far as each was concerned, it couldn’t come
As they began their goodbyes with great reluctance, Trevor gathered up his courage and prepared to ask the big question. Had he a ring ready, he would surely have requested Alexa’s hand in marriage – and she would have surely agreed – but, as it was, his planned proposal was of far greater importance.
Trevor got down on one knee, looked up at the object of us infinite affection, and
asked, “Alexa, would you do me the honor of working with me?”
“You mean like a collaboration?”
“Yes, dear heart, that’s exactly what I mean.”
“Of course!” she squealed in delight. “Trevor, I would love nothing more.”
“Do you want to come over to my place tomorrow night, then?”
“Wild horses couldn’t keep me away! We’ll need to think of a subject, though…” Alexa trailed off, contemplating trying something out of her comfort zone. A story
set in history would make a nice change of pace. “I’ll always love the contemporary blood-‘n-guts stuff, you know? But I’m tempted to experiment a bit. Why don’t we do something... older, perhaps?”
“Excellent! I have just the subject in mind,” he replied with a grin, thinking of his
noisome neighbor. Something older indeed.
As they parted, Trevor couldn’t quite believe his luck. Who said romance was dead? He’d have to stop at the store on his way home to pick up the ingredients for a batch of lemon cakes. He wasn’t quite sure of the exact sedative dosage required for the effective incapacitation of an octogenarian, but he knew where to come by that information.
It was truly amazing what one could find on the Internet.
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Murderously hilarious. I think, you dear author, should look into death by laughter!! I loved this. How they had a full flowing conversation from different perspectives is a work of genius, if I should say so. Loved this so much!!
OH MY GOD! This is too hilarious for me to handle!!! That poor old man living in the wrong neighborhood :D You're probably my favorite author here, Jonathan, and these stories are the reason. I can't even imagine something like this happening, and you managed to write it! I don't think I exaggerate when I say that this is the definition of fabulous. Great job! It is toe-ticklingly funny :)
Thank you so much. I'm sure this happens all the time in real life... If I was to summarize my idea creation process, I'd say it comes down to the question of 'what if?' Then writing is just exploring to see what will happen. Again, you are such a loyal reader and supporter and it means so, so much!
My pleasure :) Also, I wanted to tell you that Zilla Babbitt is starting a new 'spotlight' section in her bio. You can go and read about it in her comments and bio. I've recommended your name for that. I hope you don't mind :) You're an amazing writer, and I wanted everyone to know that! I hope it's fine with you! :p
Brilliant. Funny. Smart. Engaging. Professional. You have a future in this my friend. Are you a planner or pantser? I am a pantser and I think you are too. Your stories flow too easily for it to be any other way. One of these days I hope a prompt will allow you to tell the story of how you write. I’d be fascinated to read it. Great job. Not to bring the mood down but I wrote an story called “My Best Friend Wants to Die.” It’s unfortunately a true story and as such I tried not to “over style” it. I’d love your opinion if it still works.
Thanks! I'd love to know the story of how I write as well, because it's a mystery. I think for me it's mainly ideas - I spend so much time thinking of weird stuff and it needs to come out. I think needs is the perfect word because there's no other choice. It's a drive. So a lot of the stuff Alexa says in this story is true for me - writing is a way of making sense of things, feeling in control. And having a voice. Which only matters if there's someone to hear/read it. So you're a big part of the process without even realising it. I actual...
I love this story so much! 🤣🤣
As much as Trevor loves Alexa, though?
Yes yES YES! I came across this prompt kinda thing where the serial killer and writer go on a date because of their similar search histories so I knew right away that that was exactly what was going to happen. I am so happy I read this. It was hilarious, detailed and with the perfect misunderstandings. Misunderstandings are always so good for comedic purposes (when it comes to drama, it gets tedious sometimes). I have a terrible memory, but I have read a few of your stories- and I’m wondering if you aren’t a real author. Like a legit boo...
Thank you so much, this is the best comment ever! I can absolutely assure you I’m not any sort of real writer – just like everyone else here, throwing words at the page and hoping for the best 😊 I can see an enormous improvement in my work since I joined Reedsy, and that’s because of all the help, support, and encouragement I get here. We’re making each other better, and what a beautiful thing that is. I’ve always loved reading because even in the darkest times, especially in the darkest times, the best authors can make the real world disap...
Oh yes I can totally see the enormous improvement too- it’s like you went from amazing to absolutely fantastic. Yes! I laughed so much the day I read the Peter story. Thank you for writing it!
I've been nailed by editors on this one- "Trevor thought to himself" Who else would Trevor think to? make it just "Trevor thought." And then the hilarity ensues. Given the joke nature of this, I was immediately reminded of the old saw about the hitchhiker climbing into a truck and saying, "Thanks, most folks are afraid I might be a serial killer." "Nah. What are the chances of two in the same place..." Of course making her a writer is even better. This could also qualify for an earlier prompt of "have subtext" or would that be ...
Thank you so much! That is one of those writing tips I will now keep with me forever. Like removing unnecessary ‘that’s’ it’s the kind of thing you don’t see… until it's pointed out, and then it’s obvious. I suppose an exception is made in the case of telepathic characters, but since Trevor is merely psychopathic, I see your point. You have once again proved your worth on here, thank you. And, interesting question. I’m sure there’s something witty to be said here about a ‘grave’ mistake, but it escapes me. I think it was Stalin who said,...
subtext- subterranean grave humor which is six feet deep ... Yeah, my humor is as dark as yours.
So here I am, enjoying this new story, feeling kind of bad for this guy who's never been on a date, appreciating the description of "distinctly average," and then you hit me with "Trevor was a serial killer"! ... please continue :) "He just wanted to be understood; to be loved not in spite of his flaws but because of them." What a beautiful sentiment. "She hadn’t replied, most likely because she was bound and gagged, and somewhat preoccupied with the sight of the large knife in Trevor’s hand, at the time." ...why do you do this, haha ...
Thank you, that means so much. This was my first foray into Romance, so I’m glad it came off. I think I was inspired by Red Dragon – where sightless Reba falls for the murderous Francis Dollarhyde. Talk about love being blind! Also, at the end of Hannibal, Starling and Lecter run off into the sunset together. Sort of. Which all begs the question – don’t killers have needs as well? (if you prick us, do we not bleed?) From there on out, it was fun start to finish. I’m so glad that translates in the reading. Your comments are so encouraging. T...
So I looked that up, and now I think I'll be paranoid about new people I meet... I'll read any genre by you, so please feel free to try out more when inspiration strikes.
Loved this! Genuinely laughed out loud several times. "What's your body count?" XD. Very fast-paced and entertaining, great wordplay, overall writing style is good. my only question is, I wasn't sure what made each of them convinced that the other person shared their vocation? did they both just assume because of the similar search histories that they did the same thing? I think the misunderstanding makes for great comedy, and it didn't take me out of the story by any means, just something that kinda seemed like a leap. overall great story! ...
Thanks for reading and commenting. Very good point – I’m often guilty of spoonfeeding the reader so I’ve been leaning in the other direction lately. Like here, I had a line or two in about them searching the same things online initially but took it out to avoid overexplaining. What’s fun about this kind of stuff is that early on you’re kind of telling the reader to suspend belief and just go with it. Also, Trevor would tell you that from ‘body count’ onwards, he was certain, and after ‘the pen is mightier than the sword,’ Alexa knew he had...
This is an amazing story. I really like the characters, the setting, the dialogue, and the dark humor. :)
The funny bone is still active! Such a delight! Let me see if I can help with some suggestions (although it's hard to find any faults, really) - "He was a genuinely nice guy and believed the fact that he indulged in the occasional murder-for-fun should not define him as an individual." - I believe it should be "him indulging" or "his indulgence". Correct me if I am wrong, as I cannot pinpoint the exact rule for that. It just didn't sound right :) - use of paramour - I think it's mostly for the lover of a married person or when there's so...
Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, you’re always so insightful. I’ve just spent a good 20 minutes reading articles on the (ongoing) debate of the capitalizing of ‘Internet.’ The general consensus is that you are, indeed, correct 😊 I’ve fixed the ‘indulged’ sentence. I don’t know if it was technically incorrect as it was, but it did jump out at me as being too wordy. Your suggestion allowed me to get rid of ‘the fact that’ which helps the readability a bit. As I understand it, paramour is a synonym for ‘lover’ so it ...
Glad I could contribute, even if it's just a little. I actually like the word paramour, it just triggers a bit of a sketchy association. Reedsy have been doing a lot of maintenance these days, I've noticed, so maybe the formatting glitches are due to that. Hope they fix it :)
Did not see this coming at all: "Trevor was a serial killer." Almost choked to death laughing, so thanks? Even your throw away lines are hilarious: "and a blatant disregard for internet user privacy" Oh how your writing is rich and nuanced. How do we even like these two so much? Artfully done. *golf clap*
Deidra, you are fast climbing my list of top favourite Reedsians. I can't believe I didn't discover you sooner! I even read a story dedicated to you today. Fancy that. In comments there, I may have said the tale was as delightfully strange as it's dedicatee... who knows? Point is, you're a treasure. Thank you so much for visiting my story. As to why we like these characters, I think because they remind us of ourselves. One of them, at least... and we know which that is.
Eggbeater? Seriously, Jonathan. You kill me. I'm going to have my high school seniors study your stories for our unit on irony.
You have an absolute gift for humour. You’re right that I needed to bring tissues - this had me sobbing. The ‘he was a serial killer’ hit me like a plank of wood to the back of the head. This felt delightfully slapstick, despite not being slapstick at all. The crossed lines and missed communications were beautiful and this would have been PERFECT for the dramatic irony prompt where the reader was in on a secret that the characters weren’t. I feel so sorry for poor Alexa though. She’s going to get quite the shock. You are fast app...
Thank you. Even if you run out of suggestions, it's your encouragement that means the most. Your idea, though, is the best kind because only a reader can see those kinds of things. So I will definitely take a look. As I was writing this, it occurred to me that it could’ve worked for many of the prompts over the past weeks (The book/author one, secrets, quarantine love (adapted slightly), dramatic irony, a conversation where people aren’t saying what they mean). You’ve just created a brilliant story idea – a serial killer who hides the fact ...
It happened with me too! But it was just some error. Sorry to interrupt your conversation, by the way! You can try emailing the Reedsy people, or you can go to the Help section and ask them directly about it.
Nope, all good, just got it now. I think they had to run it by their legal team to see what, if any, lines had been crossed... but then they realized that nobody in SA government can read, so it's fine. God, I'm terrible. I'll have to run this comment by my legal team before clicking 'reply.' Update: my legal team quoted Dr. Seuss at me: "Those who matter don't mind, and those who mind don't matter." Good enough. Also, Pragya, you are always welcome to join our conversations. The more, the merrier
Oh my god, you’re going to get a very sternly worded letter from your government. I absolutely love the fact that Reedsy had to check - I didn’t see anything about it on the judges messaging board so maybe they were just taking their time to really admire it?
I doubt it. One would need to be able to read to write a letter, sternly worded or otherwise. Okay, okay, that’s it. I’m done 😊 I don’t think any legal consultations were required, probably just a glitch in the matrix. The moral of the story is: always burn your blessings before they hatch.
I'm glad! :p
Yes, always feel free to join in!
Too, too funny, Jonathan! You have such a gift for humor and I love that the repartee fits together so that the reader is the only one who sees both sides of each comment. My favorite part, though, was the egg-beater, twine and toothpicks—so much better with no further explanation. I got my amusement of the day reading this. Keep going—I loved it!
Thanks. I know, right? It immediately gets you wondering what's the worst someone could do with an eggbeater, a length of twine, and some toothpicks. Three toothpicks - Trevor was very specific about the number, so it must be important. I always appreciate your comments, thank you.
Your creativity is insane mahn!
Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it 😀
I love this . I can’t believe you can whip these brilliant stories up so quick. I think this is my favorite of all your stories. I’d vote for this for the win. So clever and so funny. He smiled at the pleasant recollection and Gushing arterial spray made me lol. Murder is hilarious. This is good stuff.
Thank you! I once read a story on here about the creepy congregants of St. Marks, so I had to slip that in. Makes sense, where else would a serial killer go to church?
Lol that's so funny. I totally pictured Christian Bale the entire time. Aww my little Donation story, I'm so proud of him. He's still up on Defenestration magazine. What a good boy. And that's a great title btw. Your good with the titles and stuff.
Dude this was exceptionally hilarious! I loved that there was irony after irony. This was sooooo good to read. I didn't want it to end. Both of their personalities were awesome. I love how nonchalant Alexa was even though Trevor had other intentions. This was would be so good as a movie Jonathan! Bravo.
Thank you! How about Kevin Spacey as Trevor? That'd work. And Alexa... no idea. We'll have to come up with an idea soon, I'm expecting the call from Hollywood any day now. Thanks for reading :)
Your welcome! I'm definitely seeing Trevor being played by Kevin Spacey. But Alexa, hmm that'd be kinda tricky. We need to man, this story has the heart to make a movie. Hollywood would be honored to have you.
[He’d confessed all this to a therapist once and she’d nodded in sympathy. She hadn’t replied, most likely because she was bound and gagged, and somewhat preoccupied with the sight of the large knife in Trevor’s hand, at the time. That brief flash of human connection, though, had only left him wanting more.] That was my favourite part. I love the way it is light-hearted, disconnected from reality and just going on with the flow. That misunderstanding was wrapping everything in that story and you could feel it lurking at every sentence. Yo...
Thank you so much. It's a neat variation on the classic twist - using dramatic irony to enhance a story - and is always fun. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.
I can't add much to everyone's praise, Jonathan, but I loved it! I'm here in work reading it and giggling the whole way through. Aside from the creativity and originality and the great writing, I really liked how you switched the third person pov instead of doing it from the first person of each character. How did you come up with this idea? What a delight to read!
Absolutely loved this!
Wow! I'm blown away by this new twist on an old story plot. Very innovative approach to the subject. My one suggestion is that everything comes too easy to the characters. Make them struggle, whether its the awkward dialogue at the beginning or an unexpected problem that comes up or... This is really great!