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.