The Town

THE AFFAIR

“What a picturesque town!” he told his companion.

“Indeed.”

“How shall we give these fellows a gift?”

“Murder perhaps?”

“It’s as if you read my mind! What a gift it would be. Murder in scenery. A view worth painting.”

“A contrast.”

“Yes! A black and white. That would be our little gift to these people. A death to beautify their history.”

“But they’ll know no appreciation. We’ll be revolting in their eyes.”

“Yes, yes. Of course we will, my friend. But even if they don’t know it, after the whole affair, they’ll be thanking us each time they tell the tale of the murder to their children. Every time they notice the mystery added to their town. The spice that wipes out their unglamorous monotony.”

“The murderous spice.”

“Yes. The murderous spice.”


THE NEWS

He shouted the latest news, “A serial killer in town! A serial killer in town!” and watched the people’s startle. They rushed forward to buy a newspaper, and the topics on the street lost their variety to the tyranny of the serial killer. The murderer had only murdered three people, and two were not even in this town. Yet the people murmured on, ever more excited and terrified at the news, as if before today no disease or accident had killed them. But those had been only deaths brought about by folly or innocent misfortune, not murders. They had no vice or malicious intent in them. And even the occasional crimes that occurred didn’t have the relentless continuity. It was evil at large that had pushed the people toward him to get the papers. They wanted no news. They cared for no tidings of the day, except perhaps for the businessmen and stockbrokers. But even those suited men and women sought excitement and gossip. Even if it were a grim April’s Fools trick, the murder, no one would have cared. It’d only be the drama that mattered. It was no one’s business what happened in others’ lives, unless it had some dough for them, or some change to monotony. And he was gaining from that. The money had never grown so much in his pockets. He seemed to shout louder with each buyer. Three killed and a town stirred, and a boy made a bit less poor. A good day, he told himself. A good day.


 

THE FRIENDSHIP

“By the way,” he said to his mate. “Have you heard of the serial killer?”

“Of course. It’s vicious, the whole thing.”

“It is. And that proves it. We should leave the town.”

“Yes, we should. And go somewhere without people. A cave perhaps. There’ll be no killers there.”

“A cave is good. But it’ll be the two of us, you know. Not one.”

“What do you imply?” Silence. “That you might become a killer there?”

“No… I don’t think, at least. But it could happen. To me or to you. And it’ll be too late to change it by then.”

“Then… Should we part away?”

“Yes. For us to live alone by choice, even in its monotony and sameness, would be easier than by murder. Or with no life at all.”

“But murder is a choice.”

“Not one that we make now.”

“I see. But what if now, we chose not to murder?”

“How can you know of my choice?”

“I can’t.”

“Then let us split.”

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