The License Crime Short Fiction By John C. Weil

The License: Crime Short Fiction By John C. Weil

John C. Weil, author of The License, has previously published short fiction in Halfway Down the Stairs, Tuck, Spine Tingler, Canary, Chiron Review, First Class, Wild Violet, Weird Year and The Storyteller, among others.


My wife and I knew we’d made a mistake the moment we arrived on the outskirts of downtown, San Diego.

The surrounding streets were sketchy, mostly defunct manufacturing shops with smokestacks and very visible large pipes crisscrossing rooftops. There were no streetlights. This was an area that downtown had left behind. Development went in another direction.

Probably out of fear, I joked. Karen chuckled uncomfortably.

As we parked her old convertible Volkswagen we noticed boarded up bars, the kind where seventy year old alcoholics had once spent long afternoons bumming drinks.

At least the Chinese restaurant we had always wanted to try didn’t look so bad. It was at the end of the long street. The curbs ahead were red.

As we parked her old convertible Volkswagen we noticed boarded up bars, the kind where seventy year old alcoholics had once spent long afternoons bumming drinks. Nailed plywood was water stained below names like Red Rose and Gina’s Garter. Red Rose had long ago faded to pink.

We walked quickly.

Karen hung onto my arm, almost digging her red fingernails into my skin through two layers of clothes.

I didn’t mind because she looked rocking. She wore a little black dress with dark raven-like hair well below her shoulders. She’d always had that va-va-voom look. The kind that makes guys crane their necks. When I first met her my friends dubbed her, “Double-take girl.

Maybe this restaurant wasn’t such a good idea.

Karen said, we’re here, let’s try it.

The restaurant was called, Yen’s Dockside.  We’re three blocks from the docks, I mentioned as we entered, stating the obvious.

But the restaurant had faux docks and actual water inside. Rustic tables were the texture of old barn wood. Tables were scattered around so we could see all the bright orange Koi fish in the water. Fake seagulls chirped and moved their heads. We spent two hours eating and talking.  Not bad food. Not worth a second visit.

Then we decided, let’s get out of this neighborhood.

Turns out we had been there too long.

Karen’s passenger window had been shattered by a big rock. The muddy rock was on the seat amid shards of glass.

Geez, I said, stunned. What were they after?

Karen admitted immediately that she had left her purse on the seat. Something we had discussed not doing.

Hoping to spot someone running I spun a full 360. But instead I saw a trail of what appeared to be small pieces of trash up the long sidewalk.

I first picked up a couple of membership cards with Karen’s name on them. Then every twenty feet or so – indicating enough time to yank cards out of her wallet and fan through them – I picked up other items.

First, two well worn ticket stubs to the movies, then a paper Smithsonian membership card. Further up the sidewalk I found CVS and Triple A cards and her health card from work.

At the corner with Karen standing close to me I reached inside a metal wire trash can and pulled out her wallet and purse. Both were empty. Cash missing was about fifteen dollars, and loose change.

But also her ATM card, Visa card and driver’s license.


David, she said, I’ll cancel the Visa right now.

Bank and DMV in the morning, I said. What a pain.

As we drove home Karen got on her cell to cancel her credit card.

A long night of worry followed.

Canceling the ATM card at the bank’s local branch the following morning was quick. Karen decided to call the DMV. A phone recording said we were fifth in line.  We took turns listening to the cell speaker while we were on hold for forty minutes. She then gave a report about her stolen driver’s license and made an appointment for a new Real I.D.

We tried thinking like crooks might think; use the license to open credit cards and order online. To be on the safe side she changed her not so secret Ebay and Amazon passwords.

Is that it? I asked.

I think so.

Looks like everything is okay, I said.


Turns out it wasn’t.

Two days later Karen answered her cell.

A man told her he worked at a gas station near the Chinese restaurant.

I found your stuff, he said.

Good news, she whispered to me.

What did you find?

Bunch of junk… There’s a Visa… It’s all in my car. Your number and address are on a gym card…

How about my driver’s license?

I didn’t really have time to look through the pile.

Karen offered to pick it up. He countered that he would be in our neighborhood the next day and could bring it over.

Your address is in there.

How about if I meet you somewhere, she responded.

I’ll mail it all to you, he said. That’ll save time.

Thank you. Thank you so much.

Karen was ecstatic. At least we didn’t have to worry about identity theft.

Things are looking good, I told her.


Days later I arrived home from work before Karen.

I sorted through the mail that had been dropped through the mail slot in the door.

Two bills for me, a magazine offer for Karen and some junk mail. A third envelope was addressed to her. The scribbled address was not very legible. But when I felt it I knew what I was holding. So I opened the envelope, dumped it, and there was her driver’s license. Thank goodness.

Then I turned it over.

Her face had been blacked out with a pen.

I quickly Googled the area around the Chinese restaurant. Only one gas station was nearby. The next nearest was over a mile away.

The manager answered the phone, Stan’s Chevron.

I mentioned the license. Not the blacked out photo.

And you need to talk to him, because…?

I want to thank the guy, I said.

But I really wanted to figure out if the guy had blacked out Karen’s driver’s license photo himself or did he find it that way?

I wasn’t foolish enough to think he would admit it. I just thought I might be able to assess his honesty based on his responses.

I heard the manager call out, anybody find a driver’s license and mail it to the woman who lost it?

No, I heard in three different voices. Then machine tools started up again.

But a fourth guy shouted over the racket, that was me.

He came to the phone.

I asked a question, he listened.

I haven’t mailed your wife’s stuff yet.


I haven’t had the chance yet. And there weren’t no license in the pile.

We hung up.

I retrieved the envelope from the trash. It’s amazing how easy it is to miss important details when you’re thinking too fast. There was no stamp, postal marks or return address on the envelope. Just the hand scribbled address.

The license had not been mailed. It had been dropped through the slot.


For ten minutes I processed that.  Whoever it was had blacked out her face and brought the license to our house. What’s worse is that the pen had dug pretty deep into Karen’s face as if he was angry as hell. It had almost made a hole through the hard plastic coating.

I was worried. Dropping the license in our mail slot meant he was likely a predator, even crazy, not in it for identify theft.

With her face blacked out I just couldn’t figure out what kind of message he was sending.


I met Karen at the curb when she arrived home at six.

It was dark as I glanced up and down the street. We didn’t have street lights and only two homes had porch lights. Everything seemed impenetrably dark. Every shadow suspicious. Even a distant corner mailbox looked like a stocky guy with hunched shoulders.

I escorted Karen inside and called the police.

Two officers arrived an hour later. They took a report, faces stern, dark uniforms pressed, gold shields the shape of 14k gold spoons, holsters oiled and blackened.

We’ll start with the guy at the gas station, they told us.

That night I slept with a baseball bat by the bed.

After midnight it was quiet in the house and the trees in our yard were thick green and very still. Shadows hung like impenetrable black sheets. I heard an owl as I drifted in and out of sleep.

At four in the morning a sharp noise woke me.

Karen was sound asleep.

I sprung from the bed, grabbed the bat, locked the door to the bedroom and walked cautiously up the dark hallway in the direction of the noise.

Once in the kitchen I waited. Through the window I could see a full steel color moon as sharp as the blade on a circular saw. The yellow café curtains were closed. We didn’t have spotlights so nothing cut that darkness.

I checked the kitchen door but it was secure. The little chain lock was not moving from any previous tugging on the door.

The window was still latched tight. But the latch was flimsy, probably 1950s.

I stood close and glanced out over the top of the bottom curtain. Nothing moved in the yard.

I stood frozen for a long while.

The free standing garage laid a shadow of itself on the ground. I kept my eyes peeled inside that shadow, thinking that’s where I would hide.

I stood for several minutes knowing a guy would have to cross the yard to get to the fence. There’s no way I’d miss seeing them. Maybe I can wait him out.

But everything was still.

After ten minutes quiet in place, I gave up. I went back to sleep, but this time I laid down on the couch in the living room.

Karen found me there in the morning.

That’s so manly of you, she joked. You were standing guard.

I didn’t tell her. I wanted to tell her, but I didn’t want to scare her. I could have imagined the sound. Why worry her over nothing?

Soon that familiar smell of brewing coffee roused me. I was stiff and grumpy from very little sleep on the lumpy couch.  It was a beautiful day with a blazing sun. To let in the light I opened the lower part of the kitchen curtains.

Karen then saw what I saw. Her face turned pale, probably like mine.


We showed the police what we found.

The windowpane closest to the latch was gone.  Two pieces were on the ground outside the window.

Karen blurted, I’m buying a gun.

Let’s not panic, an officer said. These were the same two as before.

What about the gas station guy? I asked.

He’s legit. He already mailed your items.

The police left. No fingerprinting, no searching for shoe prints in the mud. All that stuff must be just for the movies. A detective will be assigned to your case, one of the two told us.

It took us an hour before we were settled down enough to discuss everything again.

David, this isn’t a game, Karen told me. Whoever returned my license is stalking me.

Maybe, I said. Let’s calm down.

That set her off. Karen was at me now. The va-va-voom had turned into an aggressive Italian Stallion, like Rocky Balboa, but female and slender.

Calm down, she shouted at me loud enough for the neighbors to hear.

I just don’t want you to panic…

David, he tried to break into the house!

It occurred to me then that the guy may have heard me enter the kitchen and ducked down below the curtains outside the window the entire time I had been standing there.

I explained that to her.

She kind of sunk into herself on a chair.

I was afraid to tell her what else I was thinking. Mostly because it would have scared the hell out of her like it did me.  I was thinking maybe my presence didn’t matter to this guy. He wouldn’t let that stop him from getting at my wife. I may have a bat, but maybe he’s got a knife, or worse, a gun. He may not be overly concerned with me.


Detective Manual Rodriguez met us at the house the next day.

A stocky, five-eleven male, piercing dark eyes, a face made for the poker tables in Las Vegas. He was dressed in a neat as a pin tailored suit and a dark blue tie. He stared at us blankly as he listened to our story.

He took a report and put a tap on Karen’s phone.

Why a tap, I asked?

Just covering all our bases.

He stood up.

Take extra precautions, he said. I’ll be in touch.

Karen and I began to arrive home from work at the same time, coordinated via cell phone.

I’m ten minutes away, she’d say on speaker.



I’m just around the corner.

I’d hear the ticking of the Volkswagen motor approaching the house just after I pulled up. It was always dark.

I had already walked inside the house first, checked every room, every closet. Then she entered.

But all that caution amounted to nothing. The Internet is useful. But it gives away a lot. Not all of it good things. At the time Karen’s cell number had been listed.

Three days later the phone calls began. I’m guessing Detective Rodriguez knew this was going to happen. He’d seen it all before.

The first call came at midnight in the dead silence of our bedroom. The phone lit up on the nightstand. It glowed on her face as she held it close. No number appeared on the screen.  It didn’t say, Scam Likely. So Karen answered.


I want you. I really want you, a man said coldly.

She clicked off her cell in a panic I’d never seen before.

Karen started crying wildly, burying her head in a pillow.

Two hours later and after a long terse discussion she mustered the courage to answer a second call with the phone on speaker so I could listen.

A man’s voice barked, C’mon, I went to the trouble to look up your number. Talk to me…

She said nothing.

Didn’t you hear me? I want you, bitch. You should be freaking honored.

She hung up.

Did that sound like the guy who called you from the gas station, I asked?

She sobbed, I don’t know. I can’t tell.  Why would you ask that?

Maybe he was lying?

The police said he’s legit.

At this point I don’t trust anybody.

Then the items the gas station guy found showed up in the mail.

Neatly addressed envelope with a cancelled stamp, neatly addressed return address of the Chevron station. I checked out the miscellaneous cards. Her address and phone number were on the back of her gym membership just like the guy said.

I grudgingly eliminated the service station worker.

Karen didn’t even want to touch the stuff.

Throw it all out, she insisted.


The calls continued.

Karen didn’t answer a single one.  But I finally did at six in the morning.

I decided to see if I could back him off.

Stop calling, I said firmly. Unless you want me to [email protected]#!

He hung up without a word.

It worked, I said to her.

He called a dozen more times between six and seven.

Finally I answered again. Stop calling!

I’ll f— you up, pal, he screamed. Stay out of this. It’s not your business. Put Karen on the phone!

I hung up on him. He is an irrational nutcase, I told her.

You think? she said as an understatement.

We stopped answering her phone. We didn’t change numbers at the advice of Detective Rodriguez. I need more time he told us.

The unanswered calls went on for a week. He left very violent, explicit messages. And his behavior was escalating.

When the hell is Detective Rodriguez going to intervene, I asked, yelling.

Karen had taken enough. She was a wreck. She put her phone on silent, but even the buzzing sent chills up her spine.

Then the detective contacted me on my phone.

The phone calls are coming from a car dealership in Pacific Beach.

We got him, I said.


On a warm Saturday morning – when the largest workforce was on duty – Karen and I met the detective at the dealership.

Karen was shaking as we walked from her car to the lot. She told me she felt like the guy was watching her. She had dressed very conservatively, downplaying her va-va-vomm. She had covered anything and everything.

I held her hand because it wouldn’t stop shaking.

Upstairs, the detective said, pointing to an office overlooking the dealership and the street. We’re meeting with the general manager.

A tall woman greeted us at her desk.  She was a no-nonsense redhead in business attire, hair tied back in an impossibly tight bun, red nails like little knives and focused blue-gray eyes the color of a pre-storm sky. She had a poker face, too.

Outside the windows employees mingled, cars were dropped off for service, men in blue jumpsuits took keys, slid paper mats on the driver’s side floors and drove cars into the repair bays. We could hear the distant revs of automatic tools and the bursts of air from pneumatic drills thudding in the bays.

I’m Lola Smith, the general manager said.

She and Detective Rodriguez started the meeting with a stare-off.

So I chimed in.

She became immediately defensive when I explained the story to her.  Now I knew why the detective hadn’t said much. He had sensed what was to come and I had not. I quickly realized I’d waded into legal quick sand.

But in response to her stoic stare I said, look we’re not here to sue you. We just want to catch the guy. He’s using one of the phones at your dealership to scare my wife. He threatened her twice. I would think – especially as a woman – that you would want to stop him from doing that.

It can’t be one of my employees.

I explained nicely that if customers cannot access your phones, then it has to be one of your employees.  In our case he had my wife’s driver’s license. But imagine this scenario. He sees pretty girls come into your dealership, copies their phone numbers from the work orders and starts calling them. Do you want that?

Please, Karen pleaded. I need your help.

Lola said nothing. She appeared as unmoved and emotionless as a boulder.  Detective Rodriguez showed her the phone records. Four sheets clearly pointed out that the calls were coming from inside the dealership. But the tap could not pinpoint which phone was being used. The majority of the calls were during the day. But many were at night.

How many phones do you have, the detective asked?

… Sixty probably.

Could you narrow down employees with access to phones?

Sure. Everyone. There’s no code.

This fellow has raised his voice. Are there any phones where he could shut the door?

She thought for a moment. More than a dozen office phones, maybe ten more out of earshot, too.

Any way he could make calls in the middle of the night?

Offices are locked. But there are a lot of keys out there and no way to know who is using them. We don’t have an alarm. Employees could come and go at night.

Custodians have keys to each office?

Of course.

That’s it, I was thinking to myself. The guy is a custodian. Late night calls. Makes sense.

The detective continued. Lola still appeared unconvinced.

No security cameras?

Only facing the inventory.

That’s the lot in the back flanking the main road?


She said all you’ll see on the tapes are the salespeople and the cars in the lot.

I’d still like to see the tapes.

She grudgingly gave him access to the recent Ring camera recordings. We delete quickly, she told him. You have forty-eight hours.

Lola had sensed trouble coming and she had handled us like a politician in trouble. Deny, deny, deny.

Not much to go on, the detective told us in the hallway.

He decided that he wanted us to stand outside, near the lobby for a while. He directed us to the busiest spot. Cars were still being dropped off between two buildings under a carport. Many employees roamed nearby. They would clearly see Karen.

He told me to stand off to the side.

At the very least the stalker might notice us, the detective explained. He would know we are onto him and he might stop. Or he might walk close by to get a better look.

Do you think it’s a custodian? I asked.

Maybe. Just wait for a while.

So we waited.

And waited.

An hour passed.

Then the detective – who had stood across the street – escorted us to the Volkswagen with the window still broken.

As we walked toward the car I noticed a twenty-something guy staring at Karen. He wore a blue jumpsuit like the other guys who parked or washed the customer cars or drove them into the repair bays.

At first, I actually tried not to think anything of it. Karen is very pretty. Guys look at her all the time. Some stare. But there was something about this guy. He had the look of a guy who fancied himself a lady’s man. He had long dark hair, dark eyes. He seemed arrogant about his good looks.

I noticed that he tried to act like he hadn’t noticed her. But he didn’t do a good job of it. Yet there was something else that seemed odd. Like he seemed excited to see her in person. A little too excited. Like he recognized her.

I know this is guy talk, testosterone and all, but when he briefly met eyes with me he seemed to size me up. He turned away with a smirk as if he was thinking I could beat your ass, pal.

I tried to point him out to the detective but the guy had disappeared across the lot.

Probably nothing, the detective said.

How could it be nothing?

I can’t question a guy based on a feeling.

He was weird. It was a strong feeling.

He was looking at a girl. Men look at girls. It just isn’t enough. I’ll keep in touch.

It was the most he had said to us since our first meeting.


We drove home having accomplished nothing.

That night I couldn’t sleep. I was lost in worry throughout the entire evening. I stared at the ceiling in our bedroom as the headlights of passing cars swept across, lighting up the room until I closed the curtains.

Two cars had passed at one in the morning? Why?

Now I’m freaking out, I realized.

Was the employee at the car dealership the one who broke into Karen’s Volkswagen? Or did he have nothing to do with it at all?

At least the guy at the gas station turned out to be okay.

Please arrest someone, I asked the detective in my head. Please.


Detective Rodriguez called us a week later. I pressed speaker.

The camera recordings from the dealership were useless, he said in a calm, even voice that made me imagine his poker face.

What do we do now, Karen asked?

Nothing more can be done, he said, unless someone at the dealership reports overhearing another employee making unauthorized phone calls.

I’ll keep in touch.

Two days later I couldn’t stand it any longer. I had to protect Karen.

I decided I’d do something about stalker guy myself. I planned a second far more personal visit to the dealership to beat the shit out of Mr. Long Hair, the arrogant employee.  I was convinced now that it was him and I didn’t even give a damn if I was arrested.


From an old shoebox in my closet I dug out a pair of brass knuckles I bought years ago.

On Saturday I planned to use them on stalker’s face.

The calls continued all week. On the last two calls stalker never said a word. Just absolute silence, until I heard a robust chuckle, then a click.

He was playing with us now. He was enjoying instilling fear. He loved that he could imagine us afraid of him.

Without asking Detective Rodriguez we dumped Karen’s cell. We bought a new cell with a new number. We bought extra strong latches for the windows.

On Saturday I drove to the dealership. The weather had cooled off and I felt a chill on my neck.  I planned to wait as long as it took for him to get off work.

I stood for close to six hours.

By five o’clock it was even cooler.

I grabbed a sweatshirt from my car as I stood across the street watching employees come and go.

I drank coffee from a local shop.

I ate a donut.

At six when the dealership was shutting down employees flooded off the lot. Most had parked on the street near me so I was suddenly surrounded.  I slipped on the brass knuckles and kept my hand in my pocket. C’mon, a-hole, I muttered. C’mon out.

More than two dozen men and women in blue jumpsuits passed me in the road saying goodnight to one another. The sun dropped behind the distant buildings.

People were moving, it was crowded and I was quickly losing the light.

Then suddenly I felt someone come up behind me and get real close.

I felt a hand on my shoulder.


I spun around ready to rumble.

It was Lola, the general manager.

Lola’s hair was no longer tied back. It flowed down her shoulders like lava. She looked a little friendlier and less uptight without the tight bun pulling her skin back as if a temporary facelift.

I know what you are doing, she said.


You were out here most of the day.

Why do you think that?

I could see you from my office.  She pointed to the windows behind her desk that looked down on the street.

I shrugged. So?

You are harassing my employees.

I haven’t said a word to your employees.

Your appearance is a threat.

Only if one of them in particular knows why I am here.

She eyed me. You have an answer for everything don’t you?

Well, you had no answers.

Lola looked away as if thinking.

Finally she said, you and your wife are having problems with someone, she finally said. I don’t think that someone works at my dealership.

Phone records say otherwise.

Then I added calmly, and that someone is not just a someone. He is a stalker. He’s a dangerous and threatening guy who broke into our car, stole Karen’s purse, blacked out my wife’s driver’s license photo, dropped it off at our house, then later tried to break in to get to my wife.

Employees had finished leaving the dealership. Now other than my car and the general manager’s car all the others were gone.

The blacked out photo alone was a threat, I added as an afterthought. Don’t you understand that?

Lola hesitated. Glanced around.

I shouldn’t say this, she remarked, lowering her voice.

I saw those stormy eyes soften a bit.


Let’s just say it isn’t anyone who works for me. And the fact that I let go two employees today is unrelated.

Okay. Is one employee a younger male with long dark hair? He brings vehicles into the repair shop?


Who was the other?

His roommate.

I felt my Adam’s apple rise and drop as heavy as an elevator.

I think they work together, she said.

What do you mean? Doing what?

We’ve been missing stuff… like a coffee maker, car parts like brakes pads, calipers,,, Even change from the snack drawer… I’ve had a few complaints about the way they look at female customers, too. They make them uncomfortable.

Would you give their names to the detective?

I did that two hours ago.

Were they working today?

The one you’re after, yes. I fired him around four. He walked off the lot on the east side. So he would not have walked past you. The roommate I fired yesterday. He worked part time for me and part-time at a gas station, too.


Before I sped away in my car I desperately tried to get Detective Rodriguez on the phone.

Six rings and he answered.

Yes, I have their names, he said on speaker. But I can’t arrest them without cause… That’s all hearsay.

Karen was supposed to meet me at the house and I’m already late, I shouted.


Karen’s home alone.

He was quiet.

I asked, What can you tell me about them?

I can’t.

Do either of them have a record?

Can’t tell you that either.

Do you think it’s them?

Don’t know.

Are you watching them?

One is driving four cars ahead of me. He’s entering your neighborhood right now.

I about freaked. I controlled my voice. Which one?

The gas station employee, the detective said.

I was about to hang up.

Don’t go to your house, he said quickly.

Did you let Karen know what’s going on?

She isn’t answering her phone.

Maybe the other one is there at the house with her?

Keep calm. Black and whites are on the way. I’ll be there soon and I’ll arrest them if they step onto your property.

I drove a faster route to the house as I speed dialed Karen. No answer.

Please pick up I yelled into the air.

I redialed again and again. Damn it! I yelled. Answer the phone!

I pulled onto the off ramp, drove one mile at excessive speed and weaved wildly through the neighborhood pissing off neighbors until I reached our block. Up ahead I saw three black and whites in the street haphazardly parked and the detective’s unmarked car on our front lawn.

I slammed on the brakes then ran full bore toward the house.

The detective had pinned the arrogant long-hair guy face down on the lawn, zip-tied wrists behind his back.  Open wide was the front door to the house. I burst inside where six uniformed officers stopped me until Karen called out to me from the bedroom.

She was sitting on the end of the bed.

They got one, she said, crying.

Did he get inside the house?

No. He tried to climb in the window. I had the baseball bat… I hit him on his head… Detective Rodriguez showed up and dragged him out to the yard.

What happened to his partner?

They don’t know.

Was he here?

They don’t know that either.

I could hear the guy with the long hair shouting like a maniac as they escorted him to the back of a patrol car. I’m entitled, he screamed. She wanted me. She invited me over.

He was talking in circles, not making sense. As an officer slammed the door to the patrol car I heard long hair scream, I didn’t steal no purse. That wasn’t me. I didn’t black out no license. Benny did it!


Four months later we moved. They never found long hairs’ partner. Benny Carson had been sighted in Florida and New York. Then he fell off the grid.

After interviews with Sam Sites – the long-hair guy – it was clear that it was more a mentor relationship. Benny was the teacher.

We did this stuff together, Sam admitted to Detective Rodriguez during interrogation. We compete to see who could get to her first. We split the stuff from her purse.

Did you follow her car downtown?

No. We was walking around there… Trying to score some meth… We both saw her get out of that Volkswagen.

Then what happened?

Benny spotted her purse on the car seat. So we went for it… C’mon, look at her… What a babe, man. We knew we had to have her. You know, Sam likes to scare the women. He really thrives on that. I like it, too.

How many?

Six women so far.  He really wants Karen. I don’t think he’ll let it go.

You are roommates?

Yeah. He taught me stuff. Benny is way worse than me. He likes to hurt them more than I do. He really enjoys hurting them. He killed two of the girls we met.

Detective Rodriguez was stunned. It almost showed on his poker face. Suddenly he had homicide on his hands.

Sam’s eyes lit up. She liked me, he said. I could tell.  A guy can just tell, right? You understand… But Benny said he wanted her first. She might not make it to me. I wanted to beat him to her.

To this day, Karen and I know Benny is out there. He’s roaming somewhere in the world, mixing in with others, watching women, searching for weaknesses, waiting for his moment.

We wish the police had caught him to keep people safe. We really wish they had. We’re just glad he doesn’t know where we live now. We still live in fear. But he can’t find us now. He’ll never find us.

Then just a few minutes ago Karen’s new cell phone buzzed. The phone was on the table and the vibration started moving the phone toward her, as if someone was willing it. Neither one of us recognized the number.


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