“I'm very good at what I do. I look like a nice guy. I seem trustworthy and kind. I know how to manipulate someone into doing what I want. Let me tell you how it starts:
“I show up at a beach or park in my little Kia. I take a stroll around and observe who looks like they'd be easy to pull away from the crowd. Someone who doesn’t quite fit in. Then I walk up to her. We exchange pleasantries. After a few moments she says,
‘Do I know you?’
‘I'm Josh,’ I say. ‘I'm new in town.’
‘Ah. Nice to meet you, Josh. I'm so-and-so.’ I tend to forget their names.
“They always shake my hand. They start to relax. This is my favorite part. The part when they begin to trust me. I ask them a few general questions: “Where are you from?/Do you have any kids?/What do you do for a living?” I memorize every detail about them: their answers, their body movements, their eyes. I make sure that they are comfortable with me before I conveniently realize that I left my phone in my car. I ask them if they want to walk me to the lot and they always do.
“And that's where the fun really begins.”
The interviewer looks at me with a mixture of revulsion and awe. He scribbles something on his notepad. He looks back at me. “Are you proud of the things you have done? Tricking and killing dozens of women?”
I smile. “Not all of them.”
He frowns. “What do you mean?”
“Don't you know why you're here? I killed my wife. I killed her with the same knife I used to kill those dozens of women. I assumed that you had requested to interview me to ask about that.”
He freezes. I can tell he is afraid of me, although he has no reason to be. I don’t have any reason to hurt him. His life isn’t worth my time. I can tell that he hadn't done any prior research before he came to interview me. “You work for a magazine, don't you?”
“A publishing company, actually. We want to write a book based on your life.”
“Interesting,” I muse. “So what do you want to know, exactly?”
“Anything you'd be willing to tell me,” he answers.
I lean forward across the table. “I'll tell you everything. I have nothing left to lose.”
“Because you're in prison?”
“No. Because I'm going to be executed after this.”
He stares at me. After a minute or so, he seems to realize that it is silent and he's wasting time. He coughs. “Okay. So tell me about your first… victim.” He says the word like it’s taboo.
“Her name was Sarah. I only remember that because I'd known her since I was little. We were watching a movie in my living room while Alice was out of town.”
“Who is Alice?”
“The wife you killed?”
Anger flashes through me. I grit my teeth. “Yes. She was out of town for business.”
“Was she aware you were at home alone with another woman?”
“Sarah and I had always been close, but it was never like that. I have only ever had eyes for my wife. We were in the middle of the film when she turned, looked me in the eye, and kissed me. Obviously, it caught me off guard. She was like a sister to me. I scrambled up and paced the room, her watching my every move. But she didn't apologize. That was what angered me most. She should have apologized. She knew I was married but she kissed me anyway. She believed that I would cheat on Alice, the only woman I’ve ever loved. So I went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and slit her throat.”
The interviewer gulps. “Did you feel guilty about killing her?”
I look him straight in the eyes. “It was the greatest thing I'd ever done.” He shivers.
“How did Alice not find out about you killing Sarah?”
“I didn’t tell her anything. When the story appeared on the news, I pretended that I had no idea what had happened to her. After that, my mind became obsessed with thoughts of murder. If someone cut me off on the road, I thought about shooting them. If someone bumped into me in a public place, I thought about poisoning them. If someone said something rude to me online, I imagined the feeling of my knife sliding across their throat. I wanted more. I began to perfect luring women into a secluded places. It was fun. I liked having the power to get someone completely alone. To make them vulnerable. To have their life in my hands. For a while, I didn’t do anything to these women. I got them alone, talked to them for a bit, and took them back into a public place. And then I got bored. So the next girl I brought into a secluded place, I killed. Then I did it again. And again. And again. I was very good at covering my tracks. You idiots may have never figured out it was me if Alice hadn’t told you all.” I laugh.
“Why did you keep doing it? Surely you couldn’t have been bored all the time.”
“It let out all of my stress and anger. It kept me from hurting anyone important.” I shrug.
“You don't think those girls were important?”
“Of course not. They were just pawns. I don't care about any of them.”
“But they had families. And frien-”
I cut him off. “Everyone needs to do what makes themselves happy. I did what made me happy. I don't care if it hurt other people. It's not my problem.” I pause. “I never counted how many girls I killed. I didn't remember them much longer than the time it took to get them alone and kill them. The police say it was between 25 and 30, but I know it was more.” I smiled. “It was a great system, sneaking out at night to find a new girl, coming home before Alice woke up, having a stress-free and happy life, until the night Alice figured it out.”
“How did she figure it out?”
I think back to that day. It was the worst day of my life.
I'd walked through the door of our home after work to find the place ransacked. “Alice?” I’d called. My heart had started pounding. I feared that she'd been hurt by an intruder. “Alice!”
She walked slowly out of the kitchen, her hands behind her back. She was looking at me like she was afraid.
I walked toward her as slowly as she walked toward me. I held my arms out. “Are you okay?”
She’d begun to back away. “It was you. This whole time.”
At that, I was confused. “What are you talking about?”
She produced a knife from behind her back. The knife. And she held it in front of her as if she would use it against me. “How many girls have you murdered with this?”
I blink, and I’m staring back at the interviewer. He looks at me expectantly. “Did you hear me? How did she figure out that you were the killer on the news?”
“She found the knife.”
“A knife you used to kill one of the women?”
“The knife I used to kill all of them. Including her.”