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Routine, routine, routine. A routine is what I live by. A routine that makes life easier. Something so that everyday I am on task, with perfection, the same, everything.
Wake up at exactly 6 o’clock
Wash my face 3 times, 3 minutes each time
Shower for 5 minutes
Done by 6:15
Toast with a sliver of butter
1 cup of orange juice
Out the door by 7:02
Work at 7:30
Lunch at 12:25
Leave work at 4:31
Straight shot home by 5:30
Order small plain cheese pizza at 5:37
Television while waiting for delivery
Water to drink
Pizza delivered by 6:20
Bed at 9:54
Asleep by 10:03
The same schedule everyday. That way there are no faults or mishaps. 4 years of this schedule, day in and day out, and it has always been perfect. Not a sliver of time was missed.
So today, like everyday proceeding it, was fine. Until I saw it. Open on the table was a can of cream soda. I haven’t had a soda in 5 years. So why did I decide to grab one today? Why don’t I remember it? It isn’t part of my schedule.
I mean, it was always my favorite, but this isn’t routine. I don’t even keep soda at the house. When did I stop to get it?
I can only remember the short ride home. What is going o-
Doorbell rings. Pizza is here.
$21.07, same as always.
The scarlet faced teenager hands me my box and I sign the receipt, handing it back to him.
He snatches the receipt, “Have a great rest of your night sir. Oh, wait.” He points his finger to the the center of my chest. “You have stain on your shirt. Maybe a nosebleed? See you tomorrow night Mr. Covington.” I glare after him as he saunters away.
A nose bleed? I don’t get those. Not a single one since I was 4 years old.
I stumble to the bathroom and find there is no trace of blood streaming from my nose. Yet the mirror does in fact show drops of blood on my shirt. I quickly unbutton it, running the water over the stain, rubbing strenuously. “S*** s*** s***. My timing is so off.”
I take a quick glance at my wristwatch, “Damn it.” If I am going to stay on schedule, I need to eat now and fast.
I rush back into the television room and reach into the now room temperature pizza box for a slice. The plate, knife, fork and napkin are already there waiting, so no extra waste of time.
Generally I watch the television on mute, so no sound fills the room.
However, red and blue lights flashing from the television do.
The news story headline reads “Convenience Store Killer Strikes Again!”
This story has been running for years. About once a month. They can never seem to catch this guy. No camera has ever picked up his face and any witnesses end up dead. How the police are so careless, I don’t know.
They should just close down all the convenience stores within the proximity. He has hit all the surrounding counties; Butler, Warren and Clermont. You would think that in such a small, four county area, they’d be able to capture a single measly criminal, but nope. The police fail us as usual.
I reach my hand back into the box for another slice, but it is completely bare of any pizza.
What the hell? Did I seriously zone out and eat all of this? Where is this time going?
Oh God, please tell me this isn’t another case of the seventh grade.
The halls swarmed with blustering students and the aroma of post gym class stench percolated through every hallway. Celeste was standing at her locker, attempting to reach her history textbook on the top shelf. She couldn’t get to it in, even when on her tippy toes.
I glance around the hallway from my locker a few doors down. No one was attempting to assist her. No one was even looking at her. I slowly close my locker and turn my head to the floor, leisurely meandering my way next to her. Not even glancing up, “H-Hey Celeste…” Celeste recoils from the abrupt interruption. “Oh my gosh, Jasper. You scared the hell out of me.” A slight grin expands across her face. “Would, uhm, do you, uhm, can I help you get your book?” I continue to stare at the floor feeling the irrefutable rejection coming my way. “Really? Thank you, yes, I am sadly too short.” Her giggle is the sweetest harmony, like syrup straight from the heart of Canada, taken from the oldest tree by the Prime Minister himself.
I can sense the crimson flush begin to manifest itself onto my face. Celeste gracefully slides out of the way and I reach up for her book. Courage wells up inside me as I finally grab the book. “H-hey, Celeste, would you maybe uhm.. Maybe want to,” I turn around and am surrounded by dozens of kids flashing their cameras at me, giggling their a**es off. Celeste just stains there, a smirk on her face. Then, I just black out. When I woke up, three boys were on the floor, black and blue eyes and noses.
That was the first time it happened. Time just, disappeared. Like now. Red and blue lights flood into my window. Much stronger than those that have come through my television. Something must have happened at the neighbors house. Not the first time the cops have showed up. They are complete a**holes. Hell, two weeks ago they broke their sons arm. And 3 months ago-
A banging at the door interrupts my thoughts, “Jasper Covington! Open the door now!” What in the hell is going on? “Jasper Covington, this is the police, open the door right now or we are coming in.”
I rush over to the door and unlock it. “Okay I seriously have no clue what’s going on. Why are you here?” Two police cars are parked in my driveway and 4 cops stand before me, with SWAT standing behind them. The policeman in the front walks in the door and pins me to it, bounding my arms behind my back. “Jasper Covington, you are under arrest for robbery and a multitude of murders. We have officially found you as the Convenience Store Killer.”
“Wait, what the hell! You have the wrong guy, it isn’t me! I swear!” The cop pushes me to the ground. “We have footage, you forgot one of the cameras at the 7-11 in Clermont.” “What? No! No! I swear, it isn’t me. It couldn’t have been me. I-I would know. Wouldn’t I? I think I would know. What happened? What’s going on. I don’t get it. What did I do?”
The policeman drags me to his car and puts me in the backseat. The SWAT and other policemen pile back into their cars, as I sit in this caged seat wondering...
What did I do?