My name is Donovan Cloud, and today is the day I commit the perfect murder. Now a lot of debate can be made about what qualifies a murder as perfect but here are my criteria: one, there must be no evidence that you committed the murder and no one must suspect you; and second and most importantly, there must be something ironic or wonderfully witty about the circumstances of the murder. Even the most devout moralist must crack at least a minimal smile when they hear about it.
I drove my parent’s car down Red Cherry Lane. It was a rather non-descript neighborhood, full of middle class houses nestled in a little pocket of Florida suburbia. I parked along the side of the road in between the driveways of two houses. I was a good eight or nine houses away from Chris Rohr's house. If anybody happened to look out a window I didn't want them to see my blue KIA Rio in Chris' driveway. They're less likely to notice me if I simply walk into and then later out of his house than if I spent a minute getting into and starting my car. And of course, however long it took me to do what I came to do is how long my car would be sitting in the driveway for all to see.
I exited my car, making sure I brought the wrapped gift box, and started walking on the sidewalk towards Chris’ house. I was wearing a long sleeve button shirt and dark baggy pants. A little heavy for March in Florida but it was perfect attire for the perfect murder. I was looking at all the upper middle class houses as I walked down the sidewalk, holding Chris’ present. Most of them were two-story, single family homes. This included Chris's which I had only been to once before. On New Year’s he had thrown a party to which half the senior class showed up for, including me. I really had nothing better to do. Besides I like to study how the masses spend their lives and interact with each other. It was fortuitous that I did. I loosely formed my plan that night alone in my room. Now I'm going to put it into effect. I can't wait! I was glad that I had parked so far away ‘cause I needed time to stop giggling and put on my serious face.
I had bought a ticket to, and been seated for, a movie about half an hour ago. It was some unfunny Adam Sandler piece of crap. I snuck out of the theater's exit ten minutes after the lights went dark. I would keep a hold of the ticket stub. It was an imperfect alibi, in fact it would not stand up in the least if they had some kind of concrete evidence against me but it would work to create doubt if anybody suspected me.
I reached his driveway and started walking towards the front door of the house. His house was a cream colored, two-story single family home, with a garage and driveway. His lawn was full and green, like every other lawn on the block. I looked at his car in the driveway, a dark blue sports car of some kind, probably given to him as a gift for making his parents proud by winning the state championship last year. That and not flunking. I finally got to his front door and rang the doorbell. I glanced at my watch with the hand not holding his gift. 2:35 P.M. After a minute the door opened and Chris Rohr stood there wearing jeans and a white T-shirt. He was a little taller than me and a lot more athletic. He was on the basketball team and very popular, dating Chelsea Vain, one of the hottest girls in school. I wasn't jealous however; the guy was living a relentlessly mediocre life, barely aware of being awake. Being as thoughtful and intelligent as me would be beyond his comprehension. He looked at me curiously.
"Donovan, what are you doing here?" he asked.
"I'm here for your birthday party. I brought you a present."
"Oh, you know it's not for another 4 hours right?" he asked.
"Oh, it isn't?"
"No, why don't you come back around seven," he said.
"Okay. Can I use your bathroom real quick though? I got to go bad."
"Yeah, sure, come on in," he offered.
I stepped into his house and found myself in the middle of his living room. There were two sofas, a recliner and a flat table in the middle. No TV, but there was a nice stereo system. Obviously this area was designed more for gathering in conversation rather than sucking the mind dry with sitcoms; although, I shudder to think of the kind of inconsequential and banal conversations that take place within Chris Rohr's family. In the middle of the room was a staircase that led upstairs to where most of the bedrooms were.
"It's right through the family room," he said.
"Thanks," I said and started walking towards the bathroom. I exited the living room and was in the family room. There was a large, flat screen on one wall with sofas and chairs in a horseshoe shape in front of it. In the middle of the semicircle of seats in front of the TV was a wide chest that was being used as a coffee table. I knew from my last time here that it was where they kept the DVDs. I kept walking, past the stairs that led to the bedrooms, to the hall that connected to the bathroom and the laundry room and walked inside the bathroom, hitting the light as I closed the door. I looked at the gift box that was in my hand. I looked at myself in the mirror and took a deep breath. I was so nervous. I've never killed anybody before. I practiced on one of our neighbor's dogs but I imagined it would be far different for a person. I would have to be successful. If I tried to kill him and failed, I could spend a very long time in prison and that's if he didn't kill me. He was very athletic, great basketball player, and a lot stronger than me. The only advantage I had was the element of surprise. I looked down at the gift box. I flushed the toilet to maintain my deception and opened the bathroom door.
I saw Chris standing next in the dining room looking at me as I left the bathroom.
"Are you good?" he asked.
"Yeah, thanks, hey you want to open your present?"
"I don't know maybe I should wait 'till the party."
"I don't think I'm going to be able to make it that late," I lied.
"All right, I'll open it now."
I walked over to him and handed him the present. He sat it down at his dining room table and began to unwrap. I found myself getting excited and nervous. Was this going to work? I said, "Hey are your parents here?"
"Nope it’s just me," he said. I of course, already knew ahead of time that he would be alone and I had also not heard anyone else in the house. I just wanted to make sure. He was nearly finished opening it. “You know you're probably the only person who is going to give me any kind of present tonight. Most are probably just coming for the free food," he said as he finished un-wrapping the box. It was funny how friendly he was being to me. Usually he rips on me in class. I guess when his jock douche bag friends aren’t around he doesn’t feel the need to hassle me for laughs. Or maybe he just really wanted his present. He opened the box and was puzzled by what he saw. He reached into the box and pulled out a hammer. "What's this?"
"It's a hammer," I explained.
"Well, no shit, but why?"
"Look I engraved it."
He turned the hammer, looking at the other side. The word 'Chris' was sloppily carved into the wooden handle. "It just seemed to be poetic", I said. It was; it was meant for him and him alone.
"Okay", he said, obviously uncomfortable with my lack of conformity to his social norms. Social norms that did not include giving a hammer as a birthday present. "Well, thank you. How long did it take you to carve this?"
"Two days, off and on. I accidently jammed one of the woodcarving tools into my hand." I showed him the band aid that was on my left palm. He winced when he looked at it.
"Ouch! I'm sorry."
"Don't be, you're worth it." He looked uncomfortable when I said that. Like he thought I was coming on to him or something. Oh Chris, not even close. "I'm really thirsty, would you mind if I got something to drink before I left?"
"No, that's fine," he said and turned his back to me to head towards the kitchen. Okay, the hammer's right there. Do it now. His back is to me. Do it now! I was too nervous, I couldn't move. Do it NOW! I started to reach for the hammer but stopped myself. He was already too far away, now he was in the kitchen.
"What do you want? A coke, Gatorade?"
"Just water please," I said hating myself for not moving quicker. Don't wimp out; you're only going to have one opportunity. When I learned for sure that he was going to be alone in his house before a major party (I overheard him talking to his friend Steven in chemistry class). I knew it was a once in a great while opportunity. His sister and parents were going to be at a ballet recital that he had managed to skip out on. Ostensibly, because he had basketball practice, although he certainly made it seem that that was just an excuse while he was talking to Steve. As I heard the water running in the kitchen I quickly formed a plan. This was going to be my last chance.
He came in with a glass of water. "Thanks," I said as I took the glass and started drinking from it. I looked to my left at the hammer lying on the fine wood dining room table. I tried to keep myself from staring at it, but it looked so full of potential energy. I brought the glass down from my mouth and let it slip from my hands and fall to the floor, spilling water everywhere. I pretended it was an accident, "shit I'm sorry". He let out a loud sigh and bent down to pick up the cup. Do It Now!
I grabbed the hammer and brought it with full force down on his head. A sound like a baseball hitting a bat resonated through the room. He didn’t scream; more like a grunt and he hit the floor. He groaned and started to get up so I hit the back of his head again with full force. He fell completely face down on the floor. Blood splattered on me and I almost threw up. It wasn't supposed to be this messy. He kept moving but slower now. I didn't know what to do. I needed him to be dead and to stop moving so I could move his body and clean up the evidence but I didn't want to hit him again and risk more splatter. I held out the hammer as far away from me as possible, holding it by the tip of its base, and I hit him again in the same place. A little bit more splatter hit me. Eww, gross! Instead of trying to get up, he just started shaking like he was having a seizure.
I hit him a couple more times but he just kept shaking. I knew I had mortally wounded him but his body somehow kept trying to live, like a cockroach flailing after having been sprayed with poison, as good as dead even if it didn't realize it. Enough. Time to end this.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a pair of latex gloves and put them on. I knelt next to Seizure Boy, put my hands around his mouth and held tight. His arms flailed ineffectively. Finally, after what seemed like an hour, he stopped moving. I held tight for another minute to be sure and then finally let go. I stood up and let out a huge sigh of relief. My heart was still pounding. Taking his life had been exhilarating. Now for the boring part.
I went over to the chest and opened it up. There were a few DVDs, mostly whatever big budget Hollywood film that some hack like Michael Bay or Garry Marshall had directed, but not enough so that a body couldn't fit. I went over to the kitchen and searched the bottom cabinets until I found a large black garbage bag. I laid it out in front of the body and I pulled Chris by his hands until his head and torso were on top of the bag. His face was bloody but easily recognizable. I dragged his body with the garbage bag, careful not to let him slip off and drip blood onto the carpet. Carpet was, after all, a lot harder to clean than the tile of the kitchen that he had died on. I got to the open chest and worked him into it, making sure I got no blood on the carpet. He was really heavy and it took a lot of effort to get him into the chest. I had to stand inside the chest and actually pull him up into it. Putting all my strength into it, I lifted his torso in first and then, stepping out of the chest and standing on the carpet, dragged his legs in. His feet were hanging out the side. He was taller than the chest was long, so I curled up his legs until he was in a sort of a fetal position. I dumped the bag in and closed the top, but I didn't lock it. There was a little bit of blood on the chest but none on the carpet. My shirt was smeared with it. That was okay though.
I walked into the kitchen; got another bag and some paper towels and spray cleaner. I cleaned up all the blood on the dining room table. I then focused on the tile. I went through half a roll of paper towels. Blood tends to seep through multiple layers quickly. It took me only about 10 minutes although it felt like another hour. I got the last bit cleaned up and then re-cleaned the same area twice to make sure there was no residue. I hope I was successful but if a few blood specks remained; no biggie.
I put all the used paper towels into another black trash bag. I contemplated simply throwing the cup into the trash bag but there was something about the idea of the Rohr family reusing a cup that had been splattered with the brain matter of their beloved son that appealed to me. Like this movie where a man tricked a woman into eating her dead son for revenge that I had heard about. It took place in Roman times I think. Whatever; I washed the cup out in any case.
I was standing in the kitchen when I heard what sounded like distant clanking. It sounded like a door opening, maybe a car door. Oh no, what if his parents returned early. I'd be screwed; I needed more time to make sure all the evidence of my being here was gone. If they came in they would find blood on the chest and they would check it and call the police and I probably wouldn't be able to sneak out of here with my trash bag of forensic evidence. I still had my blood stained clothing on. If I did escape, I’d be smearing Chris’ blood all over my car. Or I’d have to leave my car in the area and walk around in broad daylight with blood on my shirt until I found a public bathroom to use. All bad options.
Frantically, I went to the window next to the house's front door and chanced a peak through the blinds. I couldn't see much because I wasn't making a very big hole with my fingers; I didn't want to risk being seen from the outside, but I could see enough of the driveway to know that his parents hadn't come back. I ran to the family room, to the rear door that led to the back porch and risked a look there. Nothing but a well manicured lawn and a wooden privacy fence blocking a clear view of the neighbor's lawn. Nevertheless, I shuttled between the two windows several times before I felt relaxed enough to get back to work. Doubt and disbelief flooded my mind. Had I really done this? The hard reality was that I had. No room to back out, I needed to get rid of all the evidence or I was going to spend a good long time behind bars. Vaguely the fear of what being in prison would mean went through me. Worse, much worse, than high school. Of course, eventually fear would have no meaning for me. I had begun my inexorable transformation.
I double cleaned all the surfaces where Chris had bled and when I felt satisfied I took out another garbage bag and laid it out on the floor. I stepped onto it and took off my long sleeve blood stained shirt, revealing my white T-shirt underneath, and my baggy blood stained pants, revealing my khaki shorts. Lastly I took off my shoes and socks, stuffing all this into the garbage bag that had the bloody paper towels. I reached into the back pocket of my shorts and pulled out two flip flops. I stepped off of the spread out garbage bag and into my flip flops. I then stuffed the garbage bag that I had been standing on into the trash bag. None of what I wore had any blood or evidence on it. The evidence was all in the trash bag. Some of my hair might have fallen off but that wouldn’t be a problem. I took one last look at the chest that Chris was in. Chris always thought he was better than me. Making jokes at my expense. Part of me wishes I could talk to his ghost and gloat. Although, my killing him was not about revenge, it still amused me to think that whatever competition naturally exists between men, I was the clear victor.
I walked out of Chris’ house and walked down the street all the way to my car with the trash bag tied and in my hand. I threw it into the trunk, quickly got in through the driver’s door and drove away. I was feeling better now, calmer. The only thing I had to do now was dispose of these contents. I drove to a parking lot behind a restaurant several miles away and quickly threw the bag into a dumpster. I wish I could’ve kept the hammer for sentimental reasons but I needed to be smart. Keeping trophies is what gets most guys caught. When I got home it was 4:12 P.M. Three hours until the party. That’s when the fun begins.