Writing about writing

Victim #1: Karen

Karen—Victim #1

….and I snapped. I had absolutely no control. I just lost it. When I found out that Karen had been lying to me and had cheated on her major research paper, I grabbed the bookend on my bookshelf and threw it at her head. Amazingly, it was all over very quickly. It didn’t take much more to finish her off. The real problem was all the blood. If I had planned it, I would not have killed her in such a violent way.

I closed my office door—it was late enough in the afternoon that none of the other instructors were in their offices—and got to work cleaning up the bloody mess. It took quite a while. After several trips to the bathroom, I just told our cleaning help that I had a mess in my office I needed to clean up and she gave me a mop, cloth, and mop bucket filled with hot, soapy water.

It was as I was coming out of my office to clean up and put away the bucket that I ran into another student, Phil.”


“Yeah. He’s a strawberry-blond, green-eyed, red-blooded American male named Phil. Is it any wonder he became a friend after he left my class?”

She laughed. In the midst of all this, she laughed. And, wonder of wonders, I find myself laughing along with her.

“So anyway, I opened my office door to take the bucket back to the cleaning closet and Phil was standing in the hallway. There was no way to hide what was in the bucket, let alone the body in my office.

Believe it or not, I explained the situation to him and he offered to help me dispose of the body!”

“He offered to help you?”

“I know! I was just as shocked as you are now. He didn’t ask for more information, he didn’t try to blackmail me, nothing. He simply offered to help me.

So I had him clean out the mop bucket and put it back in the cleaning closet while I finished putting things away in my office. When he came back in, we shut the door and discussed the best way to dispose of the body. Because of how bloody the original act of killing Karen was, I knew that whatever I did from then on, it couldn’t be messy. It had already taken too much time to clean up the bloody mess. I needed to get rid of the body and get home. Phil said he wasn’t in a big hurry; he was waiting for his girlfriend Lauren who would be in class for at least another hour.

We decided that we would take Karen’s body to the creek that ran across the backside of the campus and dump her body there. No one ever went down there, so we were confident it would be a very long time before her body was found, if it ever was.

So we propped her up between us. You know, like they did to Bernie in Weekend at Bernie’s. Surprisingly, we got her across campus and down to the creek without a single person stopping us to ask questions. We saw several people one of us knew; we just said ‘Hi’ and kept going. We left her body on the side of the creek hidden under a large pile of leaves. For good measure, we pulled a large tree limb over the pile of leaves.

And that was that. I went home and Phil went back to the library to wait for Lauren.”

“So let me get this straight. You killed Karen because she cheated on an essay?”

“Not just because she cheated, Bill. That was only a part of it. Remember, I was upset about the …. and not only had she cheated, but she lied about it. She sat right in the chair across the desk from me, looked me in the eye, and told me that she had written her paper; it was on her computer, but her computer had crashed. Then, when she handed me a flash drive for me to use to access the paper she said she’d written, it had someone else’s name on it when I opened it! She sat there and tried to tell me that she had been talking to her friend with that name and had written her friend’s name by accident!

I took a few minutes and read through as much of the paper as I could. I remembered having read that exact same essay just the previous semester. I confronted her about the cheating and lying to me. Do you know what she said to me?”

She didn’t pause long enough for me to answer so I was sure the question was rhetorical.

“She had the nerve to sit there and tell me that she was leaving for college at the end of the semester and she couldn’t be accused of cheating if she was going to go to East Carolina.

East Carolina! My alma mater! How could I fail a student who was going to the same school I had attended?! But why should something like that keep me from doing what I knew to be right?

What sent me over the edge—mind you, I was on the verge of asking her just to get out of my office and not let me see her again—was when she started to cry. Her tears were so genuine, but I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that she was lying to me. That’s when I couldn’t take it anymore and I grabbed the bookend.

How dare she try to make me feel sorry for her just because she was excited about going to the same university I attended? She had no right to prey on my soft side like that. If she hadn’t started crying, though, she would have walked out of that office of her own accord. And more than likely had a very happy, successful life at ECU.

“So ultimately it was her tears that doomed her?”

“I suppose you could say that, but that’s too simplistic. It was everything leading up to that point. The tears were just the last straw; I knew she was faking and I wasn’t going to put up with her crap anymore.”

“I see. And the next one?”


“Before I get to the second one, I have to explain what happened in between. You have to understand that, originally, I never planned or intended for any of this to happen. I knew I was angry, but I honestly didn’t know I had it in me to do anything like this. But after Karen, something inside me knew that she wouldn’t be the last. So Phil and I started brainstorming what we could do so that the next one wouldn’t be so messy.

We settled on a combination of poisons with arsenic being the main ingredient. We bought a large box of fire balls and a few other types of hard candy, like lollipops and coated them in the mixture Phil had created. When it dried, it was a clear coating. No one who ever ate one questioned their being unwrapped. It was genius. Granted, it took a few minutes to work, but that was ok. Most students who came to visit me stayed long enough to chat while they ate their candy anyway!


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