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The Damn Rodents Are Everywhere
About the Author: Kevin R. Tipple reviews books, watches way too much television, and offers unsolicited opinions on anything. His short fiction has appeared in magazines such as "Lynx Eye," "Starblade," "Show and Tell," and "The Writer's Post Journal" among others and online at such places as "Mouth Full Of Bullets," "Crime And Suspense," "Mysterical-e" and others.

Have you ever wanted to kill somebody? I have. I did. It was glorious. My problem was the damn body went missing. Yep, the damn thing up and vanished.

You might think I am going to tell you to never kill somebody. Nope. Some folks need killing. What you want to watch for is messing up when you do it. You can watch all the CSI shows and reality mystery shows and cover those bases pretty well. But, you can’t lose the damn body.

You see, I left a perfectly good dead body on the bench down by the lake. The bench that faces that hideous chain link fence those idiots down at City Hall put up after the kid set fire to one of the wooden piers. Back when I was a kid, the marina was full of boats. These days, it is empty and the slips themselves and the surrounding wooden walkways are all slowly disintegrating piece by piece into the lake. The whole thing is one rotting disintegrating mess. After the late-night party where the kid set fire to part of it on accident—allegedly—instead of removing all the wood and cleaning things up, they just put the six-foot-high chain link fence. Does nothing to keep anyone out except for the fishermen who used to go out there. It is also a nifty trash catcher that catches tons of trash. Trash that sits and rots in the chain fence until it is removed every six months or so. Or when the television media comes out and does a story on how nasty things look.

Those stories don’t get much coverage these days with the way the Dallas murder count is soaring. Those guys that do the bio hazard cleanup must be making a killing.

Anyway, it really stinks all the time on that end of the lake since they put the fence up so hardly anybody goes down that way now. Especially in this heat. Sometimes you might see nobody for an hour and then a jogger would come pounding the old cracked macadam and trying not to gag to death in the quest to live longer. This morning it had been deathly quiet. That is except for Steve’s last couple of grunts as I choked the life out of that back stabbing son of a bitch.

He’d gone down just about as I had expected being the spineless little rodent that he was. His new cardiologist had him on some exercise plan so he was jogging as he had been for about three months now. Like every other stupid thing he ever did, we got to hear about it every damn day at work. I can’t tally up all the hours we wasted in staff meetings and other deals listening to him go on about his damn exercise program. He was worse than the newly reformed alcoholics who went on about how great sobriety was—bullcrap—or the born-again religious zealots.

All that exercise may have helped him, hell if I know. It sure did not help him live longer, that is for sure. That jogging did nothing for his neck strength or his lung capacity. When his personal medical crisis happened in the form of my hands around his throat, the man didn’t have it in him to survive in the real world.

He never heard me coming either as I came up on him on the macadam path. I had been waiting for him right behind that big old oak tree down there at the slight turn where the path started climbing up on the edge of the slope. I slid around the tree as he plodded by and then went right up behind him. I grabbed him from behind and started choking him before he knew what hit him.

He struggled at first and my hands kept sliding on his neck because it was so slick. He stumbled and then crashed down. I rode him into the ground as he pitched forward into the grass edge. There was a fire ant mound and we soon were both getting stung pretty good, but I hardly felt them as he thrashed face down into the loosened dirt. It seemed to take forever, but he finally stopped moving.

After another minute or so I finally let go off his neck and sat back on my knees trying to get my own breath back. I beat the damn bugs off my hands and off my arms as so many had been climbing higher and higher while I made the world a better place for all … or at least for me.

I don’t know why I started laughing … but, I did. Great shrieks of laughter pealed out of me broadcasting to the skies above my happiness. All I felt was elation. I knew I would not be heartbroken, but I thought I might feel some remorse or something. Nope. Nothing but sheer joy.

This story appears in our MAY 2021 Issue
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Reader Discussion

Great story!
By Pete Sehgal

That's a different take on the usual. Fun stuff!
By Susan Rickard

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