Colorado Is Nice This Time of Year

She knew Colorado would be cold this time of year. Big drifts of snow up on the passes. Too far into the season to find work as a lift operator. Maybe she could pick up a bartending job in Vail, serving classic cocktails gussied up as craft drinks to snooty movie stars and investment bankers. At least they usually tipped well.

Or maybe she could find day labor work like she had all those years ago in Crested Butte. Beth had laid a good portion of the floor at the Union Congregational Church. She had loved the deliberate, monotonous laying of wood plank against wood plank. There was an easy rhythm to it. The day would end abruptly, the foreman’s holler to call it quits at 4:30 an unwelcome reprieve to being lost in thought and dreams. Beth thought she could do something like that.

But there was the body to attend to first.

Mike laid splayed out in front of her, spread eagle on his back, the thick, high piled red carpet drinking in his blood from the thin slices across both femoral arteries. Beth walked over to the bed in the middle of the studio loft, slipped on her clothes, and lit a cigarette. Fuck, she knows she should quit, but it’s the ritual she’s addicted to. The taste of acrid smoke, the scent in her nose, the killing. It was a package that she couldn’t give up. Didn’t want to give up.

This was the sixth kill in as many months. Beth was delighted that she now had to use two hands in order to count her victims. Well, victims might be too strong of a word. They were all willing participants, weren’t they? And it wasn’t like they didn’t deserve it. Beth had watched Mike over the past six weeks. She had picked him out of the New York Sex Offender Registry; shit, they made it so easy to find these people.

Beth watched Mike, kept track of his movements in her head, knew the patterns and rhythms of his days and nights, his weekdays and weekends. She watched him doing laundry at the little laundromat on the corner of his street. The way he peered over the magazine watching the young women washing their clothes made her angry. She watched him finger their clothes when they ran across the street to buy a fruit juice, watched him stuff a pair of panties in his pocket before they came back.

Mike had been attending groups. Yesterday, a half-hour before he usually got out, he blew through the double doors and rumbled down the street. The group facilitator ran out calling after him. Mike didn’t turn around; just flipped him the bird and kept walking. Beth followed him back to his apartment. He slowed down when he crossed the laundromat and seemed to get angrier when he saw it filled with old Italian men.

Beth knew she needed to quiet the bear growing inside of him.

She found Mike at the bar in the back. She pretended to slip and dropped her drink on him. Beth apologized, Mike rose from his seat, started to yell and then saw Beth’s low cut top and tight, black jeans, the bright red wig pulled back in a high ponytail. He smiled. Said not to worry. Let me buy you another one. Beth sat down and the hour dragged on like a persistent toothache.

They made their way to Mike’s apartment, a squalid one-room shitshow. The sheets weren’t clean, the dishes were dirty, and the plaster crumbling. Beth turned off her inner monologue and got to work. Let me see you dance, big boy, she whispered in his ear. He swung his arm around and smacked her in the face with the back of his hand. Hard enough for stars but not enough for blood. The roughness lasted only a few moments before they were both on the floor, his naked body coming toward her.

Let me do the work, she said. Let me make you happy.

Mike grinned, huge teeth taking up half his face. He laid down on the thick, high piled red carpet, arched his back. Get on bitch, he said. Beth straddled him, pulled out the slim X-Acto blades from her wig, and sliced his arteries quickly. She watched the shock rise up on his face, the color drain. She smiled. She could almost orgasm watching the life leave those blue eyes.

Yes, Colorado would be a nice place to cool down.

I honestly don’t know where this came from tonight. Maybe it was my rough day or my frustration or fear or something else entirely. Or maybe it was writing a helpless female character for yesterday’s entry and I needed to write about a female serial killer that takes out sex offenders. I don’t know.

_If I’m honest, I feel a little weird posting this. I feel my inner editor screaming at me, _“Nicole, don’t post that! People will be scared of you!” But, I’ve got to get over that. I need to be okay with writing uncomfortable, unlikeable, crazy characters. Hope it’s not too much.

Do I need to start putting up disclaimers?