Trigger Warning

Notice: This story includes graphic violence, the brutal beating of a man, the gutting of a sweet little dog, and a murder spree that starts from the man’s house, before working its way along the street, ending in an apparent suicide. You have been warned…

Takes one to know one is what they say, isn’t it? In a supermarket, someone lifting two heavy bottles of cider out of the cooler and into their hand basket is just someone who’s having a good time. But to a fellow alcoholic, they see the cheap label. They see the only other item in the basket is migraine pills. They see a man who’s going home to drown his sorrows one more night. To everyone else, they’re invisible. Takes one to know one, they say.

From the counter of the hardware store I work at, I see a man, late forties. He doesn’t make a bee-line to what he wants, he farts about looking at things in the front of the store. First he fingers the batteries, picks out a four pack of AA Duracell, before placing it back on the rack. Then he moves, this time randomly selecting a packet of wood screws. He’s trying to look nonchalant and to the other customers in the store, he’s just another guy that has a DIY project. I know better, he sticks out like a sore thumb. He does have a DIY project, but not one that involves woodwork.

This act continues as he quietly and calmly makes his way to the back of the store. Without thinking, he picks up a roll of duct tape, he tosses it in the air. *Look at me, I’m just a guy doing some DIY.*

Finally he runs his finger along some sandpaper, as if testing the coarseness of the material. He’s happy now that his ruse has worked and heads straight for the shovels. Here there is no hesitation, he picks up the tool, moves his arm up and down as if checking its heft and makes his way to the counter.

*I’ve clocked you* I say to myself, and a wry smile pops out from the corner of my mouth. I do my best to force it back in.

He carefully places the shovel on the counter, he now doesn’t want to arouse any suspicion, but to me, he couldn’t be more obvious. Delicately the duct tape follows.

As I ring him up, I can’t help myself.
“Didn’t you forget the batteries?” I say in a flat tone.

There’s confusion in his look. Up until now he’s assumed he’s not been watched. But now he knows, I’ve had my eye on him. The look of cognitive dissonance on his face is priceless. It sends a surge of adrenaline through my system, and for a second, just a second, I feel what it’s like to be him.

“No, I don’t need no batteries,” he says.

Now this is interesting. Usually when someone is trying to hold their story together, they don’t say no, they continue with the fantasy and tell me they must have forgotten. Those however, they are posers, they had no intention of going ahead with their crime. This act they perform is just that, an act. Maybe they’re just buying those gloves, those knives, those black bags for show. But this man is different. He’s seen it and got the T-Shirt. Little ol’ me trying to put him off does nothing.

And just to confirm that this man means business, after I ring him up, he asks for his receipt, leans in and says, “I know where you work, don’t forget that.”

A nervous tingle travels up my spine, but instead of feeling scared, I feel exhilarated. I’m this close to one like me, I can taste his breath. A combination of stale tobacco and halitosis.

It’s an easy twenty minutes before I come back down to Earth and remember I’m a clerk in a DIY store.

Let me clear something up. I’ve never killed anyone, and **could** never kill anyone, but it doesn’t stop the thoughts. I know someone with less willpower than me would already have done it, and we all know the difference between one and zero. You see, I’m smart. I don’t need to kill to get the exhilaration, only weak minded people do that. But I can smell someone like me a mile off. You’d be surprised how many are out there. In the UK alone there are at least 3,000 unsolved murders. These are the ones we know about. How many missing people can you add to that list?

I don’t look at videos on the Internet, I don’t lurk on the subreddits, for which there are many. That would only serve to increase my lust for what is a forbidden fruit. Anyway, there’s nowhere near as much of a rush as being close to a real bonafide killer.

The best places to find them are train stations, parks and hardware stores. You can see what led me into my profession. I’ve tried waiting around at those other places, but it can take weeks or even months before you spot one, and by that point they are already on the prowl. They’re on edge, someone staring at them from afar spooks them. And to be honest, as much as I like it, waiting that long to satisfy an urge would be like waiting to see some skin at a nunnery. That’s not even taking into account the times I’ve been stopped and searched by the police, who had seen me loiter for longer than necessary and assume I’m a drug dealer. Hassle, it’s something I can do without.

Tonight was what it’s all about. I have no idea how he’s going to use his new toys, but he’s going to, and he’s probably honed his skills so much by now, that what he does is most likely a work of art. I don’t expect any of you to understand. I live vicariously through the actions of others, even if I don’t see them do it. I wish I could though…

Closing time is around 8pm, give or take. The store is in skid row, that’s part of the reason I chose this place. It attracts the delinquent and the homeless. I have no problem with letting them in. Once in a blue moon, a scraggly old man will enter, his face battered. You know they aren’t going to pay, but I’m more than happy to help out. They have none of the pomp and ceremony of the cultured killers. They take what they want, such as a box cutter, and shoot right out the door.

When the police tell me that two homeless people are dead and the weapon came from my store when I was on duty, they want to know why. I tell them I was too scared. Why didn’t I call the police, they ask. I don’t know, is what I say. It never does it for me though, it’s just not the same.

Tonight, I turn the lights off early, there’s been no-one in the store for the last hour. I lock up and go to leave via the back when something catches my eye – a crumpled receipt. I pick it up and see there’s just two items – a shovel and duct tape. I don’t know how I didn’t notice this earlier, I must have been so high at the time. On the receipt was the man’s trade account number.

My body and face went ice cold. I could find his address. I’ve never done this before. The killers that have come in here previously hadn’t been that reckless, always cash.

I returned to the counter and looked up the order number on the computer and clicked on his account. It was all here. I wondered if it was real, but it must be, the account was all paid up, except for the purchase today. I briefly checked his order history. No red flags there. His account said he was a plumber, and everything he had bought for the last six months confirmed that. That indicated to me that the purchase today was what I thought it was for. Like I said, I can smell them.

*Why did he put it on account?* I thought.

*It’s a crime of passion! It’s going to happen tonight.*

I wasn’t going to miss this. Frantically, I counted the money in the till, it was off by £2.13. The fuck was I going to count it again. I fished around in my pocket and threw in some change to make up the difference. I turned off the lights, locked up, and ran to my car.

I punched the address into my phone – he was twenty minutes away. I wanted to speed, but I know the rules, don’t alert suspicion. My heart thumped in my chest. Thankfully rush hour was over. The streets became unfamiliar very quickly as I travelled through the other side of town.

When I arrived, I parked on the road opposite his house. I switched off the engine. The glass fogged up quickly from my sweat and excitement. I opened the window and waited.

The house looked like every other on this street. My heart continued to pound in my chest. *Is this what ecstasy feels like?*

I stared at the house. Windows lit up and went dark as the occupants roamed inside. I bided my time.

Opening the glove box, I took out a tyre iron. It’s a good weapon, something that’s allowed in a car, but also very deadly when used right. The thought of it excited me more.

There was a single scream, then one by one the lights in the house went out. It’s happened. The front door opened and a little dog jumped out and ran around the car that sat on the driveway. Its little tail wagged with excitement. The man came out of the house. I ducked in my seat, then carefully peeked over my open window. The man opened the boot of the car and returned to the house.

If I was going to do this, it was now or never. But the difference between one and zero, that was the rule. I thought about what I would do and I gripped the tyre iron. I played it through in my mind.

You know exactly how this is going down, I’ve already warned you[.](

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