There are moments when I think everyone in my neighborhood is secretly a serial killer. To me, this is very good news.
I have learned, thanks to countless mystery writers both in print and on TV, that people living near these crazy killers are rarely the victims. If this is true, I’m hoping that all the homicidal maniacs in the state live within a mile of me.
It is also clear from the proliferation of stories about psycho mass murderers, that, in the worlds of fictional detectives, medical examiners and FBI agents, there are about 1000 times more serial killers than there are in the real one. Some of these detectives are racking up their tenth exceptionally twisted mass murderer, which is about ten more than most real investigators see in an entire career.
While I have no problem with my colleagues in the mystery field making as much money as possible selling stories of murderers, I admit that their efforts to make each one more shocking and horrible than the last makes me wonder about the people living in their neighborhoods.
If one of my neighbors is discovered, and the press, as they inevitably do, comes to interview the residents about the secret monster living down the street I will NOT be the person saying “He was such a quiet man. I had no idea.” Instead, I’ll say “I knew it! Not that I had any proof or saw anything specific, but, he was clearly a killer. I saw him, one winter, as the snow was falling, mowing his lawn. That’s not normal.”
Maybe the “Winter Mower” is too obvious. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from Dexter and Ted Bundy, it’s that these charismatic maniacs do a darn good job of blending in with us. Painfully normal and all that. I might need to re-tune my multiple murderer radar, aka killdar. (Yes, I know that needs work. I threw out mur-dar because it sounded like I didn’t know how to actually pronounce “murder,” and sk-dar because I’d have to explain it every time I used the term. SK? Serial Killer? Geesh. Terrible.)
However, despite attempting to re-tune my whatever-dar, the candidates for “friendly neighborhood murderer,” are clear in my head. So clear, in fact, that when I am called upon to walk my sister’s dog, and the dog, “leaves a present” in the yards of these particular neighbors, I spend extra time cleaning it up. I know they are watching me, and I don’t want to give them a reason to expand their list of victims.
If this column ends up being my last, it is because it has inadvertently made me a target of one of my neighbors. You know the one. He mows in the winter. Make sure someone tells the press “I knew it all along.”