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Mystery inspired by a mysterious photo

"The Perfect Crime" by T.J. Williams

Flash #239 - August 2014

Orig. appeared June 1996

Flash 034: mystery inspired by a mysterious photo


"WOMEN DRIVERS!" Taylor cursed as he swerved around the slow-moving car. Bringing his car under control, he realized that he had not been paying much attention to the road. He glanced at the other driver, and did a startled double take. "Man, she looked like old lady Meers for a second."

A small smile slowly formed on his face as he thought about Mrs. Meers for the millionth time today. No, she wouldn't be bothering him any more. Dump the body and go back home like nothing happened. No one would ever suspect him. He looked forward to finally getting a good night's sleep. He had been planning for weeks how he would sleep, free from the burden that had haunted him for so long. He might even oversleep. Who cares? Let the boss rant and rave. No red, pimply face boss' lecture was going to make a dent in the joyful memory of this night's sleep.

The siren blast shook him from this latest fantasy. His heartbeat jumped. How long had the cop been back there? He looked at the speedometer. Eighty-five?? He was supposed to be careful. No stupid mistakes now!

"Calm down!" Taylor told himself as he pulled over, and watched the officer walk up to the window. He fumbled through his wallet for his license, and handed it out the window to the trooper.

"Sir, this is a credit card. Could I see your driver's license?"

"What! Oh, yes, of course. Sorry, officer. Just a moment." His brain was beaming steadiness signals to his shaking hands, but the hands weren't listening. He spilled his wallet's contents on the floor. Jerking forward with his hands groping toward the floor, he cleanly banged his forehead into the steering wheel.

He could see that he was self-destructing, but seemed powerless to stop it.

"Sir, please get out of the car -- slowly."

He got out, trying futilely not to reveal that his body was shaking. The officer examined him carefully and backed up toward the patrol car. That's when he noticed the blood on the car. "Open the trunk," he ordered, moving a hand to his holster. Taylor considered running, but knew he wouldn't get far. Slowly he complied, lingering a few seconds before turning the key. The carefully executed plan was undone by bungling at the very last step.

The trunk raised slowly to reveal the dead body inside. The officer was noticeably surprised. A chihuahua? Dried blood trailed from the mouth of the dog, which had clearly been beaten to death.

Douglas Taylor was easily coaxed into confessing. Deaf Mrs. Meers' "precious, harmless" dog was an incessant barker, with a volume well beyond what its petite size would indicate. The dog slept during the day, barked during the night. Tayor was driven crazy by the noise, and had almost sold his home when he decided to deal directly with the dog instead.

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