Summer, 2002
24-Hour Short Story Contest
2nd Place Winner!

It suddenly came to him in a flash, a complete insight, the whole plan, every detail, and he saw that it would work. "The perfect crime!" he thought, "And there is no way anyone can tie it to me. All I have to do is take care of one little detail first."

By Don Kaufman, Estes Park, CO

"Sometimes all you need to do is wrap your mind around a problem and let it go to work." Clell offered a toast and kicked back the shot of Jack with a smile of satisfaction.

Ben took a sip of beer and looked confused, "What the hell you talkin' about?"

"Just that I've got a problem, is all. You know, one of those problems that galls you like a bad case of crabs? Well suddenly, like a bolt outta the blue, there was the solution, pretty as a picture, or should I say, the perfect crime?" He downed another shot and slid the bottle across the table.

"All I have to do is take care of one little detail first."

"What the hell you talkin' about?" Ben repeated the question and washed the shot down with another swig of Schmitts.

After a long day of target shooting, they had run out of things to blow up and were now getting pleasantly drunk in a line shack off of TH 72.

"I'm talking about the perfect crime, you know, like one nobody can ever tie to me?"

"What the hell crime, man? We work for the county, what kinda crime would we be interested in? We ain't criminals."

"That's it, Ben. It ain't we, it's me that's doin' the crime."

"Okay, I'll buy that. But if you're the 'doer', who's the 'doee'?"

"Well Ben, we've been buddies for a long time right?"

"Since the third grade," Ben shook his head sagely and opened another beer, "when your folks moved up here from Rollinsville with the railroad."

"Yeah, that's a good span of years for two guys to be a tight as we. We raised hell together, rode to Sturgis, Christ, I don't know how many times."

He poured back another shot of Jack and refilled the glass. Clell wasn't a sipper and today wasn't any different, but it made Ben uneasy. There was a hard edge to that goofy grin of Clell's.

Ben shrugged, "Hell, we were Best Men at each others weddings." The words weren't even out of his mouth before he wished he hadn't said them.

"And that's the deal, ol' bro," Clell held Ben's gaze and shook his head sadly, "if we're so damned tight, whya been messin' with my old lady?" his voice was cold and level.

"Now wait a minute!" Ben raised his hands, palms out, "I don't know..."

"Don't lie to me, man," Clell cut him short, "I know everything that I need to know."

"Who the hell woulda fed you that pack of lies?"

"Who the hell do you think, man? She told me."

"Why would your old lady go and do something like that?" Ben stammered in disbelief. He was thoroughly frightened now.

"Hell, I knew all along, but she finally confessed," Clell sighed as he laid the 357 mag on the table between them, "just before I put a bullet in the back of her lyin' head. At breakfast with this, your gun. You borrowed it to me last week, remember? Anyway, she's face down in her oatmeal now, what's left of her face anyway."

"Omygod, man, you can't be serious!" Ben stood up and there was an edge of fear and rage in his voice, "You're a goddam lunatic if you expect me to believe that story, and if you did do something that stupid, you'll never pin it on me."

Clell pointed the revolver at Ben's chest, "Sit down a shut up," he ordered.

Ben half turned but thought better of leaving and sat slowly, eyes on the muzzle.

"You notice I've been wearin' gloves all day? There ain't nothin' but your fingerprints on this thing."

"Still ain't gonna be able to pin anything on me." Ben pushed back from the table; his eyes searched in vain for anything to use as a weapon.

"That's the beauty of my plan." Clell seemed genuinely amused at his brilliance, "You see, buddy, I ain't trying to pin nothin' on you. That last little detail I was talking about? Well, that'll take care of you alright."

Ben looked confused.

"You know that they fry murderers in this state...electric chair. Appeals take a few years but eventually they get the job done. So you're going to have a long time to think over how you screwed your best buddy."

"You figgin' nutcase," Ben stood up again, his finger making small circles at his forehead. "You can shoot me in the back but I'm outta here."

"I'm not gonna shoot you in the back, or anywhere else for that matter."

Clell cocked the hammer back on the revolver. "You see Ben, you're the one that's going to fry for a double homicide, for killing both me and my old lady." He turned the muzzle of the 357 against the center of his chest, thumb on the trigger, "'Cause, ol' buddy, I'm that last detail."

What Don won:

$250 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website
1 - Freelance Income Kit Includes:
-- 1-year subscription to the Write Markets Report
-- How to Write, Publish and $ell Ebooks
-- How to Publish a Profitable Emag
-- How to Be a Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Special (includes the book; database of 6000+ newspapers; and database of 100+ syndicates)

Contest guidelines are HERE.


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