Masks (Halloween Fiction) Part I

My dear wife.  She is so… innocent?  Or at least she’s great at pretending.  She no longer knows the real me.  Me?  I’m Édon Pleumm, and I am a superhero.  Well, not really.  But I’m not really a super villain either.  I just serve up dishes of justice, sometimes hot and bloody-rare, sometimes cold and iced over like the burn on a poorly sealed frozen cut of beef.  So I guess you could go either way.  You just can’t look the other way.  Or rather, I can’t.

We met some time ago and for some reason I couldn’t get her out of my head.  She was funny, she was smart, she was hot as hell and I wanted her.  Sure there were other women I thought were beautiful, just none of them got to me like the future Mrs. P.  Fuuuuck she is fine.  Yeah, my parents carried the name Pleumm too far and gave me my own French-sounding first name even though dad was third-generation American, they thought it was funny.  And Mrs P?  She was charmed I guess, somehow.  She thought the name was great, and loved my parents before she loved me, I swear.  And it’s been more than 20 years and she is still fine fine fine fine fine.  A million times, f-i-n-e.  And there are still other women I think are beautiful and smart and all, but none of them get to me like she does.

She looked at my computer once and asked me “who is ‘Mode Plenum’?” et oui, mais oui, I told her it was me, just being “hot air.”  See, I’m a hack writer who pretends to be this mystery man online, because why the fuck not? Everyone else is doing it.  Damned sex offenders get out of jail and then text up little innocent kids, pretending to be whomever, to lure them into their pedo-vans to do horrific shit to them, well that’s one of the types I fix.  And I do mean fix.  In their own vans, or in their own secret places.  Once, when it was necessary, my wood burning kit burned… “wood.”  And made certain said “wood” doesn’t work the same way any more.   I also take care of exes, helping them to remember their responsibilities.  Or helping them to remember why they are exes, and not make the same mistakes, especially not with the same people they’ve already hurt. Fuckers.  I just hate opportunistic ass holes, especially the ones who go into criminal territory and get away with shit.  I fix …problems.  And because I learned it from Gilbert and Sullivan, I strive “to let the punishment fit the crime, the punishment fit the crime.”

Mrs. P.  She’s the perfect picture of stability, poise, beauty.  She’s my world.  Do I look at other women?  Sure, I’m not blind.  Women are all fucking beautiful. Every one of them.  Mrs. P. either pretends to be blind, or doesn’t give a shit about my extracurricular activities.  Except for watching the TV show “Dexter.”  “I hate that show.  They swear so much.  Is that really necessary?  And all the killing.  It’s terrible.  You shouldn’t watch that, and I forbid you to watch it while the kids are around.  They shouldn’t learn to talk like that.”  I fucking LOVE “Dexter.”  Except his M.O.  It’s boring.  Most of the time it’s the same.  Line the room with plastic, remind the criminals of their crime(s), perform the execution they so richly deserve, take apart the corpse(s), dispose of trash off the boat.  I have watched that from Season 1 to Show Finale, at least 5 times through.  My M.O.?  I don’t have one, because if I did I’d have been found out already.  I change what I do each time I do it.  I’m not a psychopath.  I’m not even a sociopath.  Or at least I don’t think I am.  I just reached the end of my patience threshold once, and never looked back.  I don’t NEED to do what I do.  I WANT to do it, because it feels right.

Mrs. P, dear Mrs. P. either doesn’t know, or doesn’t give a shit about all the women I love.  She knows I’m bringing my sorry ass back home to her every night and I use flirtation and my own brand of platonic love as a way of encouraging. And stalking the next ass hole.  I don’t use it to get into anyone’s pajamas but hers. Because hers are the only ones I want in.

I have the perfect cover life, because it’s what I started with.  No one knows what I do.  I confess, in spite of the writers’ flaws, I learned from Dexter.  And fucking Debra is a fan-fucking-tastic character, my own personal favorite.  For Halloween I have a special treat in mind for a local …problem.  Halloween is tomorrow, and I’ve built a great costume, with special tweaks built-in to handle the problem.

I’m dressing as an alien in a machine from a science fiction show.  The machine is equipped with a part-AED, part-taser, and his treat after my electrifying, stunning performance, is delightfully wicked.  I found out he’s the one who gave a toxic treat to some neighborhood kid who ended up dying last year.  I’m going to return the favor.  The guy lives alone, and he started in another state, as your run-of-the-mill pedophile, but he branched out when he moved into our neighborhood, switching M.O. because he got caught where he used to live.

I’ve waited a long time for this.  Three years ago he killed a kid, and got away with it.  The police said it was impossible to trace where the candy came from.  But because I’m a concerned neighbor, I had enough access and information, and I figured out that he was the culprit.  I talked to the poor parents, and he talked online a little too much, in a chat room he thought was more private than it was.  And there’s only so much I.P. address masking you can do.  Oh, it was him.  He only poisoned one, because if he had poisoned more the authorities might have been able to find him.

He told a chat group what poison it was.  I matched it to the autopsy the parents told me (and several other neighbors) about.  And that’s what he gets.  Justice wrapped around a candy bar.  The last thing he will hear is “EX-TER-MIN-ATE!!”  It’s only designed to knock him unconscious, not kill him.  There will be no need to hide a body.  Just tuck the candy bar in his mouth, shut off the light, close the door and roll away in the costume, on to the rest of the houses in the neighborhood.  He might even die before he recovers from being stunned, but probably not.  The contact poison, the same one he used on his victim, will take care of the rest.

And the costume is not your store-bought flame retardant shit.   Cloth covered wood, it’ll easily break up, and completely burn in the fire circle the neighborhood teens made in the middle of the little wooded area by the neighborhood, and then, after my small campfire, complete with s’mores for anyone who might walk by, I just walk home in the dark.  All the parents are paranoid, and who could blame them?  If they don’t keep the kids at home or take them to some church event that gives out safe candy, they’ll be monitoring for tampering very carefully this year just as they did last year, and probably only let their kids go to friends’ houses.  I don’t know anyone he talks to except the online “friends,” and I wonder if any of them are close enough to check into.  I built the costume and put it in a safe place where I can just slip it on, set up the electrical charge for when I need it.  I’ll venture, virtually invisible, back to my neighborhood, and virtually invisible, back out by way of the woods.  And, bonus, I get candy from my good neighbors.

He fits the profile.  Early 30s.  Single.  Lives alone.  Mostly keeps to himself.  The police might recognize the poison from his victim if they do an autopsy.  They’ll probably figure he accidentally, or purposefully, did himself in.  This is going to be fun.  I wonder how I should dress next year for Halloween.

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