I wheeled myself over to the front window. It is the perfect place for me to people watch. I live on the first floor of an old, picture perfect apartment building. Truthfully, the first two floors are mine. I don’t get upstairs much anymore. There is an elevator but I get claustrophobic in it now that I’m permanently wheelchair bound. Somehow I’ve managed to gracefully downsize to just one floor. It took time but I did it. I people watch from the first floor. Still high enough so they don’t always see me. I like to remain anonymous in my voyeurism. As do most people, I’m sure. Usually, it’s nothing too exciting. Dog walkers, stroller pushers, hand holders, bikers. Occasionally, someone would forget to clean up after their dog or fall or fight or laugh. Pretty mundane. Things sometimes turned a little spicier as the sun would set. Again, not too crazy. Tonight, all of that would change. Everything all at once. Especially me.
He stood on the corner for what seemed an eternity. Waiting. His life was a constant waiting game. That perfect moment when he would spot his next victim. It wasn’t easy as there wasn’t a science behind his picking. More of a gut feeling. An instinct, if you will. He had been at this for so long, he knew the person when he saw them. Man or woman, it didn’t matter. Never a child. He wasn’t a monster. At least that’s what he told himself. Most of the time, he believed it was true. He pushed his negativity deep down. Even a murderer has to stay positive to be a the top of his game. Then, she turned the corner. His eyes lit up. He knew. His instincts were never wrong.
I took out my binoculars. Placed my vodka martini on the side table. Settled in for some drinks and a show. Wonder what tonight’s viewing will be like, I thought as I slowly sipped my cocktail. The summer sky was changing from brilliant shades of pinks and oranges to deep blues and purples. Showtime! People move more quickly after the sun goes down. It’s almost as if they are rushing for morning to get here. Slow down, I want to yell at them. They wouldn’t listen to an old lady in a wheelchair. I’ve become almost invisible. They avoid meeting my eyes. I do get the pitying smiles. I find myself inside a lot. You can have everything delivered to your doorstep. The world doesn’t need or want me out there. I’m content to give them what they want. Perusing the streets, I see a man leaning up against a building. This looks promising. Maybe he’s waiting for friends, a girlfriend, his wife? Could be nothing. Could be something. I will watch and wait. I did. He did, too for quite some time. One martini slowly turned into four. Or was it five? Then, she turned the corner. He looked up as her saw her and smiled. I smiled, too. Somehow to me, this felt different. Not sure why but it did. I could not stop watching. It didn’t take long to understand why.
Once he found his victim, he had to act fast. No witnesses and certainly no survivors. Quick, quiet, and quite satisfying. Just the way he liked it. Keeping him satiated until he could kill again. Each time was better than the last. This was it. Showtime! He could feel his adrenaline pumping, heart racing. She never even saw him coming. Her bloodcurdling shrieks expertly muffled. He pressed her writhing body against the building. Smashing her head on the brick. One, two, three times until he heard the crack. Watched as her eyes, once filled with fear, now strangely seemed at peace. At least in his head, that’s what he thought. He did not waste any time. Left her lifeless body propped up against the building. Turned to cross the street, that’s when he noticed the woman in her window. Watching him. He looked up at her. Time to tie up some loose ends, he thought to himself. Loose ends just wouldn’t do.
It all happened so fast. I just sat there and watched. Not that I could or would have done anything. I’m an old lady in a wheelchair. Kind of helpless myself. Then, it was over. I didn’t look away. I could feel my heart beating in my head. So loud now it was deafening. I don’t think I blinked at all. I had to remind myself to breath. I felt faint. Maybe it was just the seven martinis. Or was it eight? It didn’t seem to matter now. I saw him to turn to cross the street. Without thinking, I kept watching. Then, he looked over and saw me. He looked right at me. Right through me. Right into my eyes. He stopped, and headed towards my building. I wheeled myself away from the window. He was coming for me. I knew that now. I will be ready. I’d have to be.
He calmly walked across the street. The woman had left the window. You can run, he thought, but you can’t hide. He raced up the steps, rang the bell, and waited. Surely she would answer the door for a cold-blooded murderer. Wouldn’t you? Can’t have any loose ends. One way or another, it would be over. He rang the bell again. Looked around and put his hand on the doorknob. What do you know, it was unlocked. Sometimes, people make it so easy. He opened the door and let himself inside. He was quite sure she would be expecting him.
I don’t need your pity or pretend caring about my well being. There is a murderer in my house. And it’s okay. I will take care of it. I rolled into the foyer. There he was. Now, he was watching me. I asked him if he was going to just stand there or come inside. I offered him a drink. It was the least I could do. Don’t you think? After all, he worked for me. Well, not until a few days ago. You see, I’m a wealthy old woman. I’m also extremely bored. And kind of a psychopath in my old age. He’s not here to kill me. He came for his money. Lots of it. He deserves it, the drink too. Earned every penny. I fix him his drink. We discuss the murder in great detail. It’s like we’re describing our favorite movie. We took a stranger’s life. Just murdered for fun. It was magnificent. He was beyond brilliant. I was pretty amazing, too. My fun wasn’t over yet. I still have a few tricks up my old sleeves. He was about to find that out.
He had never killed anyone for money before. Only for pleasure. It seemed wrong to take money for doing something he loved. The expression, do what you love and the money will follow, really resonated with him right now. This money would let him live a carefree murderous lifestyle. That thought made him ridiculously happy. Doesn’t matter how he met her. He did. The tiny details didn’t matter now. Only the money mattered. And the killing but he would have plenty of time for that. Plenty of time. He gulped down his drink. Martinis are disgusting, he thought. They discussed his technique. Simple yet effective. He was skilled. He knew that. Apparently, so did she. The money was exchanged. Time to start living his dream. He made his way to the foyer when he collapsed on the floor.
Everyday I watch people from my window. I sit in my wheelchair, invisible to the masses below. I’m not invisible. I’m here. I’m watching, learning, plotting. I’ve got stories. I’ve lived a wonderfully fulfilling life. None of you would know that. Nobody has taken the time to talk to me in years. Unless, I give them money. Luckily, I have that. I’m a rich, old lady. I seem harmless. I was. Not any more. I’ve crossed a line. I can’t go back. I won’t go back. Everyone will love me. The sweet old woman who witnessed a murder only to have herself almost become a victim, too. After he passed out in my foyer, I carefully cleaned his martini glass. I put the money back in my safe. I took out my trusty cane, the one I no longer use since I’ve been confined to this damn chair. I took it out and I beat him with it. And it felt good. I beat him to death. I made sure of it. Believe you me, he was quite dead. I literally beat him at his own game. Then, I rang the police. My story was believable. No loose ends. Can’t have those. Tomorrow, I’ll be a hero. A spokesperson for the elderly, for women, for victims, for the disabled. I’m truly an inspiration. I am. Just not the way people think. People are stupid. Remember that. I will never forget it. I still watch them at my window. No longer invisible, at least for now. I’ll take it. I may get bored again. Who knows what I’ll do next. Watch me and see.