2• Murder


Remember, when we met in Wichita, at Darko Ruger’s “suicide?”

I beat you to town, made friends with Darko’s Mom, who was enjoying a bottle of Jack Daniel’s for breakfast when you knocked. She got up cursing, but came back smiling, clutching your hand, calling you the Great Claire Bodine!

People call me what they wish.

Brown hair swept up, crackling green eyes, lanky, lovely, holding a bouquet of flowers and wearing a neck to knee smock that flattened you to two dimensions.

A classic Tahari A-line, thank you.

Mom left the room for a vase, I shook your hand…quite a grip you got.

You told me you were with the Huffington Post.

I was at one point a few years ago, I reviewed some shitty books for them for free

You met me with a lie!

OK YES! I met you with a big fat lie.
But what would’ve happened if I told you I was a flack for ScarySmart? You’d already emblazoned your homepage with a screed against DevilsGame, “The most virulent, violent and invidious videogame ever created!”

So when Darko was found dead in his bedroom and Mom bemoaned his obsession with DevilsGame, your mission was to merely CONFIRM for your faithful DevilsGame was to blame.

Why did you put Darko’s “suicide” in quotes?

Because now I understand it was more like murder.


Honestly, the energy changed the moment you walked in. Mom relaxed, telling stories about Darko, even laughing.


I’m explaining. While you charmed Mom, I excused myself to the washroom, but actually went down the hall to Darko’s room.

The door was cracked open, exuding death –Mom hadn’t heart to clean. My phone light frightened a phalanx of flies buzzing over the tsunami of waste carpeting the floor. Boxes, bottles, bags, wrappers, food and drink still stinking, thriving colonies of roaches and ants, and something LARGER rustling under a mound of pizza boxes…perhaps a cat…perhaps not.

Where are you going with this?

Doc, I would say this in church:
Evil was there, in the smell, the shadows, the vermin, the hum and whir of Darko’s scummy, still running computer, perched on a footlocker at the center of a depression in the trash. I waded and crunched over, grabbed the thumb drive I’d cloned his drive onto, and got the hell out.

When I got back in the living room, I saw by the fire in your eyes Mom had blown my cover – so I bid adieu…

You cloned his drive, and found what??

Thought I’d made a clean getaway, too, till you tapped my shoulder and I cracked to your BlackBerry, “DevilsGame was a lifeline for that poor boy, not a noose!” In retrospect, insensitive, given Darko was found hanging by his faux leather belt from his bedroom doorknob.

Nathan, you’re bleeding, headed for Tokyo, but still babbling ominously about Wichita. By the time you tell me what’s actually happening, you may be dead and I’ll surely be asleep.

While you reminisced, I posted alerts about LookU1 emails/texts on GoodOnLine and SCROOPL.


I already feel a fool for doing it. So, your prize notifier ran amuck, promising prizes you can’t deliver! I can understand why you’re hysterical – but probably the only thing you’re bleeding is profits!!

Doc, you don’t understand. This virus kills devices. It kills people. And it’s just getting started.
Arriving JFK now. Gotta change my bloody shirt. Back soon.