Overboard, The First Time

by Jon Peters

The first woman I ever killed was Clara. I remember her name because I kept confusing her with my cousin, whose name is Claire. Although they couldn’t look more different. My cousin is ugly as sin.

Clara was peppered with freckles and had long, wavy red hair. She was small—about 5 feet flat and 90 pounds—and strong for her size. She clearly worked out because she fought like hell. And I’m not a small man.

The first kill is always messy. You don’t got your bearings yet. No real plan. It’s just lust and death.

I’m still not sure, all these years and women later, if I meant to kill Clara. I wanted to kill her, sure, but I was so scared to choke her that I froze. I mean, I’d choked women before, but not to the point of death. This was a different feeling. Weird thoughts interrupted the final pressure I needed to apply to her throat to finish the job.

Should I clean up the spilt milk in Clara’s kitchen?

What about that house slipper she threw at me and smacked me in the face? Does it have my DNA on it?

And should I have taken the bribe she offered? Money for her life? I could certainly use the money.

Fuck it, I finally said, I want to watch the light go out of her eyes.

I applied my thumbs to her throat and listened to Clara gurgle her last breath and watched with sick fascination as her eyes widened and dimmed, thick and dull, in and out.

Afterward, I celebrated by enjoying that old staple of mine, pickled herring. So good after a night of sex and death!

I picked Clara because of her looks, yes, but she was also convenient. I live next to a large drainage ditch. The city dug it out in the summer of 2008 after the entire neighborhood flooded due to Hurricane Ike. That ditch runs right down the length of Clara’s backyard and through mine—a thousand yards, door to door—before heading a half mile to the bird lady’s house and beyond.

I knew I’d need a fast escape route and the ditch covered that. It also concealed my identity well, as it’s pitch black out here in rural southeast Texas. The distance between homes helps as well. I don’t have a neighbor within a hundred yards of me. The biggest worry are the mosquitoes, not nosy neighbors.

Still, when I left Clara’s place, hard and huffing loudly, I wondered if I’d left my DNA everywhere. I cleaned the best I could and kept my gloves on the entire time. Slogging through the ditch on my return home, I chided myself for not shaving my pubic hair before going to Clara’s home. What if I left one on her body somewhere? So many unanswered questions, that first time, it was hard to bask in the afterglow of my first kill.

But I’m a quick learner. And after six months, and no suspects, I was off killing again. I decided the bird lady would be my next victim. And this time, I’d be better prepared.