For the Record
For the record, please state your full name.
My full name? Like first, middle, last?
Raymond Daniel Booker.
Very good, and what’s your profession, Mr. Booker?
I’m a freelance writer.
A freelance writer? You don’t hear of many people who have that kind of job?
Yeah, well it’s a tough way to make a living.
I imagine. Now why are you here tonight?
I’ve been trying to report a crime.
What kind of crime, Raymond?
Ray. I hate the name Raymond.
Okay, fine….What kind of crime are you here to report, Ray?
A murder….a few of ‘em, actually….
Did you commit these murders, Ray?
NO! Like I’ve been telling you, I witnessed them. Four of them.
Alright, so when did you witness them?
Over the past month. I’ve been witnessing them since September.
September? You’ve seen four people killed in the last month and you’re just now getting around to reporting them?
Yeah, look, I know, it’s complicated. I know I should’ve come in after the first one, but, fuck, ya know…..The guy doing these things, he’s been keeping an eye. I mean, I’ve been staying with him the past few weeks…
The murderer’s your roommate?
No, I live alone, but he’s been having me stay with him so I can write a book about him.
Yeah, he’s a rich dude and when I met him he told me that he’d been wanting to write an autobiography, like, forever, but he didn’t know how to write a book, so he asked me to do it.
What’s this ‘dude’s’ name?
Can you describe Mr. Stapley?
Yeah, umm, I guess he’s 6’0, 6’1, thinning blond hair, blue eyes, goatee…
Yeah, he’s white. Real good looking dude, older, but good looking.
Would you be able to describe him to a sketch artist if we needed you to?
Oh yeah. No question, like I said I’ve been living with the dude for the past month. I could even describe his cock down to the pubes on his balls if you needed me to.
I don’t that’ll be necessary, Ray.
Yeah, I know, I was just saying….
I get it. Now where did you meet Mr. Stapley?
Uh, at this club in Scottsdale called American Junkie.
Yeah, it’s this place just outside of old town-
I know where it is, Ray.
Yeah, I bet you do. I imagine all you cops do. It’s a bad fucking place.
What were you doing at American Junkie, Ray.
Well, ya know, I was drinking.
Were you doing anything else?
No….Look, man, I know my rights. I ain’t gonna fucking incriminate myself with anything, so you might as well knock that shit off.
Fine…Fine. So you were having some drinks. Do you remember what day it was?
Yeah it was a Tuesday night. I remember because it was my birthday.
What day is that?
Uh, September 21st
Okay, so you were drinking at American Junkie on your birthday, were you alone?
Yeah….I was suppose to meet this girl there, but she blew me off.
And when did you meet this Mr. Stapley? Did he approach you?
Yeah, I was at the main bar, the one downstairs and he was sitting four or five stools away from me. He’d been looking at me for since I sat down. The way he kept looking at me, I thought he was a fag or something?
Homosexual, gay, whatever, man…..He was staring at me, making me feel pretty goddamn creepy. He finally comes down to my end of the bar and introduces himself. I thought to myself, fuck, here it comes, some queer to make my 30th birthday even more fucked up than it already was. But all he does put out his hand to shake, real manly shake, too, ya know. No limp wristed Pollyanna shit.
Then what happened?
Well…we just started talking and drinking. When I told him it was my birthday, he started buying my drinks. Which was cool, because, ya know, a bottle of bud is like twelve bucks in that place. So we drink for a couple of hours and then he tells me he has a private booth and he asks if I want to go hang out in it? And I’m thinking, oh, here we go, here’s where he tries to slip me the cock…
Do you have a problem with homosexuals, Ray?
What? No! No, it just seems like whenever I’m at a bar, one of ‘em tries hitting on me or picking me up. Ya know, some kind of unwanted contact….But I know plenty of homosexuals. I just don’t like getting’ hit on, ya know?
Anyway, do you want me to tell you this shit or not?
Yes, go on…
Anyway, I decide to go back to the booth with him. I mean, those things are pretty exclusive and all, so I’m thinking, what the hell, even if he tries hitting on me I can at least get a few drinks out of it. So we go back behind the curtains. Ya know how they have those booths, they’re behind those thick black-out curtains and they give you your own private waitress and all. Well, we start drinking more and our waitress comes in, dressed up all white trash, ya know. Daisy Dukes, flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off and tied up around her stomach and her name written in lip stick across her belly. Our girl’s name was Rachel and she was hot. I mean, they all are, but ours, she had to be best looking girl I’ve seen in a long time and she’s all smiles and Stapley, he’s talking her up. Really hitting on her. And then he whips out this huge wad of cash to pay for our drinks and he tells our girl that it’s my birthday and how he was going to have me write a book about him…
Had the two of you been talking about writing a book?
No, I mean, I told him I was a writer and all, but he never mentioned wanting me to write a book about him or nothing like that. But I’m just going with it, ya know. But he tells our waitress that because it’s my birthday, that maybe she could do something special for me, like, give me a lap dance or something. She’s acting like she doesn’t want to do it, but then Stapley, he fans out, like, a thousand bucks and stuffs it down her Daisy Dukes and then she decides she don’t have a problem with it. I mean, for a thousand bucks, I’d bump and grind on some dude I didn’t know.
She’s kinda nervous, but she’s facing me, grinding her hips. She’s not taking off her cloths or nothing like that. But then Stapley, he steps up behind her and he starts rubbing her shoulders and neck. She stiffens up at first, but then starts to relax a little more. She was getting into the way he was rubbing her neck. Next thing I know, Stapley’s reaching around and untying the girl’s shirt so her tits are staring me right in the face and she’s really getting into it and she takes my hands and is having me rub my hands up and down her stomach, pinching her nipples. I didn’t notice Stapley had moved his hands around the girl’s throat. But she didn’t seem to notice either, at least not until he started squeezing.
All of the sudden she stopped moving and went stiff as a board. It took me a couple of minutes to even notice….
Had he killed her?
Not yet….He was choking her….Stapley, he’s got these huge hands and he’s got his left hand around her throat, he’s pinching her wind pipe in between his thumb and pointer finger. The waitress, she’s making this little squeaking noise and he’s running one of those flick knives across the side of her face, tracing these small scratches into her cheek. Her body’s shaking all over, or maybe I was? I was keeping my eye on the knife….the blade was jet black…..he kept whispering to her…
Did you hear what he was saying?
No…no….but her eyes kept getting bigger, breathing harder like she was getting ready to hyperventilate and he kept dragging the blade across her cheek. Little drops of blood started welling up….I remember a couple of big fat drops running down her face like tear drops….He told me to grab her tits…he told me to pinch her nipples. I was in robot mode, I did what he told me to do. I kept my eye on the knife, the little drops of blood. He moved the blade…..put it right to the edge of her eye….
Try to stay calm, Ray
….He had the point right against the white part…I blinked. I closed my eyes for just a second and then something hot and wet splashed me….. on my face….the girl went all jerky like she throwing a fit… When I looked again, he’d plucked the girl’s eye out of her head….it was just dangling from the end of his knife and he had this big smile….fuck…I puked all over the girl and I passed out.
What happened next?
I thought I was dead. I thought he was gonna cut me up. But I woke up and I was moving…
How were you moving? Were you walking, being carried, what?
I was in a car. I was thinking maybe he’d cut me up along with the waitress, stuffed me in the trunk. Fuck, I don’t know? But then I noticed I was sitting up and I could feel the air conditioner on my face and I could hear music playing. When I opened my eyes, I was sitting in one of the nicest fucking cars I’d ever ridden in. And the music’s LOUD! Like bone shaking loud, you know. And I look down at my hands and at my clothes and I’m fucking covered head-to-toe in blood.
I looked over to the driver’s seat, and Stapley’s driving, the same big crazy grin on his face, slapping the steering wheel, singing along with whatever song was playing, and he’s covered head-to-toe in blood. The shit’s dripping off of him…. When he noticed that I was awake and staring at him, he started talking a mile a minute about he wasn’t joking about me writing a book about him and that he think’s it’s a good idea that I come home with him so I can, ya know, start observing him, taking down his thoughts.
And you went along with it?
Hell, yes I did! I mean, I just watched this crazy fucker pluck a girl’s eye out of her head and god knows what he did to her after I passed out?
So you didn’t actually see him kill the girl?
No, man, but, I mean he was covered in fucking blood—
Okay, but you didn’t see the body?
What fucking difference does that make? I man, shit, I’ve seen him kill other people. Hell, the second week I was staying with him, we picked up this Mexican from in front of Home Depot and the sick fucker threw the poor guy over a bridge with his lower intestine tied around the railing like a bungee cord—
Alright, why don’t we take a brake to let you calm down before we get into the other killings.
Okay, yeah, that sounds good.
I’m going to get some coffee, do you want anything?
Just some water.
Okay, I’ll be back in a minute.
Yeah, who’re you? Where’s the other guy?
I’m Detective Severna’s supervisor. He asked me to come in here to talk with you for a couple of minutes.
Okay, about what?
Well, what you’ve been telling my detective is fairly disturbing, particularly concerning what you’ve been saying about Mr. Stapley.
You know who Mr. Stapley is, right?
I don’t know….All I know is that he’s some sick fucker that I’ve watched kill four people in—
From what I’ve been hearing you don’t know if you saw him kill that girl or not?
Look, there were others besides the girl—
Mr. Booker, we called American Junkie. We’ve talked with the manager, and he told us the girl you’ve been telling us about quit her job and moved to Los Angeles a month ago. So as far as he knows she’s alive and well and trying to become an actress.
That’s bullshit! I know what I saw! I know—
Mr. Booker, Mr. Stapley and his family are very well known here in the valley. Mr. Stapley runs several charitable organizations and his family helped build the city of Phoenix at its foundations.
So what, man! The guy’s a fucking killer!
Mr. Booker, as far as the Scottsdale police department is concerned, Mr. Stapley hasn’t committed and as far as the Scottsdale police is concerned everything you’ve said today is nothing more than some lame attempt to slander the Stapley family.
Mr. Booker, I’m giving you the opportunity to stand up and walk out of this room before we start believing these deaths actually happened and we start taking a closer look at you.
What are you doing?
What the hell?
Get the fuck out of the driver’s seat. Don’t ever do that shit again.
I wasn’t….I didn’t think…
Yeah, yeah, what’d I tell you?
What did you say to them?
Told ‘em everything….well, at least what they let me tell ‘em until they kicked me out. Made it to right until after the waitress at the club.
That’s it? Fuck, man, I think I would’ve slapped the cuffs on you the minute you started talking about cutting her eye out.
I know, right? Of course, I was pretending to be you and I was telling them the whole thing from your eyes.
What the hell did you do that for—
Gave ‘em your description and everything. Completely fucked you.
Fuck, man, now they’re gonna be looking for me—
Shut up, ya little asshole. They didn’t believe a single fucking thing coming out of my mouth. The cop I was telling didn’t stop smirking the entire time I was talking. He went and got his Captain because I think he was getting ready to laugh his ass off. Then the captain ran me off by threatening to put me in jail for ‘slandering’ my family. Stupid fuckers.
Take it easy and let your balls drop. Like I told you, I try doing this every six months and every time it’s the same thing. My family this, my charities that……So that I got that outta my system, what do we got planned tonight?
Uh……ah…..I dunno, maybe we could grab that hooker we saw on Van Buren….?
Naw, I want to save her. Let’s get a little random, maybe another Mexican…..? What were we talking about before all this shit?
Uuum, your dad…… I think we were still talking about your dad and that girl he kept….
Oh yeah, Jennifer! Dad never wanted us to call her by her name. Shit, he didn’t even want us talking to her. But, ya know, when somebody lives in your house for so long, even if she’s all chained up, you can’t help but get curious about ‘em……….
Keith Rawson is a little-known pulp writer who lives in the alkaline desert waste of southern Arizona with his wife and very energetic daughter. His stories have appeared in such publications as Plots with Guns, Needle Magazine, Out of the Gutter, the Lineup, CrimeWav.com, Powder Burn Flash, A Twist of Noir, BEAT to a PULP, and many others. He is a staff writer for Spinetingler magazine and BSCreview and along with Cameron Ashley and Liam Jose he edits and publishes Crimefactory magazine. You can find him stroking his over-inflated ego at his blog Bloody Knuckles, Callused Fingertips.