One Fingertip by Peter DiChellis

Hey. You ever hear about me? I’m a murder victim. A dead man. I’m a murderer too. What else am I? A wealthy liar and a brazen thief. All that.

Want to know what happened? I can’t spill everything. Because you might whisper my wicked secret to your best friend or yap about it on Facebook or goddamn tweet it or something. And I can’t let you do that. I will share a tiny morsel of my story, though. Just one sweet taste. And only for you.

I used to work in the money-cleaning business. Drug dealers in the Brooklyn mob paid me to turn their dope money legitimate. Make it untraceable. I had a business partner, a former Bahamian banker who lived uptown. Then one day he told me he decided to hold onto some of the money we’d cleaned. Said he needed time to think.

But here’s the thing. In the money-cleaning business nobody needs time to think. You just need to move the fucking merchandise and keep your mouth shut. So when people hold onto money and say they need time to think, I get nervous. And that’s why I did what had to be done.

The cops got an anonymous call about a suspicious odor coming from my apartment. I used an old pay phone in another state to make the call. Wiped my prints from the coins first. Wore gloves. Told the cops the putrid smell in the apartment must be a couple of dead rats who should have known better. That’s why the stink reached all the way to another area code, I said.

I didn’t leave much evidence in the apartment. My blood-smeared bathtub, of course, scarred with deep cuts in the sides and on the bottom. From the ax and the meat cleaver. Some of the blood was mine, but most was my business partner’s. All the bone chips and specks of soft tissue were his. I also left behind half a pack of heavy-duty trash bags, with no prints. I didn’t need to use the whole pack because my business partner wasn’t an especially large man.

And in the bathtub drain, I laid the tip of one of my fingers, hacked off at the top joint. Soon enough, some CSI genius used that one fingertip, the only body part they’ll ever find, to identify me as one of the victims, not the killer. By now you probably guessed the cops had my prints on file, so my fingertip made it easy for them to ID me. I’ll bet you figured out I kept the cleaned dope money, too, though the cops don’t know anything about that.

Maybe I told you too much already, but let me tell you one more thing. Just so we have a clear understanding between us. Next time you’re out somewhere, in a bar or coffee shop or anywhere really, maybe you’ll see a man with one fingertip missing. It might be me. Don’t stare. And don’t reach for your phone. When people stare and reach for a phone, I get nervous. And then I do whatever has to be done.

You understand, right?

 

DiChellis bw smallPeter DiChellis writes short mystery and suspense fiction. His sinister tales appear at Over My Dead Body!, Shotgun Honey, YELLOW MAMA, and other popular online ezines, and in the mystery anthologies The Shamus Sampler (Volumes I and II) andPlan B Volume III. Peter is a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. For more, visit his site Murder and Fries athttp://murderandfries.wordpress.com/

7 Comments

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7 responses to “One Fingertip by Peter DiChellis

  1. Thank you Maddy, Travis, and John. Really appreciate it. And thank you, David, for the insights and info on views. Great to know.

  2. Good one, Peter. Remind me not to do anything to make you nervous.

  3. Well done Peter. I guess you don’t always want to know somebody’s story.

  4. I’ve noticed over the past couple of years that “comments” on stories have dwindled. That by no means is an indication of the stories that magazines are putting up. I always check the stats and the magazine has had over 100 views since the story has gone up. Well done.

  5. Great job. I’ll make sure I wear mittens from now on.

  6. Thank you, David. It’s great to see my story here, and to see TKnC open again.

  7. A little cracker of a story, Peter. Well done!

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